Sunday, November 15, 2009

An interlude.

I wish I could tell you I'm alright,
But as a boy I was told not to lie.
There's so much I'd like to write,
So many open ends I'd like to tie.

There's paragraphs that I'd like to pen,
But my soul is owned by the routine of the day.
My energy is sapped by work enough for ten men,
All for what? A measly pay.

Monday, October 5, 2009

5 things I hate about Malaysia - 2: Law And Order

Here's a short one.

Malaysia is lawless. Illegal parking is abound. Drivers there are too selfish to comprehend that illegal parking equates obstruction equates traffic jams for all. Well, duh?

Most taxi drivers - or drivers for that matter - do not use seatbelts. Malaysians go to the temples and mosques to pray for a safe journey, then subsequently get into their cars and speed along the highway without using any seatbelts.

Seatbelts are more reliable and better-proven that divine intervention. Would you rather pray for a safe journey, or do things that are statistically proven to increase your likelihood of having a safe journey? Well, duh?

Malaysians have very strange ways of ordering their priorities. Crime and fraud to them are inevitabilities, not social ills. Laws to them are a method to make sure that power remains in the hands of those who already has it, rather than as a means to a safe and fair society.

I don't get it. I simply don't get it.

Every road I cross in Kuala Lumpur, I fear for my safety.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

5 things I hate about Malaysia

Earlier this week, I had visited Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia. Now, I think I appreciate Singapore quite a bit more than before. I don't have many pictures, because Kuala Lumpur is generally an ugly place with nothing much to photograph. Furthermore, I simply wasn't in a photographic mood.


Just as Malaysia disappeared from the view of our small aicraft window, we started our descent into Kuala Lumpur. We were landing southwards, so we had to make a loop around Putrajaya before landing. Putrajaya's this really beautiful ghost city that was purported to be the future civic district or something, but in reality its roads were empty and deserted.

We made the final turn over some marshland and landed in Kuala Lumpur Inter nation Airport.

Thing I hate about Malaysia 1: Signboards, or the lack of them

It is nothing short of an insult when is greeted by an airport completely bereft of proper signboards.

Just 30 seconds of stepping out of our Singapore-registered plane, onto Malaysian property, I found myself lost. Now, where the fuck is the arrival hall?

I would think that its rather important to provide clear directions to it, since everyone would be looking for it, no?

I had to amble around aimlessly for about 200 metres, before I found a map.

I couldn't find the arrival hall in this map, so I had to glance sideways to the other map.

There it was, in another building.

Now, how do I get there?

Apparently there's some people mover at the end of the terminal that connects both buildings. We went to the station, only to find 2 platforms, so we waited in the middle, wondering which platform would be used. When it had finally arrived, we squeezed into the absurdly crowded people mover nose-to-armpit. Disgusting.

No signboards, no arrows, no guides. Just a map for you to figure out everything by yourself.


That is not the way any city should welcome its visitors.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Today is the day

I'm changing my life. Yay.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

There's only so much the body can take

The adage goes: "what does not kill you, only makes you stronger."

But what if it does kill you?

Work in this month's department had been horrible - so much as as to break me down mentally and even physically.

I'm on sick leave because of a bout of nausea and diarrhoea, likely due to to the unhygienic practice of working and eating at the same time.

Here's how usual lunchtime goes: hurriedly type out some semblance of a discharge summary, and while the computer takes its obligatory 10-15 seconds to save it, grab 2 biscuits from the package using my left hand, which was previously flipping the pages of the case notes which was previously flipped by hands which had just touched the skin of patients which is probably faecal contaminated.

Yes I do know that it's not polite to wolf down food so rudely. I do know that it's gross and unhygienic. And I do know that biscuits are not proper lunch.

But what other choice do I have?

I can't grab a sandwich; it would take too much time and the nurses who had been pressuring me to get some tasks done on the other side of the building are already threatening me that they're going to inform my superior. I'd made some sarcastic comment about how she was being a bitch and how I have some bleeding patient or some sick patient who needed more attention than her sick obsession with paperwork. Stress makes all of us monsters. I've been catching not just me - but the nicest of my colleagues screaming at pharmacists and nurses for getting in the way of things - even if their intentions are good.

