Sunday, July 31, 2005

Asian Medical Students' Association

the Asian Medical Students' Association (AMSA) each year organises an Asian Medical Students' Conference (AMSC). two years ago, malaysia won the bid to host the AMSC this year, with the exceedingly stupid theme "Technology in Medicine". this stupid theme was coined up by the powers-that-be at that time, namely this chap by the name of Yussra Yusoff, nowadays a doctor.

this stupid theme managed to warm the cockles of the hearts of a bunch of immature and selfish and conceited people, collectively known at the AMSA International Committee, and thus they "awarded" us the right to host the conference (with a small 'c').

now these people are conceited because they think they are better and bigger than the ordinary medical students who come for the conference, simply because they are the Regional Coordinators (RC) of their respective countries. they indulge in petty little events like the RC gift-exchange, an important program for them to show everyone how important they are to each other and to the whole world. not even the United Nations have such a program.

they are selfish because they have this fund that enables them to send themselves to conferences all over the world, ostensibly to learn and broaden their horizons and bring back the benefits to the peons who stoop to pick up the gems that they scatter as and when they like it. the reality is, all they do is send themselves to conferences to have fun and waste money.

they are immature because they think that they are all-important, because they think that by virtue of having the post of RC and having meetings that last for hours, they are automatically smarter and more deserving of greater elitist status in society. they are immature because they fail to see how small and divisive they are, going off on their own social programs, off on their own free-day tours, off on their own little ooh-i'm-smart-and-good-looking exclusive chats.

i am not an RC, and i was never an RC. thankfully i was passed over for this post. now you may think that this is a confirmed case of sour grapes, but read between the lines. we all see occasions where people think they are better than us, when in actual reality they are sad people who need a lot of affirmation about who they really are, or who they really are not.

and this is sad. it's sad because the AMSC has become a two-prong conference, to have fun and to affirm our individual statuses in society. and i hate it. i hate it because the original motives are probably a lot purer than this facile and hypocritical bullshit that passes for some stupid conference.

i may land in a lot of trouble with these observations, but any intellectually honest person can surely see that there is a lot of things wrong with a conference where the delegates sleep during the academic presentations and awake only to eat and to have fun, and the RCs get together like some exclusive club, and come out only to exchange gifts.

the word is out. beauty is truth, truth beauty.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

heart's ok!

i found this pretty cool website for a hospital in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Heart Hospital, the first (or one of the first) fully digitalised and computerised hospital in the world. infection rates are super-low, patient turnaround times are half that in the normal hospitals, there are no administrators or secretaries but tonnes of nurses, ringing alarms by the bedside are sent to mobile phones, radiographic modalities are available in multiple places at one time... perfect!

plus their website even shows live surgeries... wow! have a look at www.okheart.com.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

travelling home

i've always loved travelling, and i've always loved home. i find it amazing that these two seemingly opposing ideas collide everyday and yet manage to find some harmony. i found an interesting article today: http://travel.guardian.co.uk/feature/0,8806,1536837,00.html
where Lucy Mangan talked about how she hates leaving home for summer holidays, and that dickheads everywhere should just leave her alone.

thank god i'm not subject to peer pressure yet to go on interesting holidays, but i suppose i will tell them to bugger off!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

bruised, dazed, sick and scared

now there can only be a few reasons why i don't post on this blog for more than a few days:

one, i'm busy. two, i'm sick. three, i lost all my fingers in a horrible typing accident. four, i lost all hope in mankind and life and decided to become celibate so as not to bring forth more suffering onto Nature. five, i've been writing lots of letters to myself, again.

this time, no surprises: busybusybusy. the Conference is here, and i was there for the past few days, and i'm having my exams tomorrow (sort of a surprise piece of news). i finish on friday, and the bandwagon hops over to genting highlands, where the hotels are expensive and the people try to fleece you.

hope all is well with the rest of the world!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

happy nights!

it's raining! yippee! plus i've got good music on, i'm all fed and clothed and warm and dry and contented and happy!

rain has always been my favourite weather. i suppose it's because i'm a little hyper-metabolic, and i can't seem to gain weight (please all you fat women out there, spare me your jealousy), i sweat a lot, and i have a super-huge appetite. so rain's just the perfect weather for me! plus, it's always been rooted in ideas of nourishment and replenishment, and how it brings life to plants, animals, man and the earth.

forget this ephemeral blog, existing only in a digital and hypothetical space and plane of existence... i'm here and now, and i'm going to enjoy every bit of this wonderful (wonderful!) night!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Malaysia in the International Media

sometimes i wonder what the purpose of my blog is. should i make observations about my daily life and let everyone know what i had for lunch, or the kinds of conversations that took place, or the telly shows i watched. there seems to be a new semblance of purpose to my blog now, that of an international watchdog of newspapers... haha!

