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Friday, August 26, 2005

Adios Amigos

Hi people,

It's official. I am not updating this site anymore.

But i will be still be visiting this blog often to revise the links, and browsing the good reads. So all is not lost.

And i will be keeping this blog for the archives.

Farewell, my readers. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sub-rosa?

I have been toying with the idea of setting up a private blog. No pictures of myself, none of my friends. Just of inanimate stuff.

So i will join the band of faceless authors who speak from beyond their walls of blogs.

And i don't want to be linked.

2 reasons.

1) I have been reading medical blogs, and time and time again i have seen the medical personnel bringing up the topic of patient confidentiality and how you (the author) can be threatened with legal action. To tell you offhand now, i am pretty sure i covered my tracks well, by intentionally tweaking a lot of details. But i also realized that my location and how i sometimes unwittingly (and accidentally) mention certain key details of where i study and where i go for my field visits, would narrow down the search. I am paranoid. But so what?

2) I realized that by being so open with my blog, divulging certain stuff i don't normally tell everyone, i am out in the light, while the people waiting to backstab me; i don't who they are, but i am sure i must have offended quite a few people whom i blasted and rightly so, are reading my blog diligently, and waiting to plot their next move. I am exaggerating, but it has come to my attention that some people whom i wouldn't under normal circumstances give my blog address to, have been snooping around. Actually, it has been brought to my attention a long time ago, i just didn't think too much about it, till the patient confidentiality issue cropped up.

It's nice to be faceless once in a while, and simply blog your guts out. Really.

Just like WaiterRant or Opinionstats. And without too many links around.

The downside is, my readership probably drop to a zero, and it probably take me a longer time to build it up, because i am going to make my new site as obsure as possible.

So how??? Should i or should i not.

I should.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Ask the Creator

Remember how i was mentioning that since i entered university, not all my questions relating to my academic work are being answered, not because of my incompentent professors (far from that actually), but because research have not not been able to yield the answer, or no one has looked into it yet?

I recently e-mailed one of my lecturers with questions regarding a topic we were taught long ago. (Yes, that's how far behind i am in my workload. But slow and steady wins the race aye?) And the reply came back to me in bold red words.

YOU HAVE TO ASK THE CREATOR!!

I didn't know whether to laugh at this professor's weak stab at poor humour, or whether i should frown and get irritated with his unprofessionalism. I am still undecided. You tell me.

On my hand, it is indeed amusing. The exasperation the professor feels, when he is helpless against some of our questions. And so he tries to crack a joke to lighten the mood.

On the other, is it really that hard to type something along the line of,

"Hey, no one has any idea why it is like that, maybe they will find out one day, and i will be sure to let you know!!! :) "

Ok, i know, that's too much to ask. But still it sounds more intellectual right??

Haha, i guess it is really down to my mood. Having received a cynical e-mail from my spanish teacher, i am less incline to tolerate one from another.

*****
My course have a couple of postgraduates. I was chatting with one of them, when she mentioned that during the bridging course for postgraduates, the professors actually explicitly told them to hold back during the discussions, to allow the undergraduates to have a chance in expressing themselves and learn. I was quite surprised, because i thought it would be rather unfair and boring for the postgraduates. It is like playing a handicapped match. And a defiant part of me is also annoyed that they can underestimate our capabilities. It is a ridiculous thought i know. But i can't help it. I am just egoistic. Heh.

But last week, i was doing a computer prac with this postgrad. He is in his mid-thirties i guess. And he sure as hell knows a lot of background stuff. So there was this pressure to keep up with his pace. He was very considerate, always asking whether i have read whatever that was displayed on the screen and whether we could proceed. Of course i felt bad. In a way, i felt like i was holding him back, you know? So i actually had to kick my brain into motion, and was forced to speed up my thinking. Don't go "Huh?? If you can think faster, why didn't you do it in the first place?" Because it is exhausting, and i don't see why i have to rush. Either way, i will get to the finishing point anyway, and there are no prizes for the first one to get there anyhow.

And boy, i really racked my brains and matched his speed. Needless to say, i was slightly wobbly (not in the physical sense) after that. But i was happy, and satisfied with myself, because i proved that i could match up, and interestingly, i could recall some of my work, and actually apply the knowledge to deduce certain conclusions. Heh.