On the worst days we have just 2 doctors to handle more than 30 rather sick patients, a doctor-patient ratio that would be alarming even in third-world countries. It's a mad rush to get work done, and sometimes, it is impossible to get everything done. There's so much we could do for the patients, but simply have no time to do so. No matter how fast we walk, no matter how we make rude noises to get the tardy porters out of our way on the corridors, there's simply not enough time.

The number of corners we have to cut just to stay afloat disgusts me. We don't even have as much time to take proper medical histories and do physical examinations as the classically-overworked emergency department does. We make numerous medical errors in our work, but that's inevitable. It's a choice between giving all our patients substandard care; or giving some of our patients great care and for the other patients - no care at all.

It's exhausting.

It started out with random chest pains and palpitations - the unfortunate effect of chronic stress and anxiety.

There were days I had wanted to simply end it all. Yes, it was that bad.

And yesterday, I got the first sick leave I had taken in about 7 years. I really couldn't work, nauseated with such a bad tummyache.

I must not let my job kill me.

Great and I just received news that this posting will be extended 3 days because of manpower issues.

Life truly sucks. Will this nightmare ever end?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Philosophy of Buying A Camera

Over the past couple weeks, I have been faced with a Sisyphean task - yet again, I had to procure a camera as the old one had died. This time, it's for my brother's wedding.

It's a small private affair, so professional photography is out of the cards. Being the family photographer, I was saddled with the thankless task of capturing my own family members in various states of embarrassment.

The essence of the product

The current camera had died a premature death from overuse - so I had to get a new one. But before we head on to specifics, we have to get our definitions spot-on.

Define camera.

Yes, what is a camera?

To some, it's an oversized fashion accessory that people sling around their necks to express an facade of intellectual artistry.

To others, it's a trophy to prove one's economic worth. Sadly, cameras are often considered luxury goods, which is honestly a fucking insult to the credibility of photography as an art or a profession.

To me, it's a device that takes pictures. To hell with the vanity. It doesn't have to look credible or impressive. It doesn't have to have a level of complexity commensurate to my photographic abilities.

All it has to do is to take pictures effectively, at a level that I am satisfied of.

The absurdity of choice

The problem is existence is that we are forced to make decisions we have to stick with, even before we truly know what we're getting into.

We can only guess how much of the camera's zoom we're going to use, or the number of megapixels we really need.

We could mull and mull over the technical features of the camera and compare them with our perceived needs and wants, but it will only add to our existential angst.

Unless of course, you're a masochist who loves the pain of camera shopping.

In the big scheme of things, do the extra 8 times of zoom range matter to the way you live your life? How about your overall happiness? Or add any meaning to your life?

No, not really. They're all just minor distractions from the harsh reality of camera shopping.

As you can see, in camera-buying one is faced with a myriad of difficult decisions that, in the end, account to nothing meaningful.

The illusion of choice

So it was with pleasure that 2 of my potential choices, the Lumix FZ28 and the Canon SX10, were out of stock in most reputable shops in Singapore.

It was with pleasure that my pockets aren't infinitely deep, and I wasn't willing to spend more than $600 on a camera.

It was with pleasure that I knew I needed the following features for my photography. Long zoom, image stabilisation and manual controls.

It was with pleasure that there wasn't much of a choice left, as the Canon SX110 was the only camera in stock that fit my demands and my budget.

The choices that I was faced with was essentially an illusion. To be specific, I had the freedom to choose, but not to get what I choose.


So what if the wedding photographs turn out to be excellent?

Either way we print them on paper that is going to turn yellow and crumble.

Either way, they fade.

Either way, our eyes go blurry with age.

Either way, we fade.

The photos crumble and disintegrate, and our bodies fail us.

In the really big scheme of things, it's all the same outcome. When we die, the things we do end up as the inalienable past that the future would be based on. However, what meaning does it add to our expired lives?


