Thursday, June 29, 2006

Keep 'Em Coming!

Had a nice big spike in membership overnight. I know the forum's sealed, but this should motivate those of you who are eligible to join ASAP! ( Attempting to work some psychological mumbo-jumbo here, haha. )

Again, here's the link: SMA Online Forum

Should warn you that I'm a moderator though. No telling what I'll do with all that new-found power, bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha...

Special appeal goes out to the junior docs -- HOs, MOs, registrars -- but keep it clean, people. :)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Check It Out

Just doing my part to promote this before the SMA goes on a publicity blitz next month.

SMA Forum

Still a neonate which needs lots of TLC, but we hope to engage as many participants as possible and help the local medical community become more cohesive.

So spread the word to everyone you know.

( Bit of a downside is the high probability of the press dropping in since it's accessible to the public. Hmm, think I'd better bring that up with the boss. )

Counting Down...

Haven't been posting as much lately due to numerous commitments. May not be able to write much since I'm flying off next week and currently pretty stressed out with various preparations. Need to collect my uploaded ipod, dispense house and car keys, settle my cat care issues, attend an AST course, study for a test, &*%$#@#$%.

Anyway, it's something to keep my spirits up. Am hoping Germany will make it to the finals -- for purely selfish reasons, heh heh. If they win the World Cup this year, I'm gonna be in the thick of the action man! ( But it remains to be seen whether they'll beat Argentina in the next match -- long shot, but not impossible. )

More another day. My next entry may be from the airport, haha. :)

p.s. Welcome back, florecitos!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Opening Getup Posted by Picasa

Middle Layer Posted by Picasa

Stripping Complete -- Nice T-shirt :) Posted by Picasa

London Skies Posted by Picasa

Love This Shot Posted by Picasa

Money Shot! Posted by Picasa

Another One Of My Favourite Shots Posted by Picasa

The Patriot Posted by Picasa

Jamie The Rock Star :) Posted by Picasa

Sebastiaan de Krom Doing What He Does Best Posted by Picasa

Wouldn't Be A Jamie Cullum Concert Without Some Leaping-From-The-Piano Bits Posted by Picasa

Over Too Soon - Great Job, Guys! Posted by Picasa
Photos from Jamie Cullum's Show

I counted 75 in my collection, but selected these which span the entire 2 hours to give a broader perspective of what what down that night. Enjoy. :)

In addition, here's a transcript of the...

Newspaper Review of Jamie Cullum's Concert June 15th 2006

[ Am posting this for the benefit of fellow fans from Jamie's official site. Welcome! :) ]

NOT JUST A PIANO SHOW by Sujin Thomas, music reporter

There were stunts aplenty and British singer-pianist Jamie Cullum even broke a keyboard lid. But, oh, what fun the show was.

Call it hyper jazz or plain theatrics: British singer-pianist Jamie Cullum certainly knew how to put on a good show.

His was jazz mixed up with other genres like funk, pop and even Brazilian batucada as well as a good dose of circus fanfare.

Backed by a 4-piece band, the 26-year-old -- who had flown in from Japan the day before and left for Los Angeles yesterday -- was charismatic.

He leapt into the air, banged away on the ivories -- once even using the stool he sat on to do the job -- and thumped percussion rhythms on its side with his hands.

There were stunts too, with the pixie chap running across the stage then pounding the piano keyes, even breaking the keyboard lid as he crashed to the floor.

It was no surprise to his 4,600-strong audience who had heard of his knack for destroying pianos at his gigs.

"Hang on, that last bit didn't go right. We have to do it again," he proclaimed, much to everybody's amusement as he regained composure.

In a set that last 1 1/2 hours, he delivered hits like Twentysomething, Photograph, What A Difference A Day Made and even a new song, a guitar ditty called Liar Liar.

Taking 2 musicians with him, he jumped off stage and roused the sedentary audience onto its feet, inviting it to come to the front. That triggered a rush of people who joined him in chorus for a jazzed-up cover of Radiohead's High And Dry.

After an encore set comprising a cover of The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army, jazz standard I Get A Kick Out Of You and Broadway's I Could Have Danced All Night, he made a swift exit.

Why? The football fan said he had to catch the World Cup match between England and Trinidad and Tobago. Good for him -- the former won 2-0.

Friday, June 16, 2006

In Reverse Chronological Order

It's been an eventful -- albeit exhausting -- week.

But also immensely enjoyable. And that's a gross understatement. :)

First, a Review of the Jamie Cullum's Singapore Concert at SUNTEC City this evening!

