Journal #254 – Good progress overall

Today is another application deployment day.

I met up with my colleagues at the cafeteria of the customer’s building. I had my second breakfast and coffee there before we made our way up.

If you are wondering why I have two breakfast, it’s because of my stomach’s high acidity and need food to ensure my stomach wall don’t get eroded. I could take antacid but they only help to relieve the symptoms for a little while and after that, I will get excessive gas and gut discomfort.

So food is the best way.

After that, my colleagues and I went up to the main office making our way specifically to the datacenter, signed in, got the assigned laptops and start working.

The initial deployment went pretty well. I dare say the whole experience was smooth. The application functions as intended after subjecting it to some testing and my team lead was happy with it. I felt good but I thought the application could be better. I mean if you want it to be a product to sell elsewhere, whatever we have now isn’t enough. But I also have to keep in mind that right now we have to deliver something for phase 1 of the project before end of the year and so we did our best within the time we got. So I will still take the win.

While testing, my team lead and I found some usability issues that should be fixed and so I noted them down.

In the meantime, my other colleague proceeded to deploy a version of the application with kerberos authentication over HTTP. I also prepared another copy of the client application for that purpose. Enabling proper kerberos authentication is as simple as changing the configuration file and that’s as far as what we have implemented.

However, there was some issue with the server side and it was already lunch. So we decided to call it quits and go for lunch. We packed up the stuff and left the building.

We ate at Chinatown. I had fried carrot cake for lunch as I don’t feel like walking around looking for food, don’t feel like queuing for food, and I’m a pescatarian. The combination meant that, I will order something from a stall with few people and doesn’t serve meat.

After that, I went to get what is known as fried butterfly bun to serve as late afternoon snack. I think Malaysians call it horseshoes due to the shape.

In hindsight, it looks like I actually consume quite a lot of carbohydrates.

Anyway, we made our way back and start working again. My colleagues finally could get the server side application working and started ensuring the four instances of the application are all load balanced. Then, I went about testing the client application again after making some changes to the configuration file. I helped a little bit with the server side stuff too like patching certain data and doing some basic troubleshooting.

All I can say is that I’m pleasantly surprised at how well everything turned out. But at the same time, I also found some usability issue which I noted down. Tomorrow once I’m back in office, I will need to discuss the issues with my colleagues again and see what should be fixed now in light of the need to deploy actual copies of the client application onto the customer’s workstation for actual use by end of next week.

Personally, I have these two days to fix stuff and I don’t want to wait till next week. Next Monday and Tuesday, I won’t be in office anyway as I will be going for a technical writing course. I hope I can fix everything, including the extra stuff that I want to implement by this Friday.

As for the extra stuff, well, I always saw myself as a product developer and so I will always try to implement additional features that I think the user will want or expect based on their experience with other applications. I do care about how the user interact with the application and I want their life to be as easy as possible.

And one last thing I want to share. I actually procrastinated a lot before I got down to writing this journal. I am feeling very lazy these days and I just want to play games or do something else. I suspect it could be the time of the year. I don’t really know yet. But still, I force myself to write either way. This is why I publish the science news roundup first because it is the easiest thing to do. I know what kind of science I like and what kind of news I enjoy. So by lowering the activation barrier, I can move on to do a bigger piece of work like writing this journal. When I got started, the words just pours out.

So I call that a good progress too. Another win for me.

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10 Science News Roundup #17

Here are 10 science news that I find very interesting. They cover topics that I care about.

