Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Broccoli - Green Magic

Broccoli juice helps patient beat bladder cancer

By Ryan Kisiel

A cancer patient credits his morning glass of broccoli juice with halting the disease. Ray Wiseman's claim has prompted more research into the vegetable's healing powers. Doctors told Mr Wiseman they did not expect him to survive, when they diagnosed him five years ago.

Green magic: Ray Wiseman with his wife Joan

But scans show that his cancer has stopped spreading - vastly improving his chances of a recovery. The grandfather, 79, puts his health down to the tumbler of broccoli juice that his wife prepares for him each day. Mr Wiseman, who lives in Braunstone, Leicestershire, said: 'I take this juice every day. I know it's done me good. 'I suppose it would be the same for everybody.'

His wife Joan, 72, started giving him the juice after a friend told her about the healing benefits of green vegetables. For each half-tumbler dose she combines a head of broccoli with some apples and carrots to improve the taste. She said: 'We believe my husband's incredible luck is down to broccoli. I hope our experience can help other cancer sufferers. 'The juice is a mess to make but it's something we have been happy to clear up. He now just takes it as second nature. 'If anybody else's husband is suffering from cancer and they are not getting on too well, it could help them.'

Scientists from Cancer Research UK have asked her for the recipe, to further study the vegetable's benefits. Recent medical studies have highlighted the possible cancer-beating powers of broccoli.

British scientists at the Institute of Food Research found that men who ate one daily portion had altered patterns of gene activity in their prostates, suggesting that the chemicals in the vegetable might be able to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

According to a report published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2006, natural chemicals found in certain vegetables, such as broccoli-cauliflower and cabbage, can enhance DNA repair in cells, which could help stop them becoming cancerous.

A spokesman for Cancer Research UK said: 'There's a lot of research that's focused on broccoli and the healing properties that the vegetable contains. 'If taken, broccoli needs to be with a healthy diet that is high in all fruit and vegetables. 'This can also reduce the chances of developing cancer.'

Around 10,000 are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year in the UK . It is the fifth most common form of the disease and affects more men than women.

A member of the cabbage family, broccoli is rich in vitamin C and has properties that boost the human immune systems that fight viruses, bacteria and cancer. Studies have found that boiling broccoli can reduce its anti-cancer compounds, but steaming and microwaving do not.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Expired LPG Cylinders

Expired LPG Cylinders are not safe for use and may cause accidents. In this regard please be cautious at the time of accepting any LPG cylinder from the Vendor.

Here is how we can check the expiry of LPG cylinders:

On one of three side stems of the cylinder, the expiry date is coded alpha numerically as follows A or B or C or D and some two digit number following this e.g. D06.


The alphabets stand for quarters -
1. A for March (First Qtr),
2. B for June (Second Qtr),
3. C for Sept (Third Qtr), &
4. D for December (Fourth Qtr).

The digits stand for the year till it is valid. Hence D06 would mean
December qtr of 2006. Please Return Back the Cylinder that you get with a Expiry Date, they are prone to Leak and other Hazardous accidents ...

The second example with D13 allows the cylinder to be in use until Dec 2013.
Kindly pass this to every one, and create awareness among the public this message along with all attachments thereto.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Digital Junkies

By Olivia and Kurt

Emily awoke at 2 in the morning after hearing a noise downstairs. Nervously pulling back the blanket, she slipped quietly out of her room toward the mysterious sound. Anxietyturned into anger as she approached the faint but distinct music of hersons’ favorite video game – the same game they had been ordered to stopplaying hours earlier in order to go to bed.

At that moment Emily couldn’t decide whether to scream or cry – whether she was losing her mind or coming to her senses. Emily unplugged the video-game system, gathered up cords and devices, walkedonto her second –story deck and pitched hundreds of dollars worth ofequipment over the railing. With a great sense of relief, she listened for the sweet sound of crashing electronics below. “There!” she assured herself. “That should take care of the problem.”

Emily’s reaction may seem extreme, but those who live with a child addicted to video games understand. Years later, Emily said her decision to jettison video games from hjer homehad lasting significance – protecting her sons from an addiction thatis stealing countless children away from real life.

Pointless battle?

A growing number of parents are concerned about the obsession their kids have with video games. Like many parents, we resisted buying video games for our children for some time. Butwhen a friend offered us their old system, we hesitantly accepted –determined to limit the time our kids played so that it remained a small part of a balanced lifestyle.

Before long, however, we noticed our once-active sons being enticed from normal, healthy childhood activities into a digital universe. Board games remained on the shelf. Outdoor activities waned. Even relationships with friends and family changed, dominated by game chatter or conflicts over why they couldn’t play “just one more level”.

battle to limit their game time seemed pointless. Before throwing in the towel, however, we decided to check out what research said about video games. Though American Medical Association doesn’t classify it as a formal disorder,more than 20 percent of kids in the United States are consideredaddicted to computer and video games, which produce physiologicalreactions in the brain similar to those associated with substance abuse.

Research shows that the chemicals triggered by about 30 minutes of play rival an amphetamine high. Eventually,a process called “habituation” takes place – rewiring the brain and creating a physiological dependence similar to cocaine addiction. In fact, the first detox center for video-game addicts opened in the Netherlands recently.

Avoid common mistakes

Whilemost conscientious parents screen games to protect their children from violent and sexual themes, few understand the dynamics causing their sons and daughters to become hooked on “the digital drug”. They may have a bad feeling about the influence of video games but can’t imagine kids living without it in a culture where every child plays. What’s a parent to do?
To start, educate yourself and your children on the research regarding video-game addiction. Then work to avoid these common mistakes:

Mistake No. 1: Starting young

The earlier a child begins playing electronic games, the sooner he or she is exposed to the patterns that lead to addiction. Children who become accustomed to junk food lose their appetite for healthy eating. Similarly, kids also acquire a “taste” for certain kinds of recreation. Those who develop patterns of natural play rather than virtual play are more likely to become well-rounded, happy adolescents. Thosewho are introduced to the dopamine-inducing high of prolongedvideo-game play often become bored with any other recreation.

