Saturday, December 31, 2005

Advance Greetings

I wasn't supposed to log on to Blogger today, but since I'm here, I'd like to wish all readers a very Happy New Year. :)

2005's been really great for me. Possibly the best year ever, in fact. Met a lot of wonderful people who went out of their way to help me. Made good progress in all aspects of my life. Enjoyed tonnes of exciting, rewarding and truly memorable experiences. Hitting 30 hasn't been bad at all. :D

2006 comes with its own set of resolutions and possibilities. There's a countdown to my exit in 2007 ( ASTs are getting shorter these days - both good and bad ), a planned trip to the US ( definite this time ), plus more forays into the entertainment industry ( to be revealed at my leisure :)). Most importantly, however, there's always a constant need to prioritize - family, close friends and religious commitments being the top 3.

If you're interested in participating in some charity projects, let me know 'cos I'm drawing up a proposal soon ( there's another in the pipeline since early 2005 but they're ironing out a few creases, which may take a while ). If you'd like to air some pent-up opinions about medical education or our healthcare system, I can serve as an outlet and forward feedback directly to the SMA.

While 2005 was mostly about trying new things and making numerous leaps of faith, 2006 will be more geared towards bringing about change and ensuring adequate progress and development.

So I hope your year has been fulfilling. And that the next will be just as good, if not better.


I'm hunting for fans of rock band Franz Ferdinand who may be going to their Indoor Stadium gig in February. My circle of friends isn't that tuned into these guys. Frankly, neither am I. But FF is more of a visual feast than an audio one - I've watched their performances at various award shows and think they're hilarious. And their music videos! What a riot!

So if you're gonna attend their show, or thinking about it, give me a shout. Of course, I'd much prefer accompanying humans whom I actually know personally, so no strangers please. I suspect there're medical people ( students, nurses, fellow docs ) who love FF. Just that they're not on my mobile's list of numbers.

Enjoy the weekend! I'm stuck doing a night shift on NYE, but heck, I know I'm not alone. Heh heh. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quote for the week

"Science is about discovery, not invention."

- from last night's episode of Numb3rs, which is the best so far ( this show just blows me away every single week! ). Yesterday, the 2 brothers investigated a murder involving a software company developing a programme for predicting human potential. Excellent script, top-notch acting ( as always ), with wonderful debates about the dangers of premature categorization not unlike the creation of a superior race so characteristic of Nazism.

There was some geeky yet cool stuff about binary codes and how submarines escape radar detection. They just make it so easy to understand - I love it. :)

Check your catalogues for re-runs this weekend.

Review Of King Kong

I'm rather tired, so this'll be in point form, if you don't mind.


1. Peter Jackson is a master director. No doubt about it.

2. The special effects are awesome.

3. Kong is amazing. Kudos to Andy Serkis and the Weta studio team.

4. Adrien Brody is SO HOT. ( My mom said it first, not me, heh heh. )

5. There're bits that resemble "Titanic", "Jurassic Park" and "Godzilla", but KK's sequences are loads better.

6. Singapore gets mentioned 4 - FOUR! - times. To much amusement among the moveigoers. Thanks, Mr. Jackson. :D

Favourite parts ( spoilers beware )

The chemistry between Brody and Naomi Watts ( luminous and fragile ). Watch for a few scenes on the S.S. Venture -- where they can't take their eyes off each other while she's filming on the deck; their first embrace in his room; when she opens her eyes and sees him reaching for her as she lies in Kong's massive hand at the edge of a cliff; when he yet again risks life and limb, climbing to the top of the Empire State Building to rescue her.

Yow. :)


1. It's a bit long. Lots of people running to and from the loos, haha.

2. There could've been a little LESS action. ( But that scene with the T-Rexes trying to munch Watts and Kong as they swayed in a tangle of vines was pretty inspired. )

All in all, however, I highly recommend it.

New Jazz Star

Well, if you caught American Idol Season 3, then John Stevens isn't really that new to begin with. I've been wondering about him these couple of years, and was pleasantly surprised when I came face to face with a stack of his albums at the CD store the other day.

Aptly titled Red, his debut effort boasts the producing powers of Steve Tyrell and David Foster, featuring well-loved favourites set to light, crisp arrangements.

Tracks worth sampling include This Love, done ballad-style in stark contrast to Maroon 5's chart-topping rock version; Let's Fall In Love, an enjoyable duet with Erika Christensen ( is she the blonde femme fatale from "Swimfan"? She's got a really nice voice, hmm. ); and The Shadow Of Your Smile, a lovely bossa nova mood piece which John delivers with great style.

