Saturday, May 31, 2008

On days I feel particularly voyeuristic...

...I click on that site counter widget in the sidebar of my blog, and see which websites refer to me.

I've had a minor share of blog publicity - I've been once put on a randomly-generated blogroll on an alternative band's (forgot which) home page, and even better, Ian from Middle Distance Runner found my blog and left a comment! And if you're reading this, YOU NEED MORE WEB PRESENCE! Low-quality fan-posted videos just aren't gonna cut it.

However, what amuses me are the Google searches that have somehow led strangers from all over the world to my blog.

A large portion of these hits come from excited travelers wanting to know more about Thailand, and often, the find my blog via Google Image Search. To you guys, I'm grateful that those travelogues do have an audience!

An even larger portion come from armchair music critics who feel that Leona Lewis and Mariah Carey share uncanny similarities and had used Google to convince themselves that they're not the only ones who think the same way. Variations on "leona lewis- mariah carey", "mariah carey vs leona lewis" - I've seen them all.

And there's the weird:

"rc truck and bus" comes up quite often, because I had posted a video of a remote-controled truck and bus race in Hong Kong ("yau guk che le!") from Youtube. Didn't know so many people on earth are interested on such a specific niche!

"scrape on knee yellow discharge"- Don't mess with that fibrin clot! And if that yellow discharge does not stop in a couple of days, or if it smells funky, or if you feel unwell, see a doctor because it's most likely infected.

"The Wombats - A Guide To Love, Loss And Desperation" - it's a good album - I reiterate.

"free mobtv promo code" - MobTV is fun for a while, then it gets stale really quickly when you've exhausted all your favourite shows.


Whatever it is, what reason it is that you found yourself here, I thank you for reading my blog. And if this isn't your first time here, I really appreciate it. I really do.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Audioslave - I Am The Highway

First heard it on the radio back in Pulau Tekong, the faraway land of pain, sweat and more pain.

Every time I hear it, I get reminded of those painful knees and weary souls......

Lonely nights in my room make me muse

Too few people on Earth truly love music. How many people really feels it when Robert Smith croons over the lovely bassline and twinkling keyboards?

Most people just listen and go, oh, that's The Cure's Just Like Heaven, it's a nice song, and justifiably so, because it indeed is an excellent song. But how many can let the music permeate their souls?

There are times I wonder if I hear something others don't. How can one hear such a classic and not be fazed by the melodic depth? It's almost like staring down at the skyline from a very tall vantage and being absolutely lost within all that city bustle, unable to peel your eyes off that intricate concrete patchwork.

It's music, with its infinite depth.


It's just 1 more day of school before the 3 week break. And Melbourne trip. I think I'm gonna miss the human interaction of school. Classmates. Posting-mates. The teachers. Especially just bitching to random juniors about random things with barely knowing their names.

I'm sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It's funny. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. - says Caulfield in J. D. Salinger's Catcher In The Rye

I swear alcohol wasn't involved

A - hey some day can u lend me ur doctor tag? i'll juz wear some office clothings and walk into the clinic and check vaginas..

kc - hahahahhaa
kc - hmmmm
kc - but
kc - theyre mostly old postmenopausal ladies
kc - seriously

A - shitz.. dun some hot chick in their twenties come check for vaginal itch or seek the correct way to massage their boobs??

kc - yeah but unless theyre a whore
kc - they come with husbands
kc - and they'll say no to students
kc - and even if theyre single
kc - they still say no

A - shit.. guess i'll have to wait till u graduate then!
A - =P

kc - wahahah
kc - and let you ruin my professional reputation for being a man of gentle and skillful fingers?

A - well, i'll juz have to make sure the patient is satisfied with my 'therapy'! =)
A - and hopefully she comes more frequently and brings along more of her friends! haha

kc - haha i think the demand for gynaecology services or shall i say servicing is inelastic....

A - wow! u take econs too?! haha.. that's good wad... since the demand is inelastic, you can jack up the prices! they'll stil come for 'servicing'! =)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Random Pigtures

Just out of my PMS, so nothing happy to talk about.


Freddie Mercury rocks.

Did you know that Brian May, the guitarist of Queen, has an astrophysics PhD?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

2 Thoughts

I think I like someone.

And I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

If you stand up like a nail then you will be knocked down

In Asian culture, it is never safe to express one's displeasure or disagreement, except to your subordinates.