Mistake No. 2: Creating easy access

Four out of five children over 8 years old own a video-game system. Therisk of video-game addiction increases dramatically when your childowns a system, because then it is much harder to control the amount oftime spent playing. As with any other behavioral addiction, easy access to the object of obsession makes it difficult to avoid pitfalls.

Mistake No. 3: Using video games as a reward

While the benefit of motivating kids to complete school assignments and othertasks may seem like positive aspect to video-game obsession, thelong-term consequences far outweigh any short-term gain. Usingvideo games to motivate kids reinforces the notion that working,reading and learning are necessary evils rather than rewards inthemselves. Other motivational rewards – such as anice-cream date with Dad or an outing with Mom – are more effective andavoid feeding video-game obsession.

Mistake No. 4: Allowing “just one more level”

When asked to shut off the video-game system, most children rarely obeywithout first trying to prolong their play, invariably they respondwith a plea for just one more level or more time to defeat the currentvillain. As a result, many parents end up allowing their child to spend much more time playing video games than they intended.Asone recovering video-game addict said, “If you say you intend torestrict the amount of time a child spends, you better ask yourselfwhether you can really do it. Kids are very good at pushing for more time.”

Mistake No. 5: Ignoring your gut

Many parents have a bad feeling about the amount of time their child spends playing and talking about video games. They have a nagging sense that allowing so much video-game time may have long-term consequences. But they second-guess the feeling, writing it off as old-fashioned or too strict. Besides, they would rather avoid the inevitable conflict that comes from restricting or removing the game system.You know your child better than anyone else; trust your gut and intervene to help your child live a fulfilling life.

The Most Honourable Teacher in China

Each prostitution, can help one schooless child; become a mistress once, can rescue a hopeless primary school... Don't laugh, after you read, u won't laugh. After reading this story, I speechless. I don't know what to say, is it society's fault, or else?

Xia die, she was a hooker, or she was a teacher. She is the most honourable teacher in China . She used her "dirty" body,exchanged with chasted children's heart. A hooker's death made all children cried and attended her funeral, the school dropped the national flag for her.

In the funeral of this 21yrs old pretty teacher, headmaster read Xia's diary sadly in front of all the students, she wrote : 'Each prostitution, can help one schooless child; become a mistress once, can rescue a hopeless primary school.'

Xia lived in a small village of province of Gan Shu . All ladies in this small village, no matter she is pretty or not, went to Southern part of city to earn money. Every spring time, they will come back with money and beautiful cloths. Xia didn't follow after their ways after she finished her secondary school. A lot of people didn't understand what was her thinking as she has the pretty appearance and body.Of this, her father always scolds her.

When she heard of the only primary school in the village needs some teachers, she volunteerly ask to become a free teacher. She is a very good student in her secondary school and because of this, she easily pass thru all the test and became the teacher of the school.

The 1st time when Xia walked into the classroom, all children shocked to see such pretty teacher. From then on, the classroom always filled with children's laughter. Classroom -- should call it a hut instead of classroom as the wall is made of sticks and cover with leaves as its ceiling. A big stone was their table and the most expensive property should be the polished dark-green stone which was used as their blackboard. Under this condition, Xia taught thousands of Chinese words and knowledge to her students.

Unfortunately,there was wild rain that destroyed the school and all students became schoolless. The headmaster visited the minister of education in that province for some money to repair the classroom but came back with nothing. Headmaster told Xia that the minister stated that he will only give money if Xia asks for it. Xia never meet any minister before and afraid that she will make the things worst but still decided to visit the minister. She walked more than 10km to the minister's office.The minister talked many nonsense things but didn't mention about the sudsidies until late night.The Minister looked like a person fulled with evil thought.

At night,he asked Xia to follow him to a room to take the money.When she walked in,the only thing she saw was a big bed. That night,she lost her virgin.The Minister raped her. Her virgin blood drop on the bedsheet and is more reddish than the color of the national flag in the room.

Xia didn't cry, all she thought of was the students' eyes that fulled of disappointed. She wanted to rebuild the a classroom for them. She didn't tell anyone about the raped case after she went home.

The next day, with the money that brought back by Xia, all villagers bought some woods and rebuilt the classroom. However,whenever there was a heavy rain, the classroom still cannot be used. Xia always told the students that province ministry department will build a good school for them. In the past half year, headmaster had visited the ministers more than 100 times and never got any money from them. He is the only 1 who knew what did the minister did to Xia,yet,he can do nothing about it. New semester came, a lot of students couldn't pay their fees and became schoolless.Most of them followed their parents to work in the farm. Xia felt sad about that.

When Xia wish of all students can go to school become hopeless, she took off all her cloths and sweared to her naked body that she will use this body to exchange the chances for the children to go to school. She knew that all the ladies in the village were working as hookers to earn the living and she knew that was a shortcut for her to earn money. She cleaned herself and said goodbye to the headmaster, father, and school. She tight her hair as 2 ponytails and walked to the city. When she left, her father smiled and headmaster cried....

In the flowerful city, Xia was not happy at all, in her mind, there were only broken classroom and disappointed eyes of students. She walked into a Hair-Saloon, laid down on a dirty bed, and carried out her 2nd "dirty" business. In that night, in her diary, she wrote : 'Minister can't even compare to her 1st customer. At least they paid.'

She sent all her earnings except those for her to live on to headmaster. Headmaster followed her instruction to use the money on the development of the school. People kept asking about the source of the money and headmaster only told that it was from some donation of society.

After a while, people knew about the source of money was from the teacher and many reporters wanted to interview her and she just refused and the reason was that she is just a prostituet.