He isn't in the same league as Michael Buble, of course. Neither does he play an instrument. But he's got some amazing pipes, with a tone that is unique and rich. I detect some vocal training in his latest performances, and he's certainly improved significantly since his AI days. Let's hope he realizes his full potential in the years to come.

Med Students Parade

They come, but never seem to go.

Not that I mind, so don't worry. Always good to have assistant phlebotomists around. :)

My sincere thanks to the batch that just left ( not sure if any of you read this ), for the very nice thank-you card about the ECG tutorials. I thought I was pretty grouchy most of the time, but I appreciate your understanding. :)

As for the current group, we've got a hodge-podge of students from Australia ( both Singaporean and native Aussies ), as well as 2 NUS 4th-years who impress me no end - they arranged for a 2-week unofficial stint with me during their short holiday break, demonstrate great enthusiasm for learning ( they go home and read up what I teach them, beat that! ), help in resuscitations, and even expressed interest in hanging out in the ER during my Christmas weekend shifts.

They also possess an admirable amount of knowledge, answering many questions intelligently, even if they don't always hit the nail right on the head.

Best of all, they can read ECGs pretty well - after just a couple of days of training.

I hope they enjoy the posting as much as I enjoy their company.


To a good friend who got married on Sunday. We met during a couple of surgical postings a few years back. Went through quite a lot together, and I couldn't be happier for the newlyweds.

The dinner itself was quite an interesting affair, since this friend is a year my senior, and I ended up sitting with a whole table of guys who're all older than I am.

However, they were extremely considerate and had me in stitches for most of the evening. Yes, they're older, but they sure know how to have fun! Conversation topics flitted from discussions about the wedding dinner soundtracks ( one guy even managed to identify the John Dunbar theme from "Dances With Wolves" - no easy feat, okay ), to King Kong ( turns out I was seated directly behind one of my dinner-mates at the same show, which kinda freaked him out, heh heh ), to the importance of having a "pee buddy" ( don't ask ).

Something else happened later on, after 1 fellow left and 2 others said something involving me and the guy who left and made me blush. But the comment was followed by a very sweet compliment, so you're forgiven, haha.

Thanks for a terrific evening, fellas. I don't think our paths will cross again anytime soon, but thanks. Really. :)

All Talk No Action

I'm grappling with a dilemma, but can't really tell anyone about it.

( Why do I always get myself into such situations? )

The signals are difficult to read, but I think they're there.

I caught a certain look the other day, but nothing more was said, and I made too much of an effort to conceal my reaction, so that was it.

Maybe that's just the way he is.

Wild Sex

Nothing racy, so clear your head.

It's the National Geographic Channel's fantastic series, which airs every Monday night at 10pm. First there were Deviants, then Macho Males, followed by Femme Fatales yesterday.

It's even better than comedy. Last week, the narrator made a big fuss about the gorilla's 5-cm penis. Then there's the absolutely ghastly scene depicting a male lion which murdered a pack of cubs sired by the former ( but now deposed ) leader. The part about the elephant seals was also fascinating - a female tried to roll herself into the ocean, but the male just squashed her with his massive weight and had his way with her.

Anyway, a girl praying mantis will continue to mate even after she begins devouring the boy. Who's more gross now eh?

A Rundown

As the year draws to a close, I'd just like to recall a few events from the past 12 months.

Best concerts:

1. Michael Buble, without a doubt.

2. Sting

3. Peter Cincotti in Rome

Best Movies:

Didn't catch many, but so far...

1. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

2. King Kong

3. Batman Begins

Best TV Shows:

1. House ( naturally )

2. Numb3rs

3. The Practice ( swansong season )

Best Books:

Again, I didn't read many...

1. Minos - Marcos Villatoro

2. Angels & Demons - Dan Brown

Best Albums:

1. Catching Tales - Jamie Cullum

2. It's Time - Michael Buble

3. The Italian - Patrizio Buanne

Best Food ( and Drink ):

I don't get out much though...

1. The strawberry margarita at Spageddies ( Paragon Basement 1 ).

2. The beef hotplate dish ( can't recall the name ) from Ichiban Boshi ( ate this at the Great World City branch ). Dude, you called it a mini Temple of Doom, remember? :)

3. The Mediterranean wood-fire pizza from The Tavern at The Tanglin Club. Can die ah.

4. Unbelievable doughnuts from this pastry shop in Takashimaya Basement 2 ( is it 4 Loaves or something? ). Oh crap, went shopping nearby with my cousin's kids last week but forgot to buy, argh!