Monday, July 27, 2009

I hate my job

Just like perhaps 90% of people on earth.

Futile isn't it? We work ourselves to death doing the things we don't want to do.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My comfortable blanket

So I'm back again.

I took some time off blogging to try new writing styles and concepts, but it only made it more obvious to me that one can't deviate from his natural style for too long. It not only gets tiring, but it's just so damn pretentious.

I could pepper my blog with larger-than-life hyperbole and comical anecdotes, but it would take off as elegantly as a brick with a propeller.

I could write political discourse, but I don't have the interest.

I could write it like one of those many Bridget Jonesque self-depreciating commentaries, but, why?

Over the past 10 or so weeks I've learnt quite a bit.

I've learnt that I truly am not cut out for a life of achievement.

I've learnt that chilling out and doing nothing much at all is what I really want to do.

I've learnt that the world is a superficial one.

I've learnt that a nice haircut makes me more attractive.

I've learnt that there are females who had been attracted to me.

I've learnt that there are males who had been attracted to me.

I've learnt that work can be really, really tiring.

I've learnt that work is seldom rewarding.

I've learnt that I'm overworked and underpaid because people and their government both refuse to pay for their medical care.

I've learnt that I don't earn enough to avoid credit card application rejections.

I've learnt that it's really hard to work and lead a healthy lifestyle at the same time.

I've learnt a lot.

I'm still learning.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


feeling depressed.

And hopeless.

I dunno why I had just written this.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Work; Sleep

I'm numb.

As expected, she ain't playing it nice.

I'm floating along. Just trying to justify being paid a salary.

Feeling like I'm in a foreign land, trying to understand languages I don't speak. Is this really MY country?

I don't exactly feel out of place here, but I know I'd be better off elsewhere. Maybe next year, I'll get that chance.

I don't love my job, but I don't hate it either.

Where do I go from here?


I'm afraid.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This blog is on temporary hiatus

I'm gonna figure what I really want to write.

Mulling over a new blog project that would be somewhere else, under a different nickname.

No it's not that I'm gonna be too busy to blog or something. - With technology the way it is these days, blogging on the go is easy, especially on my hour long bus rides. There is no excuse for me to play the 'busy' card and let my linguistic skills go to ruin.

No, it's not any life events/potential libel/existential epiphany/illness that is stopping me.

I just want to re-evaluate my blogging goals and embark on a new blog project, ok?

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I passed my final exams.

There's 'ass' in 'pass'. Hurhurhur.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taiwan - Living

Being earthquake-prone, most of their buildings aren't very tall.

Betel nut stalls. Apparently the better looking they are, the fewer betel nuts you get in a NTD$50 pack.

Ximending, youth shopping capital of Taipei. Pretty surprised that their HMV equivalent has one whole shelf of LGBT titles, and 2 shelves of pornography.

Student performance.

Taiwan - Buildings

Streets of Taipei:

The facade of Five Cent Driftwood Restaurant, built by a lady who was once so poor she had to use rejected bricks and driftwood to build herself a home. Inspired by that, she went on to build restaurants using the experience she had gained.

Taipei 101:

Huge tuned mass damper.

Tallest completed building in the world, with the fastest lift in the world. Unbelievably, it's faster going up than down.

Chiufen, built on a cliff:

Taiwan - Cultural Attractions

Ilan Cultural Village:

Fo Guang Shan near Kaoshiung:

At the foot of Alishan:

The Sao people making use of tourism and aggressively selling their Ling Zhi products:

Temple at Sun Moon Lake:

Aboriginal Cultural Village just off Sun Moon Lake, which is a discordant combination of an amusement parks (with roller coasters) and displays of how the indigenous people used to live:

They had a number of amusement park rides, including the UFO drop - a freefall ride. 2 water flumes too, and a blatant copy of Disney's Space Mountain which was a disappointment.

The park includes an European Garden, which has no relevance to indigenous Taiwan people at all.

Back in Taipei, and the National Palace Museum was a collection of Chinese antiques. The place was teeming with Chinamen, which was really frustrating.

The Grand Hotel in Taipei: