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Sunday, 13 December 2009


My Christmas break started yesterday, and since then I've just been bumming at home. Finished up the half-watched 'Saving Private Ryan' on my laptop last night. And while I was in the hospital to hand in some reports earlier, I saw this stash of recruitment booklets on the floor.

It's a recruitment for medical officers for Territorial Army.

And then I had a sudden unexplained interest to join the Army.


The only way I could explain it was, maybe I have an instinct very deep inside of me to stay away from hospitals as far as possible.

Or maybe it's far more interesting to work in the Army.

But.. really?

I think I've lost my sanity somewhere over the past 4 years.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

three chinese santas, running down the street

Sometimes, all you need is to run your heart out.

Run, run like the wind blows.

Honks of passing cars.

Smiles of random strangers.

Waves of little children.

Nothing works better for a little pick-me-up, eh?


Am feeling much better now. Although am really really unfit at the moment. Haha age is creeping up on me, time to hit the gym perhaps?

Thanks so-p and Merv for being so sporting to join me on the Santa Run :D

(and waking me up because I overslept. again.)

Let's do it again next year! (we need to fatten up to look like a proper santa next year :P)


Aight. Back to my 3 Case Discussions, 2 GP Case-based Discussions, and 1 GP audit.

Somebody save me.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

hello from "very remote town"

Ah, internet.

How I missed you.

I've almost devolved into a piece of fossil with no information being constantly shoved down my throat for the past week. Wait, it's just a week? I'm sure from the time I left civilisation till today, several summers have passed.

Ah, time sure passes slooowly without internet.

Well, here I am doing my 'rural' GP block. In the small town of Blairgowrie. Just half an hour's drive away from Dundee.

Was a little disappointed, yes I admit. I was expecting some kinda exotic jungle or remote island or even a town with a pop of 1000 when I chose "very remote town" in my selection. But no, I got placed here. In a town of 8000+, with not only a Tesco AND a Somerfield, but a Cottage Hospital to boot. Conversely that's where I'm bunking in, right above the patients. Joy.

Weather here hasn't been kind too. Not a single day without rain and heavy clouds overhanging the town. It's been more than a week since I last saw sunshine come to think of it, waking up everyday thinking it's still dark outside, when in fact I'm already late.

I even brought along a tripod thinking maybe I can get some amateurish photography done. Oh well, 7 more weeks to go I'm sure there'll be sun sometime in between.

And then 'Ardblair Medical Practice' happened. Yeah, it's like a big event in my life haha :P

Less than a week here, and I've been made to feel like I've been here all along. The ladies at the reception, the practice manager, the IT lady, the nurses, the health visitors, the GPs. And damn, the GPs. Only sat in with half of them so far, but each and every one of them just cracks me up. The stories told behind closed doors, the banter exchanged over coffee break.

I'm sure this is the most fun I've had in medicine in a while.

Oh, and just yesterday there was cake and wine too.

Joy (:


Onto a 'Food for thought'. From the GP tutor during the introduction briefings for our rural GP block:

.. once you study medicine, you will never be a lay person again..

How true, something I've been thinking about on and off over the years. At times I forget that I'm in a privileged position, knowing so much about medicine, about the inner workings of people's bodies, I forget what it felt like to be a lay person.

That sometimes when I talk to others, I subconsciously expect them to have a certain level of knowledge (of medicine), never thought that less than 50% of them know where their heart is.

Truth is, I am a very lucky person to have an education that I've had.

It's a privilege I'm reminded of every time I talk to patients these days.


ps - i'm now connected to the rest of the world because I have my own login to the computers here now. I felt like I just came back from the dead.

Haha yeah right. I was actually enjoying my internet-less days by myself, being a rural boy at heart (just hate big, unfriendly cities). Gone through so many movies in just a weekend, I'm looking forward to getting back to Dundee just so I can download even more movies to watch :D

And I'm pretty amazed how 'free' I am now, not knowing how much time I waste online before this. Ah here I am wasting time online now. Signing off from "very remote town", ta!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

perspective from the other side of the needle

Okay, I lied.

