All posts by EZ Malaysia

The 2020 Global Chinese Economic & Technology Summit

“Promoting Business, Cultural & Digital Economy Cooperation and Diplomacy”

Resulting from the Global Pandemic and focusing on global recovery, the importance of global partnership, global leadership and global cooperation is imperative. Technology has also become a game changer and a key driver of the global economy – digital technology and innovations, green technology, health technology and agrotechnology will enhance global growth. 

The 2021 summit held in Penang recognised these strategic trends of global geopolitical and geoeconomics forces and the power of global partnerships in this new global era.  Senior officials, business leaders and experts at the Global Chinese Economic and Technology Summit discussed the need for nations to develop both physical and digital infrastructure and to invest more on renewable energy in line with global climate commitments. 

Various experts, business leaders, policy makers and civil society members spoke at the event which was held physically and virtually.

The Lifetime Achievement Awardees celebrating the ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Adviser to KSI, Prof Dato Seri Dr Mike Chan,  KSI’s Deputy Chairman, Tan Sri Majid Khan; KSI’s President & GCET Organising Chairman, Tan Sri Michael Yeoh; Governor of Penang, TYT Tun Dato’ Seri Utama Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak; GCET Founder & Patron, Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew; and YB Chong Eng, Penang State EXCO for Social Development and Non-Islamic Religious Affairs, KSI Director, Dato Dr Jessie Tang and KSI Senior Executive Director, Dato Wei Chuan Beng.
TYT Tun Dato’ Seri Utama Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak, Governor of Penang delivering the Keynote Address at the 2021 Global Chinese Economic & Technology Summit.
KSI’s Senior Executive Director, Dato’ Wei Chuan Beng presenting a memento to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dato’ Seri Saifuddin Abdullah at the end of the launching ceremony. Looking on is Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, Founder and Patron of the Global Chinese Economic & Technology Summit.
Tan Sri Majid Khan, KSI’s Deputy Chairman presenting a memento to the Governor of Penang, TYT Tun Dato’ Seri Utama Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak whilst KSI’s President, Tan Sri Michael Yeoh look on.

What’s The Problem? You’re Still Alive!

Chng Huck Theng (Left)
Editor-in-Chief

What do we do when there are problems? Typically the easiest way is to blame others or find excuses to recuse oneself from taking the heat. Clearly these are bad and ineffective strategies as problems still exist after. It is common in human nature to deploy its defense mechanisms when meeting with harm, be it physical or psychological. A rather good and effective way is to acknowledge the matters head on and to solve them as soon as possible. Stay positive, trace back and find the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the problems. Like it or not, like my father always say, “You can feel sad and cry, but the problem will still be there. So best find ways to solve it and get on with your life”. 

It is undeniable that these 3 years have been filled with both domestic and international issues. The unprecedented COVID-19 medical crisis has taken millions of lives and created havoc around the world and its domino effect is still very much felt by businesses all over the world. Not counting world issues like Donald Trump while being the president of United States probably did more harm than good when entering into a trade war with China whilst creating the biggest split amongst Americans and accusing the Democrats of stealing the election. The ‘invasion’ of his supporters into Capital Hill was adding salt to the wounds of American democracy. Joe Biden later won the elections but approval ratings continue sliding to record low after a year. The UK has successfully left the European Union but prime minister Boris Johnson is struggling to fight off a vote of no confidence due to a Christmas party, flouting the country’s Covid-19 strict restrictions. Putin’s flexing Russia’s sovereignty to the Western world by unleashing its military forces into Ukraine. This will undoubtedly remind some to think twice when provoking others thinking that the West or NATO will have one’s back. Sad to say that Ukraine has been deserted by the so-called alliance that only provided moral and weapon support when the bombing started. Taiwan now has to rethink seriously about its attitude with China. 