With the money, the school changed. First month, there was a new blackboard. 2nd month, a wooden table and chair. 3rd month, all children have their own books. 4th month, all children have red ties. 5th month, no children went to school with bared leg.

On the 6th month, Xia come back. All students welcomed her happily and said 'Teacher is so beautiful'... With all student's smiling face, Xia cried.. She thought of how much tears had dropped and how much sadness she had for the past 6 months.. she feels worthy when she see all these.

After few days at home, she went back to city. 7th month, built a ball park, 8th month, basketball, 9th month, all students have their new pencils. 10th month, the school has their own national flag, students raised the national flags daily. 11th month, a land-developer refused to use condom and caused the unwanted pregnancy of Xia. After abortion, she became the developer's mistress. Few months later, the developers dumped her because he faced the dropping land-value problem in ShengXhen, he didn't even pay her 1 cent.

Xia was tired of those life, she thought of going home and back to the school, but she has yet fulfilled student's dream which were building a concrete classroom and buying 2 PCs for the students. Because of these, she went back to beg the developer and the developer just refused to pay anything but introduced a foreigner to her. He claimed that the foreigner will pay her 3000rmb for 1 night. When she thought of the wild rain happened last time that has destroyed the school, she accepted it and went to the hotel with the tired body and soul . She sweared that she will go back to her home and school after that.

She died of the violation by 3 foreigners in turn. Moreover,she just past her 21th birthday.

Xia died without fulfilling her final wishes which were getting a concrete classroom and 2 PCs for the students.……

A hooker died silently, the sky of ShengZhen was still as blue as before, ministers still happily sitting in their office, many expensive cars still running on street, people still happily discussing about the share market, house market values, car values, and movies, musics and love story. Youngster tried to suicide because of small matters happened between couples. At this time, students, teachers and few hundreds of villagers attending the funeral in this small village 'GanShu'

In the funeral, people saw a black and white photo of Xia with 2 pony tails and smiley face. Headmaster opened the diary of Xia and read in front of all students, she wrote : ' Each prostitution, can help one schooless child; become a mistress once, can rescue a hopeless primary school...'

The national flag dropped to its half... May be, this was the ONLY national flag dropped to its half for a GREAT hooker in China 's history.
After I read this, I cried for 2 hours. From now on, I won't discriminate any hooker, because among them there is a Xia. Hope you will forward this to all forum, friends, webspaces, to let all our governments to understand when they are saying and empty-promissing, when they are drinking in the pub, when they are doing dirty politics, Someone using her own power to change the world. Xia is using her sadly eye to look at all of us. Although she is just a hooker, she is more clean and saint than any of us. In this cold and dirty society, what she gave to the students are human's 'Great Love'.

Xia left the world with wishes, can't we continue her jobs of bringing more hope to the poors? If we can, why dun we share our love, our capable to these children in the third world or support those who try to be Xia in our country? Share our love to PRC, support them more.. we can be saint ourselves.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Read This First Before You Make Your Decision

If your pay is about RM4,500/month, and you have no life insurance, you will actually pay more taxes if you decide to reduce your EPF contribution to 8%.

That's because up to RM6,000 of EPF contributions and life insurance premiums are tax-deductible. Here is the calculation:

You earn RM54,000 per year. 11% EPF = RM5,940, which is tax-deductible. There is also RM8,000 of personal relief. So your net taxable income is RM40,060.

The tax on that will be RM2,183 (tax rate is RM1,525 on the first RM35k and 13% on the next RM15k).

The EPF contribution is reduced to 8% = RM4,320. That is equal to RM1,620 extra in your pocket every year. Very nice? Did you realise that's not all yours?
That extra is now taxable income! So your net taxable income is RM41,680 and you will be paying RM2,393 of federal income tax.

The IRD will be taking an RM210 (RM2,393 vs RM2,183) of taxes from you ie 13% of that extra which you thought was all yours. Of course, the better-paid employees with hefty life insurance premiums are already well over the RM6,000 ceiling for tax-deductibility, so they won't be affected. But aren't these measures supposed to help the poorer?

Is that why the government made the 8% option automatic? Perhaps you'd better head over to EPF and insist you want to keep paying 11%.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

SCAM BY EPF (KWSP)

This is another method for KWSP to steal our money!

Remember during Budget 2008 announcement last year, our Finance Minister (cum PM) announced that in order to assist KWSP members to reduce the burden in housing load repayment, KWSP will allow monthly withdrawal from members' A/C II for the purpose?

Sounds like a nice goodies!When you apply for the monthly withdrawal, you only need to provide KWSP your housing loan & instalment details from your bank and the bank a/c number you like KWSP to bank the monthly withdrawal into it. KWSP will approve yourr application based on the available amount in your A/C II and compute the withdrawal period by dividing the approved amount with the monthly instalment amount. Application process takes about a month and you will receive the monthly payout promptly into your bank a/c! Well everything appear to be nice and good.

It was indeed a noble plan until you take to close look at your KWSP Statement! The withdrawal plan is actually a SCAM!
This is how the KWSP SCAM works.......Assuming you have RM100,000 in your A/C II and your housing loan's monthly instalment is RM2000/mth. KWSP will approve your application of withdrawal from your A/C II of RM100,000 and pay you RM2000/mth for the next 50mths. Everything appears to be in order BUT.......What KWSP didn't highlight to you is that when the application was approved, the TOTAL AMT (RM100,000) is removed from your A/C II! It appears to be transfered to an unknown a/c to effect the monthly payment from therein.

The impact to the member are as follows :

  • You just lost RM100,000 from yr A/C II. Assuming the KWSP Dividend is 5%, you will lose >RM4,000 in dividend during the 1st year. Based on the above example you will will lose >RM10,000 over the 50 mths period!

