Monday, July 28, 2008


I've known that my coping resources aren't good, but when things go wrong they really DO go horribly wrong, and there was no way I could have seen it coming.

Experience has made me cold and cynical. I'd speak volumes on it, but I'd get sued considering how the medical industry will spare no effort silencing me in their protectionist fervour.

Let's just say, if I were to manage hospitals, I'd do things differently. Very differently.

And needless to say, this student internship thing is really taking its toll on me. Realising that junior doctors don't get to do proper doctoring, learning about the magnitude of bureaucracy, watching the relentless progress of disease and death, experiencing first hand the risks of working in hospitals, having your genuine efforts demolished by superiors and generally getting unhinged by one disappointment after another. It takes a really strong psyche to be pummeled by all these at the same time.

Problem is, that hypothetical strong psyche is something I don't have. It's doing horrible things to my mood and all I can do is wait out this last week of this nightmare. That's a luxury that I won't get when I start work proper. Perhaps it's the remuneration that keeps workers all around the world moderately sane, despite the frustration and stupidity of their jobs?

5 more days. Please, please let me stay sane despite it all. I've been taking my frustration on family, friends and various users of the road traffic system. And worst of all, my motivation at self preservation is slowly ebbing away. Sigh.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Part of my morning ride. After 2 failed tries to use Nokia Sports Tracker on my N78, it got a perfect run without losing its GPS signal halfway.

Had a minor row with an idiot and her 2 kids playing badminton in the middle of the cycle path.

Says that she knows when to move out of the way when cyclists pass. I kindly pointed out that she didn't manage to do so when I approached.

Says there's hardly any cyclists using it anyway. I kindly pointed out that I was a cyclist. Are they ignorant or plain stupid?

It's Monday in a while, and I haven't dreaded Mondays in a long while. Back to insane hours and crazy workload.

The weekend's over. And I didn't do anything fruitful with my time. I stayed at home throughout the weekend, hearing the F16s fly over, seeing the neighbours heading out in the best clothes, while I just sat in my room keeping to myself like all good Otaku should.

Chatted with a friend, he's having a ball of a time in American indie music epicentre Chicago. Lollapalooza tickets there are cheaper than SingFest, and they get way better acts. Not to mention, many, many more acts.

Me, I seek cheap Youtube thrills. Alone.

I'm weak.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Hours and hours spent on crowded public transport is getting on my nerves. It's Monday again. Seriously, the prospect of work, and the lack of any decent chunks of time to actually live life is scaring the fuck outta me. Turning up early before sunrise, holding the fort, holding the fort, holding the fort, until almost sunset.

New saddle, and not much time for me to ride on it. Despite this crazy week I squeezed in a 10km run and a 20+km ride so I guess that's not too bad. It's the furthest I can go without aggravating my inflamed hamstrings too badly. Ouch.

Weekend spent milling around with family and relatives to some place in Toa Payoh for lunch. Nothing social to do, nothing fun to do. Tried to watch the Evangelion: You Are Not Alone, but it turned out to be a disjointed 90 minute trailer for the series itself (which I had totally liked). They totally killed the character development the anime series managed so well to create.

My hair is getting unruly. Let's see how long it gets before I'm forced to get it cut. Heh.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


If you're a regular blog trawler who goes around reading your friends' blogs, vicariously living their lives and secretly gloating at how you have a better social life than them, you'd probably already notice that school plays an extremely huge role in filling up the virtual lined foolscap of the cyberspace.

If you're one of those few who are too nice to engage in such voyeuristic as clicking through the archives just to find a photo of the cute girl in class, or secretly snoop on the friends your mate hangs out with, you lied.

Blogs. It's all about trying to put an engaging spin to the most mundane of our daily lives. So, would you make a few concessions on the truth just to sound more successful and social than you really are? Yes. I absolutely would.

Some are better than others at doing that. The not so good ones, talk about school, sharing anecdotes on their boring scholarly escapades that honestly sound like Greek to anyone outside of that particular social circle.

But sometimes, school is all-consuming. And there's really nothing else to talk about, when the bulk of daylight is wasted on illuminating textbooks rather than giving you a nice, olive tan. So, there's really nothing else to talk about.

Such is the situation for me for the past 2 days, doing hospital attachments at a higher level - now I'm busy doing procedures, and that means sucking blood, placing electrical leads, interrogating and shoving various tubes up whatever orifice the human body has to offer.

It's gross, it's bloody and it's messy. That's human bodies for you. Especially sick human bodies. But that's the way things are. Trust me, you wouldn't want to know exactly what I had been doing for the past 2 days. I'm still trying to adapt to the workflow in Far Eastern Hospital after spending so many months doing postings in Southwestern Giant Hospital.

