the update that turned into a rant

quick update.. i didn't fall off the face of the earth, though it may seem that way.

finally settled into new place in sydney. internet's finally back up and all's seemingly well after the moving fiasco. off til a few days after the new year. am at the internet terminal in hong kong at the moment waiting to board my flight to taiwan in a couple of hours.

the flight here was awesome. the cabin crew was awesome. well, mainly the air steward making all the announcements. he spewed some gems such as.. "here at virgin atlantic, we employ some of the best in the field. unfortunately for you, none of them are on this flight to serve you today." or "please be careful when opening the overhead compartments. contents may have moved during the flight and may drop out to hit your neighbor on the head." the best of them was "please remain seated until the fasten seatbelt light has gone off. on today's flight, we will be needing volunteers to stay back and clean the toilets for us. we will assume that those of you who stand up are volunteering." *beam* man, i like the guy. unlike the air stewardess that greeted me at the door when i was boarding the flight. she yabbered something in cantonese, waved in the general direction of my seat... all without establishing any eye contact. i moved along and got stuck in the galley between first and business class. i was distracted by the skybar they had in the first class section and had no idea where the hell my seat was, even though i knew it was seat 20k. grr.

and this continued throughout my stay here, though it'll amount to less than 24 hours in this place. every bloody person assumes that i understand cantonese. a friend suggested that i should walk around with a taiwanese flag sticker. i like that idea. i mean, c'mon. this isn't some seedy little shop in the middle of the city. this is a place where international travellers congretate and disperse again. you can't assume that every asian face you come across automatically belongs to a brain that recognizes cantonese!

oh, poo. you've gotten me started on my rant. let's go back to when i stepped off the bridge connecting the plane to the terminal last night. first thing i saw was this guy sitting in the driver's seat of one of those little airport buggy thingies with a printed, laminated sign announcing "HK$50 RIDE TO IMMIGRATION." wtf. i was like, oh man.. welcome to china. sorry, i'm kinda biased. seriously.

and then there's what seems to be the general lack of ability to give directions. i couldn't find the shuttle bus counter to the hotel. i called up the hotel. "i know i'm supposed to go to counter A16 or B16 for the shuttle bus. i've just arrived at the airport and can't find it. can you tell me how to get to your counter?" i asked.

"you go to counter A-one-six for the shuttle bus."

"yes, i know that. i can't find it. i'm behind the information counter/screen at the arrivals hall. how do i get to your counter?"

"it's at the arrivals hall. you will see it"

"i DON'T see it. how do i get to your counter?"

"hold on a minute, please"

so she transfers me to her colleague and we repeat the same exchange again. this time, i managed to clarify that i should be able to see the counter as i come out from customs so i backtracked and finally found the dinky thing.

and then today at the airport, i approached the information counter (where they have actual people rather than a touch screen this time) to ask where i could find internet access. the guy waved in the general direction and said "there's an internet cafe at the end" gee, thanks. the "internet cafe" turned out to be this stand of 3 monitors tucked away, literally in the corner of the bloody terminal. in order to use it, you had to buy something from the coffee shop, place a deposit so they'd give you an usb mouse that you can plug in to use the computer. bloody hell. at least the mocha brownie chillino i got wasn't too bad.

anyway, i hope this isn't gonna set the tone for when lu and i begin our gallivanting around this place at the beginning of the new year. in the meantime, imma start looking for a bloody big taiwanese flag sticker to wear when i come back here.

hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. stay outta trouble, have lotsa fun and see you next year =)


the gods must be crazy III

seriously, i hope there won't be a fourth installment of this post title.

so here it is. peruse at your leisure while i'm out at the back trying to find a brick wall to bang my head against.

my first reaction was - is this legal? inertia won out. after all that crap during med school where i've presented hard evidence to disprove whatever facts and statements they had thrown my way, i ended up with pyrrhic victories at best. i don't have time to wade through all that so hopefully, my application for a new place in the same complex will get approved.

i finally thought i could have enough stability and predictability in life to warrant some longer-short term planning. i've long since given up on long term planning unless they're the lifetime goals type. so much for the moo cards i've gotten printed off for you guys. they're prolly gonna arrive in your snail mailboxes with a sticker over the old address now, seeing that dumping them would kinda be a waste. *grumbles*

so yeah, if i'm not around as often as i once was.. well you'll know that i'm safe and sound but just busy gnashing my teeth as i sort out some semblance of stability for the upcoming year.


Happy Halloween!

It's that time of year again. By the ghost of the Great Pumpkin! Merlin's beard! I found a normal pumpkin to carve this year instead of having to resort to various gourds, eggplants, apples and eggs like some Halloweens of yesteryear. *beams* So here it is, a good 8- or 9-pounder =)

Be it trick or treat that strikes your fancy,
A costume party or something in between,
Whatever lights up your face like an all hallows' pumpkin,
May you have a happy Halloween =)


brisvegas adventures

apologies if the pictures take a while to load, especially for those of you in australia. our broadband is a third world joke

* * *

late thursday afternoon, it was
last minute plans and schedules abuzz

for some reason, it slipped our minds
closed check-in counters, we would find

thirty minutes before the flight
that's when we were supposed to alight

what to do, we stared with dropped jaws
next flight won't do, we suddenly paused

our eyes wandered around to other counters
as we hoped for better encounters

we had to forgo our jetstar seats
'twas virgin blue! we admitted defeat =(

so much for gloating 'bout our $50 tix
forked out $300 more to solve our fix

'twas the most awful feeling
hearts and brains still reeling

it physically hurt to part with the dough
a reminder of the seats we forgoed

to take our minds off the pain
we splurged on goodies to take on the plane

hazelnuts and almonds, coated in choc
bottles of juice, aye did we stock!

lucky for us, there was one last flight
or else we would've been stranded for the night

as we approached the departure gates
our bags were scanned as rules dictates

mine encountered trouble, but it was cleared
undergo an explosives test, anj volunteered

the seconds ticked past and we could finally board
when we saw our plane, we were both quite floored.

thank goodness it was, indeed the wrong plane
cramming us all in, that's a tad insane!

we turned and saw a much better view
one that contained a virgin blue

we arrived in brisbane, safe and sound
we saw the taxi line, then we frowned

phew, 'twas a quick drive into town
our hotel was easy one to track down

boarding the elevator upon checking in
getting to our floor threw my mind into a spin

we arrived at our floor and found room eight-oh-nine
'twas like this apartment, the one i call mine!

the bed and decor were all quite purdy
tho the bathroom had slime, what a pity.

the view from the balcony wasn't too bad
the city by night was kinda rad =)

our tummies rumbled, but since it was late
room service fries with aioli were what we ate

the course was awesome, exceeding expectations
it came complete with gastronomic temptations

we went though shock, anginas and drownings,
anaphylaxis and other stuff, astounding!

instead of working on that blasted letter,
we joined a night tour to know brisbane better.

but just before embarking on our trip
there's food and cash we had to equip!

so we found the mall, 'twas not a ten-minute walk!
but 'twasnt far enough to make us baulk

uh-oh, we went. look at the time!
we're gonna be late, our anxiety climbed

we managed to hail a cab passing by
stuck in traffic, we sat there and sighed

in the spirit of this trip so far
we had hailed the cabby that was a tad sub par

he had two left hands and two left feet
he didn't know our hotel's main street

we had enough, we were in a hurry
the lights were red, we left in a flurry

crossing the street in such a big rush
anj and death and a very near brush

'twas another cabby who was turning
cussed us out til our ears were burnin'

we didn't have time to care so much
we had a tour to catch and were late as such

reaching the lobby, a man we accosted
but we got the wrong man and away we fled

we finally found our tour guide name frank
he was the total opposite of that old crank

he took us all on his little bus
to see the sights he thought were a must

we cruised through paddington and past government house
and up mount coot-tha as quiet as a mouse

dinner was served, a tangle of noodles
not something i could eat oodles and oodles

we later headed down park road
which was the mini eiffel tower's foreign abode

a thai temple, we also passed
a pretty glow, did it cast

under some arches, the group jovially traipsed
oooh-ing and ahh-ing at the shadows and shapes

we hit south bank and later story bridge
we went river cruising, 'twas chilly as a fridge

that cruise was nearly the death of us
surprising how not more came to cuss

for frank had paraded us past the crowds
to the front of the line, we feared ka-pows!

