Thursday, July 31, 2003

Joe Millionaire's Heartwarming Finale

Who would've thought that this could be possible, with all the backstabbing and cash-motivated flirting / making out going on? Turns out Evan picked nice girl Zora, aka the only woman who refused to hanky-panky with him, and even more surprising, she accepted him despite the fact that he wasn't a millionaire.
It was indeed extremely unexpected, and when the couple was presented with a US$1 million cheque, it was the icing on the cake.
Sadly, reports on the Net indicate that they broke up soon after the show ended. Evan said they couldn't continue after being thrust into the spotlight and suffering immense strain, while Zora couldn't stand his thirst for fame. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Andrea's Secrets Revealed

Tsk, tsk. Seems Ms De Cruz has been keeping things from the public. Testimony from Chen Liping regarding Andrea's "friendship" with her husband, Rayson Tan, reveals that the former used to send him SMSs frequently, to share her relationship problems and discuss her salary ( which she doesn't even tell her closest pals ). What are we to make of the fact that Andrea, a young single woman with a boyfriend ( at the time ), messages a married man to talk about her deepest darkest secrets?
Reminds me of a female doctor a few years my senior, who was getting married, and brought a senior doctor ( a swinging bachelor at the time ), instead of her future husband, with her to try on wedding gowns. Seems their "friendship" was a lot more than just that, as she subsequently annulled her marriage just a few weeks after the ROM, proceeded to date this other guy, then wed him about a year later. Some members of the human race never fail to shock me.
Also notice how Liping and Rayson have fellow actors and actresses speaking up on their behalf. Don't see much support for Andrea. Speaks volumes, no?

Angry Young Men

Thursday is AYM Day, it seems. Saw a string of young fellows who sustained fractures of the metacarpals after bashing their fists against a wall. When I asked the umpteenth one why he did such a thing ( I refrained from using the word "moronic" ), he just laughed sheepishly. What they need is an M+R without any form of anaesthesia. Guaranteed to stop them from repeating this act ever again.

2 more hours to go before the shift ends. It's the last episode of "The Bachelorette" tonight, and although I know who got picked in the end, I'd like to see Charlie's face when he's told he didn't make the cut. He's a nice enough guy, but a little full of himself -- he once said he's pretty sure he'll be chosen, probably 'cos rival bachelor Ryan can't compare in terms of salary or charm, being more on the introverted side. My personal favourite has always been Ryan, however. Never knew someone that sweet even existed. His deep affection for Trista is absolutely amazing, and he'll definitely make an excellent husband. They're already making plans to get married later this year, so obviously it's working out. A happy ending at last. :)

Shall end off with short reviews of some VCDs I recently rented. They're mostly terrible, save for one or two. Thank goodness for the fast forward button.

Gangs Of New York -- Dullsville. Maybe it's just me, but all those rave reviews went right over my head. Everyone looks awful, and I stopped the show after just 20 minutes.

Amistad -- I borrowed this 'cos I didn't get to see it when it was first released eons ago. Directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anthony Hopkins, I just couldn't resist. But again, it was sorely disappointing, and has got to be one of the slowest-moving films ever made. Icky.

Adaptation -- Won tonnes of awards and got even more nominations, but I couldn't understand most of it, and couldn't wait for it to end. The only person worth watching was Chris Cooper, who played a fanatical orchid hunter. John Cusack also made a cameo appearance -- the only few seconds I was fully alert.

Life As A House -- One of those tearjerkers where a rebellious teenager comes to terms with some serious issues and bonds with an estranged parent. Nothing very original here, but Kevin Kline, who always manages to inject class into a movie, holds this up with a nicely understated yet poignant performance. Kristin Scott Thomas, the luminous "English rose" from "The English Patient" is reduced to playing the long-suffering ex-wife ( she needs to make better career choices, judging from "The Horse Whisperer" and who knows what else I haven't seen ). But Hayden Christensen, best known as Anakin Skywalker in "The Phantom Menace", does an admirable job as an angry young man who slowly transforms into ( is it possible? ) a good boy, and even ends up loving his dad. There're also some sexual shenanigans going on between him and a sexually liberated neighbour's equally daring daughter, not to mention the aforementioned neighbour's trysts with her own daughter's boyfriend. I thought those subplots were a little unnecessary, though they made the show a little more interesting. :)

Tears Of The Sun -- An over-dramatic film that tries too hard and comes off cheesy instead. Bruce Willis, who gained my respect with his wonderful performances in "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable", plays the strong male protagonist with a heart of gold yet again, this time in the form of a NAVY SEALS commander ordered to enter the African jungle and evacuate a female doctor played by Monica Bellucci. There's a lot of action, mostly in the form of mass slaughters, and the Americans are invariably portrayed as knights in shining armour, and the Nigerians, what else? savages with no qualms about decapitating or raping their prisoners. Got on my nerves after a while. And who knows why Bellucci was cast? I don't think she can act very well, though you have to give her points for throwing excellent tantrums ( a result of her Italian genes, perhaps ). Predictably, she and Willis' character grudgingly develop mutual respect, and the climactic scene shows her cradling his battered head in her ample bosom. Really reminds me of Chinese movies.

The Recruit -- Glossy and fast-paced, with loads of star power in the forms of Al Pacino, Colin Farrell and sex kitten Bridget Moynahan ( who also appeared in "Coyote Ugly" and "The Sum Of All Fears" ). Putting Farrell and Moynahan together is a stroke of genius, and the 2 of them generate lots of heat in all their intimate scenes. Add some cool footage of CIA agent wannabes going through gruelling training at Langley, plus espionage with double- and triple-crossing chess moves, and it's gonna be tough not to like the show at least a little bit. Still, I thought the plot could've benefited from more solid writing. The ending, especially, was too simple.

Spy Game -- The only film worth watching in this disastrous set! Granted, my interest in it was mostly directed at leads Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, but director Tony Scott does a fantastic job of injecting lots of style and excitement, making this a super thriller in the tradition of "Enemy Of The State". I shall not reveal the storyline in case it mars your enjoyment, but I was riveted from beginning to end. Plus, Pitt looks gorgeous. :D

That's it for today. Just saw yet another ankle fracture -- add that to the Angry Young Men trend for Thursday.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

8am -- freedom at last! :D

Will leave you with this interesting article. Good riddance to evil people.
It's below freezing temperatures in the ER right now. 5:45am. I shall attempt to write something coherent. :)

My impressions of the RJC incident ( only got the audio bit, but I can picture it quite clearly ):

1. The teacher was not ranting as stated by some people in the media.

2. A list of valid reasons was given for her displeasure, most important of which is a bad work attitude -- ie. tardiness in handing up work, ignoring instructions given, repeatedly I might add.

3. The fact that this student was taking GP remedial lessons is something I don't recall reading about in the news. Why was it left out?

Most people would've taken sides by now, and in my opinion, few will change their minds whether they've seen / heard this tape or not. However, in my case, the clip has strengthened my support for the teacher.

It is clear to me that she's given this student many chances in the past. I didn't even hear about remedial lessons during my years in RJC, so this fellow is obviously doing poorly in the subject. And who do you think is conducting these remedials? The teacher herself, of course.

She alluded to a repetitive pattern of "defiance". With her long experience in teaching, plus a career spent with intelligent young people in Singapore's top college, many of whom probably made her love teaching even more, and continue to respect her to this day, how do you think she feels when a student shows a blatant lack of appreciation for all her efforts, and compounds it by handing in shoddy work?

Her words demonstrate the great frustration she's experiencing, but her tone was anything but "ranting" in nature. In fact, I think she was actually rather calm. I wouldn't have thought it anything out of the ordinary. It was indeed unfortunate that someone was mean enough to record this and put it on the Internet.

Another slew of letters appeared in The Forum Page today, again slamming the teacher's behaviour. The 2 schools of thought are divided thus: 1) the teacher was wrong because her method of discipline would "break the student's spirit", which will scar him for life and render her an ineffective educator ( I'm trying to paraphrase from a whole chunk of opinions that I've read so far ); 2) the teacher was right because the student deserved such a scolding, and this incident occurred only because she cared for his welfare -- hopefully, in the long run, he will recognize this.

The "vandalism" bit brought up by a few people is utter nonsense to me, so I'm not even going to discuss that.

The way I see it, this student would've suffered a lot more if his teacher decided to let him be, instead of trying to get through to him. Doesn't anyone wonder how much has been accumulating before resulting in this outburst? For all we know, she's taken him aside on numerous occasions to point out his mistakes, to no avail. Normal human beings don't lose their tempers like this at the very first infraction.

Sanjeev Kumar talked about the danger of creating an "emotionally fragile" generation for the future. Sadly, I already see it now, as more and more young children succumb to being pampered and spoilt, and being raised by domestic maids who let them run riot while their parents are busy working and coddle them even more on the weekends. Fast forward to National Service. Drill sergeants making you feel like crap every single day for 2 years, not allowing you to go home for all sorts of horrible reasons, making you feel more insignificant than that slug you just stepped on. I see so many of them reacting badly to this sort of treatment, with some literally sobbing so I will give them MC and let them stay out of camp for a few days. Guess they can't videotape their training officers eh?

In my profession, I see each new batch of housemen getting softer and softer -- falling sick after doing half the number of calls we used to slog through, not carrying out their specified duties because they know their MOs will do it eventually, deliberately switching off their pagers during night calls without even worrying what their seniors will do to them, and worst of all, not bothering to change their ways or giving you dirty looks when you point out their flaws.