5. Spaghetti vongole fresh from the sea at the fisherman's wharf in Sorrento, Italy.

Best Moments of Spontaneity

Not mentioned in previous entries, by the way.

1. A scramble for a dropped pen during my backstage visit with Peter Cincotti after his Rome concert. He was very apologetic, seemed a little flustered, but laughed good-naturedly. I got to the pen first, and he bestowed a very soft, lovely "thank you". Ahhh. :)

2. Michael Buble's death grip on my camera during the soundcheck party before his Indoor Stadium concert. He was taking a photo with another fan, and I tried to take my camera away as he was holding it and I thought it might ruin the picture for the other woman. I leaned in low and gently attempted to pry it from his fingers, but he refused to relent, so I gave up. Funny. :)

3. Patrizio Buanne's affectionate "mama" greeting, when I introduced my mother to him backstage following his Singapore showcase. It was the way he said it - Italian-accented, distinctly homesick, with a bit of theatrics thrown in. My mom still laughs about it to this day.

4. Some unintentional stalking by a fellow tour group member during my trip in Italy. 20-year-old Canadian of Italian descent travelling with his family. Obviously thought I'm also in my early 20s. Found him wandering on the wrong floor ( mine, not his ) for no discernible reason, after getting into an adjacent lift post-dinner. Very quiet chap, but we did sit at the same table in Venice, and he has the most amazing sky-blue eyes. Too bad our parents were there as well. :)

5. A nice stroll with another fellow from our tour group - a 19-year-old Indonesian studying in Toronto, also travelling with his family. We walked and talked a lot during the entire trip, but the one I remember most is in Florence, when I explained the anatomical landmarks on Michelangelo's Statue Of David to him, and we made a string of jokes along the way. Just met his mom and younger brother for dinner last month. Waiting for him to drop by, hopefully next year. More bantering to follow, heh.

6. A much appreciated bag of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream during a horrible shift. I know I've already thanked you, but honestly, it was immensely kind, and a real life-saver. :D

7. My cousin's beautiful little girl's "Can I hold your hand?" during an outing earlier this year. If there's no other motivation for me to have kids, this is definitely one of them. :)

8. The cheeky stare during dinner at Suntec. "Are you doubting me?", he asks. I reply that I am indeed. "Never doubt me" came the reply. Point noted. :D

It's time for my latest dose of House. No time for quote-collecting for the time being, but hopefully I'll get the next batch up sometime soon.

If I don't get to blog again before the weekend, here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas. :)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

New Link

Ah, a Cambridge gal. Wonder how she got hold of my blog address? :)

Thanks to some nifty shift-swapping, I have 2 consecutive days off, woohoo! ( Sad, I know, but woohoo! anyway. )

Swore I wouldn't sleep but ended up taking a 3-hour nap. Argh.

Just realized I may be stretching myself too thin. Sitting on too many committees to count. Not fulfilling my function as "chairwoman" of a few. And MUST get that charity thing going, dammit!

In Other News

Westlife has a new album out. ( And believe it or not, I have almost every single record they've ever released. Say what you will, but House once remarked, "I don't need to watch the O.C., but it makes me happy." Same with me and certain boy bands. :))

Face To Face is one of their better CDs, never mind the fact that they're doing solely covers. I think the guys have matured very nicely through the years, and I just enjoy listening to them, period. Wish they'd return for a concert though. Haven't seen them since, oh, 2000? 1999? I forget. I was so young then. :P

Another report that caught my attention was how Take That is apparently regrouping for a comeback effort. Sans Robbie Williams though.

It'll be interesting, but I expect little success, barring a miracle. But I wish them the best of luck.

Have found a terrific substitute for my movie mag cravings. Who needs all those $12 Movielines and Premieres when you can have a local version, i.e. FIRST magazine, which costs only $4.50, and provides a smorgasbord of giant movie posters plus tonnes of ( often hilariously insightful ) reviews? Well, there're quite a few glaring typo errors, but even an anal-retentive like myself am willing to overlook those because the writing's just nothing short of amazing at times.

For example, in a review of the original Batman DVD, there's a separate section on "Superhero Movies We Want To See That Rhyme With Batman", with the likes of Fratman ( Vince Vaughn from "Wedding Crashers" ), Pratman ( Hugh Grant ) and Hatman ( Andre 3000 from Outkast ). Best of the lot: Fatman ( Jack Black ), who would "fight evil by eating evil. He'd eat al-Qaeda. He would eat Kim Jong Il. He would eat those dumb kids in the void deck who won't shut up at one in the morning. )


There's a subscription form in the December issue. I've submitted mine. You should too. :)

National Geographic Kinda Rocks

I don't watch this channel much, but a late-night programme the other day kept me up.