we got off safe at mulberry park
in time to see the tottering girl in the dark

once again, we boarded our ride
city views and a mormon church, we eyed

14 million, it took to build
gold and marble, it was guild o.0

some time later, after chinatown
'twas when the tour began to wind down

we cruised passed fortitude valley
and meandered through some back alleys

all this while, there was this girl
annoying as hell, i could hurl

she wouldn't shut up, not since the ferry
she had a running commentary

we finally returned for a good night's rest
'twas our last night as this hotel's guests

we woke up to a beautiful day
wishing we'd planned a longer stay

the rest of the day passed without a glich
we caught the train without a hitch

arriving at the airport with too much spare time
they wouldn't check us in, not for a dime

so we sat around yakking about hair
anj yanked out my greys, i began to care

some hours later, after dinner and yak
of ecgs, hair and math attack

we were finally boarding our intended flight
can't wait to go home, the end was in sight!

a mere hour later, we landed in newie
we awaited our bags in the midst of chop suey

we made it back home, well before midnight
and greeted our homes with much delight

so that's the gist of the past few days
it could've been worse in so many ways


the gods must be crazy II

my tummy was a'rumbling
and the sky was turning dark
so i trudged to my kitchen
i was hungry as a shark

i sifted through the freezer
and then right through the fridge
i ended up cooking hot dogs
as long as brooklyn bridge

a couple of eggs then caught my eye
and signaled a scrambled egg crave.
things were bubbling merrily along
if only my tummy would behave!

i had made a mess on the kitchen top
and so i reached for 'em towels
the ones with my happy cows sprinkled 'round
and then i nearly swore in vowels

for my fingers had tapped, within the tube
something quite soft and furry
it took a while to register
i withdrew my hand in a hurry!

bewildered still, i dropped the roll
and as soon as i did,
this disgusting thing dropped out too
it plopped and fluttered and slid

EWWWWWWWW what the fuck!!
i silently screamed
too horrified and shocked
then, more profanities streamed.

ew ew ew, you frickin furry thing
ew ew ew, as i scrubbed my fingers clean
all thoughts of dinner were suddenly gone,
as my tummy lurched into my spleen.

hey, you.. yes you up there
you've had your fun with my parking space
so quit messin' with me, won't you please!
you'll soon turn me into a basketcase =(

crime scene and escaped felon


story of my life

so i went to get my keys this weekend and finalize the lease contract for the new place... pix of empty place soon, anj. or your could just make the trip down to see it in person with me one of these days =)

the lady at the rental office gave me all the bits and bobs needed and finally, directions to get to my parking spot that went something like this:

  • car park ramp just around the corner - go down the ramp
  • when you get in, turn left
  • then turn right - drive all the way done (yes, she meant down)
  • turn right again - go up ramp
  • up ramp - turn right
  • #719

goodness.. i thought it'd never end when she said she had better write down the directions. what is this, an obstacle course? was what went through my head. images of my driving test suddenly flashed through my mind.

this is what greeted me when the spot was spotted.



thank you for the snip, whoever's up there - that's not funny.
thank you, hG, for the snap and the company.


passionate inertia

passion. i used to chortle everytime the principal of my secondary school in singapore said it. she said it was one of her favorite words, that it should be in all our vocabularies, that we should all apply it liberally in all we do. mind you, i was 13 and wanting very much to fit into this odd sea of black-haired asians i was supposed to spend the next few years with. obviously, something about our principal struck their funny bone - it was a strange mixture of amusement, embarrassment and a tinge of respect that they held for her. i guess that was the start of becoming a sheep, although i always found myself straying close to gates and fences... or to the black sheep.

anyway, that's what i'm attributing to the lack of entries of late. a lack of passion. lack of passion towards anything really. nothing noteworthy to write about for my own amusement when i reread past entries. sometimes, that gets remedied by attempts at a ditty to summarize what's been happening. even that didn't evoke any twitches of either heart or brain. i think i've whinged more than my fair share about the idiots running the institutions i've had the honor of working with, or will work with. i think i'm just tired.

i'm finally done with med school but seem busier now than when i had classes. i didn't get the buzz most people have on their last day of school. yes, i'm grateful for having left a sort of hell that i've called life for the past 5 or so years but geez, i was practically on vacation for the last rotation of the degree. what an anti-climax.

i thought i would welcome the free time i have to do whatever i want, and still have the luxury of working on my papers willy nilly. i was even ambitious enough to ask for an orthopedic attachment for the next few months. lucky for me, the universe works in mysteriously awesome ways - it gave me the perfect excuse to back out without seeming flippant. being in no-man's land, neither the university of the hospital would be able to cover me insurance-wise should i encounter an accident during the attachment and hence, i couldn't undertake such an attachment. one of the rare times that being a stickler for the rules has actually worked in my favor.

now, these very assignments i've exuberantly taken on seem to have spiraled outta control. so much to do, so little time! papers to draft, papers to re-draft, professors to track down, housing to settle, movers to find, rental contracts to sort, isps to connect and disconnect to, cars to service, cars to clean, mail to check, addresses to change, conferences to attend, fanfic to read, books to read, med books to review, notes to rewrite, piano to tinkle before contract expires, friends to catch up with, trips and weddings to plan and attend... oh, and idiot drivers to curse. just last night, i ran into no less than 4 of them in the span of the 16-minute round trip journey to the hospital. yes, i digress. anyway, where does that leave the little necessities like eating, drinking and sleeping... and most of all, the need to soak in as much of newcastle as i can before i leave it?

sydney will be new and exciting, but it'll also mean starting all over again. as much as i need this change of scenery, i'm unamused about this whole pulling-out-the-roots business. "oh, it must be so exciting for you to have lived in all those countries!" people tend to gush. i can't understand how it would excite anyone when faced with the prospect of fashioning a new life for oneself every couple of years - losing touch with friends, habits, haunts, laughs. family is in there somewhere but after all these years, i'm used to ... well, not having them physically around.

apologies for being antisocial of late and for neglecting my usual rounds of blog strolling. i'm still stuck in the dungeons with inertia to keep me company. that, and the latest blasted fanfic link i clicked on. idiot child.

shite, has a little snaperism rubbed off on me? or maybe it was the pavlova. merlin's beard, i think i might go sick up now. *winks at anj*


be careful what you wish for..

a few months ago, i was still coming to grips with a vacation i didn't ask for, let alone want. i was stressing over what the hell i could do to fill in the time and make it worthwhile. now, i've been kept insanely busy for someone who is on a 3-day work week. besides the papers i need to write up and the exams i need to study for, i've been hit with a viral bug or two. frankly, i'm quite impressed at myself for being able to stave off any sort of flu-like illness after being in contact with coughing, spluttering, feverish and generally miserable people for 10 hours straight, three days at a time. yay me. i'b now duhking like dis cuz by dose is blocked and id's a horribuhl feeling. =( i'm ploughing through stacks of kleenex faster than hungry hungry hippos. everything seems to be happening all at once and suddenly, i feel like i'm running out of time. spring will already be upon us in another week's time - that's something i'll never get used to. september is supposed to herald autumn dammit. back to school and then the anticipation of halloween not long after, with thanksgiving feasts beckoning and a white christmas. urgh, now i've gotten myself sidetracked. something that's been happening more often of late... anyway, like i was saying, spring is almost upon us and in another month's time, i'll be househunting for a new pad in sydney. hopefully, i'll be all settled by mid-november and that's where the fun will begin when i start to decorate and customize! on one hand, i can't wait. on the other, i'd love to have a couple more months before the time to move rolls around. gotta be careful with what i wish for though - i'll be damned if i get faced with anymore academic hiccups to fulfill my wishful thinking of a few more months free.