I tell you this from personal experience. I've worked with some of the most capable housemen in my 3 years as an MO, but I've also seen enough of the terrible ones to know when my night calls or ward rounds are going to give me insomnia and gastric pain respectively. As I said before, my temperament at work is usually benign, but I cracked for the first time during my last posting, when a house officer committed all the abovementioned offences, then refused to apologize and even lied to cover his tracks. Scolding only drew blank looks, so I filed a formal complaint ( again a first for me ), and his team registrar and consultants stepped in.

Thankfully, he changed his ways after that, and we were on speaking terms before the posting ended. I'm not happy about reacting the way I did that night, but I hope that it taught him something about his bad work habits, and that he'll remember this when he faces his own irresponsible houseman ( which he will ) in the future.

Did I yell at him in order to gratify myself by venting on someone? Did I do it to embarrass him? Of course not. Just as the RJC teacher had her breaking point, I had mine. And the reasons we break is because we actually care about the person, or the person's actions. The teacher was trying to help him pass GP, a very important college subject that will also be of great use to him later in life. As for me, I wanted the houseman to, once and for all, have some insight into his wrongdoing, and drum into his brain the fact that all his actions are endangering the lives of his patients.

My mom, a teacher nearing retirement, told me today that she threw or tore her pupils' books as recently as a year or two ago. She scolds, slaps and gives detention whenever it's warranted. Want to know how parents reacted? They told her to continue, with their blessings. How about the pupils themselves? They gave her presents on Teacher's Day. Even better, they started working hard, and passed with flying colours. When the results came out, they told my mother that if it weren't for her repeated disciplining, they would definitely have failed.

It isn't about "emotional fragility". It's about weakness and denial, two traits that will be the downfall of our youth if it is allowed to fester.

I'll stop writing about this unless a new issue arises. But please, those of you who want to nitpick and criticize this teacher's methods, put yourself in her shoes, or in my mother's or my shoes. I'd be very surprised if you managed to contain yourself. If you do, think about whether you're able to because you're a saint, or because you just can't be bothered. I'll say for the record that 99.9% of the time, it's the latter.
Exactly midnight Tuesday morning, and the computer screen shows zero patients pending consultation. Zero! Woohoo! Okay, better not speak too soon, or I'll get whacked if something bad happens later on. :D

For those of you who are interested in "ER", you'll be happy to know that the latest season is now on Channel 5 every Sunday, though at the unearthly hour of 12am -- guess Mediacorp is sticking to its impression that this is a "core niche" programme. Worse, there was virtually no publicity for the show at all. I found out only because I got home after an afternoon shift last night and was watching a recording of "Gilmore Girls", after which I switched to the TV channel and got a huge shock -- though a very pleasant one. :)
Looks like it's the first episode, since it focuses on Dr. Susan Lewis' first day back in the ER. Lewis, for the uninitiated, was in the original season with George Clooney, but Sherry Stringfield ( who plays Lewis ) left for greener pastures soon after, appearing in a few films, the only one I remember being "Autumn In New York". Guess that career path didn't work out, so she's back in the ER as an attending, and having a really bad first day from the looks of it!

"ER" has always been among my top 3 favourite TV shows, and watching it again after a long absence is absolutely wonderful, to say the least! It hasn't lost any steam, and the storylines continue to be refreshingly original. In this episode, there are no fewer than 5 concurrent plots, from Lewis' traumatic first day, to surgeon Elizabeth Corday being hounded by the ID team for possibly transmitting infections to her patients, to Peter Benton's frantic hunt for his "missing" young son, Carter getting zapped by an over-eager med student during the defibrillation of a patient in ventricular tachycardia, not to mention the myriad of patients that continuously flood the ER. Examples include an unfortunate Mexican lady who unwittingly consumed 11 tablets of Isoniazid on a daily basis, instead of 1 tablet, because she couldn't read English, and "once" means "eleven" in Spanish -- she presented with status epilepticus, and later died. Another was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, but was terrified of telling her parents because she swore they'd disown her if they found out she wasn't a virgin anymore. Then there's the young woman who accidentally switched to the wrong gear while backing out of the driveway, pinning her dad against the wall and causing him to haemorrhage internally, which the surgeons failed to stop. The best one involves a woman in labour, whose dripping liquor short-circuits the foot pedal for the bed, resulting in the trolley rising a few metres while the baby is crowning. The attending doctors make do by proceeding with the delivery perched on a ladder. What a riot!

If this doesn't make you want to watch the show, then I don't know what else to say, except you'll be missing out. Big time. :)

3:15am, and I've already seen more than 30 patients since starting my shift at 9pm last night! This is terrible! ( I did jinx myself after all! ) It's my turn to rest, but I'm still quite awake. One of the best things about being in the A&E department is definitely being able to sleep before night shifts, as well as after. Contrast this with "normal" postings, especially the heavy ones like internal medicine, where you are exhausted even before you hit 5pm, then forced to work your way through the entire night, followed by marathon ward rounds the next morning, and if you're lucky, an early post-call after lunch. If you cover the intensive care unit, don't hope to sleep at all, unless you've got amazingly good karma, or very capable nurses. Am glad that's over. I'm always thankful for regular sleep hours. Furthermore, having free time in the morning allows me to run a lot of errands, hang around town or catch an early movie. Is it any wonder some of my juniors want to join emergency medicine after hearing my promo speech? :D

Gonna take a short nap now. Have finally heard the audio for the RJC incident -- having some trouble with the video still. Will talk about that later if I get the chance.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Just doing my bit to link to a newly set up Clay Aiken website for Singaporean fans.

It's still in its early stages, but a very good effort. Great work, gals! :)
Taken from the July 21 issue of Time (Asia) magazine, titled "A Doctor's Duty", and written by Charles Krauthammer, dwelling on the case of the Iranian twins:

"When you lose a patient, particularly when the patient dies at your own hand, the heartbreak mixes with unbearable guilt. The doctors are asking themselves the same question everyone else is asking: Should they have done it?

The doctors certainly knew the risk. They knew that with the women's shared circulatory systems, the risk was great. They might have underestimated the technical challenges, but they did not deceive their patients. The sisters, highly educated and highly motivated, knew full well the risk of never waking up from the surgery.

For all the regrets and second guesses, it is hard to see how the answer could have been anything but yes. The foundation of the medical vocation is that the doctor is servant to the patient's will. Not always, of course. There are times when the doctor must say no. Thie was not such a time.

Before serving a patient's will, doctors have to decide whether it is perverse and self-destructive.

Beyond that, the patient is sovereign and the physician's duty is to be the servant. Which is why the doctors in Singapore were right to try to separate the twins. They were not seeking self-destruction: they were seeking liberation. And they were trying to undo a form of mutilation imposed on them by nature. The extraordinary thing about their request was that it was so utterly ordinary. They were asking for nothing special, nothing superhuman, nothing radically enhancing of the human nature. They were only seeking to satisfy the most simple and pedestrian of desires: to live as single human beings.

To risk everything for this was perfectly rational -- indeed, an act of nobility and great courgae. Their doctors were assisting heroism, not suicide. They should feel no guilt, only sorrow that victory once again went to nature, in all its cruelty."

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Thought I'd post this comment from Sam -- thanks for your valuable input!

Taken from a recent issue of Fortune magazine:

"Consider the following four dead-end kids.

One was spanked by his teachers for bad grades and a poor attitude. He dropped out of school at 16. Another failed remedial English and came perilously close to flunking out of college. The third feared he'd never make it through school--and might not have without a tutor. The last finally learned to read in third grade, devouring Marvel comics, whose pictures provided clues to help him untangle the words.

These four losers are, respectively, Richard Branson, Charles Schwab, John Chambers, and David Boies. Billionaire Branson developed one of Britain's top brands with Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airways. Schwab virtually created the discount brokerage business. Chambers is CEO of Cisco. Boies is a celebrated trial attorney, best known as the guy who beat Microsoft."

Link available here.

Sam: "I think this goes to show (in some small measure) that notwithstanding the words and actions of negative persons (be they parents, teachers, friends, colleagues or superiors), we all have a chance to make our dreams come true."

His points about teachers needing support from their superiors and the Ministry of Education in order to devote more time and attention to "problematic students" ( who may be harbouring underlying social problems rather than deliberately being disobedient ) is an important issue that should be addressed. With the expansion of class sizes, numerous additional courses and the introduction of more technologically advanced methods of conducting lessons, teachers have their hands full, and it's not uncommon for kids to get lost in the system. Who knows, the added stress could cause the occasional educator to lose his/her cool from time to time.
Looks like the educational system needs some "evolution" of its own.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Have been catching up with the latest issue of the SMA News, and the article, "SARS at TTSH" was compelling reading. Written by our esteemed Prof. Chee Yam Cheng, it gives a detailed account of the epidemic at SARS central during the peak period of March this year, with some valuable insights into the personal experiences of healthcare workers based there. It reminded me again how remarkably brave our fellow colleagues are. It certainly was a test of the human spirit which they passed with flying colours.

However, the glow of our heroics is fading along with everybody's short memory, and an article in yesterday's Life! section illustrated this very clearly. The reporter started off by being charitable, of course, saying how she has the greatest admiration for those at the frontlines of the SARS war and so forth, then delivering the punchline -- how she's personally had bad experiences with some doctors, and how medical professionals shouldn't be put on a pedestal when they're fully capable of making mistakes like all other normal humans.

