Thursday, April 26, 2012

Common Childhood Illnesses - Middle Ear Infections

by Dr. Dan Giap Liang

Middle Ear Infections
Middler ear infections or otitis media occurs in approximately 30% of children before the age of 7 years. This condition occurs when fluid accumulates behind the ear drum. There is a passage called the Eustachian tube, which drains fluids into the back of the throat behind the nose. Sometimes in children, this tube malfunctions and is unable to drain the fluids sufficiently. Bacteria or viruses can then invade this inner ear and cause an ear infection. This also explains why otitis media occurs shortly after a cold when the nose is blocked and congested. The child often complains of pain or discomfort and may tug or hit his affected ear repeatedly. In infants, they become cranky and irritable. Fever is a common sign or may be the only sign. In worse cases, the ear drum may rupture from the pressure of the infected fluid and there may be ear discharge.


The doctor will examine the child's ear with a special instrument called an otoscope. He will note the inflammed drum and sometimes visualise fluid behind the drum. Otitis media will usually require antibiotics for up to a total of ten days. Although the symptoms and fever with irritability may disappear within two days, the course of antibiotics must be completed to prevent unwanted complications. There may even be a recurrence. Paracetamol may be given for pain relief and fever. If there is no improvement after 48 hours, the child will need a reassessment and need intravenous antibiotics. After the full course of treatment, an assessment is necessary. This is because the most common complications are recurrence and persistence of ear infections. This will then lead to hearing loss with delayed speech development. The serious complications which are rare are meningitis and mastoiditis, where the infection has spread beyond the middle ear compartment. Fortunately, the majority of children have uncomplicated otitis media and soon outgrow this infection with no long term sequelae.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy birthday, Guek Ming!

Good friends are hard to come by
Understanding but not overly protective
Especially caring towards the people you love
Keeping them happy and cared for

Marrying the love of your life soon
I really am very happy for you
Never forget our friendship because
Good friends are hard to come by

May all your dreams come true, my friend!

Happy birthday!

N.B.: So happy that after we graduated from Desa, we still keep in touch and are still good friends.

P.S.: A big thank you to Ray for making a detour to Padi House for the cake.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy birthday, Jeunn and Rick!

We hear the phrase, "As we grow older, we will get more work and family commitments. We will find less reason and time to meet up with school friends". Come on, admit it, all of you have heard this phrase before.

So, imagine how difficult it was to arrange for a handful of us to meet up to celebrate one birthday, let alone two. Luckily for me, I managed to get seven class/school/tuition mates from Desa together to celebrate the birthdays of two childhood friends.

Happy birthday to Jeunn Fuh and Rick Kee! May our friendship continue to flourish (even with the current limited amount of nourishment)!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Albee's Kitchen

We were introduced to not just the restaurant, but the suburb (there seriously was no reason for me to visit Campsie before this) by Xin Wen's aunt. According to her, this place serves the best, most authentic Malaysian food there is in Sydney.

Located on one end of the busy main street of Campsie, it is a little hard to find street parking, especially if you visit during dinner time. After a few visits, we realised that the best would be to park off the main road, where there is no time limit.

The restaurant is actually a little hard to find, unless you try to spot their food menu mosaic. The restaurant is not big, with a few narrow rows of tables in the front and a smaller room with more seats at the back separated by the working kitchen in the middle. It sort of reminds me of the straits buildings in Penang and Malacca, long and narrow.

Browsing through the menu and the specials on the walls, we always end up thinking we would like to have one of everything they serve. It gives us a sense of home, dining here, as we are surrounded by other Malaysians, Singaporeans and Indonesians speaking in dialects we are familiar with. Heck, we sometimes even speak to Albee herself in Hokkien.

Now, let me share the different types of food that we have tried during our visits. I am going to start with drinks.

Ice cendol kacang merah ($4.50)
We highly recommend the cendol ($4.00). It is Albee's very own recipe, which she modified during her food court days in Kuching.

I am not sure if they still have this on their menu but they used to have bowls of herbal drinks, which resemble the Malaysian air mata kucing.

I really like the sweetness the red dates gave and the chewy texture of the lychees.

For starters, we had pandan chicken ($14.80). We bite into tender, juicy meat that lies under the crispy skin of the chicken pieces nicely wrapped in pandan leaf. Every bite gave off a whiff of fragrant pandan smell.