Life’s building blocks observed in spacelike environment – Where do the molecules required for life originate? It may be that small organic molecules first appeared on earth and were later combined into larger molecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates. But a second possibility is that they originated in space, possibly within our solar system. A new study, published this week in the Journal of Chemical Physics, from AIP Publishing, shows that a number of small organic molecules can form in a cold, spacelike environment full of radiation. Science Daily

3-D printed microfibers could provide structure for artificially grown body parts – Much as a frame provides structural support for a house and the chassis provides strength and shape for a car, a team of engineers believes they have a way to create the structural framework for growing living tissue using an off-the-shelf 3-D printer. Science Daily

Jupiter’s massive Great Red Spot is at least 350 kilometers deep – Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has deep roots. Data from the first pass of NASA’s Juno spacecraft over the incessant storm show that its clouds stretch at least 350 kilometers down into the planet’s atmosphere. That means the storm is about as deep as the International Space Station is high above the Earth. Science News

AI eavesdrops on dolphins and discovers six unknown click types – A new computer program has an ear for dolphin chatter. Science News

Scientists Are Investigating Whether Or Not An Alien Probe Just Passed Us By – Sometimes in science, you have to chase the longshots and take a chance on something so unlikely it feels silly to invest in it, because the payoff would be so huge if it worked. This is why the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope will be spending time examining the first known interstellar visitor to the Solar System, just in case it is an alien spacecraft. IFLScience

New Nanoparticle Technology Detects Cancer Sooner – In what scientists are calling an exciting advancement in cancer technology research, a team from Rutgers University have invented a cutting-edge method to detect and track cancerous tumors sooner than existing technologies. IFLScience

This Pacific Island Appeared Only 3 Years Ago, And Could Be Doomed Already – Three years ago, the place you’re reading about now did not exist. Science Alert

Officials Say This Whale Species Could Become Extinct After a Devastating Year – US officials have warned that, unless we take immediate action, it’s highly possible that rare North Atlantic right whales could become extinct. Science Alert

How to Make It Easier to Wake Up in The Morning, According to Science – Getting a good sleep can be tough, and this can lead to feeling less than refreshed when you wake up in the morning. Science Alert

When tumors fuse with blood vessels, clumps of breast cancer cells can spread – If you want to beat them, join them. Some breast cancer tumors may follow that strategy to spread through the body. Science News

Journal #253 – Documenting my Monday

After spending the last half an hour struggling to narrow down a decent thought to start writing from, I decided to give up. Documenting my day shall be the default mode rather than wasting any more time trying to find a perfect topic to talk about. And part of my decision process included me writing something on Facebook that got me settled down.

So what’s my day like?

I went to work slightly earlier today because there is a company-hosted dialogue session for new employees. The best part of my morning was I was melting as I made my way to office from the MRT station. In other words, I was basically sweating non-stop until my shirts (I wear two layers, one to absorb sweat) got soaked through. My body for some reason felt exceeding warm and just keep sweating. Yesterday was fine actually. The worse was when I was getting my daily Starbucks and I was just standing there waiting for the barista to make my coffee.

At the dialogue session, the person conducting was one of the department manager introduced himself and got us to introduce ourselves. Then he talked about how the company is transiting to building products instead of just providing services and doing projects.

After the whole talk, I am not even convinced because I have been lied to so many times by company management about building products and Singaporeans in general always think in terms of project. It’s almost like they are incapable of thinking in terms of product development. That’s just my conclusion from what I have seen. I want that conclusion to change and in order for that to change, I need to see actual Singaporeans doing product development.

I would like someone with way more experience in product development to share what are some of the most common approaches to product development in a company. Whatever I know right now is theoretical (I think closer to be naive) and I have never got the chance to experience it. And by theoretical I mean some of it is based off this article by ThoughtWorks. I also have an idealistic view of how products should be built.

One aspect of product development, which I think is important, is the process has to be design-driven. To me, without being design-driven, it will be very hard to lay down the foundations for future growth because you don’t get the chance to ask the right questions.

The other is having a team of product developers, not just developers who think short term and simply want to get the project done and over with.

One last very important thing is funding. I believe that you need to have a delicate set of funds to support the process of product development. You can think of it as an upfront investment. I don’t know how correct I am on this part but I have experienced enough where the company simply don’t have the money to support product development because the money comes from existing projects. All the research and development, trial and error, etc. simply couldn’t be done properly. All that tend to make me doubt the company about its ability to build and sell products. Again, I could be wrong. Someone please correct me on this.