I don't know where she gets these ideas, but from my experience, patients are far from being dazzled to the point of letting their physicians get away with anything. Sure, we get more respect, and a number have expressed their appreciation, which was very gratifying. However, there hasn't been a major shift in our patients' behaviour -- they still complain when waiting times are longer than expected, they get annoyed if you don't explain things to them in greater detail, and yes, they get very upset if something goes wrong, even if it's a small matter.

If a patient were in this reporter's position -- the doctor who attended to her didn't double-check her name and thus assumed she had cancer in the wrong breast -- I predict that there would've been a complaint lodged. But that also depends on the kind of person the patient is. The sensitive ones will call up patient services. The easygoing ones will just let it pass, or even laugh it off. After all, in the reporter's own words, it was an honest mistake -- everyone wore masks, names were muffled, and she herself admitted to answering when the wrong name was called.

She also relates how she had an unpleasant experience with a surgeon in the US, and how, after consulting her "oncologist friend", she sought a second opinion and landed up in the 4th best cancer centre in America for final treatment. My question is, if you've got an oncologist friend, why didn't you speak to her prior to getting your own doctor? My non-medical friends and relatives ask me for advice regularly, from treatment for simple conditions to referrals for major surgery. Oh, maybe she didn't want to bother this friend of hers about something as serious as breast cancer. Okay then.

And her call for patients to be more pro-active in their own healthcare? I've been asking for this since I started housemanship! The amount of interest Singaporeans show in the management of their medical and surgical conditions is abysmal. Ask them what meds they're on, and you'll get a look of utter confusion. Ask them what heart condition they have, and they'll say, "Errr, weak heart lah." To be fair, a number of these patients may not have had very communicative doctors taking care of them. But judging from the departments I've had the pleasure of working in these past 4 years, most if not all my peers and seniors often painstakingly explain things every chance they get. One cardiologist even draws out the coronary tree in order to illustrate which vessels are blocked and which need angioplasty, while one surgeon sketched out the entire biliary system to show a patient's relatives which parts were cancerous and how the surgery would address them.

If a patient asks for an explanation, he / she will get one. However, patients should also understand the limitations of certain situations, especially busy outpatient and polyclinics, or overflowing wards filled with critically ill cases that absorb most of the team doctors' attention and energy. Some relatives also have a bad habit of turning up separately and asking for repeated updates from already harrassed house and medical officers, sometimes after office hours. Anyone who's done night calls in medicine and surgery will tell you that they're absolute hell. Having to throw everything down to flip through case-notes belonging to a patient whom you've never seen before, and then give a general explanation of the management plan without fully knowing the actual thought process of the doctors-in-charge, can be very stressful. Some complaints have arisen from such misunderstandings, where family members mistake a doctor's non-commital answer to "not knowing what's going on".

I mentioned this article to fellow SMA News editorial board and Singapore Medical Council members, one of whom correctly wrote that the title of the piece should have been "Choose the right doctor", rather than the less complimentary "Re-examine your doctor". I agree that trusting your doctor is important, which is why patients must be pro-active in gathering knowledge about their own illnesses, instead of sitting around waiting to be spoon-fed, then later realizing they had other treatment options and whining about it. My own mother has been consulting the same private eye surgeon for 20 years, but when her vision deteriorated so severely, and the surgeon told her it was merely a cataract which wasn't ripe enough to be removed, I advised her to get a second opinion. After the 2nd diagnosis, I got a 3rd opinion, and she eventually ended up at the Singapore National Eye Centre, where she was later operated on by one of its most senior consultants, who did an amazing job. I had the benefit of having an experienced ophthalmologist friend's advice ( he was the one who recommended the SNEC ), but those without medical connections can also do their part, like many of the patients in haematology and oncology, whose resourcefulness and almost encyclopaedic knowledge regarding their complicated diseases earned my unwavering respect.

Even the Life! reporter admitted to being struck mute when she consulted the first surgeon, allowing herself to be scheduled for an operation before the oncologist stopped her. Someone once described her as "very vocal", and friends of mine who encountered her at TTSH a few years ago used stronger terms. Why did she go to the clinic unprepared? Why didn't she ask questions and demand reasons?

In light of the more prevalent issue of patient apathy rather than medical incompetence, I propose the article be retitled "Re-examine yourself".

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Belated entry here, mostly for TV fans.

Eric Szmanda -- Decided to post something on him after hearing my mom ask, "Who's that handsome guy?" while we were watching "C.S.I." last night. ( She tends to doze off when I'm not watching it with her, so she was wide awake yesterday! ) Well, Szmanda is indeed attractive, though not in a conventional way. His is a more boy-next-door-but-with-an-edge kind of cute, plus he's got perpetual bed-head. Still, his recurring character of DNA analysis expert Greg Sanders during Season 1 earned him enough fans for the show's producers to make him a permanent addition starting from Season 2. He's born in the same year as I am, and doesn't have much of a resume. However, I literally stumbled upon one of his previous movies on cable, and think it's actually quite good. It's called "True Vinyl", and has Szmanda playing a small-town boy with aspirations of becoming a world-class DJ. The plot is thin, but there's no denying the good music, vibrant club scenes, and a very sweet, likeable Eric. Watch him let loose with some head-banging and salsa dancing, in stark contrast to his labcoat-clad character on C.S.I. Very enjoyable. :)
Anyway, you can visit the TV show's website for more info. The writers never fail to surprise me every single time. And the acting is just getting better and better.

Don't miss "Stealing Beauty", the film that catapulted the very beautiful Liv Tyler to superstardom. I missed it a few times earlier this month, but it'll be screened again next Monday on HBO. This was R(A), I believe, so some parts must've been snipped. Still, better than nothing.

Monday's episode of "Alias" was unbelievably fantastic, best of all culminating in THE KISS between Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan's characters. I tell you, I haven't been this thrilled about a TV smooch since David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson locked lips on "X-Files". However, "Alias" promises more twists and turns, especially after the latest shocker where one of Sidney's best friends is murdered and replaced with a lookalike, and Arvind Sloane ( head of the now-defunct SD-6 ) escapes from the CIA and launches his own terrorist group. All this comes from J.J. Abrams, the same guy who created preppie drama "Felicity". That is one talented guy.

Yesterday's installment of "Joe Millionaire: Secrets of the Women" was a huge eye-opener. Evan the consturction worker actually used to be a model in Europe, but couldn't bear to part with his beloved bulldozer and later returned to operating heavy equipment ( bizarre ). Heidi, the banker who is also a b****, reminded us that she went on the show with her boyfriend's approval -- which got Americans talking. Her guy speaks up for the first time, and says he let her do it because he feels secure about himself, and doesn't worry about measuring up to another man, blah blah blah. If Evan really did have US $50 million and picked Heidi, she'd drop her beau in a heartbeat ( oh wait, scrap that, 'cos she doesn't have a heart ). Even funnier still, when asked what he loves most about Heidi, the boyfriend goes on and on about her "great body", "nice curves", how "hot" she is, with zero mention about her character or personality. They're perfect for each other! :)

The finals of "Star Search" will be shown tomorrow, and yes, Jake Simpson will be performing. I predict he'll win hands down. Looks like a young Michael Ball, sounds like no-one I've ever heard (!), and rivals Robbie Williams in terms of on-stage enthusiasm. A star is born. :D

Enough for today. Thanks for reading.
Due to some technical difficulties, I still haven't seen the RJC video. But here's a letter from The Forum Page yesterday, bearing 24 names, the main spokesperson being Sanjeev Kumar, whom I suspect is my classmate from primary school, who later went to Raffles Institution and RJC.

Excerpts are as follows:

" ... the homework was apparently handed in late, out of point, against instructions and with supporting articles clearly outside the assignment's ambit.

The teacher mentioned that other PRC students had no problems complying with her directives. And, further, all this was in breach of a promise to maintain good conduct made by the student just a week earlier.

We have all been guilty of misdemeanours and have received various punishments, including staying back after school, standing outside the class during lesson time, watching our workbooks take flight out of the classroom door...

We now hold jobs in business, law, medicine and the civil service and clearly see the relevance and importance of the discipline that was fostered by our teachers.

We disagree that the GP teacher's actions were unprofessional. Then, we were impish youths for whom our teachers served as surrogate parents. To have kept a "professional distance" and maintained the sterile propriety that this would have required would inevitably have sacrificed the care and concern that we needed at that tender age.

To spare the rod is to spoil the child. Can our small nation afford to pamper their youth? Are we raising our children to be so emotionally fragile that tearing up their very poorly done homework in class constitutes abuse? Is this how we insure our collective future?

We wish to halt the trend that is turning our teachers into customer service officers. They need an empowered hand to carry out the difficult task of grooming the next generation. As former students, we know just how mischievous we were. Condoning slovenly attitudes to work would have compromised our character ultimately.

None of us have any qualms about enrolling our children in the teacher's class. We are gratified that there's someone there who cares enough about each student to take a personal interest in them.

The video clip is an eloquent display of a good teacher's disciplining process. We applaud her for her obvious devotion to her students, and wish her well as she continues her tenure as one of our respected teachers."

Some of the people who lent their names to this letter were once taught by the teacher in question. I trust their opinions are correct, and it's pretty obvious they like her a lot. Whether she scolded any of them many years ago isn't exactly mentioned, but after more than a decade, her former students have made the effort to stand up and defend her. That must count for something, right?

During my 2 years at RJC, I had only 1 favourite teacher, who was also my civics tutor who took us in the subject of chemistry. He was very strict, and I can still remember one occasion where I was whispering something to a fellow classmate and got a scolding from him. Was it embarrassing? You bet. Was it warranted considering how small an infraction it was? Perhaps. Ultimately, I accepted that what I did was wrong, and made sure never to do it again, especially during his lessons. No-one in my class ever got berated in the same manner as this PRC student at the centre of the video controversy. But then, neither did we disobey instructions or repeatedly miss deadlines.

Someone wrote on my blog saying that teachers should "evolve" as pupils are changing with the times -- ie. becoming more independent, intelligent, and I suppose, aware of their so-called rights. I guess this happens everywhere. In medicine, for example, patients are now fussier and don't always take your word for it. Running a busy clinic can be really tough, especially when almost every patient you see has a hundred and one questions, and takes offence if you can't answer all of them. Sure, this means doctors in general have to be more interactive, instead of the old days when patients signed consent forms without knowing what they were for. It's good practice, but not always feasible if you're based in an extremely busy hospital or polyclinic, and I've had a few breaking points despite a relatively short medical officer-ship and a usually even temperament.

But it's still different from the relationship a teacher has with his/her student. There's an element of authority there, which let's face it, young people nowadays sometimes completely disregard, in part because their parents encourage it. Discipline is a major aspect of any education, and if a student is recalcitrant, the teacher will naturally escalate the intensity of her disciplinary measures. It's not known if this PRC student's parents were contacted about his previous problems. In any case, the comments from some that she was deliberately victimizing someone based on his nationality is erroneous, based on Mr. Kumar's account.

This is an ever-changing discussion, but I've always supported the role of teachers fully, and feel that if "evolution" entails progressive rebelliousness and distaste for authority, then good luck to any parent who believes in catering to it, 'cos you definitely won't get anywhere with your kids.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Part Deux

The resus area just got swamped by people brought in from a road traffic accident involving a lorry and a bus. The MO inside says everyone's fine, so that's a relief.

The maintenance people are apparently trying to turn the ER into an ice box, judging from the immensely uncomfortable temperature down here since Sunday morning -- 10 degrees Celsius thereabouts, judging from my blue fingers and toes. We're all feeling it through our masks, gowns and gloves, can you believe it? I thought about calling to ask them to turn the thermostat back up, but realized that being frozen does wonders for my alertness. Haven't been this cold since my orthopaedic posting in another Eastern cluster hospital. Used to spend up to 12 hours in the operating theatre on long days, sometimes standing directly under the air-con vent while trying to hold retractors steady during spinal surgery. How the heck did I get through THAT?

Here's something I'd like to mention: Anyone caught the latest episode of "C.S.I." on AXN last Wednesday? One particular scene made me sit up -- the one where young Sara Sidle asks her superior, Gil Grissom, out to dinner. Whoa, I did NOT see that coming! Sara, to the uninformed, is a Harvard University graduate who studied physics and joined the CSI team as a materials/chemicals analyst. She's very focussed on her career, but went out with a paramedic, who later turned out to be a real scumbag with another girlfriend on the side. Personally, I pictured her with another CSI colleague -- forgot his name, but he's played by Eric Szmanda; he's an expert on DNA analysis, and totally hung on Sara, but she just isn't interested, poor thing.

Anyway, I digress. After getting over the initial shock, I must say I was both intrigued by and supportive of this latest plot twist. First, there's the obvious age gap ( but that isn't much of a problem in current times ). Then, there's the boss-underling issue -- a workplace romance? Not a good idea. Then, could Sara be on the rebound? Perhaps, but I respect her too much as a level-headed woman to give her that label. Maybe the trauma of betrayal has made her realize what a good man Grissom really is, thus prompting her to make such a bold move. Sadly, the guy is a little on the dim side where Sara's overtures are concerned. His response to her "Wanna grab some dinner?" was "Er, no." And when she pushes with "Let's just see where this goes.", he replies, "I don't even know what to do with this." and the interlude ends there. If it had been me, I would've felt really insulted. Would like to see how she behaves towards him in the future -- the first of a 2-part finale will be shown this week. Looks like something involving a big heist. Should be a blast.
Let's start the week with some light-hearted stuff, shall we?

Nice photo.


Something an ex-colleague may enjoy -- but considering he owns a Playstation 2 and goes for much more complex games, he may find this insulting. :)

I can't get software to translate this ad, so what do you think the fancy headgear is for?

Above links obtained from recent posts on Dave Barry's Blog. Haven't been following it that much, but this guy hasn't lost any steam. Very enjoyable during slow shifts.

Was reading a 3-week-old issue of Time magazine today, and was quite surprised to learn that certain American states consider sodomy a punishable crime. Some of you may raise your eyebrows at my statement, but my shock stems from the fact that the U.S. is perhaps one of the most gay-tolerant nations on the planet, and yet homosexuals got hauled up on at least 1 high-profile occasion for being in bed together ( a neighbour with a grudge called the cops ). This story has a happy ending, of course -- the defendants appealed, and the Supreme Court threw the conviction out the window and reversed the entire law.

As expected, there've been cheers from the pro-camp, and complaints from the opposition. Some worry that support for the "immoral lifestyles" of gays will lead to a breakdown in the very fabric of society, etc etc. Yes, we've heard it all before, and Singapore, or should I say, the Singapore government, is extremely sensitive about such issues. Don't foresee a change in the legal system here anytime soon, but at least someone recently suggested employing known homosexuals in "key positions". The reaction? Very bad. I recall seeing a whole page of letters from irate readers, citing the usual reasons against such a move -- "Homosexuality is a sin!", "If politicians or key officials are openly gay, our children will get the wrong idea."

Come ON! Even I, as a Christian, don't condemn homosexuals. The Bible clearly states that it's against God's teaching, but lots of them are probably baptized and equally, if not more devout, than some churchgoers. I just don't see how their sexual orientation should be an obstacle to employment -- if this happened in America, a major lawsuit would arise, and guess who will win?

Sure, the U.S. appears to be very forgiving where sins are concerned. Ex-President Bill Clinton is a prime example, being allowed to serve out his term despite the Monica Lewinsky debacle, and continuing to receive accolades for an otherwise sterling 8-year presidency. Maybe it's our strict Asian upbringing that makes us so resistant to change. Or maybe local scandals are just very well-concealed.

My two cents. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Just received an email from someone who can help me view the RJC video soon, so I'll try to write my opinions from that new perspective once I get a look at it. In case readers here missed out, links were provided under the comments section of a post I made on July 12th.These links don't work at the moment due to overwhelming demand which probably crashed the servers, but there's another link that leads to the comments section of another blog ( which discusses this very same topic ). To be honest, the complaints here sound quite harsh. But then, they're also consistent. Which makes me wonder if the teacher had it coming...

Coincidentally, Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix mirrors these events so closely it's uncanny. I even wonder ( though I doubt it ) if the student who decided to post the video on the web might have obtained the idea from the book.

Spoilers ahead!!

In this novel, Harry and friends face a new enemy in the form of nasty Professor Umbridge, who hails from the Ministry For Magic but manages to insert herself into Hogwarts and ,slowly but surely, turns the entire school upside-down. She becomes even more loathed than Professor Snape, and when she finally ousts Professor Dumbledore and becomes the new headmistress, the student body retaliates in full force, and with the blessing of most of the teachers as well!

Considering how Umbridge is projected by author Rowling -- she's described as being "toad-like", with extremely annoying mannerisms, and a very mean streak (detention involves writing lines with an enchanted quill that cuts / burns words into the student's hand; she thinks nothing of deducting points for very minor things; she deliberately bans Harry from playing Quidditch to complete her torment and sabotage Gryffindor's chances of winning the Cup; most importantly, she is an absolutely lousy Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher who would rather have her class read the textbook from cover to cover than allow hands-on practice ). Who can fault anyone for detesting this horrible woman?

Which brings me to the point I'm trying to make: The situation can seem very clear cut when we have all the facts. No-one in his/her right mind will side Umbridge. When the Weasley twins unleashed their store of jinxed toys on her, I was cheering along with the characters. So if, say, a real teacher is equally unfair in her treatment of students, and everyone feels the same way, and someone decided to pull "a Weasley" on her, I'd support the move.

Still, much has been said about the fact that the video shouldn't have been made public, and this is something that I agree with. Schools have principals, and students should at least approach them before taking matters into their own hands. No mention was made about whether anyone brought this matter up to Mr. Hodge ( the RJC principal ). Even if he didn't choose to believe one student, I'm certain that, if a significant number came forward with the same story, he would've investigated further. Not giving him a chance to find out for himself and make the necessary changes wasn't a very respectful thing to do. In my opinion, it also tainted the college's reputation, attracted media attention, and probably made RJC alumni like myself quite miffed.

Anyway, in the Harry Potter book I mentioned earlier, the pupils at Hogwarts did voice their concerns to a few trusted professors, and even headmaster Dumbledore was aware of the problems. Sadly, he was unable to act on them due to restrictions from the Ministry For Magic.

So yes, I thank my fellow alumnus for his comments and useful links. Harry Potter also helped reinforce the need for a more open-minded perspective -- never imagined he'd come in handy in a discussion regarding RJC :D. But the bottomline is, there's no definite black or white here. Both parties aren't completely wrong, but neither are they completely right in the ways they reacted to the situation at hand. I guess counselling would be helpful in this case, but those in positions of authority should also be more attentive to the sentiments of the student population at large, so that discontent doesn't build up and explode in this fashion again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Monday night's "Alias" had me on the edge of my seat, and it wasn't because of the espionage theme! Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan generate so much chemistry I was extremely disappointed when their little romantic interlude was interrupted by a bunch of burly bad guys. Darn it! This show remains one of the most watchable in my book. Tried following "The Agency" and "Boomtown", but found them boring. Maybe it's the female kick-butt protagonist, played so well by Garner, that keeps me tuning in for more. Vartan as the cute CIA handler helps too. :P

Am more than halfway through "Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix", and am happy to report that it's better than its predecessor "...The Goblet Of Fire". Starts out a little slowly, but picks up towards the end of the first third, and speeds along nicely thereafter. Considering that this is already the 5th in the series of 7, J.K. Rowling has managed to keep the magic alive, not just by introducing yet another group of new and interesting characters, but also allowing the veterans to grow and develop as well.

Spoilers ahead

All that talk about how angry Harry is wasn't an exaggeration. He spends the first 200 pages in a foul mood, and toggles back and forth between elation and depression in subsequent chapters. I initially found this a little over-the-top, but thinking back on my own teenhood, and my secondary school classmates, I realize how much angst there was at the time. Putting Harry's many problems into perspective ( e.g. terrifying visions, being stalked by Death Eaters / Voldemort, being labelled as a lunatic ), is it any surprise that he'd feel at least a little on the off side?
Fortunately, this book allows him to mature nicely. He gets his first kiss from a pretty Chinese girl, he becomes a Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher by default, and takes an advanced course in Occlumency to protect himself against Voldemort.

Ron and Hermione don't lag behind either. The former joins the Quidditch team as a Keeper, and begins to show feelings for the latter, who continues her streak of perfect scores and thinking skills way beyond her tender years. Their strong bond with Harry remains a key ingredient in all the novels, and Rowling helps keep it fresh by hurling new obstacles in their path.

Fans will be delighted with all the new lessons, colourful characters, gadgets ( especially Fred and George Weasley's budding joke shop goodies ) and plot twists. I'm so hooked I'm bringing the book with me to work -- though I rarely get a chance to read even one page during my shift. A.S. Byatt, aka the author of "Possession" ( later made into a film starring Gwyneth Paltrow ) and a Pulitzer Prize winner, may have kicked up a major fuss about how "abysmal" Rowling's writing skills are, but good writing isn't all about detailed descriptions and fancy language. As long as you can captivate the reader, your job is done. Many of the best works in literature don't resort to flowery prose. "Animal Farm" by George Orwell is a prime example, using a simple, almost child-like fable to discuss political regimes. Likewise, I draw many lessons from the Harry Potter series -- courage, selflessness, loyalty, kindness, tolerance, persecution, the eternal battle between good and evil, even some parallels between the stories and incidents from the Bible. I recommend these wonderful works to anyone who hasn't read them, and if I ever have children of my own, you can bet I'll read Harry Potter to them. If some kids draw the wrong conclusions or use it as a reason to dabble in the occult, then it's the parents' responsibility to discuss the books with them and ensure that this doesn't happen. Heck, I read David Eddings and Stephen King as a child, but you don't see me running around putting hexes on people or going berserk. Same thing with Sidney Sheldon -- pure entertainment, nothing more.

Wednesday in the ER is so far so good. It always tends to slow down around evening time, when people eat their dinner. They'll storm in here later on after filling their tummies. But the system is being greatly abused, and having to see 10 cases of flu in a row gets on my nerves sometimes. Don't these people have GPs? Or can't they wait till morning at least, when the GP or polyclinics open? The other day, there was an inexplicable referral from a camp MO, for a crack fracture of the distal phalanx of the index finger. YES, A CRACK FRACTURE. There was nothing to be done! Just symptomatic treatment! I realize that some camp MOs may not have any training in orthopaedics, but a handy all-purpose guidebook should help with management. I recommend "Oxford's Handbook of Emergency Medicine", which is fantastic and covers everything quite well. This will help you learn, and cut down on unnecessary referrals -- the poor guy who came for that crack fracture ( and his accompanying officer ) both looked incredulous when I told them they needn't have come to the A&E. Can imagine all the wasted time spent travelling, waiting, etc, not to mention the army having to pay for the ER visit.

Back to TV shows. ( Yes, lots of pent-up energy this time :) )

"Fear Factor" on cable 2 nights ago was a major shocker. After only the 1st round, all the guys plus 1 imposing-looking big-sized blonde got eliminated, leaving the 2 smaller females. These later went on to gobble down 15 inches of horse rectum, followed by a nerve-wracking balancing beam stunt. Most impressive!

The finale of "Joe Millionaire" will be shown tonight. I didn't follow its progress on the Internet, but am pretty certain there was no happy ending. Most likely answer from whichever female he picks after he spills the beans: "What?! You mean you've been lying to me all these weeks? You DON'T have 50 million dollars? You're a construction worker? I don't CARE if you think we have a connection. I don't CARE if we each get half a million bucks for participating in this farce. I'm going to take my share, get a proper makeover, and get myself a REAL millionaire." (If it's Zora, then maybe it'll be less vicious, 'cos she's the only nice one around.) I kinda feel sorry for Evan sometimes, for being stupid enough to get conned into doing this. But then, he did make out with some of them while pretending to be a rich bloke.

I'm not a fan of "Star Search", but would suggest tuning in this Friday night ( 8:30pm Channel 5 ), for only 1 reason -- a blonde with a terrific voice and an even greater stage presence, by the name of Jake Simpson. I last caught him in action sometime last month, when he sang the heck out of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely". No idea what he'll croon this time, but it's bound to be equally fabulous. He's good-looking too, which is a bonus. :D

Have been spending quite a lot of time scouring the Net for New Zealand sights, in preparation for my upcoming trip -- hope it won't get derailed again, especially with an ominous announcement from the future Health Minister that "SARS will return in 4 months' time", ACK! Anyway, for the benefit of those who are heading the same way come December, you may be interested to know that the world premiere of "LOTR: The Return of the King" will be held in Wellington on December 1st, 2003. The whole cast and crew will be there, of course, but I have to pass, 'cos I can only leave the country on December 5th, darn. However, NZ offers lots of LOTR tours, especially in Wellington and Queenstown, where many scenes were shot. I've signed up for both, and hope to purchase a digital camera once and for all so I can put the pictures up on the Net after the trip. Something I'm greatly looking forward to!

Right then, I've written enough. Hoping for a quiet shift ahead.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Did anyone read the follow-up to the RJC incident in today's Straits Times?

Only one miserable line made any sense to me, ie. "His classmate who recorded the incident...and then posted the 3-minute clip on the Internet will be disciplined for violating school rules..." To that I say, "Hear, hear!"

Our Minister of State for Education, who is a breast surgeon and has never taught in a school his entire life, advised that "teachers should reflect on better ways of communicating". He gave an example of himself losing his temper with his patients from time to time. Let me add "medical students" to the list! Just ask any doctor around my age ( local grads, of course ), and they'll tell you the same thing -- he was one scary guy. Maybe he's mellowed over the years, but the memories remain vivid. I just find it weird to hear him extolling the virtues of patients and tolerance, based on my personal experiences.

Another eyebrow-raising fact: a Straits Times Interactive poll, where 700 readers gave inputs on the RJC event, 2 in 3 felt the student who recorded and posted the clip on the Net did no wrong. A certain Dr. Rosemary Chai even stated, "If the principal feels that the student should be punished, the teacher should also be punished... for the psychological and emotional well-being of the student she has abused."

Watch as my face turns purple.
Here's my take on things:

1. I feel very sorry for today's teachers. I know quite a few of them -- my capable mother being the first -- and they all say the same thing: students are becoming more and more difficult to handle. They're arrogant, defiant, rude, and scolding them often garners a yawn or a dreamy look, rather than the respect or fear of yonder ages. It takes a saint to be able to take this on a daily basis. (The good ones are angels, of course, but how many are there per class nowadays?)

2. Singaporeans aren't helping the situation. Look at the poll and the letters to the press, and you'll see what I mean. It isn't so bad if they don't support the teacher, but it seems as if they are behind the student who shot the video!? And people wonder why young people are getting bolder in schools. Any of them who read the papers would be so gleeful they might try pulling this stunt themselves.

3. Handphones should be banned from primary / secondary schools and junior colleges. My mom's school implemented this rule from the very beginning, the Tanglin Club does too. Mobiles are totally unnecessary in such institutions, and are disruptive and annoying. Plus, with newer models featuring built-in video cameras, the potential for abuse is endless. Teachers are supposed to concentrate on teaching, not watching their backs and being afraid to discipline pupils when it's called for.

4. The Ministry of Education needs to be more supportive of its teaching staff. A sentiment echoed by many, but never publicized by the media. The very people whom we're asking to "mould the next generation of Singapore" are becoming disillusioned and tired by all the nonsense they have to take from difficult students and their equally ( if not more ) demanding parents. A gentle approach is useless, so if you want teachers to lay off your kids, don't be surprised if your children do badly, 'cos sweet-talking achieves nothing.