paperweights and bloomin' tea

this is what i've been busy with. actually, it's been a week since the course and i'm still trying to recuperate from the onslaught of physiology. besides showing up for my general practice placement, i've been losing my head in the world of fan fiction. fanfic pertaining to the world of harry potter i might add. was never a mad, die hard fan of the series but that's not to say that i don't enjoy the read nevertheless. all i'm saying is that i don't understand what all the hype is about. blasted media frenzy. you want to be transported into magical worlds and lands of fantasy? roald dahl, people. or what about c.s.lewis.. before the blasted movie. or the fanfic authors, though it's rare to chance upon one with a decent command of english grammar, let alone english literature. don't get me started on all those people who interchange there and their at will, or the ones who spell rein as reign. really. if you're gonna misspell it, one would think rain would be a more common homophonic replacement eh?

so with that to occupy me and the occasional thorns of poor english bug me, it's been hard to make myself fall into any sort of normal routine or to pay attention to priorities. i get too carried away in alternate universes until the wee hours of the morning and then drag myself to bed bleary-eyed. i wake up as the sun's about to set.. well ok, i'm exaggerating but i really wish i could wake up a lot earlier. it's just really easy to laze in bed when you know that you don't have any appointments to get to. i have hardly touched a psychiatry book in the past 2 months, have yet to put together my powerpoint presentation as an assessment item, my bedroom is a pigsty (though i finally got off my butt to clean the living room and kitchen.. but that's because i had company for tea last night you see) and well.. despite finding stuff to do to fill in the time, i feel just as lost as before. the only difference would be that now i'm stressed and lost. stressed at the shocking speed that time seems to be moving at. lost because.. well, it's the same ol' story so i shan't bore you with that. that being said, i'm glad to feel busy again. busy is good. busy keeps the mind occupied. busy will do for now =)


thoroughly psyched

my psych rotation was an interesting one and i loved the people i worked with. the amount of effort going into end-of-term thank you cards is usually proportional to level of attachment i have to them. although i didn't have much time to whip up the cards, the fact that i used my precious shrinky dink paper and got out the watercolors is indicative of how much i liked the psychs =) was even a tad sad on the last day at not being able to know the outcome of our inpatients' admission. i surprised even myself that i cared that much o.0

now, it's onto my general practice attachment. two days immersed with an awesome gp in a room so cold that polar bears could call it home... couple that with a steady stream of coughing, spluttering, feverish, miserable patients... my poor immune system was overwhelmed =(

despite having moved onto a new rotation, i think i'm still suffering from a psych hangover. a patient of ours came in just last week with a bunch of angry red lines across his back. he was requesting morphine of course. i'm not quite there yet but i gave myself another surprise when i woke up with an ouch. toddled over to the mirror in that half awake state and freaked myself out with what i saw. it was a very wtf?! moment. if i was superstitious, or had this happened a few weeks ago on that friday the thirteenth, i could have probably convinced myself that i had an unsolicited visit from some dark sinister thing. the next thing that popped into my head was a mental picture of me with baby gloves on. and one of those frilly baby bonnet things. with the one-piece pajama suits. a straightjacket momentarily flickered, superimposing itself in the already ridiculous mental image. seriously, who the hell scratches themselves like this? impressive scratches, i must admit but just a tad disconcerting that i did this subconsciously. it still hurts in that stinging sorta way, implying that they're not as superficial as i first thought. makes me wonder what other things i do... or have done whilst asleep o.0 i've gone mental =( they say there's a first for everything - this is one i could do without.


trickling along

aches and pains are all i feel
get a massage, what's the big deal?
my bones, indeed they creak and groan
what a worry, i'm no old crone =(

there's something else bothering me
it seems be a thing i can't see
stressing less with what lies ahead
hasn't done much to lift that dread.

oodles of thoughts and feelings
trapped under my big glass ceiling.
my mind and heart, i cannot peg
which came first, chicken or the egg?

an answer i've yet to find,
it's hard to think with a sick mind
not the perverted kind, mind you
an ailing one, one that can't spew.

plans to make and things to do,
facebook brought a surprise or two
yet i seem unable to budge
no flecks of joy from choc'late fudge

the road ahead, i can't see
it all remains fuzzy to me
plain winter blues, or something more?
summer will tell us, that's for sure.

'til this season's come and gone
the curtains will remain all drawn
i'll trickle along, seeking zen
until they open once again.


a complex complex

before i start my babble, pics from taiwan and singapore are at my flickr.

just let me babble. i'm not looking for words of comfort or anything. the thought of physically talking this through with a meatspace friend makes me sick. writing it down's the next best thing and hopefully, the more times i go through the mess in my head, the more sense i can make of it. let me be and trust that i'll sort this through in my own way and in my own time.

psychiatry really messes up one's mind... or maybe it was because i've somehow ended up with a mind that was more susceptible to psychiatric influences, hmmm. whatever the case may be, i've done one week of psych and i already feel like one of my patients. mind you, psych diagnoses are subjective because if you really think about it, nobody's normal per se. how can anyone really define the limits of normal? if such limits were placed, let's say on intelligence.. then genius and idiots are both abnormal and hence need psychiatric help?

my mood of late could be described as depressed. my affect resides in the vicinity of flat. i get teary sometimes for no apparent reason... sometimes as soon as i open my mouth to talk to someone. one'd think that i would've been ecstatic to see old friends whilst in singapore. don't get me wrong, i was glad to see them but there was no familiar lub-dub i would've had during prior visits. it's this fear of raising expectations to find disappointment later on i think. thank you, med school. thank you for teaching me to aim low.

my appearance is decent i guess.. i'm not stepping outta the house disheveled yet but behavior may be described as largely normal save bursts of impulsiveness - was bored, was cold and impulsively went out to splurge over a hundred bucks on a heater for the living room. before that, i planned my trip so i'd get back less than 24hrs before first day of rotation. i never never do things like this.. i always exercise caution and leave myself at least a weekend to recover from a major trip or event. this time, i thought to hell with it.

thought content and processes are normal, but then again.. what exactly is normal? insight's present and judgement is intact, i suppose. you'll have to tell me otherwise. appetite's there.. increased if anything. sleep's fine - i still sleep like a log. suicidality is minimal with fleeting thoughts of "i could so easily cut myself with this knife. i wonder what it would feel like to slit a wrist" while chopping up veggies or something but they disappear as soon as they materialize in my mind. ever since the starting date issue, i've been feeling down, staring into a bleak latter half of the year. nothing seems worth doing and feelings of worthlessness pay a visit now and then. all in all though, i'm far from dsm-iv criteria for depression of any sort though i'm curious to see if taking an antidepressant will make any difference.

while in both taiwan and singapore, people have been asking if i ever get lonely living alone in an apartment better suited for a family rather than a lone person, in a foreign country away from family. i tell them i enjoy my own personal space. i like coming home to my fluffy rug and to the large expanse of a living room, to be greeted by panoramic views of the hills and the ocean beyond. i don't necessarily need to surround myself with roommates or comany all the time to get by. what i do want is to belong. i want to belong, to find my niche and some sort of stability along with it. i want to belong at school, at work and most of all, in lfe because right now, i don't know where the hell i'm at.


lubbity lub dubs

despite the recent spate of intern ickies, i've been feeling a teeny bit excited. over what, i'm not sure. i guess i can attribute it to post-exam bliss. it would be pretty hard to fail oncology exams, seeing that it was nearly a hundred marks in total but in the meantime, i'll still go hug my tree trunks until they release the results next month. as for the ED osces, they made me one mumbling stammering nervous wreck but i was lucky enough to get the nicest examiners =) i'm not sure if they saw through my facade, or if they genuinely thought that i did well when they gave me really awesome feedback. ah well.

