22 January 2013


I went to the pharmacist this evening. I was feeling a bit wheezy and I had run out of Ventolin. I have occasional bouts of asthma. Yes Mum - I know that this is likely smoking related yet I seem to get it more in Singapore than anywhere else. I think the humidity brings it on. I normally stock up on inhalers when I travel. Ventolin is available over-the-counter everywhere except Singapore but I forgot to re-supply myself when I was back in Oz.

I knew it was going to be a struggle to get the pharmacist to sell me any and the local doctor's clinic was closed but I thought I would give it a crack anyway. I walked down to my local pharmacy and confronted the old fella behind the counter. He is a local man from whom I have bought stuff before. Mostly stomach related medications that I stock up on for when I travel to India. I have found that it is best to be prepared for stomach ailments when one travels to India - so this pharmacist and I sort of know each other by sight.

"Good evening uncle" I smiled.

"I am feeling a bit wheezy and need some Ventolin please. Can?"

"Good evening" he smiled back.

"Cannot. You need to get from the doctor"

"Ah I know this" I replied

"But the doctor's clinic is closed and I think I might need some Ventolin tonight. I need some now in fact"

"Cannot" he repeated.

"You need to see the doctor tomorrow then"

"OK" I said.

I was still smiling when I said this but I was exaggerating my wheeze a little. I was trying to extract a little sympathy. 

"Why don't you just sell me one inhaler? I won't tell anyone if you don't"

"Cannot" he repeated. 

He was still smiling himself and although his wrinkled face showed some signs of sympathy I knew he wasn't going to budge.

"It is against the law", he repeated.

"But I don't think anyone can abuse Ventolin can they?" I implored.

"Surely no one has overdosed on Ventolin before have they?"

"Cannot" he repeated.

"It is against the Law. If you cannot breathe you must go to the Hospital"

"Oh well" I replied.

"I hope I last through the night then." 

This is pretty much what I expected so I wasn't too surprised.

As I was turning to leave he said "Mr. Peter  you should take some crocodile meat"

I wasn't sure that I heard him correctly. So I said "Pardon me?"

"You should take some crocodile meat. For your asthma". He looked deadly serious.

"Where should I take this meat uncle? And from where do I get it?" I enquired.

"It will cure your asthma" he beamed - without answering either of my questions.

"OK" I said.

"Give me an inhaler of crocodile meat please then".

I pulled out my wallet.

"Cannot" he said.

"It does not come in an inhaler"

"Alright" I replied

"Give me a bottle of crocodile meat pills then"

"Cannot" he once again stated.

A theme was emerging here.

"You must get the fresh meat of a crocodile"

"You have?" I asked - knowing the answer already

"I do not" he smiled.

"So where can I get it?" I asked

"From Australia" he retorted with delight.

"Cannot" I said.

"It is against the law"

"Not in Singapore" he said. With some smugness I might add.

Imagine that. You can't buy a harmless life saving drug like Ventolin over the counter here but the pharmacists are pushing asthmatics to purchase and consume the raw flesh of a viciously dangerous animal from Australia. The bizarreness of this place never ceases to amazes me.

I just Googled asthma and crocodile meat and yes, Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Singapore do in fact recommend the consumption of raw crocodile meat for the prevention of asthma. They don't tell you where to get it from though.

I will send home for a crocodile tomorrow.

1 comment :

  1. I laughed so hard at this! I needed some ventolin and was googling how to get some in Singapore...forgot to get an update in Aus before flying down.