Monday, August 22, 2005

News Spam

I'm hereby spamming my blog with more news articles, found on my hideous journey to search for references for an impending essay with grotesque topics, and an ever-yawning deadline.

I'm exhausted. Never read so many health articles in my life. My eyes can barely keep open, and it's only 9-freaking-30pm in the night. I can't go to the gym because i can't spare the time, and i doubt i can squeeze some time for some spanish learning too. Which directly translates to being slaughtered a second time by my ever-wonderful Spanish teacher.

Speaking of which, did you know i e-mailed the teacher for recommendations of any CD-roms that could provide an accurate pronunciation, so that i am able to mimic it like a parrot and learn at the same time? It was the second time i have raised the question. The first time, she gave me a very vague answer, such that i didn't realize i had no answer, till i left the class. And this is her fabulous reply.

"Ias por tu email. Remind me to talk about this to the whole class on Thursday. Saludos, XXX"

I nearly gagged when i read the first line. There is a reason why i wrote the e-mail to her in English you know? My heart sank when i scanned the first line. The second line just made me irritated. I don't know what the Spanish words mean, and i have no intention to find out. I only know that i am pretty relieved and triumphant that i went ahead with my decision to purchase my spanish books, instead of relying on a rather unreliable teacher. A teacher who wants you to get your vocabulary and grammar right by the next lesson, which is this-coming Thursday, but one who doesn't want to help you along the way by at least recommending some useful text. *Rolls eyes* I shall stop being cynical. I shall be less judgemental like my medical training is teaching me to be. Maybe she thinks i shouldn't waste money on lousy materials compared to her invaluable guidance. Qué demonios.

I just went to Elaine's place to have dinner. She whipped up a rather sumptous meal for us, sambal vegetables, and sweet and sour pork ribs? Definitely a far cry from the 2 pieces of bread i flippantly slap together with a piece of ham squeezed carelessly into the middle. How i met Elaine is rather an interesting story. It was completely unplan on both our parts. I know you are probably snorting away and thinking, "Since when were friends planned ?" I know, but this was purely accidental.

It was pouring, and i was walking to school, with a forlorn looking umbrella in one hand, and my iPod in the other. Music was blaring in my ears as i attempted to drown out the noises from the speeding cars across the puddles, and the rain pattering around. It was peaceful, and i was enjoying my nonchalant walk in the cold weather. Suddenly, i heard a voice piped out beside me, and i turned to see this girl completely drenched, popped up beside me, under my umbrella. Needless to say, i was a bit taken aback. I don't imagine people just appearing out of the blue under your umbrella, do you? Anyhow, she asked me whether i was heading to the uni, and whether she could share my umbrella. Now the last question is quite redundant anyway. Can i say NO? And proceed to chase you from under my umbrella into the pouring rain? Obviously not. But it is an act of courtesy i guess. But strange that some questions asked, are not really questions; they are merely statements of required social etiqutte disguised in the form of questions. A further testimony of the complicated society we are living in.

Ok, here are the articles.

I think implementing this sleep module into our course, is a good idea, though i am sure i will be howling my head off, from the added workload.

Doctors taught to sleep soundly

An Excerpt:

LONDON (BBC News) -- Trainee doctors are being taught the importance of getting a good night's sleep in a pioneering course.

Medical staff are renowned for working long shifts, and tiredness has been linked to an increased risk of errors.

The course at Warwick Medical School teaches students how to deal with their sleep problems, and those of patients.

Lack of sleep is a common problem, but the professor teaching the Warwick course said it is barely covered in the usual undergraduate curriculum...

Read more here.

And the last article, a frightful study done. Now i am glad my mum was there to stop me from stuffing my face with fries when i was a kid!

Study finds link between fries and breast cancer

An Excerpt:

A study examining the role childhood diet plays in breast cancer has found an association between eating French fries regularly during the preschool years and developing breast cancer as an adult.

Each weekly serving of French fries girls consumed between ages 3 and 5 increased their risk of developing breast cancer as adults by 27 percent, according to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health...

Read more here.