This topic is something I brought up a few years ago in one of my letters to The Forum Page -- which wasn't printed, as expected. Thank goodness for blogs, eh? :)

By the way, if anyone knows the details of the RJC incident, please drop me an email, and I'd be happy to post it for you. ( Note the clause requiring permission prior to quoting anything from this site? A primitive form of self-protection, but protection nonetheless :) ) Email address:

Thoroughly enjoyed "The Guru" last night, despite a very sedate crowd at The Tanglin Club. Jimi Mistry is a hoot, Heather Graham is super-sexy as always, and Marisa Tomei was in her element as a ditz. Got a little slow towards the end, but you have to give them credit for remaining perky all the way. The dance sequences were surreal! Mistry has this deliriously happy look on his face when he shakes to the music. My parents couldn't stop laughing. :D

My initial impression of Steven Spielberg's TV epic, "Taken", wasn't very enjoyable, but it seems to be improving, if last night's episode was anything to go by. The irritating narrative by Dakota Fanning is still there -- and the lines she's forced to spew are less than inspiring -- but the plot is thickening and definitely more gripping. Sinister aliens disguised as innocent children, a state-of-the-art spacecraft that kills humans who try to pilot it, and a lieutenant/colonel who'll resort to any means to hunt down extraterrestrials -- pretty good stuff. It might help that each episode has a different director, and this showed in the vast change in both pace and standard. Looks like I'll stay hooked for a while yet. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2003

New addition to the overseas links to my blog -- from the Times newspaper in the UK. Greatly appreciated! :)

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Minor scandal involving my alma mater, Raffles Junior College, if you can imagine that! Seems one of the students has pulled a stunt right out of Boston Public ( the increasingly ludicrous David E. Kelley TV vehicle where high school is worse than hell ) by videotaping a scolding by a GP tutor then uploading it on the Internet. ( On the abovementioned show, the editor of the school paper runs a website where she posts degrading cartoons of the school staff, one of which depicted two dating teachers having sex under the covers, complete with grunting and moaning. ) Don't even ask me how the press got wind of it, but this was reported in the Straits Times today, and related to me by my mother ( I read local papers only occasionally ).

The language used wasn't strong, in my opinion. I didn't hear of such incidents occurring during my 2 years at RJC, so I don't think this is a common occurrence. Furthermore, the students at this institution are going downhill with each passing year. I meet them in various places, and think they need some whipping into shape, with their obscenely short skirts, untidily puffed out blouses/shirts, and less than decent behaviour ( especially the couples ). I'm sure there're some good ones left, most likely the councillors, but teenagers nowadays are getting more pampered / spoilt / rebellious, and RJC or no RJC, you can't escape it. In my time ( yes, I'm so old I get to use that phrase! ), we were terrified of our tutors, and would never think of answering back or not doing our homework. Just an icy stare from across the room would render us silent, and I doubt any of us would be malicious enough to sabotage the teacher by discussing something like this on the Net, much less videotaping and uploading it.

I'll bet the student's parents are now kicking up a huge fuss, and who knows whether the person who got scolded had it coming? My mom has been teaching for 40 years now, and tells me that students who get reprimanded almost always deserve it. It makes sense, right? Unless you've got some delusional or mood disorder, why the heck would you tell someone off if he/she didn't do something wrong? I think young people nowadays just can't take criticisms anymore. And parents propagate this defiance by jumping up and down when their precious little ones come home and cry / complain about their "mean teacher". My mom has noticed this trend over the decades, and now pre-empts potential problems by telling her pupils' parents from the word go that if they have any issues regarding how teachers discipline their children, they'd better let her know immediately. A number of them still give the school every right to slap / scold their kids. Some of them welcome it, 'cos they can't control their own offspring. But now, more and more baby boomers / younger parents are graduates, and thus more demanding, and some psychologists say, hyper-sensitive about their children getting whacked, 'cos they pamper their kids to a ridiculous level to compensate for their absences ( due to work commitments, etc. ). Well, all I can say is, if you do this, your kids are going to be brats, and will turn into adult brats in the future.

I know alumni from RJC visit this site -- I see links to my blog in the referrals section -- so if you read this, please post my comments on the RJ website, and make my support for the college known. The student who put the video on the Internet should be punished severely. He / she doesn't deserve to be a Rafflesian.

As for the arguments surrounding the Iranian twins, details are still scarce, but considering they were both smart and highly educated, I would assume they understood the risks involved. Their adoptive father wasn't too happy though, and will be lodging a formal complaint against the hospital and doctors. Having lost his 2 adopted daughters, I can understand his grief and anger. And being a doctor himself, he obviously knew the dangers of the surgery and will demand answers to his questions.

But think about all the other "therapies" available out there: traditional medicine, new-age treatment regimens, religious practices that prohibit blood transfusions or any form of surgical intervention that is proven to save lives. Some are totally unproven, others well-documented to cause harm, yet they're allowed to continue, as millions of people subscribe to either their own beliefs, or the testimonies of others. Do you think they were informed about the dangers of these "treatments"? Of course not. Sometimes, while I explain how traditional medications may contain steroids or liver-damaging ingredients, I can literally see my patients starting to daydream, 'cos they have their own opinions on the subject, and my M.B.B.S. degree doesn't even count in their minds. I've seen people with cancer discharge themselves to seek bomohs and Chinese sinsehs, who give them herbal concoctions rather than advise them to return to the hospital stat. These patients later turned up with overwhelming sepsis on the verge of death, and we weren't able to save them. Singapore is rather tolerant of traditional practices, but I hope patients can be more discerning in the future.

Anyway, I digress. Let me reiterate the above point that was initially made. If you want to use the argument about "experimenting" on the twins, then someone had better bring up the issues regarding other unconventional therapies. Traditional medicine practitioners won't tell you their treatments could kill you, right?

Thursday, July 10, 2003

The US Tour for American Idol 2 has kicked off, starting with Minnesota. Catch all the action on the forum, which has gone into major overdrive. :D Terrific photos are available on this thread. Sounded like a fantastic show!

As expected, the deaths of the Iranian twins has caused some backlash from various sources, both medical and non-medical. But at least a number of neurosurgeons overseas did express support and understanding. I suppose the major issue being debated is whether anyone should've even tried to separate them in the first place, knowing it's never been done before, and fraught with numerous risks.

The general impression I get from reports is that Ladan and Laleh made their wishes clear to everyone who knew them -- they wanted a chance to lead their own lives, were aware of the dangers involved, and were intelligent people who were well-informed about all aspects of the operation. Despite the odds, they willingly went under the knife, knowing they may not survive. They even made arrangements regarding which twin to save should the surgery turn bad.

Detractors may argue that if a procedure is deemed too risky, it is the doctor's call no matter what the patient says. But if this had remained the case from the beginning of life as we know it, many medical advances would not have been made. There's always a first time for everything, and if a surgeon deems it possible, and the patient accepts the risks, how can anyone blame either of them for the outcome?

My two cents. It's 5 am in the morning. Apologies if I don't sound too lucid. Time to rotate to the resus area! :)

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Received word that the Iranian twins didn't pull through. It is a great tragedy. They were both only 29 years old.

Although the pain is deeply felt by their fellow countrymen, no doubt there are Singaporeans who are also affected by their deaths, and staff at Raffles Hospital have expressed their profound sadness, after caring for them for the past 7 months.

Do not be disheartened. We often pray for miracles, but even if they don't occur, it doesn't mean that nothing good has come of it. Laleh and Ladan were willing to take a chance and attempt to beat the odds, and there were people who were brave enough to help them. History may not have been made, but the first step has been taken, and others will follow with time. Kudos to the medical team for trying their best, and our condolences on the twins' passing.
Singaporean Clay Aiken Fans Alert!

The episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that features Ruben and Clay post-American Idol wins, as well as Justin Guarini ( who looks like a girl, sorry if I've offended anyone ), was screened on cable's Channel 18 today! I happened to be pre-afternoon shift, so I got it on tape! But fret not. There will be a repeat on the same channel tomorrow at 9am, so set your VCR timers. :) Some parts are a little truncated, but Clay always lights up any show he appears on. And, there're clips from the Rolling Stone photo shoot, about which my mom even said, "Clay looks really good." Beat that!

Latest update on the radio reported that the Iranian twins were fully separated as of 2:30 pm today. However, they remain in "critical condition", after losing a significant amount of blood. Surgery is still ongoing and may take another 24 - 48 hours depending on whether further complications / problems arise. This operaion is the first of its kind in the world, so it is indeed a tremendous milestone for Singapore, which has been fortunate to have the talented Dr. Keith Goh. Our prayers are with him, his team, and the twins.

Short note to link to a blog that lists mine as a regular read of his. I appreciate the compliment. :)

Last but not least, here's something a friend emailed to me. Very uplifting stuff :)

I've learned....

That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

That when you're in love, it shows.

That just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day.

That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

That being kind is more important than being right.

That you should never say "no" to a gift from a child.

That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.

That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

That money doesn't buy class.

That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

That the Lord didn't do it all in one day. Why should I think I can?

That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

That love, not time, heals all wounds.

That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

That when you harbour bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them

That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

That I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

That when your newly born child holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.

That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

That it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation.

That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Hope this cheers up anyone who's feeling a bit down today.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Monday afternoon in the consultation area has been pretty all right today. One of the things I always notice when I do Sunday and Monday shifts is how almost zero NS men show up on the latter day. Maybe we can station some camp MOs at all the emergency departments, and let them screen the cases before shunting them to us. Or designate an external clinic to specially deal with these guys, and then refer to the hospitals if further treatment is needed. Just a thought. I tend to give MC liberally, which some camp MOs may frown on.