how about a newspaper article, this time from the venerable Independent of UK? check it out at http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article300075.ece/

what i find most amazing is the way that people make judgments about Malaysia that may just be very presumptuous on their part, and how arbitrarily they claim that we are a nation of intolerant and illiberal twits.

yup, there are a lot of things about the West that we should aspire to, not the least of which is their liberalism and tolerance of eccentricities, nay their *celebration* of "deviant" behaviour, behaviour that gave birth to Microsoft and Richard Branson, Michael Phelps and Angelina Jolie.

that does not mean that they can say what they want, and analyse things in such a way that leads people to think that the West is intrinsically superior.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Matthew Herbert and the sound of 90,000 chicks

was reading something pretty interesting today, about this dude who was making political statements through recording music that's just strange, but so meaningful. some examples include music of 90,000 chicks, 2000 people biting into an apple, the sound of him trampling on McDonald's and Gap products, a grain of sugar... and the sounds of a London sewer.

Matthew Herbert has got it right, on two counts. one, music nowadays is so sterile and meaningless that we might just as well listen to a can of Coke. who would listen to people like Boyzone and BSB and 50 Cent anymore? for those who like that music, that would be the music they like. Mr Herbert's bringing music back to its original (?) aims, that of inspiring emotions and thought, and reminding us of our place in the world.

two, he's got it spot on with the whole politicisation business. we're at a point in our civilisation where every vote would count, and everyone needs to be politically-conscious about the things that we are doing/buying/seeing/wearing/eating and nothing reduces these larger-than-life issues better than music can.

check him out at http://www.platdujour.co.uk.

Monday, July 18, 2005

lance armstrong weekend

i woke up suitably late today, and did some computer work. then it was tonnes of reading... just too many newspapers to catch up on. sometimes i worry that i have no life, because all i seem to want to do is to read newspapers. not the local ones mind you, but stuff from overseas. i won't be portrayed as a spineless local addict who can't see beyond his little coconut shell.

lance armstrong is doing very well for himself up in the Pyrenees this weekend in the Tour de France, covering thousands of kilometers over 3 weeks every july. that dude is the best thing to have come out of Texas since the Spurs. it's amazing how someone can be so physically powerful. he literally brushes aside his rivals, and now he's gunning for his 7th championship, and only 4 people have ever managed 5 championships.

everyone knows he had cancer, and that makes his achievements all the more remarkable, but why is it that humans like to play up or play down a certain achievement or success by invoking the circumstances that plague the success? we all remember how Michael Jordan played through a high fever in the 1998 playoffs and made the game-winning shot, and Derek Redmond who finished the 400m sprint in the Olympics despite tearing a muscle at the 100m mark.

i guess life is plagued with relativism. their achievements mean a lot more because of the circumstances they are in. and that makes them slightly more than the average human person, at the time of their achievement. and that makes us feel better, knowing that the human race is not so condemned to failure and weakness and pitiful existence, that occasionally we can raise our game, and in so doing, elevate the rest of the human race.

go armstrong! all of humankind races with you!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

the longest day

i had a very long day today, coupled with a less-than-perfect friday night yesterday. quite a few things are crashing around me these few days, and it's less than pleasing.

maybe things will be alright after a good night's sleep.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

verbal gaffes

today we had a seminar, and we found ourselves talking about spinal shock syndrome. that usually occurs after an accident, when all reflexes are lost for a few days or weeks, depending on severity.

(btw, i used the on-screen keyboard to type the letter X, if you were wondering)

so anyway, the doctor wanted to know how we can determine if the reflexes have returned.

this girl answered, by seeing the penile reflex upon a per rectal examination. the doctor said no. she persisted, seeing that she almost got it right, and said, "By touching the penis". again it wasn't adequate. so finally, she said, "By stroking the penis".

the whole class laughed! what a huge price to pay for an orgasm!

Friday, July 15, 2005

eam fever

my keyboard is problematic. i can't hit the key ( ), and it's frustrating that i can't even tell you guys what key is problematic. ergo i have devised an ingenious scheme to convey information to the masses, which is of course, what the whole idea of a blog is all about: the conveyance of thought as a moral progression, the conveyance of the most mundane, most useless of everyday trivias. here we go!

the quick brown fo jumped over the lazy dog. marks the spot. is crossed on treasure maps. is the most important variable in calculus. it's what we do on ballot papers. we have -crossings, -files, -junctions, -men, -factor, gen-, even a complex disease called Histiocytosis . when obstetricians cannot explain why some mothers get hypertension during pregnancy, they (conveniently) call it Factor . architects use it to mark windows, pillars, basins and toilets. little kids begin drawing with this particular alphabet, accidentally or not. the oldest game in the world, tictactoe, is unrecognisable with only circles.

