Friday, September 29, 2006

Chris Botti's Coming To Singapore

You know, considering how many times I've been spammed by SISTIC, I'm quite miffed that they failed to highlight this. I mean, why the heck would I give a hoot about concerts for kids, hip-hop contests and what-not?!

THIS, my friends, is one class act.

I have at least 5 of his albums ( maybe more ), and consider him one cool cat.

First learned of him when I discovered Sting ( another hot dude ), and have been a fan ever since.

Known for his pure, mellow sound and a laid back ( though skilfull ) delivery, Botti hit pay dirt with his 2 most recent albums - When I Fall In Love and To Love Again - which feature covers of jazz classics and numerous mesmerizing duets with the likes of Michael Buble, Renee Olstead, Sting, Gladys Knight and Paula Cole.

I can only imagine how magical experiencing Botti 'live' will be.

Doesn't hurt that he's tall, blonde and blue-eyed. :)

Good seats still available, but be prepared to empty your pockets. Don't miss this.

A Few Other Random Musings

[ this bit is being entered at 4:45am during my last night shift at "the other ER" ]

Feeling a pang of nostalgia. Will miss this place, yet am also eager to go home. I hear it's hell back there. Morale a bit shaky. Let's see if I can change that. :)

Cat's at the vet for a short while. Couldn't eat for 3 days and we finally figured out that it might be a gum infection -- some major freaking out after chewing on his biscuits provided the diagnosis. If you haven't seen a cat freak out before, it's quite a sight, believe me.

MOPEX is out. Seems a few of our MOs are staying on, and I don't recognize any of the new names. But then I've been out of the wards for ages so no surprise there. Anyhow, each batch never fails to produce its fair share of star pupils and black sheep. As long as there're more of the former compared to the latter, we're safe.

Can't believe I forgot to mention Prison Break.
Just started airing on local TV a week ago, and I'm hooked. Not because of the plot, which has its moments but is chock-full of gaping loopholes. Not because of all the beefcake characters strutting around ( I prefer men who have some sense of personal grooming and less muscle, thank you ).
IMHO, there's only 1 good reason to watch the show, and this is it.

First, I'm fascinated by his personal history. Funny how he looks distinctly Caucasian despite a mixed lineage. Like Mariah Carey - whose music videos he appeared in. Coincidence?

Second, he's obviously got a brain. Princeton English lit grad, no less.

Third, he's got charisma. And guess what, my mom said it before I did. Astute woman, she is. :)

More specificially, he translates well on-screen. He doesn't do very much, to be honest, but every time he stares ( and he does this a lot ), whether it's out of fear, anger, amusement or introspective contemplation, you can't help but pay attention. This is one actor who never goes over the top, and I find it very refreshing, especially when his calm demeanour only serves to up the tension score.
This week's episode was a fine example, with a few nail-biting scenes involving run-ins with several violent personalities, a fatal stabbing and a blood-curdling toe amputation - sans anaesthesia. Miller's expressions never escalated beyond a barely perceptible flinch or mildly alarmed stare, but boy was I on the edge of my seat.

Kudos also to the terrific supporting cast, who seem to be enjoying their roles thoroughly, especially the scrawny fellow who plays the serial rapist with a young inmate trailing him like a lovesick puppy. Creepy.

Miller's 34, though I initially thought he's in his mid-20s. So now I don't have to feel guilty. Haha.

Another TV appearance I'd like to mention is Chris O'Donnell on Grey's Anatomy. ( Sorry about the campy pics on Wikipedia. You might like to try this link instead. )

Now you have to understand that I've been a fan of his for 12 years now, ever since watching his inspired turn in Scent Of A Woman. I ain't fickle, so I tend to remain eternally loyal to those I admire, unless s/he does something absolutely evil and / or unforgiveable.

Chris O has maintained a blemish-free record thus far, so I'm thrilled to see him wrestle Meredith Grey away from swollen-headed, greedy Derek Shepherd, who can't decide if he prefers his wife or his young intern. Tsk tsk.

By the way, this subplot about cute vets is quite accurate. Have met a couple of those at the hospital where my cat currently resides. But that was years ago and they've since moved on to start their own practices. But yeah, these entities exist, heh heh.