Something to ponder about

Have finally decided to seriously sit my ass down, and read through a Health Practice assignment, that all my friends (aside from my clique), have been stressing about. Didn't understand why they were so uptight about it, since it is only due in 2 weeks' time. But i am feeling the slight stirrings of hysteria now, when i realize i know shit about anything. So anyhow, here's an article i came across whilst sifting through some AIDS news.

I wonder why some people are just out to make quick money, without any consideration of the social implications, discrimination and mental consequences that can result due to their self-absorb mentality. Money, as far as i am concern, is not everything. I know it is important, and sometimes essential, but you know, it is not always about yourself all the time. Becoming rich out of someone's misery, that's not very unhonourable, and the money becomes filthy. How can one bring his or herself to touch and use the money then?

Doctors blast DIY Aids test Kit

An Excerpt:

Johannesburg - Doctors blasted a supermarket franchise for selling HIV/Aids kits on Tuesday, saying self-testing without counselling would be disastrous and lead to possible misuse by employers, insurers and even state officials.

"Imagine allowing a 13-year-old to self-diagnose cheaply and without any support or counselling, it could destroy their lives," said Kgosi Letlape, chairperson of the independent South African Medical Association (Sama) which groups some 17 000 doctors.

"It could lead to suicide or someone going on a spree and infecting as many people as possible," he said reacting to a report on Monday that a supermarket franchise had put up a do-it-yourself HIV/Aids kit for sale...

Read more here.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Life's funny antics

I was recounting about Friday's incident, and i found it quite funny, after the shock had passed. After some careful analysis, i don't think that girl was drunk. She was most probably on a dare, and her crimson red face was due to her furious blushing. Actually, in that kind of situation, her only hope of completing the dare would be to rattle off her question the minute the person opened the door, and do what she needed to do before the victim could reply, and then hurriedly disappearing before whatever that happened had registered in the victim's shocked brain.

Fortunately for her, that kind of tactic may have worked for most people, but not for an extreme homophobic like me. If that happened, a red mist would probably have descended upon me, and my self-control evaporated. I would have probably hunted her down, and hurt her real bad, until i feel that my repulsion and shame have been sufficiently compensated. But the probability of that happening before she lies unconscious, bleeding, or with enough bone breakages to commit her into a hospital for a good half a year, is extremely slim. So i am really glad she read my body language. I wouldn't have been able to bear that kind of consequences when my sanity returns. I doubt she would be able to.

I was relating the incident with my mum over MSN, because i found it really amusing after that. There was a long pause from her side, before, i assume, she recovered from her shock. Apparently, she doesn't share the same sense of humour as me. This was how the conversation went.

"Yesterday a girl tried to kiss me, i thought she was drunk. Haha, so funny."

(A major long pause. I actually i thought i got somehow disconnected without my knowledge.)

"Make sure you don't get entangle in such a mess!"

"..." (What the hell. Obviously not the kind of response i was expecting.)

"Obviously i won't lah! I have got a butch as a neighbour, maybe she completed her dare there instead."

"What?! I thought your neighbours were Singaporean boys?"

(Me, highly bemused. It's strange my mum rather i have a couple of guys as neighbours, than a butch. I wonder whether she managed to figure out which anatomical part can actually be of more danger.)

"Eh...my neighbour opposite is a butch lah."

"That girl Singaporean ah?"

"Yeah. From Raffles Junior College."

(Another silence. For your info, Raffles Junior College is supposedly the most prestigious school in Singapore, so my mum was probably trying to connect this nugget of information and the revolting behaviour of the girl. She probably couldn't make the connectione. Hah.)

"These girls. Parents spend so much money to send them here, and they do this kind of nonsense."

Spoken like a true kiasu Singaporean parent. I shook my head, the joke completely lost and stale. I changed the subject. Some things, parents just don't get it. They worry about everything else, but the funny part. I wonder what my father would have done if i had told him instead. It would have been interesting witnessing his reaction. Heh.

*****
I was revising through my notes, when i did a Google search. I happen to be studying about obesity now, and how it is a major concern of all medical (and non-medical) personnel.