another source of excitement would be QH and his girl coming over to visit. tomorrow! eeek! so much cleaning to do.. my place has disintegrated into a dilapidated disaster due to the recent last minute cramming for exams. means everything else was pretty much neglected.. meant lots of orders of take-out and empty containers littering the kitchen counter. hmm. you didn't have to know that.

also managed to shed some light on an old grudge of mine. i'm not mad, i don't hate.. i'm just disappointed and didn't expect the behavior that resulted. i thought she was better than this, but i guess she has shown me wrong. anyway, i'm glad to realize that this grudge, this not being able to let go wasn't because i cared. phew.

in other news, there'll be a li'l get-together at nuls' place tonight.. can't wait to catch up! and then next week, i'm set to jet for singapore and then taiwan until the end of the month. catching up with new and old friends will be a treat! only thing i'm stressing about would be the awful humid weather that i know i'll face. and the friggin' killer mozzies they have in taiwan that make my arms and leg resemble umm.. gingerbread men with too many gumdrops? =S

also can't wait for the next two rotations to be over. two more months and then i'll be stuck with a med degree i can't do anything with because i haven't even been provisionally registered. bah. it'll be a fun challenge to see what i can get up to for Q4 2007 =) guess there were more reasons for excitement than i thought =) will be back in a month or so!


far, far away

in a land far, far away. that's where my head is right now. trust me and my awesome willpower to discover that they were running shrek 1 and 2 over two nights this weekend, cashing in on the newest installation of the jolly green ogre. yep. i sat through both. i giggled like an idiot at the aptly named idiot box. i aww-ed when puss in boots put on his huge sad eyes... *sigh*

though i don't hope for a fairy god mother like fiona's.. i've got enough human god mothers, thank you.. i certainly hope that this semester will end in a happily ever after. really. if there's someone out there, someone up there who's having a blast with this latest installation of the Sims.. surely there must be some compassion left to grant me that after all the drama in the past month?


all ears!

so this is it.. four weeks of emergency room madness and it's all done. just got home not too long ago, just saw them all not too long ago and yet, i already miss them. no, not the patients. forget all that touchy feelie empathy crap. we've had enough interactional skills sessions to satisfy a lifetime and half of it. i'm talking about the staff... i thought i like my ortho regs well enough during the last rotation but this bunch of people in the ED topped 'em. to think that i was dreading my ED rotation! continuous long cases didn't seem too enticing at first. i forgot to add the people factor to the equation.

yes, i've had the internship crap to deal with and it was a pain organizing anything from that far away. yes, the daily 40-min journey to and fro were a pain in the butt and i've had many a near miss with crazy speed demons swerving in and outta traffic. yes, there have been times when i catch myself willing the clock hands to hit 10 or 11, just so i fulfilled my weekly hour requirements. i come home dead beat, cramming in 12+hr shifts.. but i come home contented that at least someone's gone home feeling better.

it's been one of the few rotations where there was a sense of belonging. inside jokes, random bantering at everybody and anybody's expense, having random conversations ranging from medico-legal gossip to types of cars good for racing (abs, you would've sooo loved the convo. you would've gotten on well with the RMOs.. maseratis were mentioned!) getting called to see the weird and wonderful.. and a nearly tearful last day. all that's still tugging at the heart strings.

how often is it that one gets acknowledged, let alone spoken to as a lowly medical student by a consultant? it was awfully embarrassingly heartwarming when the consultant in charge held everyone back after handover to announce that it was my last day and thank me for helping out these past four weeks. i guess that bringing in a large fluffy chocolate mousse cake might've contributed to the flow of good words and appreciation too but still.. it was kinda nice to have one's efforts acknowledged once in a while =)

memories of tiny sick tots who leave the ED smiling and babbling in incomprehensible baby talk, sweet little old patients who so patiently explain their complaints for the hundredth time, those who wait ridiculous number of hours for their turn to be seen but still gratefully thank you afterwards, the suturing, the xray reviews, the dozens of neuro and ear exams, the "oh shit!" moments shared with senior staff, the new-found "hi, how're you?" buddies i've made outta med and surgical regs and rmos, the nurses defending and protecting me from "mean nasty doctors," the radiologists taking time out to explain both results and politics and most of all, all the weird, wacky and wonderful patients encountered over the past month .. they all remain but memories. sadly, all i've got to show are ears and more ears.

yeah, i'm rambling like i always do but just indulge me for a wee bit! i just want to savor these warm fuzzies for a while more before returning to a reality clouded by the looming exams. can't wait til they're over!


little annabelle and the field trip

Sometime last year, Noelle had called up Isabelle for some advice about how to deal with Annabelle. Li'l Anna was different from the rest of her classmates, you see. She was slower than them, she needed special considerations. Noelle wasn't sure if Annabelle would be able to go on this field trip next year. Isabelle assured Noelle that everything would be fine. Li'l Anna signed up for the field trip.

She was estactic.. she would be able to join her friends, even though she would be joining them late. Nevertheless, she would be able to go on the field trip! Li'l Anna wondered about how she would get there if she was going late. She went and talked to Jill, who seemed to know lots. Jill reassured her everything would be taken care of, don't worry. Now mind you, li'l Anna might be slow but she was still able to sense potential roadblocks. She was also a tad obsessive and was a worrier so she went to speak to Isabelle. After all, if Noelle was getting all her information from Isabelle.. why shouldn't Annabelle do the same?

Isabelle reassured li'l Anna all's well and whoever was in charge of the field trip would have to sort out the problem of transport. It wouldn't be Anna's job. After all, Isabelle said Anna could go and therefore, Anna will go whether the field trip manager was happy or not.

As it so happened, the field trip manager turned out to be Chloe. She had a twin called Catie, who was filling in for her. They had mischieviously switched identities for the time being. Li'l Anna didn't know this so she spoke to Catie, thinking she was Chloe. Annabelle wanted to make sure that she would have transport to get her on this field trip. Catie didn't know much about her twin's job anyway.. and was scared to make the wrong arrangements so she also turned to Isabelle for some advice. Isabelle was happy if Catie was happy. Catie, unfortunately, wasn't happy and didn't want to let li'l Anna go on the field trip. That was the easiest option for Catie because it meant that she didn't need to find out how to arrange for transportation. Catie didn't like new things very much, nor did she like meeting new people.

Isabelle, now being sick of being the shoulder to cry on for everyone else, decided that li'l Anna couldn't go on the field trip either. She apologized for giving out wrong advice in the very beginning and as compensation, li'l Annabelle could go on the field trip if she could work something out with Catie. Catie was still unhappy, even after Anna told her where to go find cars and buses. Without Chloe's knowledge Catie went and told Isabelle she couldn't find any cars or buses for li'l Anna. With that information, Isabelle could only conclude that Annabelle wasn't able to go on her field trip after all. She would need to wait until next year to go with the other kids in the year below.