Back home in Malaysia, COVID-19 numbers has been a roller coaster, first two vaccination rates have been commendable but many are skeptical about taking the third booster shots. Three prime ministers in a short period of time, three state elections and probably more to come, a big shortage of workers and the politicians are still finger-pointing and finding faults to make their ‘enemies’ look bad. Again sad to say that most politicians we voted into office ended up paying more attention to themselves and giving tonnes of excuses blaming the others when matters turn sour. Not to mention we have politicians misquoting ‘Spanish Fly’ instead of Spanish Flu, advising women to talk like Doraemon for household happiness, telling the world that Orang Utans kill humans and we have lions in Malaysia. But the encore definitely goes to convicted criminals still roaming free waving to folks like celebrities. 

The saying of ‘Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia Can) is really Boleh’. 

In short, the world is full of problems and we are all in this together whether one likes it or not. One can always waste time ‘bitching’ over the issues or solve them. What if it cannot be solved? … then give yourself a pat on your back and say “I have tried my very BEST!” then move one. It is a fact that life is never smooth and easy but if you look on the bright side, you are still ALIVE to solve the PROBLEMS!  

Fashion Moment at the Oscars 2022

After two years of toned down, limited capacity events, the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre saw the return of a full force red carpet glamour display of high fashion and beautiful celebrities. Hardly any masks was in sight and the social distancing rule was very much relaxed. This year the celebrities and movie stars came in their best fashion outfits that did not disappoint the critics and the cameras. There were sparkles aplenty, creative silhouettes, classic black, bright and bold colours and amazing jaw-dropping necklines. The stars will push their limits in every edition with the intention to stand out and make statements be it political, their personal projects or relationships in their personal styles. However, it was not surprising when some stars chose to shine on Ukraine but the golden moment of the evening definitely belonged to Will Smith who walked up the stage and smacked Chris Rock on the face when the latter made a joke about his wife, Jada Pickett-Smith and then picking up the Best Actor award for his role in “King Richard” a few moments after.

Zendaya wore a Valentino match of white quarter shirt with a gorgeous silver sequined floor-length skirt.
Nicole Kidman’s Giorgio Armani Prive pale blue strapless peplum gown brought back the nostalgia of Old Hollywood style.
Kodi Smit-McPhee looks stylish in a baby blue Bottega Veneta tuxedo.
Power couple Will Smith wore a Dolce & Gabbana black mohair wool tuxedo jacket and vest while Jada Pinkett-Smith looked fabulous in her Jean-Paul Gaultier’s emerald green taffeta gown complete with dramatic ruffles.
Kristen Stewart in her Chanel black tuxedo short suit and white silk shirt.
Penelope Cruz was a picture of poise on the red carpet in this incredible Chanel backless gown with pockets.
Ariana DeBose looked absolutely gorgeous in a red pantsuit by Valentino.
Best Actress winner Jessica Chastain shines in a glittery gold and lavender Gucci gown with a sweet ruffled trim.
Andrew Garfield in Saint Laurent.
Timothée Chalamet in Louis Vuitton.
Simu Liu challenges those ladies in red with his red Versace suit. 

BABA NYONYA – CHINESE, MALAY OR MIXED?

Peranakan Chinese and Baba-Nyonya are terms used for the descendants of late 15th and 16th-century Chinese immigrants to the Malay-Indonesian archipelago of Nusantara during the Colonial era.

Members of this community in Malaysia identify themselves as ‘Nyonya-Baba’ or ‘Baba-Nyonya’. Nyonya is the term for the females and Baba for males. It applies especially to the ethnic Chinese populations of the British Straits Settlements of Malaya and the Dutch-controlled island of Java and other locations, who adopted partially or in full Malay-Indonesian customs to become partially assimilated into the local communities.

While the term Peranakan is most commonly used among the ethnic Chinese for those of Chinese descent also known as Straits Chinese (土生華人; named after the Straits Settlements), it may also be applied to the Baba-Yaya community in Phuket and other provinces of southern Thailand.

