Archive for July, 2009

An average Malaysian eats the equivalent of 26 teaspoons of sugar a day. Doctors say this is leading to a rise in the number of diabetics in the country.

This is worrying health planners who want the government to discourage advertising of food products, particularly those aimed at children.

Health officials believe the sugar content in a product should be mentioned on the label in red, orange or green.

Early this year, the country was ranked the world’s eighth highest sugar user. According to a 2005 survey, Malaysians consumed 17 teaspoons of sugar per person per day in the 1970s. But Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohamed Idris says the consumption might have increased further by now.

Former Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Abdul Samad confirmed that Malaysia is the eighth highest sugar user in the world.

Malaysians consume sugar in the form of soft drinks, condensed milk, flavoured drinks, junk food and even breakfast cereals.

Production is geared to the Malaysian sweet tooth.

A CAP survey revealed that some drinks and food contained 10 teaspoons of sugar in a single serving.

Idris said a brand of orange juice contained 40.8 teaspoons of sugar in a two-litre pack, while a brand of cordial syrup had 200 teaspoons in a two-litre bottle.

As a result, Idris said the International Diabetes Institute recorded Malaysia as having the fourth highest number of diabetics in Asia with 800,000 cases in 2007, which is expected to increase to 1.3 million in 2010.

“Sugar is linked to over 60 ailments such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart problems, osteoporosis, kidney problems, asthma and allergies.”

According to the health ministry’s statistics, 11.6 million of the 16 million adults nationwide are sick with a non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension or cancer.

“Malaysia has the most overweight and obese people in Asia with 54 percent of the adult population either being obese or overweight,” Idris said.

“CAP calls on the government to work with food manufacturers to avoid sugar in their products,” he added.

“The government should also stop advertisements of highly-sugared drinks and food during children’s television viewing hours, and educate school children and the public on the dangers of excessive sugar intake,” Idris said.

Long-term consumption of soy products dramatically cuts down the risk of ischemic stroke, according to new research.

Ischemic stroke is the most common kind of stroke, caused by an interruption of the blood flow to the brain.

The research found people who consumed 50 grams of soy products a week reduced stroke risk. Those who ate between 50 to 300 grams of soy had a greater drop still, while those consuming 300 grams or more a week had the most health benefits.

As stroke is a major public health problem worldwide, Colin Binns, professor at Curtin University of Technology (CUT), who led the research, said the study could have important international outcomes.

“Stroke kills about five million people a year as well as causing considerable disability so these research findings will have long range health and financial consequences for individuals and governments,” he said.

“This research shows that long-term consumption of soy products can dramatically reduce the risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, accounting for 70 percent of all strokes that occur.

“We found that soybean and soy milk had the biggest benefit on stroke reduction over products like tofu, though consuming any one of these products will be beneficial.”

The research was conducted in 2007-08 in southern China where there was a large, fairly homogenous population that had similar diets and lifestyles and a relatively high stroke rate.

“Even though the study was carried out in southern China, we believe that eating soy products will have the same effect on western diets,” Binns said.

The study was published in Neuroepidemiology.

A total of 816 people died of swine flu/H1N1 worldwide, with most of the deaths occurring in South America, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday.

So far, 707 people have died in the Americas, 44 in South-East Asia, 34 in Europe, 30 in the Western Pacific region and one in the Eastern Mediterranean region, the UN agency said.

In addition, more than 20 countries such as Afghanistan, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Haiti, Namibia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Solomon Islands, among others, have confirmed swine flu cases since July 6.

A total of 134,503 people worldwide have been affected by the influenza A(H1N1) virus, also called swine flu, so far. The actual figure may be much higher, as countries are no longer required to report swine flu cases, WHO said

I hardly watched Malay movies except for the many P Ramlee’s movies which was a must,  but, when I saw SEPAT, I was truly impressed and amazed by the the story telling ability of the director Yasmin Ahmad. To me, Yasmin is really an excellent Malaysian Movie Director and her work in SEPAT was thought provoking where she takes us to look at how two young lovers from totally different background cope with family and social pressure. If anyone of you have not seen SEPAT, watch it and see what I meant.

Even Yasmin’s Anak Malaysia, a Petronas TV commercial was also too good for our time when our racial harmony is so fractured. See how Yasmin in this commercial shows us how racial harmony should breathe in Malaysia.

It is sad and a great loss for all Malaysians to hear that Yasmin Ahmad had passed away.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to her husband and family.


This is Yasmin’s blogs  The Storyteller 1 and  The Storyteller 2. which is a must for all to visit.

