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Monday, 19 March 2012

Go for your medical checkups!

Recently for the past 4 weeks, I've been visiting the Alexandra and National University hospitals twice and even thrice a week!

No, I am well and fine, thank you very much. I am now caregiver to the person most dearest to me.

I would like to share my reflections on the most important asset we have - our health.

We sometimes spend a lot of energy and money securing all the medical insurance "protection" to assuage the fear of our own mortality or our concerns on the rising medical costs... 

Two Extremes 

Most of us may have over bought our medical insurance needs under the influence of too much fear (not helped by fear-mongering peddled by agents); or under protected ourselves through a combination of self-denial or over confidence that it could never happen to me!

How much research we have done on our personal and family's medical history before buying all those medical "riders" and supplementary policies?

If we had done our homework, we may realise the odds of us getting some medical conditions are so rare that the odds are like us striking the Big Sweep Lottery!

Of course we can cover our bases and protect ourselves to the hilt; but if we do so, we can't laugh at those who buy lottery tickets -  the odds are the same.

How to know whether you are more susceptible to certain medical conditions?

Go for your medical checkups! Get to know your body. Duh!

This is not enough. We need to know our family's and immediate relatives' medical records too. Especially if the medical conditions are hereditary.

You get the picture.

I just find it strange that we sometimes buy insurance for all medical eventualities, yet do no hedging for our financial investments. And vice versa - hedge our investments, but throw caution to the wind for our own medical needs. 

Insurance Is Not The Medical Cure 

Imagine the willingness to invest in medical insurance, but at the same time refuse to go for our annual medical check-ups?

Let's put aside the discussion that early detection may be less costly to treat. You probably don't care since you got insurance?

Hello! What's the point of "rejoicing" you don't have to pay a single cent for expensive treatments when the discovery of our illness is at the terminal stage?

The point of early detection is so we have a better chance of recovery!!!

Don't over commit to medical policies that you have to skim on medical check-ups. Even if we have no medical insurance, early detection may help us afford the medical treatments. 

It's my own reflection 

I am merely sharing my own thoughts on the recent events in my life. Your life and situation will be different from mine.

But I have one other thought. How on earth did our senior citizens handle their old age during the 60s and 70s? What medisave? What medishield? What medical insurance? Do they just roll-over and die when they have an illness?

Or do we worry too much?


  1. Hi Jared,

    So sorry to hear what has happened to your mother or father. I hope you are not too depressed over it. One good thing is that you are spending your time most meaningfully now. Everyone will respect you if you tell them you are spending your time as a caregiver to your dearest parent rather than as a Man of Leisure. I mean no disrespect about you being a man of leisure because you have earned your rights to be one. Just respect you more as a caregiver.

    With your sense of humor, I am sure you can give your parent plenty of laughter as medicine. I hope your parent get well soon!! Now that it has happened, I hope they are well covered by insurance too.

    1. Thanks for your kind words hyom!

      It goes to show planning has it's limitations... Life does not come in cookie-cutters.

      No worries! I just adjust my original plans of travelling to weekend getaways of a few days instead.

      I did not plan to be a care-giver. Although at the back of my mind, I did plan to spend more time with mom.

      She's OK. Just more or less house-bound...

      It turned out to be great timing!

      I can imagine if I had a job, how stressful it would be for me. Even if I had lots of leave to burn, I may worry on my work matters. Now that's silly!

      And most of the medical appointments are unplanned. The doctor will say - "This is not working, can you come back tomorrow for another treatment? Or can you go to NUH this Friday since AH is booked solid for this procedure..."

      On the bright side, Mom and I are back to holding hands like when she held mine when I was in kindergarten.

      We have come full circle.

    2. This sounds very touching. And it was great timing indeed. Imagine if you were still in Greece. The responsibility would have fell on your other siblings who are probably working. I think at this point in time, they must be real glad that you have chosen to be a Singapore Man of Leisure and taken up most of the burden. Another good thing is that should you want to find a job in future, you can always explain to the interviewer that you stopped work to be a caregiver. This is not only acceptable, it is impressive too.

      Do update us if your mother gets well. Hope to hear good news from you. Maybe you can consider changing your name to Singapore Filial Son instead of Singapore Man of Leisure. Your mother would be so proud!

    3. hyom,

      Don't put me on a pedestal; I'm more the prodigal son.

      You should see the fights we had. I guess we are like any other Singaporean family.

      When I overseas, keep bugging me to return and take any simple retail job - 1 to 2 K can already. She don't need my money.

      Now that I've returned, she is wondering why this lazy bum son not bloody working!? So shameful.


    4. I think children need not listen to their parents sometimes because they also have their outdated or even selfish viewpoints. How can 1 to 2k be enough for you? How to save enough for a secure retirement with 1-2k salary? Why forgo the opportunity to earn much much more? This is particularly so if you have no children to be care-giver to you when the same thing happens to you when you are old. Still need to wipe tables when you are sick?