I'm going to suffer the consequences of severe insomnia tonight. But man oh man oh man, if you weren't there for the show, you really missed out on something special.

Things kicked off quite promptly at 8:15pm, with Jamie making an unannounced appearance on-stage, surprising the audience who initially didn't realize he'd arrived ( me included ).

Almost immediately, he and his band ( trusty old mates Geoff Gascoyne on bass and Sebastiaan de Krom on drums, plus 2 new fellas on trumpet and saxophone / percussion / keyboard ) launched straight into Photograph from his latest Catching Tales album. Lots of energy and great improvs, but I didn't really feel the heat till later ( read on to find out more :)).

Following that opening piece, he treated us to an awesome, 2-hour non-stop jam session comprising electrifying performances of Get Your Way, Mind Trick, What A Difference A Day Made, These Are The Days, Twentysomething, Old Devil Moon, I Could Have Danced All Night, I Get A Kick Out Of You, Wind Cries Mary, and High And Dry, among others ( to be reviewed separately below ).

Wardrobe changes consisted of simple peeling off of outer layers, i.e. he began in a black jacket / black pants / white shirt getup, but by the 3rd song he'd taken both the jacket and shirt off, leaving just a T-shirt. Some guy later yelled for him to "Take your pants off!" ( during the encore ). Wonder who THAT was? :D

He's grown much shaggier ( that's the best description I can think off, heh heh ). In short ( no pun intended ), his hair is longer and the fringe reminds me a bit of Paul Twohill from Singapore Idol. Though nowhere as scary, of course.

Stage antics are well-known to most by now: frantic banging, lots of jumping around, kicking, plucking, hammering, a couple of leaps from the top of the piano. He succeeded in breaking the keyboard lid -- tried to reattach it but failed. He also played a damn mean guitar and brought the house down with 2 fantastic drum solos, one of which was a recreation of festivities in his hometown, reminiscent of the Mardis Gras parade. No wonder he felt a little winded, commenting that "I need to go the gym more." Poor thing. :)

Highlights Galore

My favourite performances:

Very unexpected choices, mind you. That's what I love about Jamie -- you can listen to his CDs, watch the DVDs, catch him in various TV performances, experience an intimate showcase ( check out my previous entry dated July 17th 2004, accessible through the archives on the right ) -- this guy NEVER does a song the same way twice.

2 years ago, I loved I Get A Kick Out Of You and Frontin'.

This time round, I absolutely ADORE London Skies and Lover, You Should Have Come Over.

The former was written for his girlfriend as a reassurance that there's much to love about London, despite its "crappy weather". Jamie played the guitar on this one, and sang it most tenderly. Maybe fellow concert-goers beg to differ, but I think he poured his heart and soul into it, and although it's never been one of my personal favs, it is now. Great job. :)

The latter, on the other hand, is a cover of a Jeff Buckley classic. Again, never made much of an impression on me before, but blew me away tonight. He didn't perform this at the last showcase, so hearing it 'live' was a whole new experience, and his vocals were so raw I was completely mesmerized. I just love it whenever he sings "Sometimes a man / gets carried away". Whoa nelly!

The covers rock!

I counted 4 new ones tonight.

1. A hip-hop medley: So Sick ( by Ne-Yo ) and Gold Digger ( Kanye West and Jamie Foxx ) which led to the finale, i.e. Frontin' ( originally done by N.E.R.D. ).

Truth be told, I'm no hip-hop fan, but I know these songs 'cos I, err, watch MTV a lot. :)

And for the record, he hit the ball right out of the park on this one!

I happen to pretty much hate So Sick, though Gold Digger's got a nice riff, but Jamie's acoustic piano versions were BEAUTIFUL. GENIUS. UNBELIEVABLE. Darn sexy too, especially on the latter when he did the "get down girl go 'head get down" bits. I remember shaking my head in admiration. He made both songs a hundred times better than I ever imagined was possible. Wow.

Read on to find out what Jamie had to say about them later -- yes, I spoke to him. :D


Took me a while to recognize the song, but Peter Cincotti covered it on his debut album, as did Celine Dion.

During the piece, Jamie welcomed fans from all the way in the back of the auditorium to come forward. He shook hands, posed for pictures, squeezed past amused crowds in one of the rows then planted himself right smack in the middle, sitting down for a few minutes while Geoff did a solo.

It was GREAT! :D

The last cover is none other than Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. I don't know this one, but he sang his guts out 'cos it was the last song of the evening, so I'll remember it for the rest of my life!