  • There is no statement to account for the amt approved vs amt paid, hence you would need to keep the monthly payment voucher to reconcile against the approved amt over the 50mths period to ensure there is no missing amt!

Assuming there are 100,000 members who innocently fell prey to this SCAM, based on the above example, KWSP would have cheated the members of 100,000 X RM10,000 = RM1,000,000,000 (that's RM1 BILLION) over the period!

Furthermore, if you discovered this SCAM early and intend to stop the plan, KWSP would not allow any cancellation of the plan until at least 1 year. That would mean, once the application is approved, based on the above example, you would have lost >RM4,000.100,000 members would have lost 100,000 X RM4,000 = RM400,000,000 (RM400 MILLION) in One Year!!!If you're a victim of this KWSP SCAM, would suggest you call your MP to raise hell in Parliament! (BN MPs won't do it)

For others who have not fallen into this SCAM, pls continue to watch out and alert your family & friends about this.

HOW COULD THE GOVERNMENT ALLOW ITS AGENCY TASKED WITH SAFEGUARDING ITS CITIZEN'S HARD EARNED MONEY TO CHEAT ITS MEMBERS IN THIS MANNER???

Monday, October 13, 2008

Saying 'I Love You' ...in a special way.

Saying 'I Love You' .....in a special way. A guy wanted to express his unfathomable love to his sweetheart. So, what did he do...? He gave chocolates to all the girls living in the University student apartments and asked them to turn their lights on or off at 8pm that night. See the pic for the rest.

Truly Breath taking ! You don't need to guess his sweetheart's reaction. Hundreds of students came over later to witness this great piece of Art driven by the Greatest Emotion known to Man - 'Love'.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cancer Update

Johns Hopkins - Cancer News from Johns Hopkins

No plastic containers in micro
A dioxin chemical causes cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic.

Recently, Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital , was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers.. This especially applies to foods that contain fat.

No water bottles in freezer
He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body... Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food... You get the same results, only without the dioxin So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc.


No plastic wrap in microwave
He reminded us that sometime ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons... Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Air Out Your Car Before Turning On Aircon

Open the windows after you enter your car. According to research done by a U.C., the car dashboard, sofa, air freshener will emit Benzene, a cancer causing toxin (carcinogen) .

In addition to causing cancer, it poisons your bones, causes anemia, and reduces white blood cells. Prolonged exposure will cause Leukemia, increasing the risk ofcancer. It may also cause miscarriage.

Acceptable Benezene level indoors is 50 mg per sq. ft. A car parked indoors with the windows closed will contain 400-800 mg of Benezene.If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F,the Benezene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level.

The people inside the car will inevitably inhale an excess amount of the toxin.
It is recommended that you open the windows and door to give time for the interior to air out before you enter. Benzene is a toxin that affects your kidney and liver, and is difficult for your body to expel.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Counting on the nest egg

By SHAHANAAZ HABIB


With people living longer, marrying and having children later and not saving enough, facing retirement is a challenge. While there is growing awareness about the need to plan, less than 5% are prepared for retirement and fail to take into consideration inflation rates and rising medical costs.

IN 1981, when Azman graduated, he got a job in KL which paid him RM1,800 a month. He bought an imported Mazda at RM17,000 and months later he put down money on a RM78,000 single-storey terrace house.


Today, 25 years later, Azman's daughter has just finished university. Her starting pay is RM1,800, just like her father's two and a half decades ago.


But unlike her father's time, imported cars cost over RM100,000 today. So Latifah has opted to buy a Proton for RM45,000 (more than double what her dad paid for his first car).


While her father could afford to buy a house early in his career, Latifah can't. Houses in KL these days cost at least RM200,000, so she has to work for a few years first before she can own one.


Compared to 25 years ago, the prices of goods, food, petrol and electricity have all gone up. Understandably, it's an uphill task for Latifah to save on her RM1,800 salary, since the purchasing power of her salary is much lower than her father's back in the 1980s.


It is a fact that wages have not moved in tandem with the rise of the cost of living and inflation. That trend is expected to continue.


And if people do not start planning early for their retirement, they are going to find themselves in a spot after they turn 55.


Today, three meals cost you RM20 but in 20 years time – with an inflation rate of 6% a year – you will need RM64 per day for the three meals, estimates financial consultant Hazel Ong Archibald of CIMB Wealth Advisors (see Chart 1). The government puts inflation rate at 3.2% to 4.8% but Ong says in urban areas, that figure is about 6%.


So while the RM500,000 in your EPF or bank account at retirement might look good on paper, she says, if you do not invest that money to make it grow at a rate higher than the inflation rate, 20 years later, it would be worth only RM145,053 in purchasing power!

While there is more awareness about retirement planning these days, particularly in the urban areas, in reality this does not often translate into preparedness.

Why?

“Because it is more pleasurable to spend than to save,” opines Ong.

People understand – at head level – the need to plan and save, she says, but at heart level, emotions rule and instant gratification wins the battle.

“I wanted to persuade a friend to save for the future but she kept saying she had no money but then later I saw she could sign up RM3,000 and RM5,000 for some slimming packages!”


Reality hits when people find that they cannot afford to retire because they had not seriously put aside the money early on in life.




Less than 5% are prepared for retirement,” estimates Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) president Ng Lian Lau.



He says those in their 20s think they are too young to think about retirement, while those in their 30s and 40s tend to believe they are doing enough because they have
their EPF savings, and those who are 55 feel it is just too late for them.



And the truth is at 55, most people cannot afford to retire.

“People are living longer, life expectancy for women is 76 years. For men it's 72. With this kind of longevity, people have got more than 20 years after retirement. 60 would be a more ideal retirement age,” he says.

People are marrying later too, points out Ong.


Which means they are having children later in life. If a person has a kid at the age of 35 and retires at 55, the odds are that his child at 20 would probably still be at university or college and his education require financing.