As slow as li'l Annabelle is, she is still able to feel frustrated and very sorely disappointed at not being able to go on this field trip. She's not sure what to do - should she wait until Chloe comes back and bad Catie goes away to ask to go on the field trip again? ...or should she just resign herself to the decision of going on the field trip next year and twiddle her thumbs for the time being?


aint daddy's little girl no more

i've managed to have my first decent conversation with my dad a couple of weeks ago. one that didn't involve any teeth gnashing. one that lasted more than 5 minutes. one that involved no monosyllabic replies. looks like we're back to square one again.

called up my parents last night to tell them i might have to cancel my trip back to taiwan if by some miracle, i'm allowed to sit for my exams early to meet the intership start date. i ended up bawling my eyes out. my mom understood. "you're just tired of it all, huh?" she quietly commented. what about my dad? "don't get distracted, concentrate on your current rotation and do your best. always do your best" i was miffed, but it wasn't too bad. i just threw a "how do u expect me to fully concentrate when i have this frickin' internship situation to deal with at the same time?" again, he told me to just concentrate. i let it go.

at some point in the conversation, i went on to whine about not knowing what awful karma i must've incurred to keep getting random roadblocks thrown my way. i mean really.. in a batch of 14 applications versus their usual hundreds, they managed to commit an administrative error and let me "slip through"? my mom just laughed, highly amused at my warped train of thought. my dad's response was "you're not working hard enough."

oh boy. that did it. i clammed up. a voice inside me was throwning a tantrum. it went something like this... "don't you dare tell me that i'm not working hard enough. don't. you. dare. who the hell are you to make that call? who the hell are you to judge? were you were to witness first-hand all that's happened in my life for the past 5 years? frickin' hell." seriously, i don't know my dad anymore.


just plain cruel

i'm sure you've all seen those scenes in movies and whatnot where the protagonist is already in a miserable condition where everything seems to go wrong and then in the middle of the journey home, the rain starts to pour. you get the camera zooming in as the needles of rain continue to pelt the protagonist and the scene fades to black to the wailing of "why meeeee...." as the protagonist throws arms up and collapses on the knees.

that was me today. well, not as dramatically as that but there were at least more than a dozen cells that played the miserable protagonist today. especially the ones in my heart. they sank to a new low. personally, i think that's a pretty reasonable reaction to getting a cryptic msg on the voicemail telling you there's been a problem with you intern application and to please call back.

call back, i did. it's nice to be told that because of when i graduate, i was technically not able to start more than 1 term after my intended mid-year starting date with the rest of the guys. because of that, i was technically not eligible to apply for a hospital allocation in the first place. as a reward for my honesty in stating that, and to make up for their administrative error, the allocation people are allowing me to start anyway. the catch is that the hospital would prolly push for me to start in january 2008. the reasons were:

  1. lack of support in a new environment (fair 'nuff, but they haven't met me yet so that's an assumption on their part, no?)
  2. the consultants will think i've already done 4 terms and expect more, putting me in more stress than necessary (like anj said.. you think i don't have a mouth to tell them i'm a mid-year graduate??)
  3. you can't get the paperwork done in time (told them i could gather everything needed.. like criminal record checks, certified documents etc.. so that the application for a new visa will be ready to go. as for registration with medical board, the forms are due next friday so all they gotta do is say ok. it's not like they wouldn't have processed it by august. the lady didn't get how i could prepare for something if i wasn't eligible ie. "but u can't apply for ur visa yet beacuse you're not registered so you can't prepare for it!" eh??)
i don't see what the fuss is about. all that crap about support, about paperwork. excuses i tell you. "why the hell should we lift a finger to help you? who do you think you are" attitude is what it is. in a way, there's more strength in numbers. i keep forgetting that i have to stop straying away from the herd. you know, like how the lame wildebeest straggling away is the one that becomes dinner to the hyenas? one would think that because it's just me, people would have less hassle making an exception compared to a group of fifteen. instead of 15 exams to grade, 15 sets of registration papers to fil and so on, there's only my set. apparently, that translates to "well, it's just one person, i'm too lazy to do it. they can join the main group next year" from faculty to governmental allocation units.

seriously. i don't know why i bother to stick it out when i have no ties with this bloody place. right now, i'm cursing more than that red light camera fine from 2 years back. much more.


my head hurts =(

i made it home alive, headache and all. the half pack of starbursts squirts i gobbled up helped. the idiot who's drilling goodness-knows-what 8 fllors down somewhere on the street at this bloody time of night isn't helping.

first day of ED rotation today. i was all gung ho about it and packed in two shifts back to back. 8am - 10.30pm. now that the adrenaline rush has died down a tad, i'm sitting here reflecting on today's events. it was all pretty basic stuff that came through today. despite it all, i've forgotten what acute medicine was like and was still very much stuck in the mindset of a med reg, but about 50x less knowledgeable and slower. being thrown head first into a mishmash of problems today has pretty much scared me shitless, even tho i know i'll get the hang of it during the four weeks. still, it's a very uncomfortable thought to know that i'll be out there in a few months' time doing this as a job. with responsibility. i hate responsibility.

today, not only was i stumped by ECGs for the umpteenth time, but the smell of ... well smelly feet will be forever engrained in those smell sensors of mine. good gawd. i had no idea four year olds could have stinky feet that rivaled the nauseating stench of an 80 year old's feet. now i do.

tomorrow, not only will i get there by 8am.. i'm insanely contemplating pulling another 2-shift day so that i can be another 14 hours closer to fulfiiling my weekly quota of hours and overtime. three days in a row of this.. and i can get thursday off! =D



now's a good time as any to say thank you =)

the influx of msgs and calls yesterday and today pulled at the heartstrings a tad. some, i had looked forward to. others completely threw me off.. pleasantly of course. like my dad's sms. it was a very "awww" moment. apparently, he was so proud of sending off his first international sms that he was waving the phone in front of my mom's face as he sent it off with a huge grin. he also later called to ask if i got his sms. aiyaiyai. my mom wasn't much better though. she let me a msg on msn with her usual spate of smileys. she has also set this to "amy" and now, that's all that shows up when she types my name. i've been reduced to a smiley. anyway, she too calls up to ask if i've received what she sent. took a few minutes to figure out that she didn't send an sms like my dad, but that she was talking about her msn msg. aiyaiyai times 2.

in the madness of everyone's daily lives, i was pleasantly surprised by a lot of you. i'm not the best when it comes to keeping in touch - i try and usually manage, but i also get hit with anti-social periods and those can last a while. i know everyone goes through something similar at some point in time so i was really touched that you guys made the effort. i don't mean to go all soppy, but really.. u guys made ma' heartstrings wobble hehe. the good sorta wobble. made me reflect on how good i've had it despite my constant whinges and rants.

groupmates, workmates, seniors, juniors, old friends, new friends and most of all, surprise friends.. the ones whom i thought had no idea i existed... thank you for indulging me, for putting up with me, for being there for me and for helping me get through my daily ins and outs. thank you for caring =)


chooks and tummyaches

i've got a soft spot for the cute, the cuddly, the quirky and for chooks. this one pretty much fits the bill on all fronts - itty bitty keepon.

iwantoneofthose but it's still too shy to leave the lab!! >.< couldn't help but share.. so you can all join me in pining for one.

totally unrelated.. for all you medics out there, here's something for you to mull over. what could be differentials for sudden onset of localized dull epigastric pain that worsens at random, sometimes in conjuction with food and other times post-prandial on a backround of recent bout of flu with fever of high 38Cs/101Fs 1 day ago? pain doesn't radiate elsewhere, no relieving/aggravating factors, is 2/10 but reaches 6 or 7/10 at worst. no other significant signs/symptoms - no change in bowel habits, urinary symptoms, chest pain etc. fever has since resolved, residual throbbing headache mainly @ temporal regions worse with movement still present. associated nausea, aches and pains also since resolved. what're the bets on an atypical presentation of gastro?