After that, I went back to my desk and continued to implement whatever features I need to do and fix any bugs found. Tomorrow is when we will be deploying a proper set of applications for the actual use by the customer over the holiday week. So we will be testing it heavily over the next few days to identify any further issues and fix them fast.

Thus far, I hadn’t been enjoying the process of working on this project. The biggest gripe that I have is with the project approach the company is taking despite their claim of wanting it to be a product. But it’s not up to me at this moment because I’m not in that position. And I have no intention of being in that position because I never want to manage people. I just want to focus on doing what I am doing to the best of my ability.

The other gripe I have is with the design side of things. Design just wasn’t done properly and every developer is just implementing stuff their way just to meet the basic use cases. Our team lead did try to ensure whatever we implemented is useable and perform well but that’s about it. It’s not his fault really because his plate is pretty much full too. At my company, one person will be responsible for more and more projects over the years. So with that kind of multitasking, I don’t think it will be possible for that one person to think of the future of a so-called product.

For me, I did try my best to think of the future—think about how the user will want to use the application and what will happen if I don’t do certain things. Within the short time frame, I did whatever I could to add certain kind of controls, ensure certain kind of interaction the user can have with the application. But I also know that I could be completely wrong with what I implemented and will need to change later. I have also tried to ensure code reusability by introducing more layering.

By around 5.45pm, I was done gathering the latest client code from source control and compiling the codes into a deployable application for tomorrow. I put the compiled files into a folder on the share folder where my other colleague was preparing the server stuff. I waited for my colleague to finish putting everything onto a thumbdrive before leaving.

So tomorrow, I will go to the customer office to do the deployment and testing the applications. I do hope it goes smoothly.

I went home to rain and then join my mom for dinner at the Legendary Hong Kong restaurant. I ordered Seafood fried rice with XO sauce, pineapple drink (basically canned pineapple with syrup), and steamed shrimp dumplings.

Nothing too fancy but then the price tag is just not worth it. The food is just too average and I could get them cheaper from elsewhere. I think I will avoid going to this restaurant in the future.

Journal #252 – Just exhausted

I didn’t feel like writing anything today. As I wrote that sentence, I felt like just switching off my computer, brush my teeth, and go to bed. But I shall compel myself to write something. At least a quick summary of what happened.

The quick version is: I’m exhausted.

Ok, I’m done.

Nah, I’m just kidding. Here’s a slightly longer documentation of my life.

There are many reasons for me being exhausted. You can call them excuses because I will most probably agree with you.

The first reason was that I didn’t even want to get out of bed this morning because I didn’t have enough sleep and that is despite the fact I went to bed last night at around 10pm. I was tossing and turning in bed until about maybe 12am.

The other was I spent roughly 45 minutes more today at work writing codes and implementing a feature. By the time I left my office and boarded the train, it was already 7pm and my mind was in complete daze. I couldn’t be bothered to think about anything. I didn’t even want to make any decisions. Even my attempts at playing Sky Force on my phone ended with my plane being blown up within a minute. I tried a few more times and kept getting blown up because I just couldn’t concentrate. But it’s just a game, so I didn’t give a shit. Once I reached my station, I stopped and made my way home.

Once I reached home, read an article on Facebook and went for a shower. Then I just lazed around, reading articles online, watched some YouTube video around until dinner. Had two plates of home-made spaghetti and went to watch one episode of Dark on Netflix.

After I’m done with that episode, I got down to write this journal. And here I am, yawning away.

Alright, I shall listen to my body and just end it here. The weather is pretty good today for sleeping. It’s so cooling.

Journal #251 – Chilling rainy Sunday with life review

If I really have to list something useful that I did today, I can probably count them with one hand.

The first most useful thing was writing an blog entry about “Why I buy Apple products as a minimalist”, which I publish here and here.