On average, the Malaysian household spent 5.7% on education last year. With the cost of education rising by 6% each year, this is expected to climb steadily.


While parents might buy an education insurance plan for their children, Ong has found that 90% of the time the amount is insufficient. More often than not, parents are willing to give up “everything”, including their own retirement fund for the kids. Which leaves them in a vulnerable position in their old age, unless of course their children provide for them.


As for life insurance, only 40% of Malaysians are covered. Ng says this is a small number compared to 100% in Singapore , 80% in the United States and 400% in Japan (where one person has four policies on average).


And even if one has a life policy as well as savings from the EPF, people should still worry about retirement. This is because without a new source of income, that money would run out. This is especially so if one runs into health problems which is common when people grow older.

“Medical inflation is easily 15% each year. And this could really eat into the savings,” warns Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd CEO Tan Kar Hor.


Tan likens the medical bill as a “hole” which if not plugged would leak away one's entire retirement and savings.


“It's only a question of how the big the hole is,” he says.

So parliamentary secretary to the Finance Ministry Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya's announcement on Thursday that amendments to the Employees Provident Fund Act would allow contributors to withdraw money to buy insurance for critical illness for themselves and their family is welcome news. The amendment Bill was passed in Dewan Negara that same day.


So how much would one need for retirement?


Experts say this depends on the individual and his lifestyle. And how much he is willing to reduce consumption – to eat out less often, buy fewer things, live in a smaller house, drive less, drive a smaller car and travel less.


The rule of the thumb, says Ng, is managing on 60% of your last drawn pay.

For Ong, it's 70% of one's current lifestyle. If a family in Kuala Lumpur with two kids and two cars needs RM5,000 today, at retirement, expenses should go down to RM3,500.

Even based on this calculation, one would need RM747,000 if one were to live for 25 years after retirement, and RM806,200 for the next 30 years, factoring in the inflation and interest rates.

Going by statistics revealed in EPF's 2005 annual report, about 90% of EPF contributors have less than RM100,000 in their accounts. So sole dependence on one's EPF savings as a safety net is not good enough.

Assuming that one can live on RM1,000 a month, to survive for 25 years, one would still need a substantial RM300,000 and for 35 years, RM420,000.


Bank Negara's Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) CEO Mohamed Akwal Sultan reckons a person should not start purchasing big assets like property or a house late in life as the danger is that once they have retired they may not be able to meet the instalment payment on it.


“When you are in your late 40s, you should be winding down and not committing to high expenses to buy big things,” he says.


AKPK has dealt with a number of cases where retirees have had banks auction off their houses because they could not meet the monthly loan payment.

There is also the problem of credit card temptation. Ng notes a worrying trend that more and more younger people are becoming bankrupt as they are spending “tomorrow's money”. Which basically means these people are not saving or building their retirement nest.


Ideally, Ong says, people should start saving from the time of conception; that way would be able to enjoy the magic of the compounding effect (see Chart 2).


Prudential's Tan says a noticeable trend is that while the younger generation is prepared to invest in new financial instruments, the older generation gravitates towards fixed deposits.

“That is very risky because you would not be able to accumulate enough because the interest rates can't meet the inflationary rate and your money is getting smaller,” he says.


He believes given the current life span, it would do retirees good to be more aggressive in their investment.

“In investing, you should not be looking at the date of retirement but rather the date of potential death which is probably still another 21 years away after retirement,” he says.

He recommends that people only keep about six months of their monthly expenses in the savings and FDs and put the rest in investment products that generate more income than the inflation rate.


Ng believes a good private pension would help people in their retirement years. In developed countries, money put into savings for retirement is not taxable, neither is the profit from that investment.


“When you retire, you can't take the money out in a lump sum either or you'd have to pay tax on it. This will force you to withdraw your money on a regular monthly basis for retirement because that's tax free,” he adds.


Singapore has such a scheme, the voluntary Supplementary Retirement Scheme, which complements the Central Provident Fund ( CPF ). Such a scheme has not taken off in Malaysia for a number of reasons, says Ng.


It would be a loss of revenue to the Government because people would not be paying taxes on money put aside for retirement. It would benefit only the rich and middle income group as the poor might not be able to afford it, he adds.


“Perhaps it hasn't taken off too because the Malaysian economy is pretty dependent on consumer spending. And the Government wants you to spend,” he adds.


Ng says there should also be an asset liquidation law in the country. It is puzzling that there are all sorts of incentives for asset accumulation, he says, but none for liquidation.


An example of asset liquidation would be to reverse mortgage your house to the bank in return for a guaranteed monthly income until you die.


The asset would at the end of the day belong to the bank or insurance company. But in the meantime, the person has the right to continue to live in the house until death and get a monthly income too.


“If they outlive the value of the house, the bank loses,” he says.


As our population ages and life expectancy increases, more thought must be given by both individuals and the Government on how to develop a culture of planning and saving for one's retirement.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

1st Ramadan 1429

The Dangers of Plastic Bags

Data released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency shows that somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.
Less than 1% of bags are recycled. It cost more to recycle a bag than to produce a new one.

“There's harsh economics behind bag recycling: It costs $4,000 to process and recycle 1 ton of plastic bags, which can then be sold on the commodities market for $32”

Then, where do they go?

A study in 1975, showed oceangoing vessels together dumped 8 million pounds of plastic annually. The real reason that the world's landfills weren't overflowing with plastic was because most of it ended up in an ocean-fill.

Bags get blown around…to different parts of our lands and to our seas, lakes and rivers. Bags find their way into the sea via drains and sewage pipes...Plastic bags have been found floating north of the Arctic Circle near Spitzbergen, and as far south as the Falkland Islands.
Plastic bags account for over 10 percent of the debris washed up on the U.S. coastline.