this alphabet is the most mysterious of all the 26 letters, the most widely used, and yet it's thrown away at the corner of our qwerty keyboard, to be ignored at will and recalled only when we're failing to describe emotions and ideas: etraordinary, etreme, eemplary, -rays, enophobia. it's thrown into the mix whenever mere mortals like us couldn't get a grip on reality, and we can't explain what is happening. look at words like -rays and -men. Wilhelm Roentgen didn't know what to call those rays, so he chose the most convenient letter of the alphabet!

we should be glad then, that this crossed letter is so infrequently-used. it implies that there is much of the world that we can understand, and that's obviously a good thing.

*wow* for such an important letter of the alphabet, it's amazing how i managed to go through an entire post without using it at all!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

epidrome

i'm just wondering, about the stupider words that come into being every day of our lives. for instance epidrome. we all know that prodrome is the period before an illness, or before a particular event. what about a new word to describe what happens AFTER a particular event? ah... a gap in the voca-blur-ary, to be filled by epidrome.

what genius can come up with such a brilliant solution? a half-hungover, recovering-from-a-vicious-bug, going-on-empty, i-hate-studying, i-am-so-bored guy with too much time on his hands.

check out this website... i'm sure i'll have honorary mention in it soon!

http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

psycho women from asylums

oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god

a few months ago, i inadvertently gave away my phone number to this woman. and now i swear she's stalking me.

stop trying to be nice, stupid, least of all to deranged, unstable personalities!

argh!

Friday, July 08, 2005

london blasts

it's tempting to just swallow up the whole terrorism-hits-london bit and scare ourselves to death. it's been timed to coincide with many events, the Olympics decision, the G8 meeting, rush hour traffic, business district in london, that it's almost impossible to ignore the perils of terrorism and all it represents.

but i think these blasts are a lot more than just simple message-sending. it's got a lot to do with how people these days gain attention. desensitised as we are to the infinite amount of violence in our daily lives (music, movies, back alleys and schoolyards), it takes a tremendous act just to send a message these days, to the powers-that-be.

this is our problem. we're selfish, and we're desensitised. our own lives are in our cocoon alone, which overlaps only with a few other people. we don't care anymore about anyone else, anywhere else, and that ignorance and apathy leads irrevocably to poverty, a lack of opportunities, anger, hate and finally, terrorism.

wyn nee, my sister, is safe. she was in the tube on her way to work, but luckily it was away from the business district.

no matter how much i blame us for allowing the root causes of terrorism to occur, i blame the terrorists more. which religion, which creed, which society, which system of belief, which kindergarten, which son of a bitch says that it's ok to kill PERFECTLY INNOCENT CIVILIANS, even if you think you've got beef with anyone?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

the busiest day

i am sick, i am tired, i am so sleepy, i am emotionally spent, i am intellectually exhausted, i am morally bankrupt (ok, maybe not), i wish i could spend the next two days in bed with nothing but lots of water and good music.

instead, my computer crashed, all my music is lost, the warranty card disappeared, it's the second time the stupid hard drive broke down, i have a seminar tomorrow to discuss the treatment options for tumours in orthopaedics (by the way, there are 200 benign and 90 malignant conditions), i had 3 appointments today for an event for which i don't believe in and for which i have not much left to give to.

sigh... but i WILL pick myself up and dust off the grit of life's trials, and move along!

*phew*

the UKM intercollege debating championships is over.

it was the biggest ever debating festival ever held in UKM, and it was marvellous to see so many young people come up and debate their hearts out! it was a tiring 3 days, sunday with prep and briefings and initial trainings, whole day monday with 3 prelim rounds crammed into an afternoon, tuesday with quarters through to finals at night, with 5050 people in DECTAR watching 2 teams slug it out.

there was just so many things to do that it was almost staggering. it was great to see the entire team again, each contributing, each happy in each other's presence, everyone having fun and enjoying each other's company.

we had a total of 113 freshers join the team, with 78 debaters in 22 teams. some of them were pretty good, but most of them have loads of talent but seems to need a push in the right direction.

all in all, a wonderfully run tournament, with at least 30-40 people who would be interested in joining us in the long run, and it can only mean one thing: UKM will roar louder!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

sudoku!!

i'm addicted to sudoku!! it's such a fun game, and so addictive!

the concepts of the puzzle can be found online at www.sudoku.org.uk, and you can have daily puzzles in The Star.

in today's society, more numerical than literal, i suppose numbers are much better than words, as teasers for crossword puzzles!

originally a british game, the japs took it over and popularised it, and sent it back to the UK with a new name... "su" meaning numbers and "doku" probably meaning something totally negative, like addiction, torture, time-wasting or something.

my banal existence has finally found some semblance of meaning!