The second most useful thing was me going for a quick 30 or so mins run at around 4.30pm and earlier in the day, I went and did twenty push-ups, split into two sets of ten.

The third most useful thing? For most people, I don’t think they will call it useful but for me, it’s probably is. I went to watch two more episodes of Dark on Netflix. I actually spent more effort to absorb in the scenes, looked at the expressions of the characters, their behaviors and actions, and start thinking about how I would create the show, scene or characters as a writer. It’s important to train yourself to think like a writer when you are consuming content produced by other people. To me, it is part and parcel of getting inspirations and understand how to get people to consume the content you create.

Other than that, I spent the other part of the day playing Sky Force: Reloaded on my iPhone and iPad Pro so that I can collect enough stars to upgrade my plane. That I definitely won’t call useful but it’s part of my desire to just chill.

I also went to get the Designed by Apple in California book out from the cabinet and start browsing through the pages. As I was browsing through, I spent some time understanding the designs and appreciating them all. It turns out I really found joy in going through the pictures and thinking about the story behind those designs. It’s so much easier to understand the context given that I have read Jony Ive’s biography and is still in the process of reading Steve Jobs’s biography. The process of going through the designs also got me feeling nostalgic as I started thinking about my days in secondary school when I was studying Design and Technology.

Thinking back, I do have some inclination for the design and technology subject in general. I understood the technical stuff rather easily but not so much of the society aspect or aesthetic. For my Singapore-Cambridge GCE Ordinary Level D&T project, the end product was average but I managed to score slightly above average compared to my peers because of my strength in the theory part and orthographic projection. One year earlier, I actually did very well for N-Level examination. If I remember correctly, I actually scored an ‘A’ due to the end product, theory and the drawings. It was actually a useful end product with a pretty good design.

So you see, when it comes to creating things, you will fumble and tumble from time to time. The only difference is how much effort you put and how much desire you have to achieve mastery and greatness.

Back then, I wasn’t sure if I could find a decent job if I went to do product design and I did find an inclination towards writing and interest in programming. So after my O-level examinations, I went with something that has practical uses given the economic situation and culture of Singapore. That was why I chose information technology for my Diploma and subsequently Computer Science for my degree.

Now if I were to do it all over again with what I know now, I will probably put in extra effort on my writing and have it run concurrently to my software development career so that I have more choices. But there is no point in regretting this because it’s a fact that I wasn’t mature or self-aware enough back then. So what I can do now is to forge a new path with the experiences and knowledge that I have gained. It’s never too late. I have already took the steps to improve my writing skills by applying and going for courses, keep writing, and learning from other writers.

So stop your bullshitting about being too old, feel tired or lazy studying, and complain about the fact that you are sick your current, meaningless job yet want to change career or do something more meaningful. Start creating the plan and taking the necessary actions or be quiet about your current life and apply gratitude.

Journal #250 – Saturday life update

I woke up this morning to a runny and stuffy nose. I don’t know why but I suspect it was either a common cold or allergic rhinitis. I believe it is the former because there is cough associated with it. But neither am I a doctor nor  do I have a microscope to see what I sneeze out, so I can’t diagnose myself.

Regardless, I went ahead to eat breakfast with my family outside. After breakfast, I came home and made myself a big cup of coffee using the NESCAFÉ GOLD BLEND BARISTA machine. I went and take meds for the runny nose with the coffee.

Compared to Starbucks coffee, I never found Nescafe coffee to be any good. It is average. I guess it’s because it is instant coffee and you can’t subject it to the same process as how people make coffee using actual beans, grinding them, and forcing hot water through them over several seconds. Nescafe coffee doesn’t quite have the strong aroma, the right ratio between bitter and sour taste (more towards the former) found with Starbucks coffee.

By right, I should have felt drowsy some thirty minutes to an hour later after taking the medicine but the coffee prevented that. So I was awake for most of the morning and early afternoon. I used the chance to watch Dark on Netflix. I only managed to watch two episodes, follow by two episodes of The Code before I felt very hungry.

