Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Are oversseas dentists good value?

I need dental work... and I know people who have had work done overseas. Apparently medical tourism is a growth industry. Where did those people go? Thailand [ the biggie ] India or the Philippines

I am having a working week off in Penang, Malaysia - their growing industry - Dental for tourists. So, I got a quote in Australia for what I thought I needed and spent a few hours yesterday visit two dentists here in Penang to see what their practices were like and what they would recommend.

Australian quote: minimum of $AUD 18,000

Full top teeth implant

Dentist 1: Wow what an operation. Clinically clean reception area, two mature clerical workers behind the front desk, check efficient and professional.

Come appointed time... Dentist welcomes me, takes me to his "room" where he has 5 assistants and screen everywhere which he later used to give me a very graphic example of the work he does.

I brought xrays from Australia which he looked at but said he had the latest 3D equipment on site which allowed a much better examination of my teeth and jaw.

After about 40 minutes I was left with three options:

Preferred option: Partial denture and implants, over 3 visits to Penang a 1 week, a 3 week and a 2 day visit, RM35,000 about $AUD 12,000 plus 3 trips and accommodation.

Option 2: Full extraction, full denture, still three visits RM25,000 which is $AUD 8,000

Option 3: Top jaw of implants - Hollywood perfect teeth MR77,000 which is $AUD 22,000 and of course the visits but I would need 4 to allow healing and adjustments.

Australia was looking OK a this stage and I knew how he could afford 5 assistants in his room, the latest gear and a amazing set up - he said people who wanted perfect teeth pay the most but are the most demanding where as I represented a good option for him as we wanted good teeth but pefection wasn't demanded but was appreciated.

Dentist 2: New modern but reception was part of the assistants duties so I need to be buzzed in to an unattended reception area, The forms and other stuff was handled efficiently not with flourish.

The dentist was a young female professional, and immediately had a more caring nature. All her equipment was new but not over the top. After a brief examination, she asked me some questions like, you have two crowns do you want to keep them and we make your top jaw function with 3 implants... and do extension preservation work on your bottom jaw.

You will need three visits - one to have bone implants to rebuild your jaw - we use a professor from KL university who visits monthly and is the best - "He teaches others the latest techniques " He maybe be able to insert the implant posts in that operation but won't be able to tell until the operation is in progress - this won't change the price but is about healing. If they can't be done then you will need a longer visit on one of the subsequent trips to Penang.

She said... I think altogether maybe MR15,000 and 3 visits.

And here is where the healing kicked in. "Would you like me to do a cleaning and descale now?" I said yes, we discussed how much what she was doing would be in Australia - she had friends thee in Dentistry, and then proceed to clean my teeth. The bill for the examination, and clean RM 140 about $AUD 45

Now I would choose her if I proceed in Penang but the Australian options are looking attractive because of the added need to visit Penang 3 or 4 times for a total of a month to allow healing etc.

It is not going to be an easy decision.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is a Gruen Transfer?

It is day 3 of my break in Penang Malaysia - and the world couldn't be further away. The Gruen Transfer was the only Australian TV program showing at the Park Royal and it still had Todd Sampson on and Donald Trump wasn't US president yet...

And yesterday was a public holiday here for the new king - who knew Malaysia had a king - it swaps every 5 years and seems to keep everyone happy.

And I am shielded from my West Coast Eagles losing to Hawthorne. Three more days!!

What is a Gruen Transfer:

In shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer (also known as the Gruen effect) is the moment when consumers enter a shopping mall and, surrounded by an intentionally confusing layout, lose track of their original intentions, making consumers more susceptible to make impulse buys.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hop On Hop Off buses - tourist delight or a rip off?

Hop On Hop Off Bus Penang
Joanne has succumbed to the ubiquitous Hop on Hop off Bus Tour in each new city - London, Naples, Barcelona so yesterday our first day in Penang it was Hop On Hop Off bus day.
My first thought it was reasonably priced - 45 RM about $15 Aus each against maybe 3 times that in Barcelona.

Penang splits its tour into Beach and city. As we are already at the beach Batu Ferringhi we decided to complete the beach tour and then break to look at the high end malls on Gurney Road in George Town.

The bus came... a relevantly modern vehicle but with the now compulsory sign - we are upgarding [ fill in spot ] so the next people will be an experience they paid for?? In this case it was commentary was being upgrade but in the meantime the stops will be described - number 17 stop Batu Ferringhi where we have the Holiday Inn and the Park Royal.

Mmmm I wonder if I will ever be the tourist who gets there when it is all done - the Park Royal is undergoing an upgrade so if we had of come in July rather than April it would be really wonderful.