A Day at the Indian Barber (or how i learnt to trust a blade-wielding half-blind man)

i have a love affair with indian barbers. when i was a kid, my dad used to take me to this particular barber behind the supermarket in Taiping (i'd mention the name of this supermarket, but i'd want payment in return).

they'd charge below-market-price rates, and offer a smorgasbord of smells, sights and sounds which cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the world. there is the barber chair, a complicated contraption with wheels and levers and buttons and screws that don't actually do a thing. you'll have it straight-backed, with arm-rests invariably made of a porcelain-like material. it'll be white, with black seats made of cheap leather, worn out from years of fat sweaty men griping about how their hairstyles aren't landing them chicks.

and then there is the barber. there is no categorising this group of men. in fact, the Malaysian Indian Congress, Malaysia's premier Indian party, recently led a drive to increase the number of indian men who turn to barbering. apparently, the Indian Barbershop Association (horrors, there IS such a thing!) lamented, to the right ears it would seem, that the number of young Indians joining barbering has dropped. emergency meetings were convened, tonnes of paper shoved, press conferences held, and the final result, they imported some Indians from India. *sigh* that's how malaysia works!

there'd be two big mirrors, in front and at the back of you. it's supposed to allow you to see what the barber's doing at the back of you, and to check on progress of your haircut. there'd also be an infinity of images, something i used to wonder when i was a kid when i tried to count how many backs of my head i can see. there is a counter, on which is their Barber's Paraphernalia - White Snow Talcum Powder (blue and white metal square bottle with pictures of skiers), 2 different pairs of scissors, 3 electric shavers, lots of blade packets, lotions of all colour and smell, some alcohol to apply on the head, vinegar, some spices, stacks of magazines from 12 years ago.

there'd be a Hindu god altar somewhere in the shop, usually garlanded with fresh flowers, and a clock which is always 15 minutes too slow. there is also a radio, unmistakably, blaring indian music so loudly you'd think that your hair is being blown off and not cut off.

and finally, there is a bench, outside the shop for people to sit down and wait their turn. part of the furniture usually includes an old Indian gentleman, probably a retired barber, who is the designated receptionist. he's the one that assigns you to your barber (there are 3 chairs and 3 barbers, in busy shops) when it's your turn. it's best to be nice to this guy because if he likes you, you get to pick your favourite barber, or at least the one who will do the least damage. the problem is waiting for the right time to be nice to him, because he's only ever awake long enough to assign the next guy.

so that's the Indian barbershop for you, the quintessential Malaysian institution. half the population of Malaysia has gone through the perils or pricelessness of an Indian barber, and lived to tell the tale!

Friday, July 01, 2005

mortal fates

i had two encounters with people from different worlds today, that had a pretty big impact on me.

i was outside the Orthopaedics ward today, and i chanced upon a 50-something malay gentleman who was sweeping the floors. i smiled at him, and a conversation followed. he's from kelantan, and he's been staying in KL for the past 3 months in his cousin's place just behind HUKM. he's been shifting from JB to Singapore to KL in the past 12 months, and previously he was selling nasi lemak in kelantan, but claimed that the competition is so stiff there that he just had to pack up and leave his family and kids behind, just to get a buck in the bright lights of the big city.

later, i was in carrefour in cheras to pick up my super-strong johnson's and johnson's clean and clear foaming facial wash, and as i was paying i noticed a green pen on the tray for signing credit card slips. i picked it up and it said "HOSPITAL UKM", so i absentmindedly remarked that even i didn't have that pen, so what was it doing in a french retailer?

the checkout guy was pretty young, late 20s, and he asked if i worked there. he seemed to know the ins and outs of the hospital, so i asked him if he was a patient, and softly he said no, he worked there.

and i got really bothered by both these encounters. they had so many implications that i was very troubled the remainder of the night.

here are two men, one old and the other young, one past his prime and the other just beginning. i hardly think the young guy's paying off a BMW loan, so why does someone need to take up two jobs just to make ends meet? is city living so expensive? worse, is the country-side not safe anymore for ordinary citizens to live comfortably? has capitalism violated even the heartland of the most anti-capitalistic state in malaysia? are we paying our service-grade personnel and older citizens enough, and commensurately? is the Govt a good provider/guardian/safeguard? what of the social safety net?

even more troubling is the metaphysical-philosophical questions that come in, insoluble conundrums of "why not me?", "why anyone at all?", "why the hell?".

laws of karma, of retribution, or cosmic balancing acts, or God's well-laid plan for everyone on earth... i'd rather not have any of these and let everyone have a bit more elbow room at the dinner table.

oh, and by the way, i'm bald again.