I went to make myself lunch. I had Nissin instant noodles with sesame oil. I added an egg to it for protein and taste.

After that, I took another pill and waited for it to kick in again. I used that time to prepare a review of the Apple AirPods because I wanted it. I wanted to share with the world about how I felt about using the earphones. Then I went for a shower and at around 5.30pm, I felt sleepy and decided to take a nap.

By the time I got up, it was around 7.30pm. I felt slightly better. and my family and I went out for dinner. After that, I came home to just chill, and watch some more shows on Netflix.

Ever since I downloaded the game Sky Force: Reloaded, I have been playing it quite often like when I got nothing to do, using the toilet, etc.

The game really does test your patience as there is drudgery involved. You need to collect the stars in order to upgrade your weapons and to collect enough, you will need to keep playing. Your plane will get destroy often if your reaction time can’t keep up or when you make a mistake and that means you will need to try again.

But overall, I do like the game and I’m reminded of playing one of the Raiden game during my younger days. I vividly remember dying so often when I was playing that game. In hindsight, I guess it’s because I was young, had poor hand-eye coordination. After playing so many FPS as I was growing up, I guess I have develop a better reaction time and hand skills in general.

Journal #249 – Work was both good and bad, learnt something new

When I went office this morning, I was feeling tired and irritable. That’s even after I started coffee and waited for the caffeine to kick in. So that was definitely not caffeine-deprivation.

So I went through my morning feeling pretty angsty and went about doing my task. I did try my best to control my emotions from going out of control.

In hindsight, I suspect it was actually depression masquerading as irritation as described in this article.

At around lunch time, I decided to go for lunch at Ichiban Sushi for some sashimi. After lunch, I continue about converting the existing implementations to use the new web service and fixing any regressions. However, the server backend keep dying caused by overused threads in the application pool, so it wasn’t really productive.

My colleagues did later find out what was causing the IIS threads to be overused and stuck, preventing the server from responding to further requests. It was due to a problem with the way Linq was used to query the database. We didn’t know about deferred and eager execution, at least in the context of database and entity framework. Eager execution only happens under certain scenarios like when you execute “.ToList()”. While deferred execution seems to be the default operation.

So that is one new thing that I learn about at work today.

The second new thing that I learn about was how SoapUI behave when attempting to download WSDL files that has its XMLNS defined and the system running SoapUI do not have any access to the internet. It turns out SoapUI will throw UnknownHostException. One possible solution was to download the WSDl file.

Journal #248 – It can get frustrating

Work can be frustrating when things don’t go your way.

Life can be frustrating when things don’t go your way.

Even play can be frustrating when things don’t go your way.

Being a programmer, a software engineer, is especially frustrating. Sometimes you got stuck on solving a problem and you got a deadline approaching you. Then you got your team lead pushing for stuff to be done faster.

Right now, I’m struggling to even deliver any decent quality in my work. The existing code base is such a mess that it is starting to lose its form and I can see it could create potential problems in terms of maintainability in the future. But do we have the time to fix it?

Nope.

There is never time because once the software is delivered by the end of this year, it will be tested briefly, then a quick two weeks UAT, and then go straight into productions. After that, it will be second phase of development.

At the same time, my colleague who is responsible for the frontend mostly implements stuff that are requested and don’t think further about how the user would use the application. She approached it based on how she would use the application.

I hate that approach because it leads to applications that scream “I suck. Don’t use me.” Well, that’s how I see it anyway because I do use quite a number of apps and subconsciously, I’m judging all of them by a lot of metrics. Ease of use, minimalistic, and how it look are some of the metrics, if you want to know.

So what my colleague is doing does feel like going against my desire for quality application for user to use but I also recognize what I could do is work within that constraint and do quality. I can’t change another person but I can change myself.