In other words, this is one horribly weak filler post on my poor malnourished blog.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I should write for Top Gear

Was chatting with Richie on whether he should get:

The black Nokia E71.

Or the white Nokia E71.

This is how I would describe the white E71:

Imagine a glowing yellow Lamborghini Gallardo. Designed with elegance in mind. Imagine its flowing lines, the aesthetically sculpted air intakes.

Now imagine the furry powder blue steering wheel cover.

The Nokia E71 is designed with elegance and style in mind - thin, sleek, professional. It comes in a black version, bringing a classy, iPhone feel to it. And it comes with a white version with obvious design cues from my Electrolux washing machine.

Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against white. White is cleanliness. White is simplicity. The designers of the iPod and the Victorian architects had used that to their advantage.

But white is also the colour of a 5 year-old's undies. And cluttering the design of anything white with its numerous keys and trims is like smearing the said 5 year-old's undies with skid-marks.

Don't buy the white E71, unless you cherish those fond memories of parenthood and its aroma of skid-mark removing Clorox.


Richie, Kieran and I threw about some ideas for a gadget Top Gear:

- Clock the Segway on the Nurburgring

- Benchmark the Panasonic Toughbook using typical Top-Gearesque torture tests involving explosives, crashes and spectacular mountain/sea/etc scenes.

- 'Will it survive a drop?' - every week, a gadget will be dropped from a height of 1 storey and tested to see if it still works. Gadgets on the list: iPod, mobile phones, notebook computers, CRT monitors, Blendtec blender, vacuum tube amplifiers, microwave ovens

- Wacky product comparisons - Which mobile phone will work best if you're stuck in a freezer and need to phone for help? (Since the freezer is metal it would put the signal reception of the phone to test, in addition to its cold weather capabilities.)

- And the pièce de résistance - Celebrity iGallop

Now all we need is funding! Interested investors, please click the comments link below and post your quotations.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

On Patriotism

To those who love your country: How much of that love can you justify with logic?

For those of you who have grown up in Singapore in the 80s and 90s, you'd be familiar with the constant media bombardment of calls to love Singapore. National Day Parade on TV, newspaper features every now and then extolling the various things Singaporeans supposedly enjoy.

My first memory of patriotism was when I had to draw the Singaporean flag in kindergarten at age 5. And naturally, that was a graded assignment. For quite a while, I associated patriotism with the act of expressing how much you love the country. Colour within the lines on the national flag, and you're patriotic. Bonus patriotism if you get an A for it. The louder you sing the national anthem, the more patriotic you are.

When I was 12, I stopped singing the national anthem when they raised the flag every morning in school. Figured that it won't contribute one iota to the progress of Singapore or to the happiness of its people. C'mon it's just one silly song we're obliged to repeat ad nauseum! Surely there are more important patriotic things to do, such as keeping Singapore's coasts clean and donating to the poor? Or simply keeping the school canteen clean and therefore letting the Singaporeans in the school enjoy a cleaner environment.

When I was 13, I realised you'd be labelled a total prat if you're a fan of a band just because advertisements and radio chart shows tell you to do so. And why shouldn't one be labelled a prat if he loves Singapore without being able to justify it? Why should 'I love Singapore because I grew up with it and it brings back fond memories' sound any less batty than 'I love my rusty Sanyo microwave oven because I grew up with it and it brings back fond memories'?

When I was 15, I read the foreign news via the Internet and realised that the Singapore they speak of and the Singapore our local press speaks of are really quite different countries.

When I was 16, I mellowed out. And realised that Singapore's clean tap water, low poverty rates, manageable crime rates and decent healthcare are actually quite alright.

When I was 18, I had to pay penace for being a Singaporean. National Service.

When I was 20, I realised that if I were a British citizen, I'd be getting a better and cheaper education there, instead of what I'm getting in Singapore.

When I was 21, I did hospital attachments in school and realised that the sheltered bubble I've grown up in is totally different from the real, working-class Singapore. The phrase '8-5' is really a lie here. Property prices were skyrocketing and incomes static. I realised that a blue collar worker's paycheque doesn't even cover half the cost of renting a decent apartment for 2 people.

When I was 22, I visited Thailand and realised their sanitation, poverty, crime and healthcare aren't as bad as what our media makes it out to be. I visited Hong Kong and realised that even in densely populated places, public transport doesn't have to be slow, crowded and painful the way it is in Singapore. All it takes is proper town planning and funding.

When I was 23, I visited Melbourne and realised that I prefer the weather and the culture there.

And in my whole 2 decades and a third of life in Singapore, no one ever told me what patriotism should mean to me.