Last but not least, a short review of Shayne Ward's self-titled release, which I've already gone through a few times. ( Track listing on Amazon )

I hate how he's being marketed, with the glossy glam pics and boy-band-y look. Sometimes, winning an idol search alters people's perception of an artiste, rendering him / her somehow less talented.

This is the image projected by SW, no thanks to too much makeup and a cheesy CD cover shot. The songs range from mushy ballads to R&B and epic choir-filled numbers, all very radio-friendly and doing very well on singles and album charts.

However, I still find myself spinning the disc over and over again, for one reason: the voice.

Interesting how I'm savouring 3 different albums which feature 3 very different vocal styles and qualities all at the same time. ( Haven't gotten to John Mayer's Continuum yet -- that should add another spicy ingredient to the mix. ) Like Clay and Peter, Shayne also possesses power and pizazz, performing vocal acrobatics with relaxed ease, transforming mediocre songs into things of beauty.

Good examples include That's My Goal, Stand By Me and Over The Rainbow ( wait for the last part where he does a slow, long scale progression then ends with a glory note -- fantastic! ). Of all the covers, I like Back At One the most, purely because it surpasses the original and resulted in me actually enjoying it ( never really cared for it much in the past ).

I wouldn't recommend this to everyone, but if you're thinking of purchasing the album, try to sample it first, or at least have some idea of what he's about ( I got my exposure from MTV - the video for Stand By Me is really good ).

Before I sign off ( and play Book Worm on Yahoo :)), I'd just like to post lyrics from Walk Away -- originally done by Matt Monro and covered by Peter Grant on New Vintage -- and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, which has been sung by Roberta Flack, Celine Dion and George Michael.

I'm a late bloomer where jazz is concerned, but with its recent revival in the form of new artistes who hail from younger generations, I realize that my love for the genre isn't solely based on its timeless melodies or wildly diverse styles.
Rather, it's the way emotions are conveyed, with words so simple and subtle yet overwhelmingly intoxicating when used in the right combinations and coupled with a gorgeous melody.
Songs today - with their overt sexual overtures comprising indispensable nouns like "sex", "hump" etc - leave me cold. Give me an oldie anyday.

Walk Away ( excerpts )

Walk away, please go
Before you throw your life away
A life that I could share for just a day
We should have met some years ago
For your sake I say
Walk away, just go.

Walk away, and live
A life that's full
With no regret
Don't look back at me
Just try to forget
Why build a dream that cannot come true
So be strong, reach the stars now
Walk away, walk on.

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face ( excerpts )

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the empty skies, my love,
To the dark and the empty skies.

The first time ever I kissed your mouth
And felt your heart beat close to mine
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command, my love
That was there at my command.

If you haven't heard either song before, go to That CD Shop, grab Peter Grant's New Vintage and George Michael's Songs From The Last Century, and prepare to be hypnotized.

This was a long entry. Thanks for reading this far and have a good weekend. :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Couple that with air-pumping fists and some boucing on the sofa and that's pretty much how my mom and I reacted when the latest Singapore Idol was unveiled last night.


My mom clocked in 50 votes while I was at work. I'm just glad those 30 bucks didn't go to waste, heh.

Thought Hady turned in 3 spectacular performances Sunday evening. George Michael's Freedom is a huge fave of mine, and he looked cool and sexy doing his thang on stage. His follow-up -- Chaka Khan's Through The Fire -- was heartfelt and vocally gorgeous. Love his glory notes, wooo.

As for the official Idol single, You Give Me Wings, the song itself kinda sucks ( cheesy title and lyrics, so-so melody ), and Jonathan Leong didn't do well with it at all. But when Hady took his turn ( whether he was smart enough to sing it last is anyone's guess ), his rendition was obviously 10 times better than Jon's.

I was moved. Honestly.

My mom turned to me after he finished and said we should vote 50 times. Didn't actually think she'd do it, but I'm glad she did.

Music Review: Peter Grant's Debut Album

Man oh man, I absolutely LOVE this CD.

Sorry, Clay Aiken fans -- I have the highest regard for Clay but his latest effort, though enjoyable, doesn't hit me the way Peter Grant's does.