I know I said I'll revive this blog and pull it out from the depths of where-blogs-go-to-lie, but the reasons not to blog grew longer and longer on my mind-written list. It was the lack of inspiration and motivation, really, more than time to blog. As days go by, I grew more and more apathetic about blogging. Once upon a time I can be found typing in front of a computer narrating away on everything, but now, everytime I opened up Blogger's dashboard, I felt a tugging sensation in my mind, telling me, "Why should I even bother?"

For one thing, I have to remind myself, this might be the only footprints left from my past.

So here I am, willing to try again. Let's try this again, shall we?


I was at the Blood Donor Centre today. Just a very impromptu decision I made, to do my bit for the 'Greater Good'. Oh I'm so noble haha. Not that it was something new, been donating blood rather irregularly over the past few years anyway. Remembered the first time I donated blood, way back in college, together with the PM1 gang. Not much else recalled though, ain't sure did I grit my teeth all throughout or did I thrashed about and screamed at the nurses with burning eyes who were ill-bent on drawing blood out of me. I'm pretty sure the second part was just a dream. I think.

Now that I'm in my final year studying medicine (and seen more than I ever thought I would in my life), it's a kinda strange feeling to know so much more about what was going on during the blood donating process, while donating blood.

I used to think the alcohol wipes they use to clean the skin before they stab me with the giant needle contained some kind of painkiller to numb my skin. I made that part up to reassure myself I guess, trying to psyche myself into believing that it'll be a painless process. Mind you, that needle is BIG okay. Like the size of the drinking straw you suck your milo ais out of the glass through. Alright maybe not that big, but it's still big, kay?

As I lie on the bed with my right arm extended and the nurse wiping ever so thoroughly with the alcohol swabs, I glanced at the soon-to-be-pricked site on my arm with a little hesitance. I know I have prominent veins and the nurses do this all the time, but that tiny delusion I used to held on tightly to convince myself "it's not painful, it's not painful, it's not- .. okay, it might sting a little" is all but dispelled by my 4 years of book-hugging.

"You doing fine there?" the nurse asked out of the blue. I came out of the thoughts in my head, as I noted she was looking up at my face. "Yup" I managed to reply as cheerfully as I could, just before she proceed to bring the needle closer .. and closer .. to my skin .. as my eyes widened.


It's one thing to prick others with a needle. It's another thing to let others prick you. I've lost count of how many unfortunate patients have been on the receiving end of the needle in my hand, yet that did not really harden me much to being pricked myself. There is still the hesitance as the nurse wipe at your skin, the fear as you glance at the needle, and the teeth-gritting as you hear the foreboding words, "Sharp coming".

The pain, of course, was insignificant. It wasn't the amount of pain anticipated that caused the gut shrinking as I see the needle, but more of the anticipation of pain itself. Each time during blood donation, I tried not to look away from the needle but ended up turning my head away anyway. Kinda like a reflex that I couldn't stop. Heh. Let's see if I manage to do that next time.

Just an interesting observation of my own self during the otherwise uneventful 30 minutes of getting blood out of me. Oh, besides the bloke next to me getting his needle accidentally tugged out and have his blood pouring all over the floor. Just kidding haha.


PS - Please donate blood as often as you can. It doesn't hurt much (even so, it's more than worth it), doesn't take much time, and everyone (mostly) can do it. I've personally seen lives being saved by donated blood right in front of my eyes. It's the least and the most one can ever do for another, giving them a chance to live :)

Sunday, 5 July 2009

searching for signs of life..

It's pretty sad that most of the blogs are dead..

Oh wait, so is this one.


Be back up real soon. Stay tuned.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

of carousels and candy floss

Having a blog is pretty interesting. For myself, at least.

Once in a while, when I get bored I read back on what I wrote months, years ago. It's like looking through a time machine at my own self in the past. Reading the thoughts my past self was thinking. It kind of felt surreal, like I wasn't that me who wrote that post.

It's like I'm reading another person narrating his my past thoughts.


Long overdue update, I know. There has been so many things I wanna write down here, but no time to write. Yet when I have time to write, nothing seems to come out of my head.

Just to narrate my life here, I'm halfway through my Dermatology block now. Really love this block so far.. mainly because we're being spoonfed again yay! :P. Just sit for tutorials everyday, be a fly on the wall in clinics, no presentation expected, most of all, no ward work to do. I would have been enjoying myself, if not for the fact that it's 10 weeks before our finals and i haven't started my revision. Gah!

On another note, handed in my fourth year project report yesterday. Which has been plaguing me for months, just lying there half-baked. I admit i must have taken my time to do it slowly, but the last week has been the worst and longest week i had. The fatigue and lack of sleep were fighting with my sanity. I wasn't even aiming for a published paper, because my project was apparently 'unpublishable'. Seems like i wasn't the only one guilty of procrastination though, and it's amusing actually seeing a bunch of zombified 4th years in the morning yawning away during tutorials.

Good thing it's over. Now i can lose sleep from studying last minute for the finals instead. Oh, joy.


First day post-project-submission, i decided to finally get those dozens of milk bottles to the recycling centre. Most people can't be bothered and just chuck them into the bin, yes, but i can't help myself but to feel the guilt if i could have done more for the environment, but chose not to. So off i go on the half-hour walk to the recycling centre, before walking on towards the city.

Along the way, i saw a part of my childhood flashed across my mind.

swiped from baliomegatron's flickr without permission

A funfair was set up by the river side, just opposite the local airport. It brought a smile to my face, as i recall the times i've been to these fun fairs. I guess i must have been quite young then, as i can't remember the last time i was there. Back in JB, there occasionally will be some funfair being set up in town. Sometimes we went in just because we happened to see it while on the way somewhere else, other times we joined in the fun because we knew it was held.

Today as I walked past the half-ready funfair, i saw it through different eyes than my wee eyes saw in the past. I saw the trucks that towed those rides, the men that worked hard fixing them up, the same people who travel from place to place bringing the fun to the little kids. Little kids like who i used to be.

I can just imagine the amazement and thrills my blog will be all about, if i had a blog then. Of joy that the funfair has come to town, of delight in taking a bite out of candy floss. It'll all have a magic quality to it, a sort of fantasy land with bright lights at night. Lots of smiley faces probably, haha but they never existed then. Do anyone even remember when did these smiley faces first appear? They were called some quirky 'chat lingo' then. There was even an article listing them, from bucktoothed vampire :-F to the moustached smiley :{). Not long after that, the computers around the world started churning out cutesy voice of 'Uh-oh's, and how we used to laugh at a chatbox full of people trying to talk at the same time, with blinding colours and font sizes increasing out of control.

Ah, memories. But i digress.

Looking at the empty funfair, waiting to admit children with smiles on their faces and amazement in their eyes, i can't seem to relate to the same excitement anymore. The games seem childish and the rides boring. Carousels, slides, candy floss, games of luck. Somehow, it felt like they all have lost their meanings to me. All i see in front of me are machinery and workers who ply their trade from place to place. The magic of funfairs has gone, along with everything else in the past.

As the funfair disappear out of sight behind me and my childhood memories fade, i'm left with just the old and jaded me.

Me who wants the magic of his childhood back.


Now i imagine myself in 10 years time and wondering what the hell am i doing reminiscing my childhood when i'm still so 'young'. Aha just for this, this blog shall survive till then!

That said, happy belated birthday to me! (had a 'surprise' birthday complete with fried tofu thanks to so-p (: damn i'm craving for tofu again.. )

Sunday, 5 April 2009

what holiday?


Our 'Easter' break is almost over now. Come Tuesday, we'll be thrust back into the wards to fend for ourselves again. We will be going through the process of being lost sheep on the first day to being good at pretending we learned something at the end of the 4 weeks, before the whole cycle restarts. Wash, rinse, repeat.

No, you can see I'm not looking forward to it. I don't hate learning, no. I like knowing more things. One can never have enough knowledge after all. What I hate was the expectations that I am learning. That by the end of the block, I should know this and that. Should have watched this and that. Should have done this and that.

Because more often than not, I find myself trying to know this, watch that, do this and that the whole block, instead of really learning.

Especially the dreaded logbooks. Those evil logbooks.

Sigh. But it's a necessary evil and it's here to stay anyway.

Onto something else.

Next block I'll be treading unfamiliar territories. Geriatrics. Or in non-medical-jargon-talk, medicine of the elderly. Commonly known as the most unpopular specialty, next to Oncology.

But I find my little brother's blog post very relevant and inspiring. Do go read.

And tell me if you don't see the most important people in your life in a different light. I know a few psychiatrists.


Till next, ta.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

wanna see Dundee?

Last week, as I sat in the shuttle bus on the one-hour ride back to Ninewells from Perth Royal Infirmary, something familiar caught my eye when I was staring out the window mindlessly.

It's a plain black hatchback. What's peculiar about it is that it has a pole attached onto its roof. And at the top of the pole is something that look like loudspeakers directed at 8 directions.

picture credit: Scoopt/GettyImages

Of course, I knew just what it was the moment I saw it.

All the way back to last year when I was working, I got so bored that most of my time was spent on the internet. And one site I used to check out was (touring the world without leaving your seat! haha)

Which was where I first saw this familiar peculiar looking car.

Yes, it's a Google Street View car! :D

And today, Google Street View of UK went live. No surprise there that Dundee is in the list (:

Too bad I didn't manage to get into any of its photos. I was in the bus after all sigh. But if anyone wants to stalk me check out what Dundee is like, look out below (:

Dundee city centre

View Larger Map

Next time you see a car like that, you know what to do: chase after it and get your 30 seconds of fame! haha

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

nothing makes you cry, like a baby does

I look at the 6-months old baby on her mum's lap.

Those BIG blue eyes, one can easily lose himself in them.

Beautiful little girl, who'd smile when tickled (:

The only thing you'll notice is that she doesn't fix her gaze.

And she has a nasogastric tube up her nose because she couldn't feed yet.

Causing her to make gurgling sounds when she wants to cry.


I look at the parents of this little girl.

The mum was bouncing the little girl on her lap.

Showering her baby with kisses.

The pride in her smile.

The joy in her voice.

The determination in her eyes.


Little girl has been doing much better, says mum.

She has began to smile.


I felt like crying, yet I'm not sure if I was feeling sad for them.

Or that I'm so deeply touched by them.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

*boing boing*

From the distant.. the sweet sound of .. *boing* ..

Spring is coming! :D

Okay that was lame. What, you didn't get it? Spring = *boing*? Fine. Stop looking at me like that.

Must be because of living with Mus for a whole year. I didn't know Lameness is contagious.. :P


Back home in Malaysia, we NEVER talk about weather. Start a topic saying how rainy today is and i doubt there'll be anyone to talk to by the time you finish your sentence. Here? I get this topic so much I doubt there's any other conversation topic that's so 'universal'. We comment on the weather to passing strangers. We talk about it when we got nothing else to talk about. Heck, we even use it as a pickup line. Okay, maybe not.

Well, that is, if it's regarding the weather here, there's always something to talk about.

And one thing I get asked by my patients besides the jaded "So.. how many more years do you have to study?" is definitely "So.. how do you find the weather here?". I replied so many times, I'm almost giving a scripted response by now..

So. The patients I was saying was these lovely people I see in my clinic. Yup, my very own GP clinic. I sat on the GP chair, going through the GP computer, seeing patients as a GP, doing GP work, and printing prescriptions.. for the real GP tutor to sign.

T'was the best 2 weeks of my 4th year. Ever.

From month-old babies to elderly in their 80s, each person whom I brought through the door into my room never fail to make me feel a little better. Even with all their complaints and sickness, they can always manage a smile when I greet them. A little chatter, a little banter, and I could easily forget they're actually burdened with their illness and their problems behind those smiles.

And most of the time, even when I haven't really done anything much for them, they'll always thank me.

As one of my mates put it, "Here, the patients expect us to talk to them. Unlike in the wards, where we (and even the patients!) always feel like what we're doing is not helping the patient at all." Perhaps that's why each of us love our GP block. For once, we're not being these pesky students disturbing the patients' rest and being in the doctors/nurses' way.

I concur.

Back to the topic on weather, some of you must have read/heard about the weather we've been getting over here in UK. Last week or so, there had been a snowstorm all over UK (as you can see from all the Facebook pictures everyone's putting up). Didn't thought it'll hit Dundee as well, but just last week, we had the thickest snowfall for first time in years (so they say).

It was so bad, they couldn't clear the roads fast enough before it was resurfaced with snow again. Which caused me to be stuck in town for a couple of hours, because the bus service had to be stopped.

So bad, that I heard stories from the other clinic staff bout how one car stopped at a traffic lights, and began sliding down the slope. Sideways. Bout how they're planning to leave their cars at the parking lot and walk home.

Must have been 6 inches of snow at least!

That was just last week.

This week, the sun came back with all its shining might. Temperature rose past 10Celcius for the first time since November (and just last week it was subzero). I can even wear just one layer of tshirt out and not freeze to death.

Funny how quick the weather can change. Still, finally winter's over and spring's coming.

Hell, it's bout time we get some sun.

ps - I'll be posting some interesting cases I saw while 'playing' GP for the past 2 weeks on the batch blog, so be sure to check it out :)

pps - there you go so-p, something for you to read! haha

Monday, 26 January 2009

out of sight, out of my mind

I was actually thinking of posting something, anything, on this blog.

Got a couple of things that got thru my mind over the last few weeks, figure I might want to write it down.

Like how my psychiatry block is coming along, how interesting psychiatric patients really are, how i'm currently isolated from the outside world, how i think i'm going mad with this self-imposed social isolation, how i dreaded the weekend because it meant my only source of internet is closed, how i dreaded the weekdays because it meant i have to find something to do in the hospital myself again, how i died-ed in the accommodation each day from boredom because i'm the only one inhabiting my flat, how i kept the radio on each night just so that there's some noise, how when i turned it off the silence i hear can be so deafening, how i wonder what it must have felt like to be schizophrenic, how being a doctor is a risk factor for mental illness (or psychiatric illness, to be politically correct), how today is chinese new year yet it's not, how the last piece of Matalan jacket i was eyeing just got snapped up the day i decided to buy it, how i laugh reading the msn chat logs stored in my laptop, how i miss the days way back in first year of IMU (i didn't know we were that bitchy concerned haha :P) ..

But meh .. guess i'll leave it for another day.

Happy Chinese New Year guys.

Random family update since previous post:
Cousin found out she's having a boy coming in third, little brother got a job at Sony Centre, little brother quit his job, older brother got a car in Aussie, i think i'll be here for a little while.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

looking back and looking forward

[hide/show auldlangsyne]
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' lang syne

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot,
Sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
For auld lang syne.


[hide/show auldlangsyne]

Auld Lang Syne
Robert Burns

2008 has passed, 2009 has come. Somehow it felt time has passed too quickly, yet it also felt I've been stuck in the same time for far too long.


How has 2008 been for me?

Left IMU, left Vista Komanwel for the last time.

Looked for work with Mus, worked for the first time in my life, earned my first ever paycheck (complete with berbanyak drama haha).

Sat in a long-haul flight for the first time, left Malaysia for the first time (aside from going to Singapore).

Came to Dundee, learned to live on the other side of the world from home.

Got to know old batchmates that I've never talked to before, got to travel and meet up with friends all over UK.

Started clinical phase of studies, took blood from patients for the first time.

Experienced seasons for the first time, felt snow crunching underneath my boots for the first time.

Learned how to ski for the first time, fell down countless times in the process.


2008 has seen a great many changes in my life. From being almost fully independent and earning my own dough even just for a while, to leaving my home and coming to a totally unfamiliar town. I'll say 2008 was a great year for me, for the new experiences I had kinda made me a grown up now.

Never one to make new year resolutions, not even one to have any ambitions in life, I realise it is time I take control of my life and not let luck or fate or destiny or whatever it's called dictate what becomes of me. So to start off I'll make a list here of my resolutions for 2009:

1. Study everyday, allocate at least 2 hours for studies.
2. Be more organised and plan in advance, especially with regards to meeting deadlines and being on time (especially waking up early!).
3. Be more active and get some exercise (already bought weights to pump, will do jogging once it gets hotter)
4. Spend less time in front of the computer, don't waste so much time doing nothing.
5. Donate blood every 3 months. (starting with this Saturday! (: )
6. Donate to a charity or to a street performer at least once. Give away unused/unwanted stuff like clothes.
7. Be more environmental friendly. Use less paper, recycle more.
8. Support free range/free trade foodstuff more.
9. Finish reading at least 4 books.
10. Control spending, do not buy too much unnecessary stuff (keep within my ₤400 monthly budget).
11. Blog more. This might be the only way I can look back on my life next time.
12. Talk to people more, approach more patients, get to know more local friends.

Think that's enough for now haha. Let's see how many I can break keep in a year's time.

Happy New Year 2009 everyone!