Is there a difference between the Chinese and the Baba Nyonya of the Straits Settlement during the good old days? Definitely it is undeniable that the lifestyles have some distinctive variations. The obvious were the food, customs, kinship, attire and language. The Nyonya believed that to keep a man’s heart at home was to have excellent culinary skills – to cook good, delicious food making sure that the husband is full and happy. Hence this is one of the reasons why Nyonya food until today is still so popular. Due to the fact that the Baba Nyonya have resided along the Straits Settlement for a long time, the way they dressed and conversed were highly influenced by the Malay culture. However, the common belief is that somewhere along the ancestry line is that the great grandmothers or the great, great grandmothers were of Malay origin but was found to be unsubstantiated as research by interviewing offsprings of Baba Nyonya families did not show any Malay blood line. Even by arguing the fact that some of the Chinese men who stayed on with Princess Hang Li Po during the late 15th century and marrying local women, thus creating the Baba Nyonya’s connection is over stretching history especially when only after four centuries were the Baba Nyonya and its historical lifestyles documented. The common misinterpretation until today that the Chinese in Malaysia are called ‘Malay People’ or ‘马来人‘ by Chinese living in China and Hong Kong may be the answer that the Chinese men who migrated from China then married a ‘Malay Girl’ from Malaya which in fact is referring to a local Chinese girl.

Baba Nyonya Wedding Photo, 1920 
images courtesy of pinterest.com/hi_hi_mun

Further to comparing the similarities and differences between the Chinese and Baba Nyonya, it is rather peculiar that scholars have yet to find any Baba Nyonya association that was formed during the late 19th century. Unlike the Chinese, where many associations were established for those who came from the same regions in China, spoke the same dialects, have the same surnames, or worked in the same trades, etc. it is also found that some prominent Babas were members and contributed to these Chinese associations. The reason why the Baba Nyonya did not have their own association that time inclined some to opine that they actually considered themselves part of the Chinese community but living differently from the traditional Chinese culture.

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Halal Tourism… A Growing Market in the Global Tourism Industry

by Aida Lim Abdullah,
Managing Director/Founder, Corporate Streets Sdn. Bhd.

The tourism industry is recognised as one of the major sources of economic growth for Malaysia and most of the world; and in this regard, Islamic or Muslim-friendly tourism is seen as an emerging niche market globally. This is due to many Muslim majority countries or markets are now seen as fast-emerging economies with a growing middle class with the thirst for travel. 

The term “Islamic tourism” started to emerge in 2000 during the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting, whereby the concept of increasing tourism within Islamic countries will help to generate income and enhance the development of the said countries.  

According to a report from Dinar Standard and Crescent Rating (2012), the Muslim tourists’ expenditure growth rate is expected to be at 4.79% per year on average from the year 2012 until 2020. This statistic is higher than the global expected average growth rate of 3.8% during the same period. 

Based on an OIC report, on the Muslim Travellers’ demand side, about 75% are for leisure, about 10% for business, 10% for religious activities and maybe another 5% for medical tourism.  In Islam, travelling or any actions should be based on necessity and/or other benefits. These make Islamic tourism unique by upholding the Islamic value during the travel activities without abandoning the needs to enjoy and savour the pleasures of travel to foreign places.

What are the basic requirements?

On the supply side, generally we note that there have been no consistent guidelines to cater for the 6 main faith-related needs, which are; (i) Halal food, (ii) Salaah (prayers) facilities, (iii) convenient water usage with clean, friendly toilets, (iv) Ramadan services and facilities, (v) facilities ensuring no Non-Halal Activities and (vi) recreational facilities with privacy provided. 

The emergence of Islamic tourism concept in the global tourism business requires the industry to have good understanding on the practices of Sharia compliance as well as catering to cultural needs to Muslim travellers. This is a prerequisite for high value experiences for the Muslim tourists. Shariah compliance is recommended to be expanded to related tourism businesses and facilities, such as places of attractions, airports, visitor information centres and related events. The service and product providers in the tourism ecosystem requires different skill sets and knowledge to assemble related tourism components to fulfil the Muslim tourists’ requirements in order to meet the needs of the Muslim tourist. 

More effort and support are needed to understand and market the Islamic Tourism for the Muslim Tourist, especially the essential knowledge and skill sets which will help to promote tourists’ satisfaction and encourage good word-of-mouth sharing and repeat visits. 

What Is Malaysia’s Ranking in Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI)? 

Malaysia is one of the main destinations for Muslim visitors from around the world. It has been recognised as the No. 1 ranked destination on the GMTI (2015). In 2013, Malaysia was also in the top 10 of the world’s ranking in overall visitor arrivals. Muslim visitor arrivals constitute around 25% of the total arrivals. A key and unique strength of our Malaysian success in Muslim Friendly Tourism (MFT) is the commitment of the Malaysian Tourism Ministry and the industry support for Muslim-friendly tourism. 

In early 2009, Malaysia identified that the Muslim market as a priority growth market. This has led to the creation of the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC). Malaysia’s success story is that there is a government-led commitment to activate the whole industry to make MFT a priority market. Hence, Malaysia is fast becoming the best destination for Muslim visitors in the world with supporting facilities and services aligning to capture this segment.

Amongst the states within Malaysia, Penang has been ranked the third best island in the world and the first in Asia in terms of favourite place to retire in (2021). In a list published by Travel Awaits, the Pearl of the Orient is noted for its multi-culturalism, great culinary scene and connectivity to other countries in the region. As such, leveraging on Malaysia’s commitment in Muslim Tourism and Penang’s natural strength as a well-known tourist’s destination, it has real potential to become a star Muslim Tourism destination. 

As such, there is a need for continuous and concerted good effort to promote the country’s tourism industry and encourage the value chain in the tourism sector to capture a bigger market share, be it inbound or outbound travelling. In the wake of the new normal where things need to be operated under new SOPs, Malaysians in general are hopeful that the MFT activities will be revived and strengthened further!

Have Homtruck Will Travel

Chinese automaker, Geely Holding Group’s commercial vehicle brand, Farizon Auto, has revolutionised electric-vehicle trucking when it launched its new electric semi-truck, The Homtruck, recently.

As its namesake suggests, it is literally a home on wheels. Knowing that drivers spend a great amount of time on the road and in their vehicles, the concept of the Homtruck is simply creating a driving and living space to make long-haul journeys more comfortable, efficient and safe.

It comes installed with a single bed, bathroom (toilet, sink, shower stall), kitchen, washing machine and a kettle and refrigerator thrown in for good measure. The ergonomic seat design and HD cameras ensure drivers are well-rested and well-focused with soft-touch fabrics, sustainable plastics and bamboo grain materials extending into the sleek driver’s area. 

This next generation smart new energy semi-truck offers L4 autonomous drive functions, Over the Air (OTA) software updates and different powertrain options including range extender, methanol hybrid and pure electric with battery swapping capabilities. “The Homtruck represents a significant move towards a net zero-carbon freight transportation system and opens the door to a new era for the logistics industry,” says Eric Li, Chairperson of Geely Holding Group.

Slated for production and deliveries by 2024, The Homtruck will be marketed globally in addition to its home ground, China.

All images courtesy of Geely/Farizon Auto

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of chronic debilitating inflammatory arthritis that usually affects small joints of hands and feet. If not treated adequately, RA may cause severe pain and joint damage leading to permanent joint deformity.

How common is RA
Worldwide, the prevalence of RA is estimated to be 0.24% of the population (Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study). In US and European countries, RA has a higher prevalence (0.5%- 1.0% of the population). In South-east Asia, the prevalence of RA was reported to be 0.40% (J Glob Health 2015). RA is found twice as common in women compared with men and more commonly found between 30-50 years old.

What causes RA
RA is an autoimmune disease. To date, the exact cause of RA is not able to be identified. Researchers believe the occurrence of RA is multifactorial. A positive family history, genetic factor, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, age and female sex have been reported to increase the risk of RA.

Presentations and symptoms of RA
Commonly, RA patient will experience stiffness of hands/ feet or affected joints for more than an hour during early mornings. Joint pain and swelling are common. Joints involvement are usually symmetrical on both sides and joint distributions are polyarticular in nature. Apart from joint symptoms, patient may suffer from dry eye, dry mouth, lethargy, weight loss, nodules on skin, lung fibrosis or skin ulcer.

Diagnosis and investigations
Diagnosis of RA is made based on patient’s history, physical examination, blood and imaging tests. Physical examination may reveal boggy joint swelling and joint tenderness on palpation. Patient may have deformities such as radial/ ulnar deviation of the wrist, wrist subluxation, ‘boutonniere deformity’ (hyperextension of the distal inter-phalangeal joint and flexion of the proximal inter-phalangeal joint), or ‘swan-neck’ deformity (hyperextension of the proximal inter-phalangeal joint and flexion of the distal inter-phalangeal joint).

Blood test for specific autoantibodies associated with RA are rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody (ACPA). A positive RF or ACPA may indicate a more severe/ aggressive disease. Inflammatory markers such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or c-reactive protein (CRP) may be elevated in active disease.

Imaging such as x-ray and ultrasonography of the affected joints may help to detect joint inflammation or erosion on the bones. Musculoskeletal ultrasound is widely used in rheumatology outpatient clinic as a diagnostic tool because ultrasound is more sensitive to detect early arthritis. Ultrasound is a non expensive, non-invasive safe procedure that does not use radiation when compared to other imaging modalities.

X-ray of the hands showed erosion at the carpal bones.
Sonography of the left second metacarpo-phalangeal joint showed synovial hypertrophy and increase in power doppler signal that indicate active synovitis.

Differential diagnoses of RA
Other than RA, the differential diagnoses of chronic inflammatory polyarthritis are: –
– Gouty arthritis- polyarticular
– Psoriatic arthropathy
– Generalized erosive osteoarthritis
– Arthritis related to connective tissue disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Treatment
Treatment of RA should be initiated as soon as the diagnosis of RA to preserve joint function and prevent joint deformity. The mainstay treatment of RA is disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Example of commonly used conventional DMARDs are methotrexate, leflunomide, sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine. Biologic therapy or small molecule targeted therapy are also an option to treat severe RA whom have failed conventional DMARDs. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids may be used as an add-on therapy to reduce joint inflammation.

Non-pharmacological treatment is also important as part of RA treatment. Physiotherapy or occupational therapy may help in maintaining joint activity, strength and joint protection.

Complication of RA
Untreated RA may cause severe disabling joint deformity. Apart from joint complication, RA may cause premature cardiovascular disease, lung fibrosis, osteopenia or osteoporosis, dry eyes and mouth, increased risk of cancer such as lymphoma.

What should I do if suspected to have RA
If you have symptoms of arthritis, please consult your doctor. If investigations and further management are required, referral to Rheumatologist is warranted.

Dr Lim Chong Hong

Consultant Rheumatologist & Physician

MD (UPM), MRCP (UK), FRCP (Edin.), Fellowship in Rheumatology (Mal & Taiwan), CMIA (NIOSH)

Dr Lim Chong Hong is a Consultant Rheumatologist & Physician in Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre, Penang. He has vast experience in diagnosing and treating various rheumatic diseases/connective tissue diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout, degenerative joint diseases and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Sunway Education Group CEO Professor Elizabeth Lee Wins UN Women Leadership Award

Sunway Education Group CEO, Professor Elizabeth Lee is no stranger in the Malaysian higher education arena where she has been actively involved in the industry for the past 28 years. Her latest milestone in her achievements was when she was recently celebrated as the award winner in the Leadership Commitment category at the UN Women’s 2021 Malaysia Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Awards ceremony. 

This award recognises corporate leaders who have been instrumental in setting strong corporate commitment including progressive policies, regulations or practices that aim to promote gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. This includes taking on specific roles and responsibilities to promote gender equality within the company and making public commitments or delivering gender-sensitive messages to the public.

Professor Lee believes that men and women bring different strengths to the workplace and the university is committed to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) especially in encouraging and promoting goals no. 4 – Quality Education, no. 5 – Gender Equality and no. 10 – Reduced Inequalities, through events, campaigns and on a daily basis. 

Professor Lee continuously advocates gender equality among Sunway Education Group’s employees and students and frequently participates in various local and international forums and conferences related to education, gender equality and women empowerment.