mid-week round-up

the good
  • i got to scrub in on most of our operations that included a total left knee replacement, suture a few cuts, don on a space suit and play around with therma-moldywhatchamacalit used to cement knee replacement parts
  • learnt how to put on backslabs for wrists and ankles properly with a cute physiotherapist
  • hopefully brightening up the days of two people with snail mail packages that'll be sent later this week
  • getting the snail mail reference letter from my best friend's dad - it was blush-inducingly written
  • catching up with nuls, abs and the rest of the gang
the bad
  • thoroughly embarrassing myself when i reluctantly agreed to volunteer my leg to be plastered - had to take off my smelly shoes and socks in the presence of the aforementioned cute physiotherapist who ended up propping my foot against his chest so my colleague to practice the bandaging
  • worried over internship allocations. apparently, i got a confirmation email telling me my application was received. never got it. asked for friend to foward it. never got that. allocations will be out on friday. fingers crossed that i get concord hospital.
  • had one of those dreams that was so real, it rudely awakes you and leaves you with a heavy feeling of general ickiness. was in the operating theaters all day monday and yesterday afternoon. they varied from digging out metal plates and screws to a total knee replacement. i guess that contributed to this awful dream where i was involved in a gas explosion along with a whole bunch of other people as i was running away from something else i can't remember now, got horribly burnt and had to limp towards the company medic for wound debridement and surgical repair.
  • not being able to catch up with the girls when they were up here for their graduation ceremony yesterday cuz i was in theater
  • that vtech campus shooting - i wish i could talk to the shooter face to face, furiously shake him by the shoulders and yell "why?!" over and over at him and possibly slap him til my arm dropped off. that.. or to possibly give him bilateral total knee replacements without anesthesia.
the ugly
  • my mom called sometime last week asking if i had called home - there was a missed call from an unknown number, said the caller id screen. i said no. there was an awkward silence that would've translated into "i answered your question, i didn't call. is there anything else you wanted?" that was later verbalized. a few more bouts of silences later, she hung up on me. never have i had someone purposely hang up on me before. i guess i'm lucky like that. to have one's mother be the first.. ouch. i was pissed off after that. was thinking... wtf is her problem?! first of all, i wasn't the one who called up... or was that precisely what she was pissed about?


the ignorance of itchybutt

the portly boss, the one they called itchybutt, sauntered casually in and out of the four clinic rooms all morning. he peppered each visit with random questions, questions about the life story of the guy specific fractures were named after. more questions about some random guy who was the first random guy's father. even more questions about anatomy and fracture mechanisms.

during one of these spurts of conversation, he asked yet another question the two students couldn't answer. sure, there were numerous wonderful possibilities floating around in that brain soup of theirs, each a possible answer. there was a lot of intracranial debate and random bits leaked out in the midst of it all. itchybutt was not impressed.

his gaze turned upon the student to his left - the one who wanted to ease up on the questions for it was only their first hour of the new rotation. he asked that student "where are you from?"

he picked the wrong student for that question - she couldn't even answer such a simple question. eventually, she figured that the most correct response would be "originally? taiwan."

itchybutt did not miss a beat. "well you should go back to where you came from and study anatomy for 6 months before you come back here!"


the fact that other hospital staff have nicknamed him itchybutt for his lack of hygeine may be hurtful, had he known about this pet name of his but it surely does not justify this sort of behavior! itchybutt unknowingly unleashed the inner tattletale from that particular student. it is only a matter of time before the faculty is going to find out. will itchybutt continue his appalling track record as a person or will he be tickled by lightning one fine day?



so yesterday was the day. you know.. that one! i was so tired at the end of it all when i collapsed into bed at half past midnight. there were a lot of people milling about so i was thankful for the small quiet private dinner later that night, away from the chatter and noise. it was rush rush rush throughout the whole day.. didn't even manage to have anything to eat until nearly 6pm! i had decided to wear my intricate dangly champagne earrings just to be different. it was to go with the brown number i chose, complete with delicate lace and pleats and romantic balloon sleeves.

*grins and holds up hands with a brand new...*

well so anyway, i haven't had one of these days in a while where everything was planned to immaculate detail, yet everything seemed to deviate from the agenda. so much for all that planning although one could point out how much more wrong the day would've gone without the aforementioned planning effort.

won't bore you with details... i'll just bore you with a list instead for most of the days' events.

  • gas station: 9am and there were cars flowing out to the street lining up for gas. i get to the pump 10 mins later and the pump i want is out of service. had to circle around the block and line up again before finally filling up
  • train station: got there 20 mins early thinking i could just park at the public parking lot next to the station. circled around for 20mins, went "oh shit, imma miss the train" and found parking another 10mins later at the public parking lot in the city itself. miss my train i did.. by 4 minutes and 54 seconds.
  • immi: couldn't find the ticket machine to get a number for the counters, wandered around looking as lost as the next person before figuring out the info line was also the ticket dispensing line. stupidly forgot how things worked.. i had thought i'd be in and outta there in 15 minutes with a new visa. 15 minutes turned into 45 minutes.
  • another train station: managed to catch the train with the longer route on both trips to and fro to surgarfix. thanks, mister station master.
  • chinatown: one of the two highlights of the day. was accosted by a pleasant looking man spouting mandarin, asking for directions to central. told him i'd walk with him, seeing i was heading there anyway. we nearly got killed as some idiot in a sparkly black bmw tried to overtake a van as they both turned at an intersection. the idiot swerved into the bus lane to avoid hitting the van...had he lost control, he would've come crashing right into us. there was one point where the car was front on as it came 'round the corner. mr man was there just standing there with his backback slung across both shoulders.. it was kinda cute. it was kinda nice knowing i helped make someone's day less screwy. he csaid he'll always remember the little taiwan girl who helped him find his way. aww. we parted ways after i got him a map and sent him off on the correct train this time.
  • pre-dinner: S and I were both hungry. all the shops had dumped us by the time we reached the shopping center. max brenner or starbucks had been the plan but we had to resort to the chinese restaurant. we saw vegetarian spring rolls on the menu and walked in, planning to order something to whet our appetite before dinner proper. when you couple a kooky rude waitress who doesn't understand much english with very hungry people, it's not gonna end well. we were forced to order $20 worth of food 'ween the two of us as minimum order and when we finally decided to supplement the spring rolls with a veggie & mushie omelette, the waitress didn't get it. we had to point it out on the menu and she dashed off before the menu had closed. she came back 10 minutes later with a steaming plate of veggies & mushrooms. uhhh... yah. we were too flabbergasted and hungry. besides, there wasn't much point explaining it was the wrong order to someone who doesn't understand.
  • dinner was awesome! highlight #2 =)
  • getting lost: was not so awesome, especially on a stormy foggy night after all that.. and seeing the clock clowly tick towards midnight. to cut a long story short, i missed my exit and turned off the next one, followed the signs until the road turned into a dirt road that 2 cars could squeeze through with dense bush on either side enveloped in pitch black darkness. no streelights, no nothing. couple that with a deserted sleeping town and fog creeping in.. i felt like i was in the twilight zone. half expected some murderous lunatic to jump out and kill me. my vocal cords were prepped for some whoopass screaming from my karaoke session in the car earlier anyway.

i later looked up where i was. see that black arrow on the left map? that was me on the dirt road at a bit past midnight. fog. pitch black. high beams piercing into the darkness and illumiating only about 10 feet worth of track. would've ended up at a dead end if i had followed the track. scary thought. very. was supposed to end up in the direction of cardiff at bottom right corner. ended up in west wallsend. the little orange circle was where i made the wrong turn. that in itself was odd. been here nearly 7 years and never made a wrong turn getting off the freeway before.

ah well, 'twas some excitement to break the monotony i guess.



The University now has a new brand. Yes, a brand... y'know, like Apple, Bose or Cadbury.

Newcastle will too be a brand. Kudos for the new seahorse design. I must say that it does look more sleek and modern compared to the original seahorse crest. Thank goodness they also decided to remove that awful motto of "I Look Ahead" from the logo too... really, couldn't they have jazzed it up by using its Latin equivalent?

As much as I like the new logo and what it hopes to stand for, there's a wee bit of my that's decidedly squirming. It hasn't stopped since I got the mass email sent out by someone simplyknown as vc. I nearly marked it as spam and sent it for a speedy deletion.

There are just so many things wrong with the situation, I don't know where to begin.

Let's start with the fact that we're talking about an educational institution., not a bloody business empire for goodness sakes. Seems as if the line between the two has been blurred, if not completely obliterated. The Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee has set out a document outlining the responsibilities of any university in the country. This includes guidelines concerning course development and approval, admission arrangements, teaching and learning, assesments, appeals and grievances and information. This new branding scheme appears to fall under the guideline whereby:

Australian higher education should be promoted and marketed accurately and honestly in terms of its quality, its standing and its availability. Qualitative and subjective judgements about other universities should be avoided, and no false or misleading comparisons should be drawn with any other provider.