      Life works out in unexpected ways. If you had listened to her then, everyone would be losers now. You will have lesser money and will probably still be slogging as a salary worker. Your mother will not have a full-time caregiver whom she can trust. There may even be financial problems in meeting the hospital bills. Today, she got a wonderful, reliable care-giver and you are financially secure. Win-win situation. Sometimes, it makes sense to disobey parents :)

    5. Wow! Go easy on the disobey part...

      Respect and love our parents; live our own lives.
      (This is a lot subtle)

      And that's why I am the prodigal son ;)

  2. We need to invest in weekly options of at least 2 hrs of walk, jog, run, cycle, or swim and collect health dividend.

  3. Hi SMOL,

    My very best wishes to your dearest one. Good health :)

  4. how can health be an asset? specially when you past 50. face it, it all down hill from here.

    er, am i too pessimistic? haha. ok we still got to keep healthy while enjoying ourself. most important, be realistic.

    smol, all your mom need is the time spend with her. since you are single, it a easy task. she will fell happy when you feel happy. all the best.

    1. er one more suggestion, if you can get a wife and have babies, man, .....

  5. having more money is just an excuse to spend for most people. it is not that we are more worry than the past. the past, the present and the future, we are still the same.

    but we have more money now in our disposal, so gust what, we spend anything we can find.

    1. that being said, i'm spending my money on singtel shares.

      i really don't know what to buy, so i tickam singtel, got 110 lots, still buying. any comments and any other suggestion please haha.

    2. believe me or not, i do not wish the share price to move too much in either direction. right now i don't seek to make any money in trading or investing, just a few calm habour to park my money.

    3. Coconut,

      Safe is good! Market can go either way now.

      If I remisier, I will tell 50% of my clients market will continue to go up; and the other 50% I will tell them to take profit as market will correct.

      To 50% of my clients, I will be the Oracle of Singapore!

      Be safe now.

    4. ok ok, don't laugh, i also bought 100 lots of er haha, SMRT haha. plus 150 lots of singtel...,are they too defensive?

      also sats, SPH and SIA are on my list. knn no balls investor!

    5. Hey! There's a season for wealth accumulation, and there's a season for wealth protection.

      I have 50% in cash. Who is more kiasi?

      Love the sleeping rule. Buy or sell until you can sleep soundly at night.

      Market goes up; market goes down. I'll always be right 50% of the time.


    6. the problem with me is i can't sleep with the cash on hand! i'm really really forcing myself to buy something, anything!

      this bloody central bank policy is going to get us all kill!

  6. Actually 40s is the reverse signal in our health.

    1. You no good lah CW8888!

      I now 45 and you have to say 40s. Why can't you say 50s?

      Oh well, I guess it's all downhill from now... Wait! Downhill is fun if I skiing! Got excuse to visit Korean and Japan now!

      Got lemon; make lemonade!

    2. actually to be exact, when we stop growing somewhere around late teens, our health or more precise our body system start to detolarate. just that we don't feel it, thinking we are stronger and invincible.

      50s, or may be 40s is when all hell got lose.

    3. Coconut!

      Your pour vinegar into my lemonade!

      Eh? Vinegar aids weight loss. Ah! A healthy drink!

      (Shanghai sells vinegar laced fruit juices as a health drink. Serious!)

  7. Ah SMOL,
    Sorry to hear about your mom. It's great you can attend to your mom's needs without worrying about your job. i experienced no job worry(jobless) and volunteered in my family to take care "fully" of my mom's visits to doctors. In a way, after some "rough calculation," i purposely un-employed myself at the age of 53 and try to take care of my mom's needs too. You see, we believe everything happens for a purpose. Though you may not realise it until much later in your life.

    1. Temperament, thanks for your words.

      Although I am agnostic, I do believe all things happen for a reason.

      We just call it differently. Some say it's providence, some call it destiny, some just treat it as a series of happy coincidences.

  8. Hi SMOL

    Your post brought up two similar situation that I am face recently

    1. I was also shuttling between SGH, home and schools at the beginning of March as my mother just had her knee replacement surgery. Similarly, all my relatives commented that luckily I am 'unemployed' and can afford the time to take care of her.

    2. My father hint that I should start a business again so my children will have something to inherit from me. In another word, he is telling me not to be a lazy bum.

    CW8888: you are right that we need to invest in our health to enjoy its dividend. However, 40 years old is not the beginning of downhill. In my thirties, my physical health is not as good as I am now due lack of exercise. With time on my hand, I am able to exercise more often and I feel fitter that before.


    1. I hear you YJ72.

      I tried using sabbatical from work but still people ask me: "Poor thing, what happened?"

      They thought I using it as an euphemism for being out of work. Society needs it's stereo types...

      I am now toying with calling myself a gigolo or proprietary speculator - at least it give others the "impression" that I am still working!

  9. Great advice on our health. And I hope your "someone dearest" to you gets better. Thanks for reminding me, SMOL. Better get that long overdue checkup done for myself...

    1. Thanks for your regards.

      Yes, the invincibility of youth...

      No harm in "cheating" mother nature with our modern medical advances ;)

  10. Thank you for sharing this article about medical check up singapore It is very helpful!:)


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