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A Friendly Break-In

DURING a night out yesterday, I met this dude - a friend of a friend. A shy guy. A man of few words. 

"So what do you do for a living?" I do initiate conversations, you know...especially after a cognac or two.  

"I'm a designer for an insurance company."

"Oh nice. You design their ad campaigns?" Seriously. How fun can it be to design ads for an insurance company.

"No. I design the policies."

"You mean you design insurance policies as in the products that insurance agents force on people like me ?" Here's when I perked up. 

"Yeah. I design those. Boring work". 

"Boring? Well yeah. Perhaps.  But I don't randomly meet people who design those. You must be smart. So tell me. How come you get to design insurance policies and I don't." Interesting. 

He laughed. 

"I had no choice. Nothing interested me in school. I just happened to be fairly good in math." 

"Fairly good in math ? (*laughs*) Did your parents force you into this career path? I mean what did you have to study for this?." I was a curious kitty by then. 

He laughed again. 

"I did actuarial science."

"Oh so you ARE smart. How do you design these policies? You must go by something, right?" Right ??? 

"Yeah. I design based on the Malaysian mortality rate."

"Which is ? What's the mortality rate for Malaysians like ? Is there an average age or something?" If freak accidents and terminal illnesses don't kill me, I'd like to know the average age for my natural death. 

"Malaysian women have a shorter life span than men - early 70s.

"Hmm. That's not too bad. I'd be lucky if I could live that long. So how is that compared to, say, Westerners ? Do they live longer?" 

"Actually, they do."

"Why do you think that is?" Yeah. I was shamelessly shooting questions. 

"Maybe healthier lifestyle."

"Really. The ones I know do drink like fish." Just an observation. 

"But look at our food intake and our way of life around food."

"That's true. There's *Nasi Lemak and other killer foods that we consume. What's the biggest killer among women in terms of diseases ? I'm sorry, I hope I'm not boring you further with these questions." I really meant the Sorry at this point. 

"Ah. Not at all. Cervical and breast cancer are the number one killer among women. Colon cancer is also quite prominent among men.

"There are separate policies for cervical and breast cancer, right? I mean apart from the list of the 36 terminal illnesses ?" I hear the terminal illnesses speech by agents all the time, so I had to ask.

"Yeah. You can get separate policies for those two cancers for full coverage."

So, there you go. Cervical and breast cancer are the number one killers here among women, according to this person. It's time for that breast ultra-sound again, which I've been recklessly eluding for more than a year now. Below is one of my favourite cervical cancer ad campaigns by the National Cancer Soceity Malaysia. It's one from a set of three poster series. 

Check out all three ads here 


*This is Nasi Lemak. Rice cooked with coconut milk and served
with Ikan Bilis (anchovies), peanuts, eggs, cucumber. Additionally,
there can also be other dishes like chicken, beef or cuttlefish to this.
Here, you can see Chicken Rendang (top left) as a side dish.  


Comments

  1. I love how he answered the questions so matter-of-factly. You sure do meet interesting people, Jaya.

    *I should stay away from the internet on Saturday mornings. Everyone seems to be enticing me with Nasi Lemak!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh Terra !! i just ate a whole packet of friend carrot cake courtesy of my uncle just now. i havent eaten it in a loooong time. hope it doesnt rain in the evening so we can run.

      yeah. matter-of-fact answers.

      Delete
    2. fried carrot cake :p

      Delete
  2. In most countries men have a lower lifespan than women. You Malaysian girls need to get your act together - exercise and fresh vegetables is my prescription. And climb trees to get your butts in shape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh GB. The arse is in good shape due to tree climbing since childhood !

      Delete
  3. hmmm. definitely the first blog post i have ever seen with an article on HPV, followed immediately by a picture of food...lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Kage. Never saw it that way, thanks for pointing it out !

      Delete
  4. A nice friendly ad LOL. Here in SA, we have much bigger ads with much more serious problems - like the highest rate of HIV and AIDS in the WORLD!!! SO most of the ads here are about prevention and caution and in some cases abstention until marriage.

    And South Africans by contrast have become so unhealthy by ascribing to the "fast-food" culture. This is a relatively new thing (last 15 - 20 years or so) where people tend to eat out more than 2 times a week. It wasn't so before, when I was much younger we only ate out once a month!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i would think so too for SA. different problems in different parts of the world. eating-out is like a norm here. everyone is eating out all the time.
      i eat out everyday. i hardly, hardly cook as i hate cooking for myself alone ( i live on my own).
      ;)

      Delete
  5. This post really made me laugh Jaya, I love how you just kept going at him even though he tried to keep his answers short, good on you for trying to make conversation with a quiet guy though, great post!

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    Replies
    1. haha. thanks Matthew.
      does it remind you of the girls who chat you up at the bars ?

      Delete
  6. The average lifespan for Canadian women is approximately 80 – quite a significant difference from that of Malaysian women. Eat healthy & have regular check-ups!