Another reason why I get upset about building an application without caring how user would use it is about my legacy. I know for a fact that people or users tend to harp on problems and issues rather than the good things. I just can’t help but feel like this is a drag on the overall quality. I admit that a part of me is wondering if I should continue to be part of this development work. I don’t want people to think that I was part of a team that deliver a basically functional software but lack the thought or empathy for the user.

But I will note that I’m not yet depressed though I catch myself just taking whatever it is my colleague decide to implement and starting to not care anymore. As long as it works, right?

Whatever my feelings are, it doesn’t mean that I lost sight of the big picture. The customer only want a functional product delivered on time that also perform well so that the users can do their jobs. My company is concern with the Profit and Loss. I have to work within that too and it’s frustrating.

If only we got unlimited budget…

Journal #247 – Work-related reflection

I must have gone mad because today marks another day where I actually write two journal entries. Well, it turns out it may be a good thing. You may ask why.

The truth is in any given day, there will be many things going on at once and sometimes, each of those things should be documented and distilled. Your thoughts and feelings about each of those events should be put out there for people to read. One journal post that summarize the whole day just don’t cut it.

My first journal for today talks about my dental appointment, some background, the importance of oral health, and me showing gratitude.

For this journal, I shall talk about some thing that happened at work.

So after I’m done collecting my new identity card from the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoint Agency and had my lunch, I went back to office in the afternoon.

Once there, my primarily focus was still getting the pagination stuff implemented properly.

But before I could get down to doing my work, my team leader came over to talk to me and my colleague about the high-priority stuffs that we need to do before start of 18 December. That week, we will be deploying at least two copies of the client application onto the customer’s workstation for them to test over the holiday week and provide feedback. To ensure that happens, we need to test our stuff properly and give training.

So during the talk, he asked us when we can finish the part that we are assigned. I told him I can finish my assigned tasks by 13 December. And not surprisingly, my colleague also said the same date. Personally, I think it is because no one wants to give the impression they are not effective in doing their job. But I never ask and don’t really care. For me, I will just do my part to the best of my ability and what I have promised.

After that, I got down to business and started solving a specific problem that could cause some usability when user perform dynamic searching of data.

As I was solving the problem, I encountered an issue where the server-side application is not very responsive to client requests sent via HTTP. It turns out, the IIS was stuck processing a large volume of request generated by an external system for the purpose of data syncing.

I went and talk to my colleague about it and was genuinely surprised at why we are using the same application instance to process data-sync requests. I was expecting the data-sync was done using another cluster that is independent. I even went to talk to my ex-manager to talk about whether having a second cluster was there right way to go. After all he has far more experience with these kind of thing. He did gave me some suggestions, which I am going to tell the team leader about it. But for now, it turns out the architecture was meant to be like that due to resource constraint. I seriously hope we can change that soon if not we will be the ones suffering.

During the discussion about the performance issue, we ended up talking about stuff like my focus is on delivering high quality even just for one part and how the company itself isn’t even putting quality first, even though that was one of their core values. It’s actually very obvious when compared to my previous company and I did mention it from time to time in my past journals. The first indication of lack of quality is the lack of proper training and getting the right people for the job. Due to budget constraint, the company just decide to dump everything on us and ask us to figure it out. Not that it’s wrong but it’s not effective especially in the face of short development time, large amount of data the application needs to handle, and our general lack of experience in infrastructure-related stuff.

Now that’s not an excuse for us not to learn or do our job. To be useful to the organization, one has to learn, apply what one has learn, and solve problems given a certain resource constraint.

However, it is a problem when the resource constraint reach a certain level where it is obvious there is no budget for us to do anything worth our time.

I heard that the project that we are on has actually exceeded its current budget and the management can’t add additional manpower. I don’t know how true is that but it is something that I have seen and heard before. I encountered the same thing in my previous job because the project got dragged too long.