First off, i just need to say that it has been proven that obesity is 75% genetic. It could be due to a lack of certain chemicals in the body, hence appetite cannot be suppressed. Obesity can also be triggered by some dormant genes. For example, if you eat more than you should, normally the body would try to get rid of the excess weight, to return to the normal set point (ideal weight). Unfortunately, for some people, the overeating causes certain dormant genes to be triggered, such that the set point is raised higher than the normal ideal value. So they cannot help eating, because it is controlled genetically.

There are strong evidence too. Studies done on identical twins, who were separated from birth, and who grew up in highly different environments tend to have similar weights, and their weight range is closer to their biological parents than to their adoptive parents. So obesity is not just due to being gluttony or slothful.

But, there are a couple of judgemental people out there who are discriminating against obese people.

Ellen White charged that Israel was destroyed by obesity, saying that God granted their desire, giving them flesh, and leaving them to eat till their gluttony produced a plague.

This is an utter load of crap. Don't put words into God's mouth, and use his name in any kind of agenda you have.

Gwen Shamblin, a woman who set up the Weigh Down workshop, reaping millions of dollars from it, stated that gluttony is a sin, shamelessly basing her diet on the Holocaust, with no sensitvity to the people who been through it.

This is an appalling excerpt.

"I don't think there's any debate whether genetics plays a role in obesity and weight loss," Vanderbilt dietitian Jamie Pope tells investigative reporter Phil Williams.

She points to numerous scientific studies of children separated from their birth parents, as well as studies of twins.

"Identical twins that are reared even apart end up being very similar in body weight despite different environments."

But Shamblin counters, "I believe that's described from Exodus 20 where it talks about the sins of the generation."

So what's Shamblin's basis for rejecting the role of genetics?

"Gwen went on to say that there were survivors of the Holocaust who got out of there alive not having had barely any food at all," says former employee Tonya Cardente.

Cardente says Shamblin frequently pointed to the Nazi genocide of the Jews and saw justification for her diet plan. "Clearly you can survive on a whole lot less than you think, look at the Holocaust victims."

"This is not true that I've used the Holocaust over and over again," Shamblin responds. "It's somebody who told you that. I have not."

But on CNN's Larry King Live, this is what the Weigh Down founder said:

"How in the Holocaust did you have all these people getting down real skinny? They ate less food."

And in a videotaped deposition obtained by NewsChannel 5, she explained her rejection of the role of genetics:

A: "What I base the genetics on is documentation in the seige in the Holocaust, that when people were in prison camps and ate less food, they lost weight -- all of them."

Then, another fellow who submitted an article to the Medical Journal of Australia.

John N Burry said that Self-Control of one's weight might be described as a form of bioethics. In other words, he is saying that the obese choose to be obese, and in doing so, put a strain on the health system and economy.

Can you please tell me, which person wants to be fat?? Isn't the reason for diet pills flying off the shelves the major attraction of people trying desperately hard to lose weight?

I am not sure why these people have such mentalities. But i do know that obesity is not always the result of a person's laziness and greed. That say, i also want to emphasize that being obese is not beneficial to oneself at all. Obesity brings a whole host of medical problems such as hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. A proper diet and regular exercise is the best way to live a good life! :)

P/S: After much searching and hunting, i finally bought 2 Spanish supplement books. This time, they have both English and Spanish translations, so i at least i understand what the hell is in front of me. Forgo purchasing a dictionary, because i felt i was still too early in my language learning to have to make such an expensive investment. Furthermore, there is always time for me to get one, when i return home to Singapore, end of this year. It would be much cheaper too. And i didn't bother to buy any audio CDs or CD-Roms. Gave up trying to find a suitable one, since all had mixed reviews. Anyhow, one of the books i bought, Hugo Spanish in 3 months, had comprehensible ways of pronunciation, so that was great. If i am still unsure of how to pronunce it, i shall refer to my teacher, since i am forking out the money anyway. The other book i got was Spanish by Association. The minute i laid my eyes on the book's contents, i knew i was never going to let go of it, and i just realized that it has fabulous reviews. Coincidentally, both books i bought were the last copies, and well within my budget. What a good bargain. Heh.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Shaking like a leaf

A good half hour ago, i heard a rap on my door.