Heard from the morning people that a young fellow was brought in after a road traffic accident with his bowels hanging out of his abdomen. Was later sent up to the operating theatre, and I'm not sure how he's fared since. On my way to town to run some errands today, I passed 2 accidents as well. One involved a car and a motorcyclist on the PIE, and the other was a bad collision between 2 cars at the Cairnhill Road junction just adjacent to The Light At Cairnhill ( an upmarket condominium estate in the process of being built ). It was a sunny day, with no rain, so who knows why people still crash into each other? But then, I get tailgated quite frequently (despite travelling at speeds of up to 100km/hr), and met a super-petty motorist on the highway this morning, who sped up when I tried to enter his lane, then when I managed to squeeze in, he overtook me, zoomed past on my right, then swerved back into my lane with only inches to spare. Must've thought I was trying to prove something, but he's the one with the inferiority complex. Used to hurl obscenities at such people -- they couldn't hear them, of course -- but now, I just shake my head in a manner that's obvious to them should they decide to look in their rear view mirrors, or I just give them a you're-so-pathetic face if I pass them later on. Feel really sorry for such people.

Caught the premiere of "Taken", the epic alien encounters series from my idol Steven Spielberg, on cable last night. Not too bad, but what do you expect from someone like Spielberg? He's only the producer, though, not the director, so while the production is top-notch, some parts of the show weren't very fluid, and I got a little bored on and off. And all that narrating by Dakota Fanning -- the sweet little girl from "I Am Sam" -- started sounding really cheesy towards the end. How did the scriptwriter ever manage to get this piece of hokey fare made into a 10-episode series by Steven Spielberg, no less? If you want the ultimate alien experience, "X-Files" wins hands down. If it doesn't improve with subsequent episodes, I'm going to stop tuning in.

Don't forget to catch the 2nd season of "Six Feet Under" tomorrow. Promises more macabre humour and kooky scenarios. Let's hope the censorship board will be a little more discerning this time, and leave things alone instead of being scissor-happy. After all, one scene in "Muder By Numbers" had the f-word being yelled very clearly. How did that get missed?

So "Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines" opens this Thursday in Singapore. Reviews on the Net have been mostly good, though most agree Arnie is way past his prime as an action hero. Still, the villain in this installment piques my interest. It's a female cyborg with telepathic powers, and is played by a newcomer who looks like an ice queen. There're also 2 other young actors that bear watching -- Nick Stahl from "In The Bedroom" and Claire Danes of "Romeo & Juliet" fame. Have been relying quite heavily on reviews in Life! ( some of the critics there are right on the money, mind you ), so if they think it sucks, I'll give it a miss. Will be seeing "The Guru" at The Tanglin Club this Sunday anyway. With my parents. Should be lots more fun. :)

Must admit that deferring my Part 2 exam has done wonders for my frazzled psyche. Am certain I made the right choice after all, and will need about a month or two to fully relax before restarting my revision. Have gotten my hands on the latest Harry Potter novel, so I'll be reading that very soon. :)

Time to knock off from work. Till next time then.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Sunday morning, and the NS men are already pouring in. The usual flus and sprain injuries, with the occasional guy who suddenly shows up after 2 years of symptoms ( e.g. ankle instability ) then asks coyly for some MC, aaargh! Have missed church for a few weeks now, which is getting me down, but I can't have all my Sundays free in any department, so this is something I'll have to live with.

My thanks to all for your support regarding the issue in my last post. I was contemplating bringing it up to the seniors' attention ( in the ER, not that MO's department -- I'm not that vengeful :)), but thought I'd give him a chance and see if he repeats himself. Reminds me of a HO I had during my last rotation, who made me so mad I shouted at him because I just couldn't stand it anymore. That was the first and only time I've ever yelled at someone at work, and I also had to write a formal letter to my consultant so he could take some action. I'm happy to report that the HO changed his ways after that, though only after some time. Believe it or not, we also resolved our differences, and during future calls, I helped him clerk cases, and he never gave me any more problems. If people can change, they deserve a second chance. If this MO in question persists in his bad habits, then I'd have no choice but to ask my seniors for help.

Read in the papers today that the Iranian Siamese twins will be undergoing surgery to separate themselves today. It's expected to take 48 hours at least, and is of course guaranteed to be high-risk in nature. Helming this operation is Dr. Keith Goh, who was also involved in separating the Nepalese neonates a couple of years back. He assisted Dr. Chumpon Chan that time in SGH, but has now moved to Raffles Hospital. The 2 surgeons were featured in a recent issue of Reader's Digest, and both seem like very nice people who are extremely dedicated to their patients' welfare -- Dr. Chan even invited the Nepalese twins' parents to his home for dinner a few times, as they had no friends or relatives in Singapore. That feat was a milestone for our country, being the first of its kind attempted in the East, and taking almost 4 days to complete. This time, Dr. Goh will put Singapore on the world map once again. I wish him and his team the best of luck, and pray that the Iranian twins will pull through.

On a less serious note, TV-philes should tune in to the whopping 3-hour Law & Order feast on Channel i starting tonight. I'm a long-time fan of the series, but the one I'm eyeing is definitely Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which features the criminal's perspective. All Law & Order episodes are intelligently written and cerebral, so you have to pay close attention, especially to the names of all the characters. They're not going to explain things to you, and the sheer number of players can make it even more confusing. However, the ending is always satisfying, and sometimes just plain shocking. You will not regret spending a few hours watching these shows.

The other programme I've been enjoying immensely is The Bachelorette. If you follow Joe Millionaire as well, you will realize how classy the former is in comparison. While the latter is set in a rundown chateau, and features dates that usually take place around the estate (horseback riding, walks in the garden, fencing lessons ), the former takes its participants all over America for pricey outings that make my jaw drop. Also, the hopefuls who vie for the main character's affections differ greatly in standard. Joe's bachelorettes are mostly average-looking, but the worst thing is how money-faced and desperate they are, drooling over tiny ruby / emerald / sapphire pendants, and failing to notice that a man with $50 million should have more class and intelligence than this. The bachelors on The Bachelorette, however, are good-looking, articulate, great dressers, and good catches for any girl ( but that's just my opinion :)). I'm starting to like Ryan a lot, and my mom's right about him resembling Josh Hartnett. That painting of a Siberian white tiger he did was amazing. Trista has good taste!

This month's SMA News is out on the Net, so you can go read it before the hard copy is available. I recommend the article "SARS & The GP", which highlights some previously unknown problems faced by these practitioners. I had no idea these events occurred, so it's a helpful eye-opener.

Latest news on Clay Aiken reveal that his upcoming debut album, which is due for release on August 19th, is now already the top seller on His CD single featuring Bridge Over Troubled Water has dropped to #4, but Ruben Studdard's is way below at #23 ( the latter's debut CD hasn't even registered in the top 20 in terms of pre-orders yet ). Quite astounding. :D

Last but not least, here's a prayer going out to a good friend's grandma, who's undergoing surgery for CA colon today. She's in excellent hands, so I'm sure it'll turn out fine. :)

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Friday night shift in the ER, and looks like the wet weather is helping to keep the numbers down, at least in the consultation area. Resus was rather busy, and the other 2 MOs only just managed to clear the cases inside and get some rest. I'm not due for a nap for at least another 1 1/2 hours, and a whole lot of people with chest pain have been turning up. Try evaluating the nature / duration / radiation of this pain at 3am in the morning, repeatedly, and you'll know what I'm going through. Starting to get quite hungry for some funny reason. Must be all the thinking that's burning up the calories. :)

But then, there was an episode that annoyed me a bit. Saw a young lady with tonsillitis that was so severe her pharynx was occluded ( ie kissing tonsils ). She had been unwell for a few days, and not really responding to antibiotics. She told me she wasn't eating or drinking, and of course had difficulty swallowing the medications she was prescribed. She looked lethargic and dehydrated, so I thought it'd be good to admit her. However, the system here is such that admitting to certain specialties requires clearance from the doctor-on-call from that department, which in this case was another MO. I gave him a ring and explained the situation, to which he replied that there was no need for admission. He didn't sound very happy from the start, and I was geniunely worried about this girl, 'cos I was admitted in 1999 for tonsillitis as well, and required Iv antibiotics and 6 hourly normal saline drips, so I decided to admit her to medical with an added footnote regarding the MO's comments. He probably monitored admissions from upstairs ( our computer systems are useful in that sense ), 'cos a split second after I clicked in the admission, he called me back, and after giving a few deep sighs, told me he'd come down to review her.

She was discharged in the end, but the MO came in to inform me so I could change her ER records, and he did not look pleased. It's interesting that during our earlier conversation, he mentioned in passing that admitting this patient would result in some kind of trouble upstairs. His words were, "They'll kill us." or something to that effect. I have little say in other departments' policies, but I felt that this MO should've at least come down after that first phone call, especially since I voiced my concerns about discharging her. If having these MOs around doesn't help us, then why should we even bother ringing them anyway? (MOs who've passed through this department previously attest that the calls are often "quiet", and I try really really hard not to bother them unless I have an issue I'd like them to advise on, so I didn't appreciate the attitude of the MO concerned. ) Just voicing my thoughts here.

