Saturday, May 08, 2004

It's Saturday. Why should I have to wake up so early? Especially when not long after I got to sleep (it was already about 2am!) June shakes me awake and asks for my comments on the flower arrangement she had been making for my mom for Mothers' Day. Truthfully, I thought it was well-arranged for a first attempt and I thought I gave her my verbal assurance and approval, but apparently, according to her, I started to say something then became incoherent then there came a short silence and finally I resumed my gentle snoring. So, my brain sort of functions but it doesen't translate into words when I'm in that state. June wasn't discouraged and continued her arrangement until she crawled into bed at about 4am. She is such a perfectionist and I love her. [Hmm... she's a perfectionist. She married me. What does that make me? ;)]

I officially arose at about 6:30 so I could get to the GP Seminar by 8:45. Simple breakfast at the coffee shop downstairs. GP Seminar was on the topic of the biomedical hub that Singapore is being designed to become by our economists and the ethics that govern said biomed research. This topic is especially relevant as our growth engine in the near future is being tied to this untamed wild horse that until recent times was never even conceived to exist.

Biomed offers us control over what we had once merely accepted -- health and, up to a point, even life itself. As an engine of economic growth, such control, if it can be bought, will be highly sought after by the growing population of wealthy people in our region whom we are now viewing as a vast, almost inexhaustable financial resource in the years to come. As long as people will continue to fall sick and/or die, when we build Biopolis they will come!

Bioethics is like the reins of control as we are breaking in this powerful wild stallion, making it manageable and ultimately exploitable to us. Bioethics reminds us that if we wish to take control over the once-uncontrollable, then are we responsible enough to make choices from options that were never available to us before? From the issue of abortion to stem cell research, we are already making choices over life and death -- choices that now rest in the hands of individuals when once life and death could only be a decision made by collective society.

All these issues would have been very interesting to discuss, probing further into the future of this country and what kind of services we will make available to the world in 10, 20 years time. What will Singapore be famous for then? Will people from around the world flock here to be cured of cancer or other life threatening ailments? Will they also take the opportunity to determine the traits they desire of their next generation while they are visiting or do other more frivolous things like being genetically altered to sport luminous tatoos on various parts of their bodies? Will people be coming here with diseased body parts and leave with fresh, new, healthy replacement parts harvested from a lab cultured pig or some other animal?

Would have been interesting if in our Q&;A session we had asked our speakers more questions on current research and project that towards their future practical applications, or more about the guidelines that our ethics council are currently considering so we can guess at what treatments will be or might become common practice tomorrow. Instead, we became fixated on the type of scholars we are sending to read up this field of research, their personality types and their qualifications, which I suppose are relevant considerations, but I'm not sure the speakers came down to field such mundane questions. If even our teachers are this pragmatic, I fear we are slowly losing what imagination we have left, destined to only follow and copy rather than pioneer and lead as we must in this field that remains largely unexplored. To be successful, we have to be able to identify the possibilities first then work our process to get there and not get hung up with procedure right from the start and go nowhere as a result.

Ouch. Did I just write all that? Wonder if there's anyone else left to read my blog after this outburst? Had a tea-break in between speakers.

Lunched with Agnes, Avril, Cynth and Joanna at the Dome, Bishan. Herb striploin sandwich on multi-grain and walnut bread (untoasted). Pumpkin mash made the sandwich mushy but as the flavour was pleasant and unusual I forgive them. Macchiatto to wash it down. Macchiatto... reminds me of Teresa. Wonder how she's doing today. Haven't written to her in many years now. Wish I hadn't lost her email.

College Day, and I had a good time catching up with some of the guys of S4D: Ki Han, Eric, Jian Wen, Kevin, Marcus, Wei Xiong... did I miss anyone? Also Drama club alumni: Gwyn (who sweetly offered to help work with Yr 1s), Michelle, Saz, Donnie and Millicent. Watched Thad and Bernard get dunked at the dunk tank, and was badgered into purchasing a gift set from the Drum personnel who took so much trouble over it I think they deserved their $3. Bought a panda rock painting at $8 for June, whom I hope will gain more confidence that her own rock paintings are quality pieces as well. Mei, sorry I didn't get back to the Drama booth for Ramzi's brownies. Too many people, too little time.

Had College Day reception: mee siam, kueh pie tee, sung kueh, siew mai, and the other usual catered stuff at the usual catered quality.

Went to mom's for dinner. Gave bro his spending cash, and lent him my digicam with charger to use on his tour. I feel naked without my Lumix now, especially since I can't take any more Odyssey rehearsal photos without it. Maybe Boon Sin will be kind enough to lend me hers? Anyway, to my kid bro, "bon voyage!" Come back soon!

To sum: I had 5 meals today. What a pig!