A GROUP of compounds commonly found in garlic may not only an effective treatment for malaria, the mechanism by which they inhibit the infection appears to be similar to the mechanism they use to fight cancer cells.

Researchers from the University of Toronto report these findings at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Atlanta.

“Does eating garlic influence the outcome of malaria? There is evidence that yes, it may,” says Ian Crandall, Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, who presented the study.

The compounds, called disulfides, occur naturally in garlic, onions and mahogany trees and are known to have antifungal, anticancer and antibacterial properties.

For years scientists have suspected that one of these compounds in garlic may be helpful against malaria and have proven it in animal models. Crandall and colleagues, though, were more interested in understanding how these disulphides worked against infection.

They tested 11 different synthetic disulphide compounds against malaria- infected cells. They also tested the effect of these compounds on cancer cells.

While not all of the disulphides were effective against Plasmodium falciparum, the malaria parasite, those that were were also effective at killing the cancer cells.

“We looked at the active compounds to see what they had in common. Apparently P. falciparum-infected cells and these cancer cells seem to have the same susceptibility profile,” says Crandall.

He believes that the mechanism of action may be on the glutathione system within the cell.

In this system, the glutathione is reduced (the opposite of oxidation) and stored in the cell like energy in a battery. This reduced glutathione can then be brought out to absorb damage caused by oxygen and other harmful particles when needed.

The glutathione system is of particular importance in cells that rapidly reproduce, like cancer cells or malaria-infected cells, because these harmful particles are natural by-products of metabolism.

Ajoene, the disulphide that naturally occurs in garlic, is a known inhibitor of glutathione reduction.

Normal cells recharge glutathione and therefore are able to deal with the oxidative stress that normal metabolism generates, but in the presence of an inhibitor they cannot recharge and therefore are more prone damage and eventually death.

It’s time we Malaysians show our anger to such brutal injustice to a young man who happen to be on the opposite side or some would say on the wrong side of the political divide. There are too many unexplained custodial deaths in Malaysia and this is becoming a disease.

Please Sign the petition  for justice for Teoh Beng Hock.

As usual our Umno leaders and their sidekicks were quick to defend and protect the “good name” of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

There seem to be a similarity here. There is a sinister element here. There is a political conspiracy. Remember the Perak power grab? Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) was used to topple the Pakatan Rakyat Perak State Government and now in the same fashion, MACC is being used to topple the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor State Governmant. It is so blatant where every government institutions are used by Umno in its political manipulations to engage in unconstitutional and unlawful activities to seize and preserve power at all costs.

It is not wrong for us to conclude that MACC is actually masterminding an operation to destabilise the Pakatan-controlled Selangor state government by prosecuting PR assemblymen and fabricating the necessary evidence through threats and coercion of potential witnesses. Teoh Beng Hock is clearly a victim of physical intimidation and mental torture under such a process. Teoh lost his life to the dangerous political game played by the institution which is a tool to Umno, the ruling elite. His death is so unfortunate, it is tragic and unnecessary.

Teoh Beng Hock, 30, was found dead on Thursday at the balcony of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission building in Shah Alam. Was Teoh manhandled and threatened by MACC investigators during a 10-hour interrogation he went through? Was Teoh dragged to a window on the 14-story building and thrown out by the MACC investigators? I don’t know but my feeling is that the MACC chaps have done something really nasty to the young man. I know MACC officers claim that Teoh was not a suspect in any crime. But I don’t know why Teoh was interrogated beginning late evening until the wee hours of next day and that his lawyers were not allowed to be present. There has to be a cause but who will ever know the real cause of his death?!!

Teoh was to get married on the day his body was found. His fiancee is expecting their first baby and has vowed to raise the child as a symbol of her love for Teoh. I really sympathise with her and her unborn child.

We must stop all these abuses and the erosion of justice.

May this young man’s life and sudden death be not in vain.

May Teoh Beng Hock rest in peace.

Dentistry and teeth has always been a subject very close to me since I was a kid. Most of my family members all never had to wear dentures as we all had good set of  healthy teeth. Dental hygiene was repeated like a mantra to me and my siblings. My late father was famous for making good dentures and even today some of his patients throw praises on his work.

Want to share a good article on acidic beverages and the damage to our teeth and the steps to rehabilitate teeth that suffer from dental erosion as a result of the excessive consumption of these products.

Here goes….

It is known that acidic beverages like sodas and citric juices like grapefruit and orange juice can damage teeth. An expert says the only solution is to stop or at least reduce consumption of these beverages.