The springy lor bak is a deep-fried sausage-like dish made from pork and seafood mince rolled up in soy bean curd sheets (One roll $8.00, two rolls $14.00). Dipping it in the home-made chilli sauce is a must!

Another must-have is their curry puff ($2.50 each but look out for their special pricing on the wall). And when I say it is a must-have, it really is.

Inside the deep-fried pastry shell consists specialised curry chicken with sweet potato, beans and half a half-boiled egg. We never fail to pack more to bring home for supper and the next day's lunch or afternoon tea.

The sambal petai prawn fried rice ($12.00) is fried rice with chilli shrimp paste, egg, prawns and petai beans.

The all-time Malaysian hawker favourite, the char kway teow ($10.50) is a Hokkien and Teochew style fried flat rice noodle. Traditionally fried using pork lard in a big black wok on a charcoal stove, their version also includes shrimp, clam meat, Chinese sausage, eggs, bean sprouts and chives.

Loh mee ($10.50) is a bowl of thick noodles served in a thickened soup made from egg with prawn, pork slices, crispy pork lard and vegetables. We normally have this with vinegar and due to the large serving, we share between two people.

My favourite is the char hor fun ($10.50). I like how the flat rice noodles are first charred in hot wok with soy sauce, as it gives a slight 'burnt' fragrance. The noodles are then covered in a thick gravy made from lightly beaten eggs. The dish also has stir-fried pork, prawn and choy sum.

The claypot rice drop ($11.00) comes boiling hot in a claypot with lots of greens, pork slices and a bright yellow of an egg yolk floating in the middle. Hardly can see any of the rice drops, really.

I think it is quite obvious that this is a bowl of prawn noodles ($11.00). You get to choose your choice of noodles served in soup boiled from prawns (yes, the whole prawn including the shell and head), with hard-boiled egg, kangkong, bean sprouts, pork slices and chilli.

One dish that we felt did not really make the cut was the stuffed tofu soup in hotpot ($15.80, available only Friday to Sunday). Are you able to tell that there are beancurd puffs, bitter gourd, whole chillies and okra stuffed with fish and pork mince?

The bak kut teh [$12.80(S), $16.80(M), $23.80(L)] is a claypot full of pork rib goodness! Traditionally served as breakfast, this dish is a popular Hokkien dish where the pork ribs are simmered in a 'tea' of Chinese medicinal herbs and bulbs of garlic.

Authentic? Yes. Value for money? Yes. Most importantly, satisfying. So agree with what Xin Wen's aunt said.

Albee's Kitchen
282 Beamish Street, Campsie, NSW 2194, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9718 8302, E-mail:
Open every day 10:00am to 10:00pm

Albee's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Samantha's graduation

This is the first time I attended a graduation of one of my own family members. Okay, I confess that I have never even attended my own brother's graduation - bad sister, I know.

This evening, I was at JW Marriott in the heart of the shopping district of Kuala Lumpur to attend not-so-little-anymore Samantha's graduation.

Yes, that is my pretty cousin sitting happily there. The one with long, black hair perfect for a shampoo commercial.

And that is seriously a super bad shot of her receiving her Advanced Diploma in Fashion Marketing and Management from Raffles College of Higher Education on stage but all you can see is a blob of white due to the lighting.

She had to design, buy her own material and make those clothes on her own. Everything on her own. POWER. Puts someone like me to shame - I cannot even get a straight line sewn using a sewing machine.

My uncle and aunt, the very supportive and proud parents of the fresh grad.

Congratulations, Meimei, big girl now!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Meet Fresh

A long queue, regardless of how good the food is, is and will always be a crowd-puller. Did I mention that this queue is virtually there until midnight during weekends?

Although they serve dessert, I would recommend you to go on a half-filled stomach if your appetite is small like mine. To finish a bowl of Herbal Jelly 2 (sweet potato, barley and pearls) after a full meal took plenty of effort.

This was no fault of theirs, though. The herbal jelly had the right bounciness, the sweet potato were the right softness, the pearls were the right chewiness, and the barley balanced the tastes.

The next time we visit to try other flavours, we will remind ourselves not to eat too much beforehand.

13 Goulburn Street, Haymarket, NSW 2000, Australia
Tel: +61 2 8339 1031, Fax: +61 2 8339 1032
Franchise enquiries:, General enquiries:
Sunday to Thursday: 11:00am to 12:00am
Friday to Saturday: 11:00am to 1:00am

Meet Fresh on Urbanspoon