Anyone who loves jazz -- especially if you're a fan of crooners like Michael Buble -- and appreciates young talent, should most definitely buy this. Today. Now. Stat!

Hearing it on a plane is nothing compared to blasting it in the car or on the home stereo or Discman. I already know he can sing, but now that his voice is crystal clear, without a pesky jet engine vibrating nearby, the effect takes my breath away.

Used to do track-by-tracks for albums I'm crazy about, but age is catching up with me, and am also quite time-constrained, so I'll just do an overview.

Things to note:

1. Peter has a BEAUTIFUL voice. Stops-you-in-your-tracks beautiful. Slows-your-heart-rate-and-lowers-your-blood-pressure beautiful. Makes-the-whole-world-look-rosy beautiful. I kid you not.

Sounds like a cross between Robbie Williams and Michael Buble. Only he's much much younger but equally or perhaps even more polished.

Haven't heard anything quite this exquisite since first experiencing Michael Buble at Great World City's That CD Shop. That was in 2003.

The first song, Joanna, is a wonderful example of just what Peter's capable of. Starts off mellow, but quickly escalates to full-throated belting, with goosebump-inducing high notes and a rich tenor vibrato.

He's only 18, but sounds much older. The quality of his vocals hints at formal training, but I might be wrong. In any case, he's a force to be reckoned with.

2. GREAT GREAT GREAT tracks to play over and over again if you're inclined:

- Joanna
- Walk Away
- On Days Like These
- Didn't We

--> all highlight Peter's astounding vocal ability. Very romantic and angsty. Nice orchestral arrangement which further enhances the overall effect.

- Spooky
- Girl From Ipanema

--> these have a palpably sexier feel. Vocals are significantly huskier, with a couple of growly bits thrown in. I know Peter's young, but I still get pretty worked up by his deliveries. ( Yes, he's that good. )

- Best Is Yet To Come
- I Saw Her Standing There

--> Big band swing extravaganzas. Glorious!

- The More I See You

--> currently my personal favourite, and repeated to death on my stereo. Michael Buble did a big band cover, but Peter's uptempo cha-cha ( sounds like MB's Save The Last Dance For Me, if you're wondering ) is fun and infectiously happy, yet never falters in vocal quality. Fabulous.

Looks-wise, he's still very much a geeky teen. Not drop-dead gorgeous like Peter Cincotti, but it's too early to tell so give him time to build up a fanbase and develop his musical abilities further.

I personally think he's got a successful and long career ahead of him.

Highly recommended. Please buy it.

Tokyo Redux

This, by the way, is the title of a chapter in Anthony Bourdain's insanely entertaining A Cook's Tour, which I'm slowly savouring as a daily breakfast ritual. ( No free time for reading otherwise, but I've finished quite a few novels this way in the past, so it works for me. )

Have paid up my registration fee and confirmed my plane tickets. Just got bombarded by an MO in my department, offering numerous suggestions on must-not-miss activities.

That, plus another friend's gushy email, and Bourdain's effusive writing, and I'm practically raring to go.

Just hope the weather isn't too cold / wet / windy. And no typhoons please.

Think I'm going to really enjoy this trip. :)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ah, Life

I'm just wondering where I'm going to find the time to complete every single task on my ever-lengthening list.

Someone please clone me.

Still, the Tokyo trip is confirmed, and a friend who's a connoiseur of all things Japanese has been emailing me tips on what to do while I'm there. Sounds good. :)

But have to study for exit. Argh.

CD Review: Clay Aiken's A Thousand Different Ways

It's been a while since I last blogged about one of my favourite singers, but his new album is REALLY GOOD, and since I have a few minutes, here's a quick rundown.

14 tracks in total -- 10 covers and 4 original songs.

Not doing a track-by track this time. May end up repeating myself since most of them are terrific. Will just highlight a few points.


Overall, the selection comprises profoundly tough pieces requiring powerful vocals and strong delivery. Many were first recorded by veritable superstars so you'd better have loads of self-confidence and ability before even contemplating a cover.

