Doctor! Doctor!

I never saw the need to go to Starbucks…

image…but I saw the light this week.

I have spent the past three days in and out of hospitals, first with our old housekeeper who needed some more medical tests, and then with my father who had appointments with his surgeon and then with an oncologist.

At the first hospital I met two men in wheelchairs who had only one lower leg each and at the second hospital I sat with people who have all had part of their colon removed. They don’t look too cheerful.

There is a lot of waiting around as the consultants are extremely busy. Sooner or later there’s talk of getting a drink. You can go local and have teh tarek (our famous tea) or 3-in-1 coffee (our famous coffee). Alternatively you can head to Starbucks.

I head to Starbucks because they do drinks in funny sizes and I choose a big size of coffee with hot chocolate. Starbucks doesn’t make nice coffee with the exception of cherry blossom latte which I try to have in Seoul in Spring.

Adding chocolate powder to the coffee somewhat masks the coffee taste and it gives my father the sugar hit he really wants as the wait is really boring for him.

My father needs chemotherapy and I try to say encouraging things while sharing the drink. Last night I thought to do some groundwork by reading through three books on war because let’s face it, the phrase that is always used is I’m fighting cancer. Sometimes the fight turns into a battle so we should start preparing for the long haul.

Here’s my verdict on these books.

Sun Zi’s Art of War gets a C for Challenging. Basically a book of strategies for engaging in warfare, it contained too many rules to make for an interesting read. At the most, I would pick two to three rules to remember for interest. I would definitely not want to quote from the book when having conversations with friends because it would be a bit embarrassing.




Sun Bin’s The Art of Warfare gets a B for Boring. I would even give it a D for Dull. Avoid totally.




William A Cohen’s Wisdom of the Generals gets an A for Arresting. Put simply, I could not put the book down once I started reading it. The wisdom is distilled into 64 essential lessons on e.g. attitude, commitment, delegation, leadership, morale and risk. These are based on quotes from famous military leaders.

It gets bonus points for mentioning God’s role in the challenges and battles we have to face. It would not look out of place in either the hospital waiting room or in Starbucks. Every family should own a copy of this uplifting book.




In the end my father was totally distracted by the scandal of Malaysian politics unfolding daily in the world press. He says the Malaysian PM is not a gentleman like David Cameron who honourably resigned after the British public voted to leave the EU. In contrast, this PM clings on to power despite all the evidence against him, relating primarily to financial fraud.

The wait is long and when there is nothing new to add about the despicable nature of local politics, I have to find a way of helping my father pass the time. Thank goodness for the iPad and free wifi. I turn to the Russell and Bromley website and show him all the lovely shoes and belts he can have when he recovers. Bond Street is waiting for him.

So there’s the art of war and the wisdom of the generals, but at the end of the day it is the power of shopping that keeps him going. Retail therapy can really work hand in hand with chemotherapy to encourage us all along this uncertain path.