He asked us to do backup on These Are The Days and High And Dry. Fun, but wish there'd been more. :)

And without stating the obvious, Jamie's one of the friendliest performers around. Talked to the audience often, joked around a lot, swigged a can of Tiger beer then gave it to a guy standing near the stage during the encore segment, brought his 5 sets of sneakers with him then proffered them so we could applaud and make catcalls when the show neared the end, wrapped himself in the British flag as an act of patriotism ( especially since there's an England match tonight )... There're just too many incidents to recount, argh!

By the end of the concert, everyone had rushed security ( with Jamie's blessing, of course ) and stationed themselves at the front, leaping around like lunatics when he told them to, to great effect I must admit. It was a giant mosh pit, and I had to stand on my chair in order to get good shots.

Yes, dear readers, I took more than 50 pictures at this gig. Will upload them soon. :)

It was indeed a TERRIFIC show. But I can't help wondering if a more intimate setting would've helped the situation? Have never really liked SUNTEC. Even the Singapore Indoor Stadium feels better. Weird.

And now, for the Meet-And-Greet Session With Mr. Cullum. :D

Thought it was guaranteed to all VVIP ticket-holders, but apparently not.

My deepest appreciation to the very nice lady who made this all possible. :)

It was a simple affair which took place at a balcony just above the stage. Whole thing lasted maybe 15-20 minutes at most, with perhaps 15-20 people in attendance.

Jamie changed clothes and freshened up before meeting us, and was extremely warm and obliging throughout. There wasn't a formal queue so we just stood around him and took turns walking forward to pose for pictures and get autographs.

I was one of the last to go up to him, after Jamie asked, "Have I missed anyone?"

So I stepped to his side, said hello and stretched out my arm. He flashed a grin, returned the greeting and gave me a nice firm handshake.

[ the following exchange is a rough gist of what transpired ]

Me: I really enjoyed your show -- it was great!

JC: Oh thank you very much!

( we stop to take a photo, during which he puts his arm around me and vice versa )

Me: ( passing him 2 CD sleeves and the tour programme ) Can you sign more than 1 CD?

JC: ( beaming ) Of course! ( proceeds to scribble his signatures )

Me: By the way, are you going to record So Sick and Gold Digger for your next album?

JC: ( looks a little embarrassed then laughs ) I don't know. I actually just heard them on the radio today!

Me: Well, I hope you will, 'cos you did a great job with those covers.

JC: ( looks touched, smiles again ) Thank you, I appreciate that. And thanks for coming.

Very nice chap. Attentive to a fault, made direct eye contact for most of the conversation and stood very close, such that I was practically whispering and he whispered right back. Haha. :)

Stay tuned for photos. Have to scroll through a big chunk then post the better ones. There're some priceless shots in there!

Fattening Dinners, Gossip, Booze and Late Night Football

I didn't plan most of them, but somehow got roped into it.

Tuesday was spent with a group of male medical colleagues, a number of whom I was meeting for the first time.

Covert ops in progress, so can't provide details here. But it's for a good cause. :)

Spent 2 hours soaking in the information that was flying around the table. I always feel a little out of place in boys' club situations, but I know they did their best to relieve the pressure.

Looking forward to the next wave of changes, which will hopefully materialize quite soon.

And last but not least, Monday's dinner / hangout session with a Certain Someone. ( in case you're wondering, I never date, but I do hang out :))

Someone whom I haven't seen in 3 years, and who's never formally invited me out during the 6 years we've known each other -- until now.

We've worked together before, but he took a sharp detour in 2003. Hint: "747".

Think many would be quite surprised to learn that we've kept in touch for so long.

I went with no expectations whatsoever, but he managed to exceed any that I could muster. The evening was, in a word, flawless.

Thank you for that. :)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

'Tis A Good Thing Indeed

... to be on call the night of the opening World Cup match. :)

Managed to watch the ENTIRE game during the shift, with supper to boot.

Saw around 10 cases -- unbelievable for our ER on a Friday night.

No resuscitations.

Only a couple of drunks. Guess they partied all night and never showed till later ( I'm assuming the morning shift may have suffered the consequences ).

Didn't sleep ( habit of mine ), but kept awake playing every single game on this website. Addictive -- you've been warned!

Another month to go before the football madness ends. I could get used to this. :)

P.S. Not that I'm a fan, but that last goal from Germany by the blonde guy was a thing of beauty. And Klose's quite good-looking. Yes, that's all the commentary I can provide about this baffling sport ( men chasing a ball -- ooh, how exciting ). But at least I finally understand what "offside" means, thanks to a very patient MO who explained the whole concept to me.

Holding Back The Years

Read a couple of old entries last night, namely those penned during the last months of the 2003 SARS crisis.

To be frank, I miss the heated essay-writing. Took up a lot of my time, but it was one of the most important chapters in my life, and the words continue to resonate to this day.

I'm not going to lie and say that I'm afforded great freedom of expression. I know I'm being closely watched, and that "certain people" won't hesitate to take action if I'm deemed too much of a loose cannon.

But is speaking the truth such a bad thing? Is there anything wrong with stating the facts? How can anyone in his/her right mind expect doctors, who have brains and spirit and opinions, to live their lives like the unsuspecting humans in The Matrix, fully accepting of the virtual bliss they're presented with, oblivious to the little red flags sprouting here and there?

Alas, none of this can be solved anytime soon. But I sincerely hope that it will be. Someday.


Felt it fit to dose myself with some history about the 1972 Olympics, since I'll be visiting the city next month.

Rented the Steven Spielberg film, which is, IMHO, totally deserving of a Best Picture Oscar.

Yes, I've seen Crash and Brokeback Mountain. Both excellent in their own right, but Munich is in an entirely different league altogether.

As haunting as Schindler's List, and as action-packed as Minority Report. The script is exquisite, the acting unsurpassed.

Methinks the Academy made a mistake this year.

At Last

A meeting after more than 3 years. A proper dinner after 6.

Not sure how it turned out to be this way, but I am greatly looking forward to it.

Perhaps I'll write about it, or perhaps I won't. Let's play this one by ear. :)


Criminal Minds delves into familiar territory, as I've been fascinated by criminal profiling since my college days ( ask my GP tutor how many essays I wrote about serial killers, haha ). I've read almost every book famed FBI agent John Douglas has written, and I'm a huge fan of TV series and movies which deal with similar themes.

My first impression of CM is... not that good. Granted, there's Mandy Patinkin and Thomas Gibson ( both Chicago Hope alumni and among my favourites from that show ). Yes, they hunted a brutal psycho in the pilot, complete with frenetic chase scenes and harried group discussions.

But in the end, it all felt too easy. Compacting everything into 1 hour isn't realistic for a story of this scope, but somehow, CSI and Numb3rs ( the latter also involving the FBI ) manage to do it with effortless finesse.

Guess it all comes down to pacing. Too many red herrings can ruin the whole stew. Best to keep those to a minimum -- just enough to jolt once in a while, but not too many to get your synapses in a twist.

Haven't heard rave reviews for this so far. From the producers of Grey's Anatomy, but not up to par with the medical series as yet.

Commander In Chief fared much better. Boasting a tight cast which includes Geena Davis and Donald Sutherland, the storyline -- though ludicrous by present standards -- managed to compel.

Look out for the guy who plays her son -- gorgeous fellow. And I mean REALLY gorgeous. :)


Sinatra in sneakers cometh! HATE the "Beckham of jazz" nickname though. Write-up to follow.

Robbie Williams is confirmed for a show here 18th November. If, like me, you're a member of the Inner Sanctum club, you get priority booking ( starts 19th June ).


My mom loves him too ( believe it! ). She's hoping he'll do a few of his jazz numbers, but I'll take anything he hurls my way. :)

Wishing you a good week ahead.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Star Is Born Posted by Picasa
Ahhh :)

2 days of leave can be soooooo therapeutic. :D

Had a very enjoyable dinner with the fellow who's helping me with the ipod, during which something both unexpected and amusing occurred ( won't bother you with the details, heh heh ). Funnily enough, we bumped into Lim Kay Siu ( brother of local veteran actor Lim Kay Tong ) seated at a long table of fellow media industry execs, just adjacent to ours.

Another terrific lunch followed the next day, with my bestest friend in the whole world ( you know who you are :)). If you haven't yet discovered the heavenly sauces at the Rice Table, then haul your butt down to any outlet and make sure you fast from midnight onwards!

And here's a little tidbit for you: Geox. Great stuff. Look it up.
Thanks to my JC pal, A, for introducing it to me. :)

Also redeemed more vouchers along the way ( just love 'em :)), picking up DVDs of Zoolander and LA Confidential for free. Would've swiped a whole lot of other Kevin Spacey films if they'd had stock, but alas, I wasn't that fortunate.