Plastic bags photodegrade. Over time they break down into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers which eventually contaminate soils and waterways. As a consequence microscopic particles can enter the food chain.
The effect on wildlife can be catastrophic. Birds become terminally entangled...Nearly 200 different species of sea life including whales, dolphins, seals and turtles die due to plastic bags. They die after ingesting plastic bags which they mistake for food.

So…What do we do?
If we use a cloth bag, we can save 6 bags a week. That's 24 bags a month, That's 288 bags a year. That's 22,176 bags. in an average life time. If just 1 out of 5 people in our country did this we would save 1,330,560,000,000 bags over our life time.

Bangladesh has banned plastic bags, China has banned free plastic bags, Ireland took the lead in Europe, taxing plastic bags in 2002 and have now reduced plastic bag consumption by 90%.

In 2005 Rwanda banned plastic bags, Israel, Canada, western India, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Taiwan, and Singapore have also banned or are moving toward banning the plastic bag.
On March 27th 2007, San Francisco becomes first U.S. city to ban plastic bags. On March 27th 2007, San Francisco becomes first U.S. city to ban plastic bags Oakland and Boston are considering a ban.
Plastic shopping bags are made from polyethylene: a thermoplastic made from oil. Reducing plastic bags will decrease foreign oil dependency. China will save 37 million barrels of oil each year due to their ban of free plastic bags.

It is possible!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Breakfast at McDonald’s

This is a good story please read it all the way through until the end! (After the story, there are some very interesting facts!)

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree.

The last class I had to take was! Sociology.


The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with.

Her last project of the term was called 'Smile.' The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions.

I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway, so, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally.


Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning.


It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We were! standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did.

I did not move an inch... an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.

As I turned around I smelled a horrible 'dirty body' smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men.

As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was 'smiling'.

His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance.

He said, 'Good day' as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation.

I held my tears as I stood there with them.

The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted.

He said, 'Coffee is all Miss' because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).


Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes.


That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action.


I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.


I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman's cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, 'Thank you.'


I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, 'I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope.'

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, 'That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope.'

We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.


We are not church goers, but we are believers.


That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love. I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand.


I turned in 'my project' and the instructor read it.


Then she looked up at me and said, 'Can I share this?'


I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.


She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed.


In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my husband, son, instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student.


I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn: UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE!.


Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS - NOT LOVE THINGS AND USE PEOPLE.

An Angel wrote:

Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

To handle yourself, use your head. To handle others, use your heart.

God Gives every bird it's food, but He does not throw it into its nest.

Say I love You In Time

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie.

She said I love you but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.

That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. "What's wrong, are you well," she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

"I thought that it would be pleasant to be with you," I responded. "Just the two of us."
She thought about it for a moment, and then said, "I would like that very much."

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up. I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on.

She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's.

"I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed, "she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting".

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu.

Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips

"It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she said.

"Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor," I responded.

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation nothing extraordinary, but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie.

As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you
again, but only if you let me invite you." I agreed.

"How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home.

"Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I did to not get to do anything for her.


Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined.

An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance.

I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son."

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: "I LOVE YOU!" and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and your family.

Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till "some other time."


"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!"

Beijing 2008 Olympics

The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, will be held in Beijing, China from August 8, 2008 through August 24, 2008, with the opening ceremony to take place at 8 p.m. on August 8th. The number 8 is associated with prosperity in Chinese culture. Some events, like beach volleyball, sailing, and swimming's new marathon 10km events, will be held in the coastal city of Qingdao.

On July 8, 2005, the International Olympic Committee announced that Hong Kong will hold the equestrian events at the site of the Hong Kong Sports Institute in Fo Tan, Sha Tin. The facilities of the Sports Institute may be moved to Wu Kai Sha. This will be the second time the same edition of Olympic Games has been hosted by two National Olympic Committees. (A similar arrangement was in place between Melbourne, Australia, and Stockholm, Sweden, for the 1956 Summer Olympics.)

Beijing was elected host city on July 13, 2001, during the 112th IOC Session in Moscow, beating out Toronto, Paris, Istanbul, and Osaka. Prior to the session, five other cities submitted bids to the IOC but failed to make the shortlist in 2000: Bangkok, Cairo, Havana, Kuala Lumpur, and Seville. Beijing previously bid to host the 2000 Summer Olympics but lost out to Sydney in 1993.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tips From The Police

This is a good reminder for all of us.You can never read this too many times!

The elbow is the strongest point on your body.If you are close enough to use it, do!

If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your Wallet and / or purse than you and he will go for the wallet or purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy! The driver won't see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

Women have a tendency to get into their car after shopping,eating,working,etc., and just sit (doing their check book, or making a list, etc.) DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.

A Few Notes About Getting Into Your Car In a Parking Lot,or Parking Garage:
  • Be aware: look around you; look into your car, at the passenger,side floor, and in the back seat. (And check out under the car as you approach.)
  • If you're parked next to a big van you should enter your car from The passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
  • Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone! in the seat nearest your car,you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.
  • IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are Horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).

If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control,ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ, RUN!

As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking,well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women? He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her 'Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.' The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over

The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do,DO NOT open the door.'

He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby cry recorder and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they heard baby cries outside their doors ! when they're home alone at night. Please pass this on! and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby.

This should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on: America 's Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana .

Please share this to all the women you know.It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to inform this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it on to them, as well.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Home Safety

Home can be a dangerous place for young children, and it is where most accidents happen, because it is where they spend most of their time. The topic 'Child safety' has more ideas about keeping children safe in many places. This topic focuses on home safety.
There are lots of things parents can do to make homes safe for children. You might like to use the ideas here as a check list that you can go through to make sure your home is safe.

General Safety

  • Have emergency numbers for police, doctor and ambulance, fire brigade and poison information near the phone at all times.If you use baby sitters, have your own home phone number and address by the phone so that they can tell emergency services if they need to call for help.