The Beach Tour was great - the city tour was, without commentary a very long ride in a bus through the perpetual George Town traffic jam.. bloody horrible.

Park Royal Pool Area
The Hotel is great, the food fantastic and the pool warm and CLEAN. Joanne is off at the spar so she should be a new woman when she come back

Verdict on Hop On Hop Off Bus 100% for Beach Tour 0% for City Tour so 50/50 but not recommended until there is commentary - how much of a broken down city can you stand without being told why it is broken down??

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Are we there yet?

Petronas Towers KL Malaysia
On my way to Penang - in thr golden Lounge at KL Airport - enough time to have something to eat, toilet, and make a post.

The KL airport is amazing... driverless train between terminals and everyone is friendly - importantly books are CHEAP. Why are books so expensive in Australia.

Will let you know when we get to Penang - bloody cold... supposed to be 30c outside but the aircon seems to be on -10c and of course Jaonne and I are dressed for 30c... are they goose bumps... YES!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Are you a citizen of the world?

Blu the Bengal
Today I am in Perth Western Australia

Tomorrow when I update this I will be in transit in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

And on Sunday I will be updating from Penang.

How about you??

Joanne [ she who must be obeyed at my place ] has Italian heritage so has two passports... an Australian one and a Italian one ] last year after a month in Italy she said she had started to THINK in Italian... when we were in Spain she was as confused as me... me with English and no Spanish, Joanne with English, Italian and some Spanish

Matthew runs the Middle East part of our business and has permanent residence in Qatar.

Erica with her dual passports lived in London for 12 years before the cold winters lost out to the Perth beaches, sounds like she was born in the UK...

How about you?

[ And Blu the cat is a Bengal! ]

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why don't Doctors care about their patients?

Skin Cancers
A quick question first: Why do we want to rant more than we want to compliment?? Human nature?? I don't know.

Anyway, here goes...
Once a year I visit my health care professional [ code for Doctor ] to have my skin checked for small cancers - a benefit of living in a sun soaked county like Australia. It usually ends with a nitrogen freeze unit for the obvious ones, a prescription of the unseen ones and about every three years a scaple for the bad ones... it has been my lot for maybe 30 years. Big price to pay for 3 years in the sun as a teenage surfer.

Step 1: Make and appointment - Dr "xxxxx" isn't here any more [ 2016 ] Apparently he did something he shouldn't have when a patient was hipnotised! Who is the best GP you have for skin probelms... Well Dr J is a world renowned expert [ as you would be coming from Perth ] "Can I see him"

And he was great, had a nitrogen bottle and said "Nothing bad was happening see you next year!"

Step 1 [ 2017 ]: Everything is no online... try to make an appointment with Dr J but he isn't on the list anymore - do some research, he is shift practice and it closer to me [ but wouldn't it have been nice if they had told me?? ]

Step 2: Make an appointment. Tuesday 11,15am - very efficient a text message comes with a code to have me fill in to confirm I am a human. Done all good.

8am Tuesday Text message - CONFIRM YOU ARE COMING Done!

I take the trip to the city, via the Post Office to collect more copies of The5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

10.15 Text message from Dr J - Don't be late!!

10.50 arrive at Drs, fill in all the forms and that important Medicare number so they can get paid

11.45 I leave - no Doctor, no explanation, nothing.

Don't medical professionals get it - patients time is valuable too. Patients are people, explain why you hassled me to be on time but then ignored me...

Apparently they were a Doctor short and they were behind - didn't they know that when they were hassling me to be on time?? Didn't they kn ow that when I was filling in their forms?? Didn't they know that when I was asked to take a seat "Dr J will be with you shortly"?

Maybe they did but did they think to tell me to be able to make a decision about whether to wait, or reschedule - I had a 12 noon important appointment with my dentist around the corner.

What did they do?? NOTHING!! After the event an apology and explanation were offered - too late and also rude!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fake News? No it's from YOUR Government

USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier
We got closer to a full blown conflict with the hermit state North Korea last week...


The US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and 4 other war ships were steaming toward North Korea BUT they were actually going the opposite way to Australia in play in friendly war game.

All over the Western World Easter gatherings were discussing what Trump / Kim Jung Un would be doing next. I was at one of those gathering where those thoughts were expressed loudly. I differ dramatically politically with the person showing genuine concern and it reminded me of parties during the Vietnam War debate in Australia where I was asked not to bring my friend because he was so loud in his views he made people uncomfortable.

But hey, all the emotion was based on Official FAKE News. It must be right if the White House said it was happening? Must'n it?

Oh we are in strange times. My first thought when the news broke the UK was having a General Election on June 8th was "Is it true?" So, I stayed up for hours seeing Ms May telling me it was true.