It's so ingrained in the culture, that disagreeing with your teacher is called disobedience (the word 'obey' finds itself in Asian vocabulary quite alot) and disagreeing with your boss is insubordination. Asians like hierarchies clearly defined, and with it comes their flavour of meritocracy - if you're not in authority, it means you're too inept to climb up the hierarchy and therefore have no right to opinion.

That, we all know. And in this increasingly globalised world, steps are being taken in corporations to prevent this bit of anachronism from compromising safety in airlines and in hospitals.


And in Asian culture, it still is dangerous to express your disagreement, even towards your peers of same echelon on the hierarchy.

Disagreement is perceived to be:
1. A personal attack
2. A threat
3. An act of defiance
4. Trying to be a smart alec

Trust me, in Asia, we really do have to dumb down what we say and do just to be polite.


That is why this furore led to so much vitriol.


Franco empirically notices trend (though statistically questionable) that people of a certain race tend to do certain things that irk him. And trust me, these views are often shared by many others in Singapore.

In an outburst the guy posts something that ends up being racist. Members of Hardwarezone forums called him names - 'stupid', 'gay', 'ahqua' (Singlish for transsexual) and one member decided to report him to the police for a kick.

He got arrested. Under the controversial Sedition Act, which I feel is poorly-defined and in the long-term, will only serve as a weapon for races to express their hate, using so-called seditious remarks as an excuse.

Feel offensive against another race? Simply Google up something against your own race, report it to the police and bask in the pride of legally attacking that race.

Remember: Racism is as much about tolerance of other races as it is about being tolerable to other races.

Back to the topic. Franco might have been racist for that moment, but I can't tell who is the real baddie here. Is it Franco, who in a fit of anger expressed a racist sentiment that many Singaporeans feel but never express? Or is it the self-righteous pricks who not only made assumptions on his sexuality and ridiculed him - but reported him to the police just for kicks?

Be a good boy. Always pretend you're happy with everything. Never express opinions. Never voice disagreements.

And you'll be safe and sound here in Singapore.


And in a situation that involves me.


Classmate posts something in the class email list titled 'Why we are made to be vegetarians', quoting a blatantly unscientific article.

I replied:

As a meat-lover (and proudly so), I have to encourage all my classmates to take the article with a huge pinch of salt. Remember your physiology, biochemistry and anatomy, and it becomes pretty obvious that that article is one of the many crazed heretical articles that will nuke the decades of health education that society had been spending so much time and money on.

(Some rebuttals, excluded for length)

Rubbish on the Internet, uneducated folklore - these are the real demons of public health that we have to tackle in this modern age where people are inundated with so much information but not the power to discern what is true or not.

(Explanations that vegetarianism is not an easy choice to make, considering the possible pitfalls, again, excluded for length and jargon.)

But back to the topic. We are medically-trained and therefore have a responsibility to critically vet whatever we read and distribute for accuracy and safety. We gotta understand, that as future medical professionals (Yes, 'professionals'! Such a big word.) it'd be a travesty if we endorse untruths and perpetuate unhealthy health beliefs and behaviour. The quoted article is hogwash.


OK, maybe I wasn't being the politest of guys. But the truth-seeker in me needs to make sure such hogwash doesn't get propagated along. Especially in a community of future doctors.

But as I say, in Asian culture, disagreement is invariably considered bad. No matter how I put it.

It can't be my tone or language that's at fault - I've double-checked. No ad hominems, no fallacies. Just some enthusiastic slamming of the quoted article, and I was careful not to place any blame on anyone. Phrases used: "We gotta understand", "We are medically-trained and therefore have a responsibility".

But the classmate decides to take it as a personal attack on him and vegetarianism.

Why do I even bother. I should have just penned a brash "The article you quoted sucks. Reasons being: ...."

2 other classmates were totally civil about it and gave informative replies, rather than descending into mudslinging hell.


And he says:

My purpose in forwarding the article was simply to either have a read, chuckle and then forget abt it, or to at the least think abt it for a while. My entire family and I are vegetarian; it hasn't always been easy, but I can't imagine life any other way. I AM NOT ASKING ANY OF YOU TO DO THIS, you have no reason to.

What I cannot accept,however, is the insinuation that forwarding such an article to you, my classmates, is unprofessional. These are things your future patients will come ask you about (i would certainly ask my doc, if i didn't know) and if you're gonna dismiss it out of hand, then I'm just going to go find another doc. If i misunderstood your implications, then I'm sorry but I found the tone of the first reply extremely offensive.

Anyways, sorry for kicking up a fuss. I shall not say any more on this.