Titled "Wild Sex: Sexual Deviants In Nature" ( or something like that ), it featured everything from gays ( lions! giraffes! ) to transexuals ( garter snakes ) to paedophiles ( apes ), hermaphrodites ( snails ), gender-role-swapping ( seahorses ) and outright gross-ness ( a particular beetle whose male offspring hatches inside her abdomen, impregnates all his sisters before they even emerge from their eggs, dies, then when the females hatch, they eat their way through mummmy's tummy. Yuck! ).

The narrator was quite a hoot as well, spouting his lines with deadpan monotony. The sleazy soundtrack was appropriate too - like what you hear in porno films ( yes, I've seen a few :)). The show ended off with a cute little twist - building up to a climactic "And NOW for the most deviant sexual act of all... MONOGAMY!". And who would've thought black vultures are among the most faithful?

Now if only I can figure out when the next episode airs.

Solved a mini-mystery recently. I couldn't figure out the identities of 2 women I spotted at the Michael Buble soundcheck party, but finally saw them on MTV Asia a couple of days back. They're the twins from Double Trouble lah.

Y'know, they're really quite vampy in person. Or at least they were that night. Unbelievably tall ( or maybe it's the stiletto heels on their boots ). For a moment, I thought they'd been hired to make a "certain someone" happy. Turns out I was wrong. VERY wrong. My sincerest apologies to Mike!

The Return Of The Medical Students

They're thronging the ER again, and I must say this batch is making a much better impression on me than the previous group. Lots of enthusiasm, quite knowledgeable, love to take notes, love to take blood and set plug. Very handy. :)

One thing I find rather lacking, however, is the medical school's persistent failure to teach students how to read ECGs. I mean, just basic stuff is better than nothing. Why do they go through months of Internal Medicine, doing write-ups on acute coronary syndromes, when they aren't confident of identifying major abnormalities?

Funnily enough, I first learnt how to read electrocardiograms during my A&E posting in 4th year as well. What an eye-opening experience! I believe it was the ONLY posting that bothered to teach ECG-reading too. Talk about ironic.

Looking forward to my hosting gig come December 19th. Hope I fulfill my role as mentor and cheerleader to the 3 youngsters ( anyone more than 5 years my junior is a "youngster" now, haha ). I am, however, prone to occasional spurts of crabbiness, as I was earlier this week, for various reasons. But don't take it personally.


The Chronicles Of Narnia - directed by another New Zealander, and filmed in NZ as well. Am thinking of migrating there at this rate, heh.

King Kong - was a bit shocked by the trailer initially ( KK vs T-Rex?! ), but heck, I'm willing to pay for 2 hours of harmless fun. Actually passed the boat featured in the film when I was in Wellington ( pre-paint-job ) - the LOTR tour guide even pointed out a certain celebrity's bungalow, which was such a thrill for me. Also stood outside the Weta studio, and snapped a pic of a partially dismantled oliphant prop. Great value for money. :)

To end off, an article in the Straits Time today about a GP / aesthetic physician who made "disparaging remarks" about fellow colleagues brought to mind a prominent professor's own criticism of ER physicians. He may not have made it public, but he did state that the field of emergency medicine is redundant in Singapore, and that we should be disbanded and diverted into other more established specialties.

I'm wondering if I'll ever have the opportunity to rebut this to his face someday.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Trevi Fountain Posted by Picasa

Spanish Steps Posted by Picasa

The Roman Forum Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 02, 2005

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

No, this isn't a review of the Jim Carrey / Kate Winslet film ( which I haven't seen, but intend to, once I stop feeling like I've been hit by a train ).

Boy am I getting old.

I don't think I get paid enough to suffer this much. :/

Anyway... the heading alludes to none other than this. Picked it up from Gramophone's new outlet at Scotts Shopping Centre ( they've got the BEST DVD box sets, e.g. Northern Exposure ( Gah! I couldn't believe it! )).

Decided to pop it into the player last night, following an 8-hour AST teaching session which left the 10 of us so drained the earlier-planned group dinner got truncated. ( Next time, guys. For sure. :))


Combo CD/DVD set for under $20:

The former has 'live' versions of Feeling Good, Summer Wind, Home, etc. However, 2 bonus tracks appear on the audio recording ( not included in the concert DVD ), namely Can't Buy Me Love and Smile.

