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Not that long ago, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pledged to give away his gazillions of shares of the company he famously started in his pyjamas. Add to this fray the recent Brexit vote in the UK and the never-ending US presidential campaign, and you could say I’ve had plutocracy on the brain for a while now.
This story starts over a year ago when a happy gentleman from the Philippines visited me for his yearly health check. These involve a range of tests and with this particular patient I noticed that his blood pressure was on the high side. I gave him advice which included a change of diet and some steady exercise. My patient was also starting to show early signs of diabetes and so I prescribed him medication. But this is difficult to understand for a person who does not feel ill; health checks have a purpose of finding disease early and preventing disease from developing further.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the acronym that makes your mouth feel full of marbles — lgbtqi (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender — queer/questioning, intersex) — disappeared; if rainbows took back their real meaning; the word gay once again meant bright and happy; pride referred to a group of lions or to deep pleasure and satisfaction; you stepped outdoors if coming out; people could marry whoever they wanted, and same-sex marriage no longer deflected media attention from important issues.
The conventional approach to getting fit (joining a gym or plodding along on the pavement) is failing us. About 70% of the western adult population is overweight and over 30% are classified as obese. Vietnam, like most of the world, is beginning to follow in these unhealthy footsteps.
By the time you read this, another graduation will have been celebrated at KOTO. This year three classes of young men and women proudly walked across the stage as they received their certificates, the triumphant culmination in their two-year journey with KOTO. If you’re not familiar, KOTO provides vocational hospitality training to youth who come from highly disadvantaged circumstances.
The biggest challenge to being a GP is sometimes meeting patients who aren’t actually ill, but really need more emotional help. It can be like deciphering a mental puzzle with no clues. One morning a few weeks ago, a young Caucasian female traveller arrived at the clinic. She was in her twenties, was travelling through Asia with her friends, and had arrived from Thailand a few days before. The consultation started as she was concerned as she’d had diarrhoea for three days with lower abdominal pain.