1. I take offence at you for disagreeing with me
2. Your future patients will, too
3. And people like me, will shun you for that
4. I have poor comprehension skills and can't understand what 'tone' means
5. I'm not going to put in any real effort to justify why I did what I did, NO MATTER WHAT IT'S YOU WHO IS WRONG
6. Shut up, I don't want to hear or talk about this any more. The discussion is over.

Oh, I might have translated wrongly, so I shall humbly add a disclaimer like he did too! If I misunderstood his implications, then I'm sorry but I found the reply extremely unreasonable!

And I'd rather my doctor disagree with me and tell me straight in the face if I believe in some delusional nonsense. And as a medical student, there are times when I had to shoot down some of these false health beliefs.

These patients, they were nice to me about it. After a chat, one of them noticeably gained confidence in his choice of seeking modern medical help for his cancer, after he expressed his ambivalence between that and alternative therapies.

Do no harm. Do good.


I love academic debate. But when it almost invariably degenerates into a 'NO I TAKE OFFENSE AND I REFUSE TO HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY' here in Singapore (and probably in much of Asia), it's utterly depressing.

Welcome to Asia.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Iron Man

In modern art, when is a hero ever not an antihero? Spiderman had its ever-so-geeky Peter Parker, Batman had his own demons and the X-Men is fraught with internal conflicts.

Iron Man is no exception. Aloof, rash, almost-crazed weapon maker Tony Stark was captured by Afghan guerrillas. Admidst adversity, he managed to get away alive by creating a metallic exoskeleton that harnesses the power of the arc reactor that he had previously invented.

After experiencing first-hand the carnage his own weapons can wreak on the innocent, he decides to end his company's weapon production, only to end up at loggerheads with his business partner, who takes things into his own hands......

Iron Man has no choice but to create a MkII exoskeleton, and solve the travesties in his very own corporation that had happened since.

The film is beautifully executed, with seamless special effects and a storyline that is tight and engaging. Robert Downey Jr's firs the role of Tony Stark perfectly as he manages to combine Stark's aloofness, genius and civic awareness into one convincing package.

The reviews are right. While Iron Man isn't one of the more prominent Marvel creations, this wollops Fantastic Four, Daredevil, X-Men and even possibly Spiderman on the silver screen.

This is one movie you must watch.

Just remember that in the real world, vehicles that travel to 80000ft don't ice up just like that. The air at that altitude is too dry, and for a vehicle to reach that altitude, it would have definitely produced enough heat to melt the ice - via the propulsion mechanism and the aerodynamic drag of something as un-streamlined as a human suit.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Secondary Gain

Sports medicine elective. And so I learn about the various ways football, running, jumping and cycling can ravage the human body. After every day in this elective, I feel increasingly thankful that my body has not had any real damage from my cycling habit.

And in this posting, in addition to learning the boring school-ey stuff and fulfilling my posting requirements, I've learned quite alot about how I can keep safe while cycling and running.

Cleat adjustment on clipless bicycle pedals is important - try to get those with some float (i.e. wriggle-room) and keep your feet pointing straight - but not uncomfortably so.

Having a steady and balanced gait is essential for distance running.

Train at above 70% of your maximum heart rate to increase your endurance.

Don't underestimate the power of rest when you're injured.


The long hours are very exhausting, but yes, I do learn quite alot over here. Started at 7.30am, ended at 6.30pm. Particularly long day though. At least I didn't have an exercise-induced migraine to fight with like I did on Monday. Maybe it's just the pain, maybe it's a complicated neurochemical pathophysiological pathway, but migraines really sap my ability to think and concentrate.


Weekend curry @ Delhi Restaurant, Little India:

The only place in Singapore where cars give way to pedestrians, traffic crossing or not.

Tandoori on fire!

It takes quite some gall to sip down this ultra-fermented, ultra-sour lassi drink.

Friday, May 9, 2008

KC the electrochemical cell

I got new earphones. The legendary Audio Technica CK7. They're my 3rd pair of canalphones, i.e. earphones that don't just sit on your external ear, but are jammed right into the ear canal. Sorta like earplugs. This makes them extremely good at isolating external noises, like that irritating old lady in the bus gossiping in some strange Chinese dialect so loudly that you wanna make her taste your bare knuckles.

But shoving objects into the earhole. Sounds painful? Yeah it takes some getting used to, but it's worth the hassle - I've been using canalphones for 4 years or so and apart from having to make sure that your ears are bone dry whenever you use them. (It's a REAL infection risk - and I've gone through that route before.)