I raved about Smile on my concert review in October, did I not? Rather unfortunate that we don't get to SEE Mike sing it, but hearing him is just as great. He transforms the ballad into a major big band jamboree with a kicking swing beat. The vocals are perfect, the orchestral backup amazing.
Somehow, I'm hoping he'll try a slow rendition as well - the way everyone else has been doing it. His beautiful vibrato would certainly do it immense justice.

As for the concert recording... what can I say, except that I grinned throughout the 2-hour session. :D

Okay, so having met him ( and kidded around a little ) played a significant role. But honestly, I've been waiting to get my hands on a full-length disc of ANY of his performances for years ( snippets on an earlier DVD released in 2004 don't qualify ), and THIS, my dear readers, is AN ABSOLUTE TREAT.

We've got ( I'm counting them ) NINETEEN songs ( even though they technically left out Smile, Can't Buy Me Love, and who knows what else ). We've got an entire violin section. An inflated brass gang. Guest appearances ( Josh Groban, Laura Pausini, Chris Botti - did I mention CHRIS BOTTI!?! ).

For those who haven't caught MB 'live' before, you will LOVE this for sure.

However, I personally think his Singapore show was 10 times better than this PBS special. Perhaps those who also attended can verify this?

I don't know, but he was really, really HIGH at the Indoor Stadium. Lots more energy, all those almost-expletives ( understandably toned down for the TV recording ), the Michael Jackson routine ( also omitted ), the "bloody brilliant" remark about the singer being only as good as his audience ( he substituted this with "stunning" on the DVD ).

The only part that was better is probably the mad dash into the stands. I couldn't get a clear view at the Stadium, but the cameras do close-ups for most of the way on the disc, and there's this young blonde who just couldn't keep her hands of him, which was hilarious. She hugged him twice, then hugged and kissed him a third time! Mike was a good sport, of course, but the poor guy was trying really hard to get back to the stage without looking like he was dismissing her.

Seeing him work the crowds and being pawed by hordes of pretty ladies made me appreciate the soundcheck party so much more once again. He's adored by millions, and unable to give his attention to each individual fan. The few minutes my mom and I spent with this warm, sincere and irrepressibly cheeky fellow constitute memories we will treasure forever.

Say Hello

... to the latest addition to the pack.

New registrar, a year my senior, very cool dude, SINGLE ( nurses, med students, ward doctors take note! ), with interesting non-medical pursuits to boot ( though he never did churn out the SMA News article he promised, ahem! ).

Fitting in with the motley crew very well. Also has a habit of lobbing random non-emergency-medicine questions at me from across the resuscitation room. Must try doing the same thing to my other colleagues - very therapeutic!

Currently the sole bachelor in the department. But considering the way things usually go in our ER, he may not remain so for long. :D

Did You Know

... that Hugh Laurie ( the lead in the medical dramedy "House" ) is featured in People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive (SMA) issue, under the Sexy Doctors section? I couldn't suppress a laugh ( check out the interesting photo attached ), but it's a GOOD laugh. :)

... that SMA 2005 winner Matthew McConaughey speaks fluent Spanish? And when asked to complete the sentence "Women can't say no..." he replied, " ... when I really mean yes." OMG. ( haha :))

... other guys featured in this issue ( grabbed what appeared to be the last copy at Borders last weekend, whew ) include Owen Wilson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carmine Giovinazzo ( the hot Danny Messer from "CSI: New York" ) and Patrick Fitzgerald ( high-profile prosecutor who is sensitive enough to buy a cat for companionship, but misguided enough to let it eat through a giant bag of cat biscuits when he leaves the state )?

... there's an American Idol spinoff using movie and TV stars instead? Here's a link for more info. From the sound of this review, it's pure disaster. But I'd still like to watch it, heh heh.


Still trying to upload the pics from my friend, but something's wrong with the network. Deepest apologies. Will try to post them as soon as I can.

Anyhow, these selected shots are from the rest of my hard disk collection, and were snapped during 2 days' worth of lengthy walks through Rome. I know they look nice, but let me assure you that the conditions I endured to get to these places were unbearable ( extremely hot, dry, a bit dusty, super-crowded ), and I didn't stay more than 5-10 minutes at each spot to even enjoy the view.

I still do miss Italy. But you'll have to pay me to go back there a second time. ( However, the people are very sweet. Gotta give them credit for that. :))

Entry about med students still pending. Will be hosting a few later this month, plus a non-medical individual who's thinking of switching courses. More on that another time.