Clay picked quite a few whoppers -- Without You ( first done by Air Supply, later re-recorded by Mariah Carey ), When I See You Smile ( Bad English ), Everything I Do ( I Do It For You ) ( Bryan Adams ), I Want To Know What Love Is ( Foreigner ), and Broken Wings ( Mr. Mister ).

I grew up listening to these songs on the radio, and have a few of the albums too. So yeah, I'm familiar with the material.

Do Clay's interpretations do them justice? Most of them do, but a couple don't.

Great covers include Without You ( super-duper glory notes ), Broken Wings ( Clay makes quite a convincing rocker, and the new-agey feel is pretty cool ), Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word ( different from Elton John and Richard Marx's versions but equally good ), Every Time You Go Away ( Hall & Oates ) and Right Here Waiting ( slightly faster rock tempo ).

Okay covers: When I See You Smile, Because You Loved Me ( Celine Dion ).

Not my cup of tea: Everything I Do ( I Do It For You ) -- the violins get on my nerves, and think the key should've been a few notches lower.


Lonely No More was co-written by Clay. Another rock ballad type of song. Growing on me slowly.

A Thousand Days is probably the least favourite of mine where originals are concerned. Melody isn't that strong.

Everything I Have is quite good. One of the few quiet, slow love ballads on the disc, reminiscent of Measure Of A Man from his debut album in 2003. A tad mushy, of course, but I prefer to just sit back and enjoy Clay's beautiful voice, which shines brightly thanks to minimal accompaniment.

These Open Arms, IMHO, is the best of the lot. Written by Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child, no less! Once Clay hits the chorus, the goosebumps start popping up. This is definitely a rock anthem, and the vocals soar to the high heavens. Pity they couldn't drag it out a minute longer. The whole thing lasts less than 3.5 minutes, which is way too short.


Will this win any music awards? Certainly not. Because the industry loathes covers, thinks Clay is a wimp, and tends to favour hip hop / R&B / rap artistes.

However, I feel that he's matured musically over the years, and displays undeniable talent ( and guts! ). I love his song choices ( notice how many hail from the '80s and '90s ) and the interpretations are marvelous.

The album may have benefited from more originals, but I'm certain he'll release another CD sometime in the near future, so hope this happens next time round.

His new look? I like it. Not many pictures in the CD sleeve, but it doesn't matter to me since I care mostly about his music and had my fill visually during American Idol season 2.

Will Sony BMG PLEASE bring him to Singapore for a concert already!?!?!

P.S. Young British jazz sensation Peter Grant's album is available in stores. After months of fruitless searching, I found it at -- big surprise -- a Sembawang Music outlet blasting Canto-pop at a shopping mall. Mighty interesting.
Haven't popped it into the player yet -- spinning Clay's disc right now. Review will follow at a later date.

Preventive Measure

This fellow's talent for sucking up knows no bounds.

I guess some people never change.

Recently learned of his exploits at an AST course, during which he made a beeline for a certain well-known personality in the local medical circle.

The well-known personality related this during a closed-door meeting a few days ago, oblivious to my connection to the person.

A suggestion was made, to my immense horror.

A member of the administrative panel who was present, and who's privy to my connection, tossed concerned looks at me from across the table.

On the way home, we discussed my options. It was clear that I should say something.

So I dropped my esteemed colleague a late night email, and received a response the very next morning.

Suffice to say, someone's efforts at impressing have come to naught.

Also doesn't help when someone's sibling has a rather unsavoury track record.

Thank you for believing me and taking my side.

Return Of The Native

And just like that, 2 months have flown by in a flash.

Am due to return to the mother ship in a week, and to be honest, I'm extremely homesick.

Granted, I was frustrated, cranky and exhausted over there. But we're essentially in the same boat and share frequent laughs over the hopelessness of it all.

I've enjoyed my time here. The people are nice, the working environment pleasant, the training programmes laudable.

But I'm eager to fly back to the nest. Hang out with the gang and gossip, pig out in the pantry and catch snippets of CNN and HBO when the situation allows, trade punches with the surgeons and cardiologists who've been so wonderfully accomodating.