OK here's the prerequisite introduction yada yada etc. These are high-end canalphones with titanium housings and huge 11mm drivers (i.e. the coil-diaphragm assembly one often inaccurately calls a 'speaker'). They come with 3 different sizes of rubber flanges so you can get a good fit.

So how does those Audio Technica CK7 fare?

Sound quality:
Excellent. They're easily the best in its class in rendering accurate vocals. Leona Lewis sounds like Leona Lewis, unlike for the Crossroad Mylarone where Leona Lewis prolly sounds more like a Leona Lo (a well-known Singaporean male-to-female transsexual). What is equally impressive is that you can make out every peculiarity of each Boyzone member's voice. And if you're going to ridicule me for liking Boyzone, you suck. They're one of the best boybands. Ever.

Treble extension is good, with a gentle taper-off towards the highs. Bass is deep but rather underwhelming. These are no earphones for dance and other bass-heavy music.

The soundstage is particularly sweet a canalphone. In other words, the band sounds like its playing in front of you, with the guitarist on your left, keyboardist on your right and the drummer's numerous cymbals and toms sprawled halfway across the stage. And oh, these earphones are very unforgiving of poor-quality recordings. Never. Ever. Attempt to listen to low bitrate (128kbps and below - gasp!) audio files on them.

Feels pretty solid. Has a Y-cord which is a little more obtrusive than a behind-the-neck J-cord. However, J-cords have asymmetrical wire lengths for the sides, and that's audiophile anathema.

Microphonics, which is the irritating phenomenon where the sounds of wire sliding against clothing is very uncomfortably conducted through the wires and into your ears, is reasonable for the CK7s, unlike the Creative EP630 I had which had me enduring puke-inducing thumps and grinds whenever I walked down the stairs.

The included flanges felt quite soft and comfortable. However, the S-sized flanges are tiny, the M-sized flanges are a little too large for me and the L-sized flanges would probably be most suited for a reasonably-sized teenage Asian elephant.

Good thing is, the flanges are interchangeable between Panasonic's and Creatives. The Panasonic flanges that I had been using on both my Panasonic HJE50 and Creative EP630 are going to see even more use on my CK7. 4 years and they're far from melting into a rubbery goo. Ain't too shabby eh?

The crunch:
At $119, they're embarrassingly expensive for earphones. ("Don't you have better things to buy?" "I'm happy with my $10 earphones") But they work great for me. And they just might for you too.

My mom refuses to admit that Michael Jackson's Billie Jean sounded great on them - she's particularly impressed by the wide soundstage, or 'stereo effect' as she calls it.


But sometimes, I fear for any adverse electrogalvanic reaction that might happen between my titanium earphones, my aluminium-clad iPod nano and me.

After all, with the copper wires they form a closed circuit. And considering that human beings are essentially bags of saltwater, you can easily see how the KC-iPod-CK7 system is a classical electrogalvanic cell, complete with anode, cathode and salt bridge(KC).

Will my iPod corrode, will my earphones fuse to my iPod via electrogalvanic welding, or will I turn mutant? Only time will tell.


I presented a case for the grand rounds in Nearly Unaccessible (sic) Hospital on Wednesday! Woke up extra early, only to reach there almost-late due to the perennial traffic jams around the area.

Scrambled to get everything ready, loaded the slides into the computer and it was showtime.

It seems like only yesterday when I used to be all panicky whenever I had to present to a crowd. I guess, I gotta attribute my confidence to medical school and to my experiences when I was relief teaching in a school. At that time, that 'yay-I-can-really-teach!' was absolutely confidence boosting.

Rambled on about the case, to all the VERY senior doctors, the doctors training to be specialists, the nurses and psychologists in the department, and the year 3 juniors who were doing a posting in the department.

I wonder if the attentive looks on the sweet boys and girls in year 3 were directed towards the topic I was speaking on or towards my suave body and cute demeanour... Oh dream on, KC.

Presentation more or less went well. Except the painful realisation that I had presented it thinking that the last episode of the patient wasn't really a relapse of Tourette Syndrome, but an anxiety disorder that had brought upon the worsening of symptoms. Argh. I'm noob.

It was a short 10 minute presentation, followed by the patient interview and the doc elaborating on Tourette syndrome.

I dunno if the year 3 juniors were impressed, but one of them asked me questions about the case after that! So I didn't sound that noob I guess. Chatted with a couple of them about their posting, then updated another classmate on a project, then I left for home.