  • Keep all poisons out of reach, preferably in a 'child proof' cupboard.

  • Do not leave a young child alone in the house. Children under about 12 should probably not be left alone at home, and they certainly cannot be expected to keep younger children safe.
  • Have a first aid kit in the house and car.
  • Install smoke alarms at strategic places, eg outside the kitchen, inside the children’s bedrooms.

  • Keep keys in the lock of deadlocked doors when you are in the house, so you can get out quickly if there is a fire.

  • Install an Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker in your fuse box which will cut off the electricity supply if there is a fault.
  • Old houses may have faulty electrical wiring that needs to be checked and replaced.

  • Cover all unused power points with a child safety cover.

  • Unplug electrical appliances when they are not being used.

  • Ensure that all glass doors, shower screens and low windows are fitted with safety glass.

  • Ensure that floors which get wet have non-slip surfaces.
  • Doors that are likely to slam and jam fingers should be fitted with door-closers. Place finger jam protectors in doors.

  • Make sure that cupboard edges in children's areas are rounded.

  • In a multi-story house, ensure that windows are fixed so that children cannot get out of them, and that all balconies have adequate barriers (vertical bars for example, not horizontal which are easily climbed).
  • Keep all matches, lighters and candles out of reach of children.
  • Develop a plan for what to do if there is a fire and teach your children what they should do. See the link to the Country Fire Service below.
  • Do a first aid course so you will know what to do in an emergency

Making each part of the house safe

When you have young children it is important to do a safety check on every room of your house and the yard and sheds. A good time is when they are about to start crawling, if not before. You can use the following information as a checklist. Don’t forget grandparents’ homes as well if your children spend time there.

Kitchen
Place a moveable (half height) barrier across the doorway to keep children out while your are cooking.

  • Don't have dangling kettle cords - use short cords or curly ones.
  • Don't leave saucepan handles overhanging the edge of the stove so a child could reach them.

  • Use a stove/hot plate guard.
  • Put hot drinks out of reach of children.
  • Do not drink a hot drink with a child in your arms.
  • Replace table cloths with place mats as children can be scalded by pulling on the tablecloth and spilling hot drinks on themselves.
  • Lock away all poisonous substances, including detergents and dish washer powder.
  • Use child proof locks on cupboards.
  • Don’t put any poisons (eg cleaning agents) in food or drink containers.
  • When your baby or young child is in a high chair, always strap her in with proper restraints.
  • Keep matches, cigarette lighters, scissors and knives out of reach of children.

  • Prevent your young child from choking by constantly checking to see there are no small objects on the floor for her to put in her mouth. Babies from 6 months are able to pick up small objects and they put most things into their mouths (see the topic 'Choking').

Bathrooms

  • Don’t allow your child to play in the bathroom without supervision. There is the danger of the child drowning in a small amount of water
  • being scalded with hot water
  • electrocution from putting or dropping an electrical appliance eg hair drier in water.
  • Do not leave a baby by herself in a bath seat or bath cradle. Babies have drowned when they sipped through the holes in the bath seat or when the seat tipped over.
  • Keep all medicines in a child proof, locked cupboard.
  • When running the bath for your child, put the cold water in first.
  • To help prevent scalding from hot water, make sure that the water from your bathroom tub, shower and basin comes out at 50 degrees or less.
  • Always unplug any electrical appliances eg hair dryers, heaters etc. It is best not to leave them in the bathroom.
  • Never leave a small child alone in the bath. If you have to leave the room, eg to answer the phone, take the child with you.

Windows

  • Make sure that children cannot open and get out of, or fall out of, windows.
  • Do not place the baby’s cot near windows, heater or power points.
  • Make sure cords of curtains or blinds are short (less than 20cm), so that a child cannot get caught in the cord and choke. If the cord needs to be long, keep it out of reach by wrapping it around a high hook.

High Chairs

  • High chairs should be fitted with straps between the legs, over both shoulders and around the waist. (You can buy the harness separately from the chair).
  • Make sure that the high chair is strong and will not tip easily.
  • Never leave a child in a high chair without an adult being there.
  • Make sure the baby cannot reach doors, windows, stoves, cords etc from the high chair.
  • Repair torn seats as babies can choke on pieces of foam.

Change Tables

  • Change tables should have protection against rolling off, eg raised sides.
  • Do not leave the baby on the change table. If you need to do something urgent, take the baby with you.

Strollers and bouncinettes

  • Do not leave babies alone in a bouncinette, or stroller.
  • Make sure the baby cannot slide out and get caught, and strangle.
  • Make sure the stroller has a strong footrest, which can't collapse.
  • If straps are used to hold the baby, make sure that they fit firmly, and the baby can't get caught in them.
  • Babies under 6 months should not be put in a stroller unless the backrest can be adjusted to an angle of more than 130 degrees from the seat (it is almost flat, rather than sitting upright).
  • Bouncinettes should not be used after babies begin to roll over.

Baby walkers

  • It is strongly advised that you do not use baby walkers.
    For more information see the topic Baby walkers.

Playpens

  • Choose a heavy play pen that will not tip over if your child leans on it.
  • Playpens should be more that 500mm high and the spaces between the side bars should be between 50mm and 85mm. Children can get their arms or legs trapped in gaps narrower than 50mm, and their heads trapped in spaces over 85mm.
    Remember that children need to explore and too long in a playpen can become boring.

