Archive for January, 2014

Filial Piety

January.24. 2014

Life is great when you’re young (or perhaps not so young).

You’re blessed with a good job, a good family, a nice home, perhaps even a grandchild or two. What bliss.

The only thing that can put a damper on this idyllic life is perhaps the presence of an aging parent.

Yes, aging parents can be so inconvenient.

They don’t do much, all they do is laze around the house, repeating the same things over and over, things you’ve heard many times before.

For those burdened with the presence of an aging parent, the standard solution is to ship them out to some ‘home for the aged,’ also known as senior homes.

Out of sight, out of mind.

But what if they fall sick and need constant care?

That’s always the biggest issue.

One man I knew decided to slap his old mother around when she fell sick and had to live with him.

The strategy apparently worked –  the old mother died within four months of living in his house. Rumor has it that she died of a broken heart. How is one supposed to feel when your eldest son, whom you have recently given your life savings to, decide to slap you around for entertainment?

But there’re others who are a little less proactive.

They prefer to let others do the dirty work.

Every health crisis that afflicts the aging parent becomes an opportunity for the Good Lord to ‘call them home.’

I heard of this woman whose mother was diagnosed with a serious ailment. Unfortunately, the old mother received good treatment and recovered, but what did this filial daughter say?

She said, “If this doctor is so good at curing her, maybe he can take care of her from now on. Who asked him to cure her?”

Truly, the milk of human kindness knows no bounds.

It brings to mind a saying my mother used to tell me.

“An eight year old child is to be loved, an eighty year old grandmother is to be despised.”

Way to go

January.5. 2014

One of the best ways to make money in a free capitalistic society is to make it off the sick and the handicapped.

Why?

Because they’re helpless and easy pickings.

That’s something the healthcare industry in the US found out long ago.

Their modus operandi is to wait until someone is in their clutches, or as they call it, “under their care.”

And then it’s a free for all.

You can pretty much charge anything you want when the patient is in your facility with a serious condition. Where else could he/she go?

I’ve heard that they charge $15 for a Tylenol pill, and $53 for a pair of gloves in some hospitals. (I got these figures simply by googling “hospital charges Tylenol”).

In any other business, this kind of practice would be called price gouging but here in the US, if you’re a hospital, it’s politely called “overinflated prices.”

Yes, they say we have the best healthcare system in the world.

And no one disputes that.

But after they heal you, you might want to commit suicide when you see your hospital bill. Bankruptcy is not a fun way to enjoy your new lease on life.

And what do these profiteers do with all their ill-begotten gains?

They line the pockets of their CEOs with cash and bonuses. I admit these “rainmakers” definitely deserve part of the loot for presiding over one of the biggest scams on the American people.

But the US health industry is not the only one with their sights on the sick and the handicapped.

I recently read a headline from a newspaper in Borneo.

“Exorbitant fees for usage of wheelchairs at airports”

(If you want to read the article, just google that with quotes.)

Apparently, a local airline, Air Asia, have decided that they will also get into the business of ripping off the sick and the invalid. They’ve now increased the fee for using their wheelchairs from RM12 to RM60 (US$4 to US20).

So now their new tagline is:

“Now Everyone Can Fly (except the wheelchair-bound who have to pay a hefty premium for the use of our wheelchairs)”

Way to go, Mr. Fernandez, congratulations on discovering another way to rip off your unwary customers.

Another commentary

January.4. 2014

I stopped using Google Chrome a few years ago. Somehow a browser that keeps on nagging me to log into my Google account scared the bejesus out of me.

Who are they kidding?

Provide a better web-surfing experience for me? Or enable them to track my every move online so they can sell more ads?

(As an aside, apparently, Google was among six tech companies who sent a letter to Congress recently, calling for enhanced privacy protections. Nice! If anyone knows “privacy protection,” it’s Google!)

Back to the subject at hand.

Since then, I’ve stopped using Gmail and opened a few other email accounts on some other sites.

Now they’re forcing youtube commenters to open a Google+ account.

I guess the word “over-reach” does not mean anything to them.

Or the fact that the internet is full of options and all of them just one click away.

True, youtube is a special resource and one that I’m reluctant to give up at this time – yes, I admit, they do have the upper hand there.

But perhaps the word “Yahoo” might ring a bell.

There was a time when Yahoo was riding high, when it was impossible to get your site listed with them. But now, you might say “Ya-Who?”

Back to the geniuses at Google.

A business plan that forces users to sign up for useless sites is clearly a sign of desperation, one that I have written about before.

But why?

Why aren’t they satisfied with what they have?

And leave the social media junkies to FB?

And focus on what they have – the greatest search engine in the whole worldwide web, the best video site (for now) and a (formerly) great email service.

As one Mr. Gekko might say:

“Greed is not good. It dissipates your energy. You end up chasing one bandwagon after another, and pretty soon, you’re just another has-been with no special niche.”

I think Mr. Yang might concur with that assessment.