Currently glued to yet another excellent book from the amazing Tanglin Club library, titled Phantoms in the Mind by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran, in which he discusses a string of fascinating cases and neurological conditions, but also offers beautiful insights into the workings of the human mind and his views on medical research -- there's an analogy in the introduction chapter about talking pigs, which I found absolutely hilarious. :D

Unfortunately, I'm severely behind in getting round to my other books ( purchases, not rents ), including works by Sherwin B. Nuland, Samuel Shem, Anthony Bourdain and John Berendt.

The last fellow wrote my fav book of all time, Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil. His follow-up, The City of Falling Angels, was just released in paperback, which gave me the perfect excuse to buy it. Can't believe I haven't read it yet, but that's what happens when you're swamped with work.

Think I'll end up bringing a few of these to Europe. Am quite sure there'll be lots of time to rest, relax and flip the pages with a hot cuppa tea then. Must find a nice lake to sit next to. :)

Another Photo For Ya

He really looks like a star here, don't you think?

How come I can't find any magazines with him on the cover? Even Rolling Stone put Clay Aiken on the front in 2003...

Let the countdown begin. Less than a month to go and I'm outta here, woohoo!
Reviews of Criminal Minds and Commander In Chief to follow.

P.S. Mark your calendars: Inside The Actors Studio is back! Airs every Tuesday night at 11pm on Arts Central. Last night featured Tom Hanks. Credits state episodes produced in 2006. Angelina Jolie is up next week. Can't get any better than that. :)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Silver Fox With The Kids Posted by Picasa
Has it really been a week already? Guess time flies when you're suffering, heh heh.

The past 7 days kinda sucked, for a variety of reasons. Busy days, massive lodging due to insufficient inpatient beds, a few run-ins with the people upstairs, a few not-so-pleasant revelations about those downstairs.

One thing I've noticed though -- I've developed a knack for picking my battles. In the past, I would've fumed quite a bit, maybe lash out with a string of sarcastic remarks, end up antagonizing someone.

Now, I just take a deep breath, give it a day ( or three ) to settle down, and keep my mouth shut but my eyes wide open.

Now is not the time to show my hand. But someday... I just might.

X-Men: The Last Stand

**spoilers ahead, scroll down if you don't want to know**

There's only 1 good scene in the entire film -- where Magneto and Prof. X face off with Phoenix at her childhood home. Plays like a super-cool demonic possession / exorcism sequence rather than a superhero flick.

The rest of the movie... felt a little flat, IMHO.

Think it's the change of directorship that's to blame. Bryan Singer, who helmed the first two installments, did one heck of an excellent job, creating masterpieces which were slick and stunning, yet also moving and convincing.

Now that Brett Ratner has taken the reins, the final product feels inferior in all aspects -- it looks unfinished; the visual effects appear disjointed at times; the acting is wooden, the characters poorly fleshed out, and the bridge-lifting scene just before the climactic showdown just a tad of an, err, overkill? I mean, just get a boat lah.

So much potential which wasn't fully realized. What a pity.

**end of spoilers**

Was hoping to catch The Omen on Tuesday, but cinema operators apparently have little faith ( no pun intended ) in this horror film, relegating it to the tiniest theatres in the multiplex.

I am NOT paying $8 for a 150-seat hall. Guess this means I'll wait for the Tanglin Club screening. Or the DVD release.

Am beginning the countdown to 2 upcoming events: the Jamie Cullum show, and my trip to Europe. I need a break. Sigh.

He's surprised me yet again, by gamely agreeing to help me load up my ipod since my laptop is too ancient to handle the software ( and I don't intend to upgrade till next year when I get promoted -- might consider an iMac hmm ). He definitely isn't the sort to do such favours just because he's asked to, and I am eternally grateful. :)

Two TV shows to look out for next week onwards: Criminal Minds ( Tuesdays 11pm ) and Commander In Chief ( Thursdays 11pm ), both on Channel 5. Think I saw something about the former sharing the same creators as Supernatural, but I may be wrong.

Anyway, don't miss either one. :)

Picture Time!

Beautiful photo of Taylor with the kids at a Today Show taping, thanks to Yelena who shared them on this fansite.

Kinda reminds me of Clay when he was in Aceh with the children at a camp there ( photo on my blog somewhere ). Awwww. :)

If you want more, go to this thread, but take your cardiac meds first, haha. You need to be a registered member, but it's free.

Got a couple of days' leave coming up. I absolutely refuse to work on my birthday.

Have a good week, everyone.