    Great ad by the Malaysian National Cancer Society – particularly the bit in large, bold font.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. check the other two as well - http://osocio.org/message/hello_pussy/
      they're all quite fun to read, Beth.

      yeap. i do eat and drink well, exercise, and i'm very well aware of every little changes in my body. i think.
      :)

      Delete
  7. It is BECAUSE of the alcohol that us westerners live longer..Tch!
    Nice plate of fodder there Jaya, making me hungry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it must be one of the major reasons, Juliette :)
      that plate does look good !

      Delete
  8. Loved reading the transcript although I thought it was going to end with more flirting haha. I guess its not too surprising to find out those two cancers are the most common cause.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such an anti-climax, right? Hahaha. But really, at one point everyone had left the table and this person was too quiet for me. Im glad I kept going till some of them came back.
      Yeah. Not a surprise, Matt.

      Delete
  9. I often thing a job like that would be really interesting...but then I remember the amount of maths involved and it puts me off

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeap the numbers would put me off too.

      Delete
  10. I'm surprised Malaysian women die so young. At the Gimcrack the majority of our patients are women in their 90s. Only a quarter of patients are men and they tend to be in their late 70s, early 80s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. some stats suggest it being even lower, say about 20 years ago ?
      i dont really rely of the stats for some reason, Nursie.

      Delete
  11. There were a couple of surprises in that conversation for me. One is that women have a shorter lifespan in Malaysia than men. It's the opposite here. And two is that cervical cancer is one of the biggest killers of women. It's considered one of the most curable, so I wonder if women aren't getting diagnosed quickly enough? It's the cancer I had, and I'm fine now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I decided to keep this post as a transcript because of the data involved. It varies. Breast and cervical cancer are the most common type of cancer among women here. Breast cancer is the main killer among women with cancer. We still have a long way to go when it comes to awareness i guess, especially with cervical cancer. Culture and take on life, in my personal opinion, are some reasons for it although as you have experienced, it can be nibbed in the bud. I believe that by keeping track of your health and with regular check-ups, these diseases can be detected early and treated. It's inaccurate to say its the number one killer in Malaysia though because the number one killer is still heart attack and cardiovascular diseases.

      As for the average age. It's improving according to the statistics. The average lifespan for women was 68 in the mid 80s. It's 75 now, and for men it's said to be lower. 71 now. There's always varying statistics. i dont really rely on these stats.

      Delete
  12. Its sort of funny how most people go to college for one thing and life winds up putting them in some completely different direction. - thanks for the post
    Take a stop by my blog and check it out if you get a chance.
    -Sg7
    http://stuffguy7.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. welcome here !
      yeah. i have a friend who studied architecture and he is now being hunted for jobs in telecommunications.
      will check you out :P

      Delete
  13. Might want to try and find a better way to pose that infograph. A good chunk of it is obscured by your follower list. :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah. blogger screwed up and i tried adjusting countless and i got fed-up. hahahaha. will try again.

      Delete
  14. Haaaaa, i can't beleive those ads, they would never be allowed in England even though they are funny in a cheeky bad taste way. Everyone is too repressed in England even though our tvs are full of sex, seriously you will see more bare bums on English tv than if you were a shower head in a football platers changing rooms. Talking of balls, i wonder if the male cancer screening is like that. What people you meet jaya lol, you should easily write a book on this stuff. Do you think being around all those figures of death and things makes you more nervous about life or more happy to get out and live it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. really, Jon ? that's surprising. i think these ads are great and they attention. i'd read health brochures if they are all written this way? hahaha.
      here TVs show no bum. we only get sex videos of politicians once in a while, which are pretty horrible. yikes.
      death is something i've always thought about as a kid. as i grow older, with new life experiences, it just makes me want to appreciate life more and live it well. death is not something new, but it's always a mystery what's on the other side of life ?

      Delete
    2. Well England is really odd in someways, we have newspapers with bare breasts in them, but a lot of sex is censored. I thought the adds were funny though, anything that makes people have more intrest in their health is a good thing.

      Delete
  15. Two years back, a friend of mine quit his job and told everyone he's going to be a comedienne - everybody laughed then...

    Today, nobody's laughing....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh dear. is he doing some kind of job now ?

      Delete
  16. If I were that dude I would hate to go to bed everynight with all of that information. I don't think I could sleep well knowing all of the different diseases and such that will take people out every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i think people like him are used to that kind of information because it's part of their job. imagine doctors who are put through various situations especially if their patients are terminally ill ? i suppose many of them just get used to it.
      :(

      Delete
  17. Basically he spent the night saying to a woman that she probably will die from cancer...hmmm...not the best conversation for me....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not too bad methinks. There are all sorts of people around :)

      Delete
  18. Wow! If I asked someone here questions like that, they might get annoyed. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was pretty annoying being too quiet so I was saying somethings till the others came back :)

      Delete
  19. I have always been a firm believer in the Universal Laws of Perversity.

    I could diet and count calories, yet get burger-milled by an oil tanker busting the national speed limit, and that manner of demise isn't worth surrendering nasi dagang for.

    Hence, the observances of breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunches, afternoon tea, dinner, supper...

    There are no reliable indices left when skinny people who do squash and marathons die of cardiac events and adipose adoring gourmets outlive their grandkids. All one can do is not make a bad situation worse.

    Live well, play hard, and if death really catches up, greet him with a smile before going bezerk.

    ReplyDelete

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