Stress ulcers, tension headaches and varicose veins? Bring 'em on. I'm ready. :)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Keep 'Em Coming

Have received a few emails to the Google address ( ). Thanks for the feedback! Hope to hear from more of you in the future.

Trip #2

Tokyo, to be exact. It's my first overseas medical conference, and just received notification that my abstract submission has been accepted.

Which leaves about a month to organize the presentation from scratch, yikes.

On top of studying for the exit, arranging tutorials in between crazy shifts, revamping our MO training programme, teaching ACLS, helping with an upcoming Annual Scientific Meeting, writing / editing for the SMA News ( frantically fending off writer's block after finally coming out of a major slump ), attending multiple committee meetings, fulfilling church duties, spending time with family and friends, finding opportunities to relax with my swimming, novels and TV shows AND finish my household chores.


I guess it's always easier to do this in stages instead of going cold turkey. First, cut down on TV consumption ( have sworn off Lost, Criminal Minds, Commander In Chief, Desperate Housewives ). However, I've also become hooked on Entourage, Inside The Actors Studio and The Office. Upcoming new series Prison Break and the next season of The Amazing Race do not bode well for my post-dinner schedule either. ARGH!

No cinema-going until I exit -- that's one resolution I'm finding suprisingly easy to adhere to.
But I also have a fistful of free DVD rental vouchers to redeem from Video Ezy. Need to catch up with Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Miami Vice, Nacho Libre, The Host, etc.

The one thing I won't compromise on, though, is time spent with family and friends.

Just went to the zoo a week ago with my cousin's wife and 2 beautiful girls, aged 10 and 6. Had an absolute blast! It's been 5 long years since my last foray to the place but my favourites -- the polar bear and penguins -- have remained the same.
However, this outing was significantly more enjoyable, because I got to share it with the 6-year-old, who couldn't remember squat from a zoo visit when she was 2, and was essentially seeing everything for the very first time. We camped out at the polar bear enclosure for close to a half hour, plastering our faces to the glass window so we could watch him dive to the surface again and again. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then I highly recommend that you haul yourself down and take a look for yourself. An article in the paper appeared the day after, reporting on high stress levels in the bears. Our zoo may not be allowed to import any more Arctic creatures from now on, so don't miss this chance ( unless you'd rather visit zoos overseas ).

Another attraction you shouldn't miss is the Fragile Forest, which didn't even exist 5 years ago. The map is deceptively vague, offering only descriptions of its inhabitants when, in fact, visitors can get swamped by 4 extremely friendly and inquisitive lemurs all at once!
Imagine our delight when we were greeted by these gorgeous creatures, which bounded up from behind then leapt onto the railings we were leaning on, allowing us to pet and feed them, even striking poses for the cameras! I've seen lemurs loads of times on nature programmes on cable, but getting up close like this was truly awesome. ( These animals apparently don't smell, even though I fully expected them to. They do, however, pee at will, so beware! )

We've got a Night Safari trip planned this December. Recently discovered that it's only 20 minutes by car from my home. Excellent. :)

If you're wondering if this is yet another night shift, you're absolutely right. Quiet so far. Hope nothing happens for the next 3 hours.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Drum Roll...

Congratulations Hady and Jonathan!

Is this an eerie duplication of the last Singapore Idol finals or what? I.e. 2 guys, one Malay, one Chinese, even the same hairstyles...

I've always betted on these two since the beginning.

And I say Hady will win.

His rendition of Desperado was very moving. Love his voice. Love his stage presence. Love his taste in music.

p.s. Yes, I decided to vote. Started last week in fact. My mom pushed me into it. Says she'll split the phone bill with me, haha. :)

October Theme Issue

It's gonna be a whopper, and just read an article submission which will blow your brains out.

Stay tuned...

Music News

September 18th -- Clay Aiken's highly anticipated new album will be in local stores a day before its release in the US. Mark your calendars!

Other CDs I need to get my hands on:

John Mayer's Continuum -- when are they going to bring him in for a concert already?!

Shayne Ward's self-titled effort -- typical boy-band look and sound, but he definitely has a voice. Stand By Me is fantastic.