Bedrooms

  • Check the mattress fits snugly in your child’s cot.
  • Check that the spaces between the vertical bars on the sides and ends of the cot are between 50mm and 85 mm (which is too big for an arm or leg to be caught, and too small for a head to be caught). Bars should be vertical and not horizontal so a toddler cannot use them to climb out. See the topic 'Safe sleep' for the cot safety standards.
  • Do not place cots near dangling cords such as blind cords which can cause a risk of choking. Make sure that blinds and curtains do not have cords, or cords are short or always out of reach.
  • Do not use bunk beds if there is a toddler or child (under 9 years) in the home. Children love to climb and may fall off the top bunk.
  • Do not use hot water bottles or electric blankets in a child’s cot or bed.
  • Do not leave pills/medicines on your bedside table or in a handbag that children can get to.
    Ceiling fans. If you have a ceiling fan it is important to check that children cannot hit it if they jump off any furniture (especially bunk beds). Also be aware that such activities as carrying children on your shoulders can bring them within reach of the fan. Having 'impeller guards' on fans in children’s rooms is a further safety measure to consider.

Lounge and dining rooms

  • Check visitors do not leave handbags with medicines in them where a child can get to them.
  • Place safety guards around all heaters, open fires etc.
  • Cover power points with child safety covers.
  • Make sure that TV sets are not on stands or tables where young children could pull them down on themselves. Make sure that shelves, such as bookshelves are secured or stable.
  • Have low level storage places for children's toys.
  • Fit fire guards around all heating appliances or fire places.

Stairs balconies and verandahs


  • If you have stairs or balconies or verandahs in your home that are higher than 600 mm there must be protection to prevent children falling from these.
  • Balustrades (or hand rails) on stairs must be at least 865 mm high. Where they are used on verandahs or balconies or raised paths they should be at least 1000 mm high.
  • Where children could fall more than 3 metres the balustrades on stairs must be at least 1050 mm high and on balconies and landings at least 1200 mm. 1350 mm is safer.
  • Where the balustrade is high there should be a lower handrail as well. Handrails should be made so a child’s hand can slide along them without meeting any obstacles.
  • Make sure the gaps between the rails below the balustrade are no more than 100 mm.
  • The surface of stairs should be non-slip.
  • Softening and rounding sharp edges on stairs will help to lessen the harm done by a fall.
  • Young children should be protected from falling down stairs by lockable gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Garage/garden/outside areas

  • Check fences and gates are adequate to prevent your young child being able to get to the pool, street or other dangers. Gates and fences should not have horizontal rails which would make it easy for the child to climb over.
  • Lock your garage to make sure any dangerous tools or poisonous substances cannot be reached by a toddler.
  • Do not store poisons in food containers. Keep them in the original container which has warnings and safety precautions on it.
  • Power tools should be locked away when not in use.
  • Make sure your outdoor barbecue cannot be turned on by children.
  • Check there are no matches or cigarette lighters where a child could find them.
  • Place ladders flat on the ground when not in use if they cannot be put in a locked shed.
  • Check the whereabouts of your child before backing the car out of the garage etc. Do not have play areas (eg sandpits) near driveways.
  • When planning play spaces in your yard, keep children's areas well away from the driveway, fenced off if possible.
  • Cover a fish pond with strong wire mesh so your child cannot fall in.
  • Make sure there are no other pools of water or things that hold water after a rain in your yard.
  • Remove poisonous plants from your garden.
  • Do not put out snail pellets, these look attractive to children to eat.
  • Clear away rubbish that could hide poisonous spiders.
  • Keep children inside or well away from the area while you are cutting the grass (mowing).

Swimming pools

  • Ensure that your pool has isolation fencing. Make sure the fencing and gates around the pool meet the Australian standard (AS 1926). The gate should be self locking.
  • Always supervise children when they are playing near a pool or any water. Lack of supervision is one of the main causes of drowning.
  • Remember that most children who drown, do so in their family pool.
  • Fencing which stops others getting to the pool is not enough, you need a fence between the house and the pool.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Incredible Love Story

An incredible love story has come out of China recently and managed to touch the world. It is a story of a man and an older woman who ran off to live and love each other in peace for over half a century.

The 70-year-old Chinese man who hand-carved over 6,000 stairs up a mountain for his 80-year-old wife has passed away in the cave which has been the couple's home for the last 50 years. Over 50 years ago, Liu Guo Jiang a 19 year-old boy, fell in love with a 29 year-old widowed mother named Xu Chaoqin..

In a twist worthy of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, friends and relatives criticized the relationship because of the age difference and the fact that Xu already had children.

At that time, it was unacceptable and immoral for a young man to love an older woman.. To avoid the market gossip and the scorn of their communities, the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing Municipality.

In the beginning, life was harsh as hey had nothing, no electricity or even food. They had to eat grass and roots they found in the mountain, and Liu made a kerosene lamp that they used to light up their lives. Xu felt that she had tied Liu down and repeatedly asked him, 'Are you regretful? Liu always replied, 'As long as we are industrious, life will improve.'
In the second year of living in the mountain, Liu began and continued for over 50 years, to hand-carve the steps so that his wife could get down the mountain easily

Half a century later in 2001, a group of adventurers were exploring the forest and were surprised to find the elderly couple and the over 6,000 hand-carved steps.

Liu Ming Sheng, one of their seven children said, 'My parents loved each other so much, they have lived in seclusion for over 50 years and never been apart a single day. He hand carved more than 6,000 steps over the years for my mother’s convenience, although she doesn't go down the mountain that much.'

The couple had lived in peace for over 50 years until last week. Liu, now 72 years, returned from his daily farm work and collapsed. Xu sat and prayed with her husband as he passed away in her arms. So in love with Xu, was Liu, which no one was able to release the grip he had on his wife's hand even after he had passed away.

'You promised me you'll take care of me, you'll always be with me until the day I died, now you left before me, how am I going to live without you?' Xu spent days softly repeating this sentence and touching her husband's black coffin with tears rolling down her cheeks.

In 2006, their story became one of the top 10 love stories from China, collected by the Chinese Women Weekly. The local government has decided to preserve the love ladder and the place they lived as a museum, so this love story can live forever.


"HOPE is a Waking Dream ... with LOVE everything is POSSIBLE"