Great success!


Oh no. I'm getting fat and unfit. My BMI is 22.6 which is 0.1 too high by new local standards. Oh no. And that's some pretty nasty irony when I'm currently doing a sports medicine posting...

So I went for an evening run, activating the running muscles I had not used in 2 weeks or so. Cross-training is important, as cycling uses very different muscle groups from running.

Needless to say, I had totally de-conditioned and the short run was slow and painful.

Emo cat agrees.

Think I had better ramp up my training!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ideas of Reference

Yesterday's ride was slow and arduous and painful. Especially so when the sun decided to fry anything and everything in its line of sight.


I feel bad because I got my mom hooked on Google Earth. Incredibly nifty tool, especially for all armchair travellers and people who have the embarrassing pastime of spending hours poring over the Singapore Street Directory in the vain fantasy of exploring lesser-known parts of the island, but never getting to do it because - ultimately - inertia rules and this chair I'm sitting on right now is infinitely more comfortable.

Install Google Earth, enter the destination you're travelling to for your next holiday, use the search function to locate the attractions you wish to go to and the hotels and shopping centres you'd encounter. Then save these places onto your map and you have a rough idea of how to get around the area. Google Earth is cool, and by cool, I mean totally sweet.


Sometimes I fear for the future of Singapore. Everyone's all too eager to find their lucky break to move overseas and start their real lives elsewhere. Why? The transport system has crumbled catastrophically in the past few years. The police let the top terrorist over here flee our detention centre. The ministerial cabinet never takes responsibility for their actions - but take their million-dollar wages, they do. Education is a mess, with educational boards being unable to decide once and for all how we are going to teach out nation's children.


It's past midnight and when the day breaks, I'm off to another 4 weeks of elective attachments. Somewhere in the eastern side of this island. With all the recent complains about the crumbling train system, I shudder to think of how much more painful this commute would be as compared to a year ago.


I crave a chance to open up to any close friend. Unfortunately, geography stretches friendships apart, no matter how we want to believe otherwise. It's quite difficult to comprehend how I can feel so alone and isolated, in the country I was born in. In a country that manages to squeeze 4 million people in just a patch 700 square kilometres big. I can't simply open up to anyone you see?

I try to reach out to be reached out to. But everyone's just so culturally different from me.

Different world-views. There are those who are so religious, they find my brand of logic repulsive.

Different vocabularies. I find myself having to explain the English words I use, and them, they gotta explain those Chinese idioms to me.

Different music. They can't appreciate The Kooks; I can't appreciate Jay Chou.

Different everything.

Maybe I'm a victim the Internet and globalisation, because I won't be what I am and I won't do what I do if not for the strong influences from all the (usually Western) cultures out there. I'm a bastard child of traditionalistic Asian Singapore and the hyper-tolerant, vibrant global Internet movement.

I'm a freak.

Less Than Jake - The Science Of Selling Yourself Short

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Mean Machine, again

Cycled again. This time with a friend.

I'm so exhausted, I'd maybe talk about it the next time I blog. Toodles.

Mean Machine

On most days when I'm on the roads, with nothing but a bunch of aluminium and rubber tubes between me and the hot asphalt zooming under me, I imagine myself as a machine.

I am not my legs. They are merely pistons whose rate per minute I deftly command. Uphill? I mentally slam my throttle and those pistons speed up and send me a little closer up towards heaven. Flesh, metal and rubber, they're all just different parts of the same machine.

It's fun doing sprints on long empty paths, going so fast I feel like I'm gonna lift off the ground at any time. Make sure you have good brakes, reliable tyres and a clean path.

Large engines burn alot of fuel. I REALLY ate alot today. Like, a large chicken cutlet for lunch and Carl Jr's for dinner. And a donut and a couple of coffees in between.


I restored the foldable bicycle of my childhood, it's in surprisingly good condition and needed little more than a clean-up and wire to secure a broken plastic mudguard. That bike had hardly seen even a fraction of what my GT had traversed so far.


Met up with girl, groovy and Rankie today and it was a blast.

Those donuts at Raffles City basement? Tiny, sorta overrated.

I bought a straw-coloured belt to go with my black jeans. And oh yes, it's possible to engage in conversation about prime numbers.

Friends are find and dandy, but it's been ages since I've found someone to love.

Being loved is so exhilarating.

Loving, even more so.

Might it be chemistry? Or just physical attraction? Or merely a manifestation of a biological urge to reproduce?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Queen vs Outkast

This is sheer genius.