Lots of work to plough through. Till next time.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

4 Cool Cats Posted by Picasa

Doncha Wish Your Boyfriend Was HOT Like Me?  Posted by Picasa

Mark Posted by Picasa

Nicky - aka Irish PM's Son-In-Law Posted by Picasa

Here's Shane Posted by Picasa

Saving The Best For Last - Kian ( sigh :)) Posted by Picasa
A Great Show! Review of Westlife's Concert 8th September 2006 - Singapore Indoor Stadium

This entry comes a little late ( considering my propensity to blog immediately after concerts ), but I make it a point to stick to the "gold standard", i.e. at least post a review before the papers do, 'cos I get no kick from reading those ( too short, a tad critical, with only 1 mediocre photo caption ).

So here's my version, but NOT recommended for non-Westlife fans, so proceed at your own peril.


Lead singer Shane Filan said it himself: It's been 5 years since their last visit to Singapore.

But they're thrilled to be back, and judging from their delighted laughs and grins upon being greeted by wild squeals from a capacity audience ( estimated 6,000-plus ), these Irish lads still have "it". LOADS of it. :)

The show started at 8:30pm, with their trademark piece Flying Without Wings ( which American Idol Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard covered during the finals ). Dressed in white outfits, the guys were lean and stylish, delivering pitch-perfect vocals and polished choreography with relaxed ease.

For the next hour, the hits came fast and furious, ranging from more recent songs ( Hit You With The Real Thing, Colour Your World, Amazing, She's Back, You Raise Me Up - from their latest Face To Face album ), to older fare ( perennial faves Swear It Again, Mandy, Seasons In The Sun, Queen Of My Heart, When You're Looking Like That, Hey Whatever, Uptown Girl ).

From the word go, people were up on their feet, screaming and cheering their hearts out. Those in the first few rows stormed the barricades and had to be told repeatedly to return to their seats. However, those with first-row tickets were allowed to stand in prime spots just 6 feet from the stage, with unobstructed views for superb photo-taking opportunities.

And I was one of them, baby! ( Hence these be-ooo-tiful shots I've uploaded for your viewing pleasure. :))

Highlights Of The Evening

1. Uptown Girl

In contrast to the fast pop version we're used to, the boys did a cool swing cover last night, complete with top hats, tailcoats and canes.

2. Billie Jean

Believe it or not, Westlife channeled MJ quite competently during this surprisingly good bit. If you think it's cheesy, you're obviously not a fan, so TOUGH!

3. The Hip Hop Medley

The good thing about the lads having aged 5 years is how they've matured and become lots more comfortable in their own skin. Sure, they've always been accomplished performers, but even when they did medleys in the past, they involved "safe" material like oldies and famous pop songs, etc.

But last night -- wooohoooo -- they did ( take a deep breath ) THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS' DONCHA, ROBERT PALMER'S ADDICTED TO LOVE ( which you may have heard Jonathan Leong cover during this week's Singapore Idol ), and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE'S SENORITA.

And they were EXCELLENT! Even I didn't see that coming!

The dancing was top-notch, the singing very credible, the energy pumping.

And boy are they sexy *fanning myself as I write this* :D

4. Up Close And Personal - Part 1

Standing so close to the stage afforded great opportunities for observing their body language. By all accounts, it was evident that the guys were having tonnes of fun up there, and demonstrated lots of enthusiasm with their antics. They came right up to the edge, gamely waving at us and bestowing gorgeous smiles as we aimed our cameras. They put everything they had into those dance moves, even head-banging and hip-thrusting at one point ( mostly handled by lone single heterosexual Kian ). They hardly broke a sweat, effortlessly singing ballads with nary an audible pant even after just finishing an aerobic workout during the previous number.

And they clearly had the crowd eating out of their hands, from directing the microphones our way during Senorita and Swear It Again, to getting the entire stadium to yell their lungs out during a deafening competition between "those in the back" and "those in front" ( I personally think those in front won :)).

Friendliest of the lot? Hands down - Kian. He couldn't stop laughing and grinning throughout the whole concert, and posed for our pictures the most times.