So, it's legit but the question is, is it justifiable? The university still has duties to fulfil in the other areas as stipulated. What is the point of creating a vibrant, fresh new image.. or to tabulate old vs new when it is all but a hollow shell. I understand that a certain amount of marketing must be employed to entice new students every year to come and sustain the institution but from my little corner of the picture, I am a bit miffed.

There have been rumors of the med school shutting down due to lack of funds. There have been headlines stating that the institution itself was in $28 million worth of red tape. More than 50% of staff and/or courses were cut in the aftermath. So much for that thing called providing the best quality of education for students. Kudos for caring about the community when it couldn't even care for its own staff.

Currently, we can barely cope with the current student population in med school. It's been an ongoing issue with lack of funding looming large in the picture. I am sure the decisions came about from numerous other pieces of information and evidence that are only privy to those behind closed doors so that the decisions themselves usually seem ludicrous at best to the rest of us. Take the recent intake of 200 first year med students, some of which will be doing the course via distance learning at the New England University, a rural site. Our first year intake 5 years ago was around 90. As it was, there were already numerous problems stretching the available teaching and support resources between the lot of us. 200 students.. distance learning.. what next... Become-a-Doctor-by-numbers?

This is, but one school in one faculty in this institution. Yet, they've set aside time and money to come up with a new brand instead.

This work has involved staff, students, business, media, government, international agents, careers advisors and prospective students in interviews, workshops, seminars and surveys. ...These web pages explain the thinking behind our brand strategy and show work to date on key communication materials.

International agents eh.. media.. workshops.. that spells moolah. Moolah that could've been used with the brains behind the branding to come up with a better system that won't jeopardize the actual learning experience. I mean, if you had a choice of graduating with a degree that wasn't spat upon or getting a printout of your results on swanky new paper with a swish slick logo, is it that hard a decision to make? These people want to the bakery to bake their customized cake, deliver the thing and eat it. Dude, learn to cut the fat. See, you turn your back on tradition and miss out on a very important lesson.. you can't have your cake and eat it.

That being said... what's done is done.. and I've said what I wanted to say, which is more than enough methinks... and this is turning into one hell of a run-on sentence. Anyway, I guess this is one more reason to be happy about when graduation day finally rolls around. Can't wait to get outta here!

the letter L

Today's entry is brought you you by the letter L and its little junior version, the letter l.

They would both like to tell you to look at the date of yesterday's entry. They would also like you to unscramble the name of the rogue immigration officer, raolf poli. For those of you who like numbers better, L and l are sorry that none of them could attend today and would like to offer you the unscrambled raolf poli by means of apology. he is, but an april fool.

Today's letters would also like to stress that lame as the joke may have been, the sponsor is still learning the art of bluff. This does not mean that the sponsor advocates lying and is feeling slightly guilty for perpetrating such a falsehood as yesterday's entry. Please accept our sincere apologies for any confusion caused.

The letters L and l would now like to say goodbye, boys and girls. They're tired. Have a good day =)


more fresh hell

i'm not sure if you're familiar with this one belief of mine... that whoever's up there in the heavens doesn't like it too much to see us mortals happy and will quickly wipe off a smile if it's too big.

well.. here we go again! got another email from immigration just now. mr raolf poli to be exact. some underling at the immigration dept. remember that visa i just got approved a few days ago? apparently, whoever's sitting there rationing out visas wasn't very good at math because he frickin' screwed up and now, i'm one of the however many hundreds of people who're visa-less. they gave out too many visas and are now over-quota. wth?! i guess for those of you who haven't gotten your new visas or extensions approved in the past week, it won't affect you. this is only affecting those of us who've gotten new visas during this past week... damn my luck.


how kind of them to promptly email me... after all, i still haven't gotten a reply from my case worker. i emailed him at least 2 weeks ago. guess that might've been a sign back then, a sign indicating how incompetent and inadequate the whole department is. i guess i should've taken the fact that they've lost my records temporarily or the speedy approval as ominous signs too.
as for my visa status.. well, i have no way of calling them up. for all i know, my bridging visa isn't valid at this point.. meaning i've overstayed my visa by 16 days. thanks for providing a contact number "should you have any further enquiries" in your email! like that's gonna do any good until 9am tomorrow morning when you guys open. typical. idiots.


what fresh hell is this

you know how everything in the valley seems to be 20 minutes away from the next thing? that you'll always be there in 20 minutes.. well it seems like the newcastle equivalent would be 10 minutes, but that's beside the point. it seems as if everything around here gets done in about two weeks. like processing a check. like replying to a work-related email. like issuing a new credit card. like restocking the cannula trolley. like connecting to the internet.

mind you, installing new curtains take 2 months and planning a couple kilometers of bypass takes 10 years so i guess two weeks isn't that awful, relatively. urgh what am i saying! anj is absolutely right in saying that this place breeds mediocrity. pretty soon, this place will be an idiocracy. like my visa saga. it finally ended! it's about time..

the medicos had my health exam results finalized on monday the 19th, as promised. i'm not sure about the hand-delivered part but the results should've been on the linked computer systems. immigration didn't have a clue, telling me that my case worker only works monday weds thurs afternoons so give him some time and call back in another two weeks. they took it one step further when i wanted to complain about my case worker not replying emails by saying that there aren't really case workers anymore. whoever's free processess the next job in the line. pfffft.

so anyway, i was feeling magnanimous. they were swamped with visa applications after all, as they keep telling me. i let them peacefully go through 2 whole working days without a peep from me! woohoo! when i called 'em up this morning and explained the whole situation for the fifteenth time by now, the guy curtly said they were swamped, call back in two weeks time. dude!! wtf! i yelled... in my head. i audibly continued the rest of the sentence telling him i didn't have two weeks to spare with an application deadline pending. well whaddya know. five minutes later, intermittently listening to the stomach-churning pre-recorded propaganda about becoming an australian citizen, i get the churlish voice back on the phone.

"are you there?"

no, i went to take a bath. no shit, i'm here.

"found. approved and emailed your new visa"

hallelujah. five frickin minutes to do all that. holy cow, batman! the guy completed three different tasks without any prior preparation! think of what they could accomplish in 15 minutes if they would just get their act together! australia would win the nuclear race! /sarcasm.

for those of you who've read the previous post on inefficiency, don't get confuzzled. this wasn't efficiency at all. that was merely an example of normalcy, something else sorely lacking in this fresh hell. with intern allocation preference forms due soon, i don't expect to be as disappointed as i first thought if i don't end up getting to stay here. a fresh start in a fresh hell.. will it be a matter of jumping from the pan into the fire? i'll let you know in two weeks.


the good kind of madness

do you remember the last time you felt exuberant? the one recent time that always jumps to mind was when lu dropped by a few years ago and we went gallivanting around sydney and canberra. floaty. happy. content. extremely silly and giggly when paired with someone of a similar state.

yesterday was one of those rare days where i felt like atlas on a coffee break. floaty. happy. content. all because my three weeks of oncology was up. it was three weeks in a pressure cooker and i can't explain it. it wasn't that we had no free time despite having 28 tutorials that had to be signed off in addition to spending hours at wards and clinics. it wasn't that the tutors were excruciatingly mean if we didn't know any of the 27 different cancers we read up on. i'm not being sarcastic here for once. it may seem like a lot to cram into 15 days, but it worked itself out somehow and i even got a few early days, leaving around 2 or 3ish. it was cumulative i think... every day was graced with at least one spontaneous heavy sigh and a whole lot of inward groans.