She elaborated, “I am proud to say that at the Sunway Education Group, women make up more than 65 percent of the workforce, including top management roles. To ensure both our female and male employees’ welfare and wellbeing, we have various policies in place including Flexible Work Arrangements for Mothers, Anti-Sexual Harassment, as well as Diversity and Inclusion.  

In accepting the award, Professor Lee credits the effort, commitment and dedication of her colleagues together with the firm support from the Board and Sunway Group Chairman, Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah himself, who greatly advocates education, gender equality, women empowerment and the SDGs.

Baby Steps to Achieving Your Financial Goals

by Calvin Goon,
Head of Wealth Management, Affin Bank Berhad

Achieving financial goals may sound big to a lot of people and often takes a little more effort than just luck. However, is it unachievable at all? 

Just like any of the large task we have, it will sound less difficult if we break them it into smaller sub-tasks. The key here is taking “Baby Steps”. Try to improve your financial wellness by challenging yourself into taking some of these baby steps below:

Again, it might seem difficult to start despite breaking your large financial goals down into “Baby Steps” but you will be astounded by how your financial position will improve once you start to follow through all these steps gradually. 

At Affin Invikta, we can help you start your Baby Steps by offering customized financial solutions tailored to your needs. Want to know more? Reach out to us at www.affininvikta.com and we will assign a dedicated Relationship Manager to guide you through.

Scan here to know more about Affin Invikta

Success is not overnight. It all starts with ‘BABY STEPS’

Treat Your Soft Tissue Injuries with Peace and Love

by Chng Tian Ying,
Head Sports Trainer – RMIT University

When it comes to the management and rehabilitation of soft tissue injuries, there is much complexity involved. What is a soft tissue injury? Soft tissue injuries commonly involve sudden trauma or overuse to muscles, ligaments, or tendons. These injuries often occur during sports and exercise activities but can also be sustained in a situation such as from a misstep when walking, and in many more different scenarios. 

The most common traditional first aid protocols for soft tissue injuries were the mnemonics R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), P.R.I.C.E. (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) or P.O.L.I.C.E. (Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation). 

These methods highlight the acute management of soft tissue injuries but do not cover the sub-acute and chronic stages of these injuries. In 2019, Blaise Dubois and Jean-Francois Esculier proposed a new protocol: P.E.A.C.E and L.O.V.E. 

The PEACE and LOVE protocol is a new comprehensive guide that covers all stages of injury. It also emphasises the importance of patient education and the biopsychosocial model. 

Current research has shown that an individual’s experience of pain is influenced by the complex interactions between their biological, psychological, and social factors; Thus, it is essential that they receive equal attention to optimise the individual’s recovery process. 

This protocol is split into two parts. PEACE is used as immediate care in the acute stage (1-3 days) after injury, and LOVE as ongoing management in the subsequent phases of injury. 

In the past, movement and exercise after injury have been frowned upon because of the fear of re-injury, but recent research has suggested that introducing easy and gentle movement during the early stages of injury can be beneficial. It can help with blood flow, joint mobilisation, and decreased fear to get back into activity later. It has been suggested that movement is safe as long as it does not exceed a 4/10 pain, does not worsen the existing condition, and is not done excessively. 

You may be wondering why ice has not been suggested in this protocol as one familiar scene that has been seen repeatedly, especially in the sporting community, is the use of ice during the early stages of a soft tissue injury. 

The PEACE and LOVE protocol holds a controversial opinion towards the use of ice. Despite ice being widely used, there is no high-quality evidence to back up the efficacy of it. It has been suggested that although it can help relief pain, it could also potentially disrupt the inflammatory process and delay healing, as inflammation is the body’s natural response to heal and repair damaged tissue. The avoidance of anti-inflammatories is also suggested for a similar reason. 

With the continual advancement of research comes new knowledge; therefore, leading to the constant evolvement of treatment and rehabilitation strategies. This article is a brief introduction to the PEACE and LOVE protocol, and more details can be found online. 

With that being said, if you do experience a soft tissue injury in future, don’t forget to treat them with PEACE and LOVE!