I think this issue is especially rampant in Singapore. I’m probably wrong to generalize like that and I know I have not face enough stuff in life but my conclusion is based on the culture of Singaporeans when it comes to services—everybody wants cheap, wants high quality, and fast. And management people tend to squeeze the people below them to achieve profit at the expense of job satisfaction. In a way, most Singaporean workers are highly skilled but underpaid and under-appreciated. Some of them can’t quit because of their family. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here.

I would love for someone working in the tech industry elsewhere in the world to share what’s like over wherever they are.

Regardless of the budget issue, I will still focus on doing my job well and deliver quality work but that doesn’t mean I will flood myself with work. It’s all about being un-busy, focusing on the really important stuff. Right now, quality software is the important stuff.

There is a mindset that got drilled into me by my previous boss and it goes something like this, “I am not the one paying your salary. Your customer is the one paying you. If you don’t deliver quality, no one will look for you anymore.”

Now I realize how it fits into my values and I am telling myself, “It is not my company paying me. They are just the intermediary, an agency of sort. My focus is the customer and I will do my best to make their life easy.”

In the spirit of delivering quality and finishing my task, I got the pagination of data working. I have also implemented additional stuff to make life easy—like a refresh button for an example. I also made sure the component can be operated in an intuitive way, well, at least the way I see it now. It will have to face the customer and only then I will know for sure if I did something correctly.

When I was testing the functionalities, I lost my patience and got pretty irritated a lot of times because the server was responding a little too slowly. Data loading took a long time. It was already 6.30pm when I finally left office. Way later than I would like actually but I got what I need to do done.

Journal #246 – Dental appointment and the importance of oral health

I took the morning off from work today so that I could go for a dental appointment. These days, I always visit the dentist every six month to ensure that my oral health doesn’t deteriorate and gum disease is kept in check in order to keep my teeth longer.

When I was younger, I had never put much focus on my oral health. I took it for granted until one day I came across an article about how your gum is bleeding every time you brush is an indication of gum disease, which was what happened to me. That was about five years ago. So I decided to visit the dentist for the first time in a long time. By then, it was already too late. Gum recession has already happened and there is nothing the dentist can do about that except going for expensive surgery to reconstruct the gum.

Fast forward, my wisdom tooth on the lower right decided to pop up and becoming impacted as a result. I had enough of the discomfort and decided to visit the dentist again to extract it. That was when the dentist took the chance to conduct a detailed check first and found that I had pretty bad periodontitis. But priority was getting the wisdom tooth out, and so I did that back in January 2016. After the surgical site has healed, I went for a series of treatments to halt the progression of the disease. By this time, I came to realize that the bad breath that my friends said I had was because of this disease.

The whole treatment cost me about $2500, give or take, and it included fixing up existing fillings that were no longer effective and dealing with new decays caused by improper brushing.

Ever since the treatment, the realization of I could lose my teeth if I don’t take good care of them, and the social issues of having bad breath caused by bad oral health, I have become rather overzealous about cleaning my mouth, practicing proper oral hygiene daily.

Bad oral health doesn’t just end with you losing your teeth. Studies have shown that it can lead to heart diseases. Articles like this and this help to explain how they are related.

That led me to wonder why companies in Singapore offer such a poor dental benefit for their employees considering that oral health has direct impact on their overall health. Visiting the dentist is more than aesthetic. My current company offers only $100 worth of dental for employees to claim and only cover consumables. Treatments are not covered. I meant what the hell? My treatment today alone is already $400.

And my gums hurt right now due to the deep cleaning I went through to help ensure I keep my remaining molars longer. It’s all about maintenance. The scaling process has also pretty much increase my teeth sensitivities. So now I can’t drink or eat without certain discomfort but it will heal. Hopefully by tomorrow.

One last thing, before I left the dental clinic, my dentist also gave me a travel bag containing a toothbrush, a tube of sensodyne toothpaste and a tube of Parodontax toothpaste. Thanks Dr. Yap of De Pacific Dental Group.