So I wonder if this morning's paper will feature an 8-car collision on the PIE which occurred earlier tonight? I saw one of the drivers involved, but she was uninjured, so that was a close shave. In my opinion, though, some people I meet on the road don't deserve to own cars. I was hit by a young male probation plate driver once at a traffic junction, and I strongly suspect he and his passenger Ah Lian girlfriend were engaging in some hanky panky prior to his ramming into my behind. Just this afternoon, while stuck in a jam along Jalan Eunos, my attention was shifted to the car next to me when it started to shake. Yes, literally. I looked over and saw a couple in their 20s playing a game of "pak-kah pak-chew" ( meaning slapping hands and legs in Hokkien ).

Have decided to defer taking the Part 2 exam this year, and aim for Edinburgh in May 2004 instead. Reasons are multifactorial, but a main issue is my need for more time and adequate preparation before I squander $3000. Plus, I think I need a break, and will be proceeding with the trip to New Zealand this December, after having to cancel it last year due to my mother's operation. Will be spending time pursuing my hobbies too, and exploring other non-medical avenues to add more colour to my otherwise very monotonous life. The exam in May will also afford the opportunity to return to London for a short spell thereafter, and maybe a hope across the Channel to nearby France and Monte Carlo. My parents are getting older by the day, so I'd like to go travelling with them while they're still mobile. I learnt a lot about regrets from past experiences, so I'm not going to make that mistake again.

Also got my hands on the Rolling Stone magazine featuring Clay Aiken from Kinokuniya. They've stocked up this time, so although there were quite a few reserved copies, more were available on the racks as well. Get them before they sell out! The article was really funny, and shows a side of Clay's that was previously hidden from the public eye. His comments about house cats are kinda sad, but everyone has his/her quirks so he has a right to speak his mind. The photo inside is nicer than that on the cover, but that's just my opinion. Look out for the WWJD bracelet he always wears on his right wrist. It stands for "What Would Jesus Do", and is a strong testament to his religious faith, which he's very proud of. I've always said that Clay belongs to a new breed of young celebrities who are also excellent role models ( another good example is Josh Groban ). Clay is already making big waves among his young Christian followers all over the world, and I'm doing what I can to spread the word to my own Christian friends. His debut full-length CD is due in August, woohoo! :)

Starting to feel a little tired. Will post again another time.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Wednesday night in the ER, and I'm glad to report that I haven't been tired out by the shift -- yet! There were a few spurts earlier, with an elderly Caucasian man brought in from Changi Airport after collapsing at the ticket counter. We managed to get some transient return of spontaneous circulation, but it couldn't be sustained, and he sadly passed away. He was travelling alone, and we haven't managed to get hold of his family yet. I can't imagine how they'll react when they receive the news.
Just saw a young man with 3 deep left forearm lacerations, all self-inflicted. He gave me a really long and winding story about what happened, and frankly, I didn't understand any of it. He says he has a wife, but called his girlfriend when we told him he needed admission. Strange fellow. Can't wait to get him upstairs.

Exam revision is under way, but I'm feeling quite stressed out. Have commenced tutorials with my chief, covering trauma topics, but it's in viva form ( ie. oral exam style ), and although I can write like nobody's business, I suck at speaking. Especially under exam conditions. And my incompetence at vivas is freaking me out! :( Less than 3 months to go till D-day. I was given the option of aiming for the Part 2 in Edinburgh in November, but my mother asked me to avoid it at all costs. Not just because of the additional travel and accomodation expenses, but because I've got an underlying sinus problem, thanks to a horrible episode in 1999 after getting a simple cold in Perth, which then escalated into full-blown sinusitis and tonsillitis. Now, my nose clogs up during extremely cold weather, or in air-conditioned rooms. The N95 mask doesn't help either.

I've got few days off this month, but thank goodness I managed to acquire some leave for late August -- 2 whole weeks off, yes! It isn't that near the exam, but it's better than nothing, and should provide valuable revision time and a good break. Wish me luck.

Okay, here's a list of reviews of recent shows I rented. Got them the day before my Part 2 was confirmed for September, so I had no choice but to watch them (though I did enjoy it :)). Will be my last review for a long time to come.

The Hot Chick -- I'm a big fan of Rob Schneider, who made me laugh my guts out in The Waterboy, The Animal and, his best one so far, Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo. Here, he gets to act like a blond bimbo, and does a good job of it too. It's one of those Clueless tributes, infused with some mubo-jumbo from the Dark Ages. Totally nonsensical, but I liked it. Good for some brainless relaxation. :)

Die Another Day -- Okay, I hated this one. James Bond or not, I didn't know what the heck was happening, and with all the explosions going off, I started to develop a headache halfway through the movie. Pierce Brosnan is my favourite Bond so far, and Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike are gorgeous, but the male villains are boring, and the action sequences uninspired. Enough with the sexual innuendoes too. "Big Bang theory" my eye. This film fizzled.
P.S. Someone needs to tell Bond he should wear a disguise or go for plastic surgery, 'cos an international spy wouldn't last a minute if he goes around introducing himself to everyone.

Now, on to the good ones.

Maid In Manhattan -- I didn't expect to like this movie, so I was very surprised that I did. I rented it for only 2 reasons: Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes. So what if it's another Pretty Woman ripoff? J. Lo is sassy and likable, and Fiennes is handsome and smiles for a change (really didn't enjoy his dour facies and violent tendencies in Red Dragon ). Here, we see the 2 leads generate some understated but palpable chemistry on-screen, and the little guy who plays Lopez's son is super-cute.

Two Weeks Notice -- I liked this even more than Maid In Manhattan, again because of strong acting, this time from Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant, two of my favourites. This film reminds me a lot of Keeping The Faith ( Ed Norton, Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman ) because it's another smart romantic comedy that puts a twist in the storyline. They've got terrific dynamics as a comedic couple, not to mention the fact that they both age extremely well. The scriptwriter deserves most of the credit, though. Wonder if he/she has any other credits on other films? Highly recommended. :)

The Pianist --Missed this during its run in the cinemas, but watching it at home is equally compelling. After winning Oscars for Best Director and Best Actor, I can tell you that it should've won Best Picture as well. (Chicago? Are they crazy? ) Adrien Brody is breath-taking in his breakout role, and I approve of the fact that he plays the piano convincingly when the scene calls for it. Other actors who was/are also good pianists include River Phoenix ( Running On Empty ), Richard Gere ( Pretty Woman ), Matt Damon ( The Talented Mr. Ripley ) and Geoffrey Rush ( Shine ). Okay, Tom Cruise played a little in Interview With The Vampire, but I don't think he plays off the movie set.
Roman Polanski has done an amazing job with this masterpiece, and surpasses even Schindler's List in depicting the horrors of the Holocaust. Steven Spielberg chose to focus on the atrocities within the concentration camps, but Polanski instead capitalizes on the shock value of unspeakable acts occurring under ordinary, everyday circumstances.
Spoilers beware
For example, there're scenes where Polish Jews walking in the street are randomly stopped by German soldiers and forced to make fools of themselves. Other less fortunate ones get picked to get a bullet in the head. One Jew even had to wait for the soldier to reload his gun after it ran out of ammo. A raid on a Jewish household resulted in an elderly wheelchair bound man being thrown off the balcony ( with his wheelchair ) when he couldn't stand up to show respect. A starving old man knelt down and ate food off the muddy ground after accidentally spilling a pot of stew. Depressing stuff.

Yet, this film can be renamed "Nine Lives", considering how lucky Brody's character, Szpilman, is. He manages to be yanked out of a line for a train to a concentration camp, evades the many soldiers who love to shoot people, later escapes and survives in a German-infested apartment block with the help of some kind non-Jewish friends, and in the last weeks of the war, bumps into a stern Nazi officer who turns out to be a good person. This is all based on a true story, so no matter how impossible it may sound, it happened.

I greatly enjoyed The Pianist, though it's 2 1/2 hours long. Not sure if anyone else agrees, but I would definitely ask others to watch it.

I've got a day off tomorrow, which I'm happy about! :) Have to run a lot of errands in town with my mom, but I've reserved my copy of Rolling Stone -- finally! Will of course have to study later in the day, but I'm taking it one step at a time, and the fun part comes first. :D

2 more hours to go. Hope it'll remain quiet.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Today's the day SARS central opens its doors to ambulance cases, woohoo! After a "really bad night" yesterday, let's hope Tuesday will be a marked improvement. Time to get back to work, people! My ex-houseman, who's now a surgical MO at you-know-where, says they're so free the whole team can go out for meals up to 3 times a day. Compare this to other hospitals, where doctors are so busy they have to work through lunch, dinner and get the idea.

But granted, they've been through enough already, and the rest was well-deserved. However, vacation's over, people, and the rest of us need a break! Let's hope this will mark the start of life getting back to normal once and for all. Watch out for Singaporeans returning from holidays overseas ( school term just started today ). Don't let your guard down, or we'll be back to square one -- not to mention my local Part 2 exam will be cancelled for sure ( something I definitely want to avoid ).

Just adding some links to 2 blogs on which their authors have considerately mentioned mine. is run by Chris Rangel, who describes himself as a "hospitalist", and works in Texas. Offers opinions on a wide variety of topics, from general issues to hospital policies.
The other is from a fellow female emergency trainee, though I haven't established which country she's from yet. She's got a nice, breezy yet snappy way of writing, and being from the same specialty myself, I can definitely identify with her sentiments!
My thanks to both for linking to my blog. :)