but... i was quickly grounded after my call to immigration. those inefficient whatchamacalits. soo.. instead of working on my case report due on monday or on my reseach paper, i went to try my hand at making canneloni. mind you, i didn't have cheese to sprinkle on top with nor enough tomatoes to make a puree sauce base but dammit, i was gonna make my canneloni last nite. make it i did... even if i had to use salsa, ketchup and diced tomatoes to make enough sauce or if i had to dilute the little ricotta left with cream cheese, sour cream and milk to make enough white sauce. it wasn't half bad to eat in the end so it's now become one for the recipe bank =) the only problem is, besides all the other stuff i've cooked up in the past week to eat, i now have enough canneloni to last me through the next two weeks..


in eff'in shunsee

boys and girls, it's time for the whinging aemii to make an appearance yet again. get ready for another rant! =)

today's word, brought to you by the letter X and the number 42, is inefficiency. een-eh-fee-shun-see.

it's a hard concept to grasp by some people, but it's antithesis seems to be a much more endangered concept due to its profound nature... efficiency is a concept so confusing that many people here don't seem to carry it in their vocabulary bag. but never mind that for the moment. after all, it appears that it doesn't really exist anyway. inefficiency is friends with many other words that you may already know, such as disorganized, incompetent, slack and slipshod.

now, it's an important concept to grasp dear boys and girls. you need to know how to recognize it so you can keep yourself and your loved ones away from it. because it's such a slippery concept amongst the natives here, i'll try to explain through examples.

we'll start out simple. take the hospital consultants who are scatterbrained and inefficient. the ones who will start seeing patients in one ward, get distracted by someone and tramp to the other end of the hospital to see that patient before returning to complete his ward round where he first was. now repeat this scene five times over an hour. as well as being extremely frustrating to the rest of his entourage, it's also making things very inefficient.

next, the registrar who calls up the consultant to inform them of every patient being admitted... immedicately after seeing each patient. one may think that isn't inefficiency at all - after all, the registrar immediately informed the consultant quicksmart. couldn't be much faster than immediate. that's the confusing part, you see.. for instead of making just one single phone call regarding all the patients at the end of the shift, the registrar has ended up making at least ten different calls - wasting both time and energy. the consultant's schedule has now been made very inefficient too, with these constant interruptions.

now to something a tad more complex. take the whole visa charade. immigration is able to look up my visa status after i've given them my passport number, name and birthdate for the fourth time. fifteen minutes later on the phone, i get taken off the frickin' broken record telling me how great it is to be an australian citizen to be told that i had been granted my bridging visa, is there anything else they could help me with. It would've taken me less than a minute to get the same information online, not to mention that i knew that a few minutes after lodging in my visa application on february 3rd. i get an email 20 days later from my case officer telling me i needed to get a medical within the next 28 days. i was only also supposed to contact him via email after working hours. wtf.

so i get my medical done on march 1st. results are supposed to take 3 days max to be sent down to sydney to be cleared and passed onto immigration. 16 days later, immigration still hasn't heard a peep from the medicos. well hmph. it's not our problem, there's nothing we can do until we hear from them immigration tells me. check in another couple of weeks if you don't hear from us. they reiterated that today. by this time, a week had already passed since i emailed my case worker regarding the application status. no reply. why isn't that surprising..

so finally. finally.. the medicos pick up the phone after agonizing minutes of annoying propaganda instead of elevator music. i tell them my name and birthdate for the ninth time. my results have just been processed yesterday and will be hand delivered to the immigration dept tomorrow, the guy tells me. twenty frickin' days later. no wonder they don't have a "we'll deliver in half an hour or it's free" policy.

first of all, why did it take 'em twenty frickin' days to process blood results? hepatitis serology can be ready in half that time. why were the results sitting here for a day when they could've been hand delivered today? why weren't the results mailed to immigration the minute they were cleared instead of wasting valuable human resources to run 'em over. repeat after me, boys and girls... eeen-ehh-feee-shun-see.

boys and girls, i'm afraid this might be a contagious state. i've been showing such tendencies lately and have become quite inefficient in covering planned topics of study myself. even the best of us will relapse into periods of inefficiency! be wary, be mindful and remember to remain efficient!

addendum, o3.24.o7 ~ so much for my results being hand-delivered to immigration. called 'em up on friday and they still don't have a clue about my medicals. dude!!


woe, begone

kent rogowski, a photographer currently based in brooklyn, is about to release his first book simply titled bears. as much as i'd like to claim credit, all the purdy pix in this post come from the official bears website.

me, a med student currently based in newcastle, is about to ...i don't know. that's the problem. i feel exactly like that little yellow guy up there. i mean exactly. there's a feeling of displacement in the midst of this current streak of calm. i half expect the sky to come crashing down any minute, chicken little style. i feel all wrong... i'm constantly munching on something, from fruits to stir-fried noodles to chocolate and yet i'm still hungry. i get mysterious bug bites that only announce themselves a day later and outstay their welcome by weeks. my place is as messy as that teddy bear workshop. everytime i find the energy to clean up, the mess creeps back not thirty minutes later. i also think i've got some memory loss and lack of coordination - must've lost some of that stuffing when they were turning me inside out. heck, even the color matches. he's a yellow teddy with white stuffing, i'm a yellow person who has been bleached white on the inside to the point where i get asianphobia if i'm walking around alone in places like chinatown. actually, the whole of george street for that matter.

it's this aimless wandering of both mind and body through each rotation that's really getting to me i think. almost 3 rotations down, 4 more to go. gone are the days when we actually had some teaching. gone are the days when one could pretend to teach oneself in the company of a study buddy. what we're meant to do now is pretty much play the game of being seen but not heard. we're meant to play the game by their rules... the answer continuously changes, even if you have it down in print, so that it will always suit their needs. never ours. and yes, my visa's still not processed. i paid $7.70 for the frickin' express post envelope dammit. why the hell hasn't immigration recieved the results of my blood tests and such yet? *grinds teeth* negnohl, i hope you have better news with your visa or else i'm up for a perma-vacation to rant&raveland and am extending an open invite.

bleah. can see this turning into a long-winded rant heading towards nowhere. i guess what i'm trying to say is that i'm frustrated with being stuck in a limbo, to not know what the immediate future holds and worse, to have little control over it. yes, i'm a control freak. what's just as frustrating is that i've resorted to cooking and baking as a vent instead of something else more productive. for goodness sakes, i've got a week's worth of lunches sitting pretty in my fridge just from the past couple days of cooking. i can't eat to keep up. i feel like the stereotypical housewife, cooped up at home waiting for the stereotypical kids (a boy and a girl you know. that's a must) to come home from school. i'm beginning to understand why some of them go streotypically astray and seek the thrill of an affair. on second thought, mebbe i'm going through my second quarter-life crisis =(


just because

an email arrived the other day,
one of the sporadic kind
it was sent by one of my parents
a hundred things raced through my mind

i should've known better,
especially after so many years.
this was another attempt to get me a friend
and a chance to allay their fears.

just because i'm an only child,
doesn't mean i get lonely.
just because i'm studying med,
doesn't mean i make med friends only.

they say birds of a feather flock together
and i'd like to point one thing out
they naturally flock without much urging
especially from parents no doubt.

i'd really like for them to see that
and not shove every kid my way
to thrust random emails and numbers
so i can contact 'em all today

despite knowing that they do mean well,
i still get a little bit frazzled
whenever they pull a stunt like this
she too's in med! they expect me to be dazzled.

just because we're in the same course,
albeit two different schools,
doesn't mean that i have to call
and use my communication tools.

they think that we'll have lots to yak,
even tho they've never met her.
but hey, it's alright because she's a girl and
our parents had shared fun and laughter.

my dad belongs to a clan of three,
each of them has a daughter.
they keep trying to make us meet
we're still clueless about the other.

just because our parents are friends,
doesn't mean that we will be too.
i guess they'll take a while to learn
til then, there's not much i can do.

except to hope that they'll soon see
some of the different subtleties
that just because we're all chickies
is no gurarantee we'll be cozy as peas.