Mohamed A. Bassiouny, professor of restorative dentistry at Temple University and co-author of a new study on the subject, outlined three steps to rehabilitate teeth that suffer from dental erosion as a result of the excessive consumption of these products.

Bassiouny instructs those who are experiencing tooth erosion to first identify the source of erosion, possibly with the help of a dental professional.

Then, the individual should determine and understand how this source affects the teeth in order to implement measures to control and prevent further damage.

Last, the person should stop or reduce consumption of the suspected food or beverage to the absolute minimum.

He notes that information about the acid content of commonly consumed foods or beverages is usually available online or on the product’s label. It is also recommended to seek professional dental advice in order to possibly restore the damaged tissues.

“Dental erosion,” according to Bassiouny, “is a demineralisation process that affects hard dental tissues (such as enamel and dentin).”

This process causes tooth structure to wear away due to the effects that acid has on teeth, which eventually leads to their breakdown. It can be triggered by consumption of carbonated beverages or citric juices with a low potential of hydrogen (pH), which measures the acidity of a substance.

Excessive consumption of the acidic beverages over a prolonged period of time may pose a risk factor for dental health, said a Temple University release.

This study appeared in the May / June issue of General Dentistry.

Two red pandas also known as lesser pandas, who were abandoned by their mother shortly after birth at a north China zoo are now healthy and content, thanks to their competent wet nurse: a mother dog.

The baby pandas were born at Taiyuan Zoo in Shanxi Province on June 25.

Their mother, the first red panda bred at the zoo, was taken in from a nature reserve in the northwestern Shaanxi Province at the end of April. No one knew she was pregnant. Her plump body and bushy hair disguised her protruding belly until the babies were born.

After the panda gave birth in its pen, in broad daylight and in front of a huge crowd of visitors, it abruptly turned its back on the babies and refused to nurse them. The zoo authorities hurriedly went about to find a wet nurse a mother dog which had given birth three days before the mother panda.

The mother dog was good-natured and has sufficient milk and the baby bears seem to like it.

Compared with the baby pandas that stayed with the mother dog every day, the puppy was more like an orphan.

The mother dog thinks the two bears are its own babies and refuses to nurse its own pup.

At three weeks old, the baby pandas are more than 20 cm long, “twice their birth length”. “They move around a bit but their eyes are still not open.” Lesser pandas are small, raccoon-like mammals that feed on bamboo and are native to the Himalayas. They are also known as “red pandas” because they have reddish brown fur on the body.

The average life expectancy of lesser pandas is about 13 years, and they reach adulthood at two years old.

The species is under special protection in China, though they are less known than giant pandas. They do not adapt easily to the environment. Official statistics indicate China’s lesser panda population has dropped by 40 percent since the 1950s because of human expansion into their natural habitats.

I came across this post “An Anak Bangsa Malaysia’s Call To Uthayakumar” in The People’s Parliament aka Bro Harris Ibrahim. I feel this post is very meaningful and it should be shared with everybody. So I thought of sharing it here in my blog. This is great, take a moment to read it; it will make your day to know there are many nice Malaysians out there.

An anak Bangsa Malaysia’s call to Uthayakumar
By The People’s Parliament

July 8, 2009

Shakuntala sent in a comment to the “A Challenge to Uthayakumar…” post. It really does articulate what so many of us feel that I felt it deserved a reproduction here as a post.

It’s reproduced in full below.

Thank you, Shakuntala.


I’m first and foremost an Anak Bangsa Malaysia and I want the numbers to grow….they are already. I believe in being an Anak Bangsa Malaysia only because the concept embraces all of us, whether we are black, yellow, a lighter shade of pale,dark brown, light brown and even white.That’s how far we have come already!There is no stopping the tide.

If we look ahead, our children and their children are not going to be in their particular national grooves…they are all going to be mixed and more mixed…they are definitely going to be MALAYSIAN. There’s no two ways….only ONE, the Malaysian Way.

A true leader who has the welfare of all Malaysians at heart, will heed the call…. for unity and intergration of all races.Because that’s the character of our country, Malaysia. We want the lousy word RACE to end and the only way to do it, is to unite and put an end to this damned thing called RACE which is causing no end of negatives…and problems.

Uthayakumar,….I heard that you fought very hard for a Chinese boy, who was a victim of police brutality, a few years back. I’m not sure if you were successful,or what came of it, but it just shows the kind of person you really are, not a race based crazy fanatic, but a far-sighted all embracing, generous person of the calibre of, maybe, Nelson Mandela?

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