I was busy learning my Spanish Grammer. I heard the sound, waited for a couple of seconds, before i walked to my door. I peered through the peep hole and i saw a couple of laughing girls at my neighbour's door.

I must have heard wrongly.

So i returned to my desk to resume my Spanish revision.

A second rap on my door. This time, louder and clearer.

I waited again, as i tried to commit a spanish phrase into my memory before i strode to the door.

I saw a girl outside my door. I didn't recognize her. She was alone and she looked harmless, so i opened the door.

I stared at her.

"Yes?"
"Er..."

I looked at her. Her face was a crimson red. She looked drunk. A sense of foreboding filled me. A drunkard at my door?

I heard a couple of giggles, and i turned to see another girl at the corner. Friend of this girl. Uh oh.

I stared at the friend, and she vanished from view.

"Did you get the wrong apartment?" I asked, vaguely recalling a similar incident occurring a couple of months back. I was eager to end this, and i wanted to get back to my Spanish.

"Er..." she dumbly replied, again.

She turned back to glance at her giggling friend.

I stood there, and slowly, i inched the door close, till it was only 1/3 ajar.

Is this girl possessed? I wondered, as my overactive imagination kicked into life. I stared at her, wondering what the hell was going on, and what i was supposed to do. I noticed the Raffles Junior College emblem on her T-shirt. A fellow Singaporean...

"Can i kiss you?" she suddenly blurted out.

Stunned but without a moment's hesitation, i firmly retorted.

"No."

She stepped into my apartment, oblivious to my answer, advancing towards me.

Appalled at the audacity of this girl, I let go of the door and took a step back.

The blood rushed into my head.

Shit. I thought wildly. I had to fight. This girl was not giving me any chance.

She propped my door open and came closer.

I got into a defensive stance, and raised my right hand, with my finger in the air. Her last warning, and my final call to defend.

She saw, and she understood.

She hurriedly retreated, and called out to her friend, "She won't allow me."

I slammed the door shut with a resounding bang. And proceeded to slip the lock loudly into place.

I walked to my desk and tried to re-read my Spanish, but i couldn't concentrate. I couldn't sit still.

Then the shakes started. The adrenaline still coursing strongly in my veins. Moves after judo moves whizzed into my head. I shook as i thought of the close shave, and the consequences that would have resulted. Both of us could have gotten hurt, because of her stupidity.

The shakes wouldn't stop. It always happens before i brace myself for a fight and in the aftermath.

Fucking Rafflesian.

Need to calm down. Need to breathe. Need to relax. Damn her.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ayúdeme

I'm tired. And i am stressed.

Spanish class was hell.

Feel so guilty. Lagging behind everyone. Can't understand a damn word the professor is saying. I know i can keep up, that's why i feel so bad. But i can't spare the time. I really can't.

I am so sorry if you are mad, or if you are unhappy with my attitude. But that's just the way it is. 2 hours is too long. You speak in Spanish, ramble on and on. I can absorb the first few vocab words, understand some grammar; i'm happy. But you are not. You want me to know the whole damn list, 30++ words, in 2 hours? After a long day in school? I am sorry, i am not that capable.

Maybe the boss of the language centre is pressurizing you, maybe the rest of the class is very eager to learn. Go ahead, i am not stopping you. But why do you still pick on me?? I know you want me to get my Spanish right. I know you want me to make my money worth. But sometimes, you got to understand, maybe Spanish ain't my first priority in life right now. I am not a very good audio learner. I am a visual learner. You are a professor. You should know that by now. Different people learn things differently man. You want me to learn, you write it down. You can't commit that kind of effort or time, it's fine with me. Just leave me alone in class. I know you care, and i don't want to make things difficult, but please. Try to read my body language. Maybe this is a mistake.

Too much things to handle. Too much to remember. I am stress. If this continues, i am going to get a breakdown, or i will turn violent.

Leave me alone. I will get my stuff right in time to come. Just need a little understanding on your part. Don't make me regret this.

Update

Typing this on a brand-new Mac (it's a flat screen with vibrant colours! The only thing Macs got it right) in my school's computer lab. Practical ended early, so i have more time on my hands than i forsee, before Spanish class. I should be reading something about conjugate verbs that Erfana (my friend) reminded me, but, oh, what the hell.