Crowd favourite? Without a doubt - Shane. This was most obvious on numbers where each guy took turns to sing. Each time Shane took the mike, everyone roared. Even now, he still gets flustered by the adulation. Awwww.... :)

Least friendly? I would say Mark. But it's hard to tell, 'cos he also appeared tired, so maybe he wasn't feeling well to begin with. Still, he's improved significantly since their first gig here about 7 years ago, when he kept going off-key during his solos and made my hair stand on end. He used to be my personal fave, but now that he's revealed he's gay, I've switched to Kian.

Most pleasant surprise? Nicky, of course. Considering his ties to the Irish PM, plus all the fame and fortune Westlife's accumulated over the years, I would've expected him to be a little arrogant or standoffish, but he couldn't be nicer. ( More on this in Part 2 below. )

5. Up Close And Personal - Part 2

Due to a very last-minute twist of fate, my mum and I were granted backstage access to a meet-and-greet with the lads.

But don't get too excited! There were approximately 50 fans in total, and we entered in batches of 10, with only 5 minutes spent in the room before being politely ushered out.

Definitely felt like a factory processing plant, but I understood the time constraints involved, and was already immensely thankful for the chance despite not having won any contests or any insider pals to pester. ( The lady who got us in is a complete stranger, and the Brit who came to fetch us at the entrance - think he's part of Westlife's entourage - was an absolute dear. :))

So what do I recall of the event? The very first person I saw as we entered was Kian. Already prepped for the concert, he had some makeup on and was dressed in a white jacket and pants.

I distinctly caught my breath at the sight. Kian can be described, in a word, as an ADONIS. He is just SOOOO BLONDE, and SOOOO FAIR, and ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLY CAN-DIE-AH GORGEOUS.

Even my mum was taken aback -- Kian's her favourite and she KNOWS he's good-looking, but she wasn't prepared for what she saw in the flesh, up close!

We were at the tail end of the line of 10, and seated at a huge ellipitical table were ( from left to right ) Kian, Nicky, Shane and Mark.

Official photographers stood at the door, while a few other minders lingered on both sides.

We were asked to stand behind the guys for a group shot. My mum and I were both right behind Kian, which we loved, haha. :)
As we positioned ourselves, Nicky ( who, by the way, is married to the Irish Prime Minister's daughter ) leaned back in his swivel chair and turned his head left and right to smile and look at each of us. Thought that was a very nice gesture.

After the picture was taken, Kian turned and said, "If you've got stuff for us to sign, put them over here." So being closest to him, I stepped forward and passed him my items ( 2 CD sleeves ).

I wasn't even certain if there was any time for a short conversation, so I just left it at that and moved over to Mark's side to collect the autographs once they were done. As I took them from Mark, I smiled and whispered "thank you", to which he returned with a smile.

Just before I left the room, I asked if I could take a photo of the fellows and was granted permission.

But I won't be posting that on the blog. Private property, and I feel a bit possessive about it! :)

Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Because I Felt Like Posting It :) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Moment Of Reflection

Night shift - again.

Lost track of the day for a second earlier today. Happens a lot when I do nights. But I rather enjoy the post-night laps in the pool downstairs, followed by a hearty lunch and nice long snooze till dinner.

Can't do much the entire day, of course, but it sure beats working 4 mornings / afternoons at a shot.

Sigh. Am gonna miss this roster when I return to the mother ship. Haha.

Oh yes, the "reflection" part of the entry.

I'm currently sifting through a pile of articles submitted by medical students for an upcoming theme issue. It's been both interesting and exhausting, since I'm trying to do this solo 'cos I've been asked to fill in as "guest editor", and my control freak tendencies are wreaking havoc with my brain.

The whole experience has made me realize a few things:

1. Boy am I old.

2. Boy are our med students super-idealistic.

3. I think I probably was too, back in the day.

4. It isn't exactly a good thing.

5. They'll come to their senses soon.

Some other traits I noticed:

1. Med students especially enjoy writing about patients.

2. Usually of the dying or dead variety.

3. They can be very philosophical about it. The students, I mean.

4. Sometimes bordering on morbid / depressing. ( Had to request one writer to completely switch topic. I appreciate the compassion, but one short paragraph had the word "death" repeated 11 times. Cannot lah... )

5. Another favourite subject is tests / exams. