"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, April 19, 2003

Everyone tells me that the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and the Community Chest are filthy rich.

I don't know about the latter, but the former displays its wealth ostentatiously - apparently its premises are lavishly decorated, the temps are paid generously, and you can just see all the publicity they manage to drum up - even producing television shows. One wonders why so much cash and publicity is thrown at the NKF. In 2000, 81.1% of all deaths in Singapore were caused by (in descending order) Cancer, Ischaemic & Other Heart Diseases, Pneumonia, Cerebrovascular Disease (Stroke) and Injuries. (Source: http://www.moh.gov.sg/hfacts/hfacts-gen-pcd.html). As far as I know, kidney failure contributes little or nothing towards the progression of these diseases. I smell a massive misallocation of resources. Where does all the NKF money go to besides organising charity shows with expensive prizes (the top prize this time is $188,000 according to a leaflet I got)? And it's not like they don't have sponsors. I'm told that dialysis is expensive, so I did some research.

Haemodialysis/Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)
The cost of haemodialysis is very high. Patient is dependent on machine for their life. The cost of dialysis per patient per year is approximately Tk. (Taka) 2,50,000.00/- (7,640.42 SGD). CAPD costs about as much.

The cost of single IPD is approximately TK. (Taka) 7500.00/- only (Ed: 229.213 SGD Singapore Dollars) . In IPGMR this form of treatment is being offered free of cost.

The cost of dialysis is US$45,000 to US$50,000 per year.

For survivors who remained dialysis-dependent, we estimated outpatient costs of long-term dialysis as follows. In a comprehensive cost analysis comparing the costs of dialysis with the costs of transplantation, we estimated the total annual cost of dialysis to be $32 800 in 1989 dollars ($46 322 in 1994 dollars) (17). Because 41% of those costs were for inpatient care, we subtracted 41% from this figure to avoid double counting inpatient hospital costs. Therefore, we assumed that the annual outpatient cost would be $27 330 for survivors who required long-term dialysis.

I've no idea how much NKF charges its patients, and how much their costs are, as this information is suspiciously missing from its website, but you can access its balance sheet here: http://www.nkfs.org/finance/index.html. I wonder if anyone did a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of how this money is spent.

Counter points raised by others:

1. Maybe a reason not that many people die of kidney failure is that the NKF's efforts work.
2. Just because not that many people die from kidney failure doesn't mean that NKF is wastin money. Say there are 100 people with kidney failure and 1000 people with potential strokes: The money could just as well be channelled to helping the 100 people with kidney failure or 100 people out of the 1000 who have potential strokes
3. Just because you dun don't die from it doesn't mean it's not worth helping. [Ed: Yes, but shouldn't saving lives be a higher priority?]
4. Maybe the fact that money goes to NKF is because death from kidney failure is actually preventable. While most people who get strokes/heart attacks just fall down and die without warning

Only 57% of people polled recently disapproved of the selling of Playboy in Singapore. I'm pleasantly surprised, if still a little disappointed at Singaporeans' conservatism and prudishness. They're still not willing to trust each other as responsible adults, and get a perverse sense of satisfaction by imposing their odd moral notions on others.

The logic we have seems to be that if a majority of society disapproves of something, it should not be allowed. So hypothetically, if 57% of Singaporeans thought Islam should be banned, would it? Surely not. More likely, the ministers would flock to lament the lack of religious tolerance.

Strange that few lament the lack of emotional and social maturity.

The qigong guy (I assume it's the same as the previous one since the ad is similar) is advertising again! He's inviting people to hit his body parts at 3pm on Sunday, 3rd April at Geylang and he will use his "qi" to repel them and protect himself.

"Nam Wah Pai Qigong Demo"

"Have you ever seen a person attacked not move and yet his attacker is thrown off some distance away? (macrocosmic Energy Movement)"

"See the Master using his "Qi" energy to repel 8 strong men charging at him"

Wah. Sounds funky. I also want to learn how to harness cosmic energy.

I wonder why the TV show Duke of Mount Deer 2000 aka Lu4 Ding3 Ji4, currently showing on Channel U, is so popular. Maybe it's because all males want to have 7 wives :) A selection of pictures follows:

Group photo in the palace (ignore the nun)

All sitting on a wooden jetty dressed as tribeswomen


The one they killed off because Shu Qi was too expensive
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