A little about what happened the past few days.

Prissy X (my housemate, obviously not her name) forgot to lock my apartment. I came home one day, after visiting the post office to collect a parcel my mum sent me, and at the same time, misjudging the size of it. So i was balancing the box precariously on one hip, with 2 arms wrapped helplessly around it, and an iPod that was being juggled crazily around, threatening to crash to the ground soon, if i wasn't more gentle to it. I swore when i saw a letter in my mailbox, not because i hate for people to write to me and that i have to be forced to write back (hell no), but because with so many things to handle, i still had to stick my key into the stubborn lock, prodded and jangled it with much annoyance before it finally succumbed. That's the kind of service you are provided, for the hefty sum of money you fork out to the place where i am saying. I shall refrain from complaining rambling on.

So anyhow, when i finally got to the front of the apartment door, i was hoping X (my housemate) would magically appear, so i wouldn't have to fumble around the lock again. Obviously, i was dreaming, and X is not that civic-minded anyway. Whatever. I slipped the key in, and my jaw dropped, when the key turned effortlessly, and the door swung open. Under normal circumstances, it wouldn't have been unusual. But under the conditions of where i am staying, where the locks don't resist and fight the useless battle with you before eventually giving way? No way.

So i entered my apartment. I assumed X was doing her laundry, and was going to come back right in. But a quick check round the apartment showed that no one was home. And a small voice piped up in my head. Even if X had left to do her laundry, she should have locked the damn apartment because no one is home. Anyone could have entered, grabbed one of our laptops or something else of value in 1 minute, and make a quick getaway without her knowledge. Hell, i lock the apartment even if X is in her room, because that girl could witness an avalanche without batting an eyelid. She's that bother-less, if there is such a word in the first place.

So i rang her mobile. It would be pretty dumb if she had been holing up in some corner of her room and i failed to see her. (We don't say hi to each other when we meet or when we come home. It's that strange with X. She just doesn't care, so i just ignore it.) She answered.

"Yeah?"
"Hey X, it's me, Mag."
"Are you at home?" (A dumb question, but what the hell)
"No, i am in prac now."
"Er...you forgot to lock the apartment before you left."
"Oh."
"Ok, never mind." i hastily said before hanging up abruptly. Believe me, i would have love to yell something rude over the phone, but i was too exhausted with my schoolwork, and it is just typical X's behaviour anyway. Very careless.

Anyhow, she probably didn't want it to happen anyway. Bottomline, nothing is missing, so that's cool. But one thing that bugged me. X never bothered to explain or apologize to me. In fact, she only gave me a flimsy excuse that she probably turned the lock the wrong way, after i smsed her, asking whether she brought her keys out with her, since i maybe out of the house later, and she may get locked out. Plus, later when she came home, she didn't mention anything about it too. I would have been extremely guilty and apologetic. Whatever...

*****
Went to church on Monday. It was a day of obligation, meaning, it was compulsory. Amidst numerous groans, Suba and i rushed to church after my lecture. It was the Feast of the Assumption (wait...maybe it is the Assumption of the Feast). Ok, i am not sure. Too bad. I don't even know what it is about, so i made up my mind to listen extra hard to the preaching priest, to get an idea what that day was about. The priest started his homily (something like a speech), and i caught myself drifiting off, in the first few sentences. Hastily, i dragged myself back to attention, having not forgotten my resolution. I strained my ears to hear what he said. Only heard 2 sentences, and he ended off.

My eyes widened in shock. That has got to be the shortest homily i ever heard in my entire life! It lasted less than 5 minutes! I turned to stare at Suba, and she had the same flabbergasted expression. And mass ended in 40 minutes, a far cry from the usual hour. Amazing. And i thought i sort of knew what the Feast was about, but apparently i was wrong. I heard the gospel, and i thought it was refering to the birth of Mary from Elizabeth (yeah, go aheasd, laugh all you want...), but Suba told me Elizabeth is the cousin of Mary. So i got rather confused.

Ok, i really need to scan through my spanish now. Will update about today's prac soon. It was outrageously hilarious, whilst i was completing it with my lab partners. And more pictures. The convenience of having a camera phone!

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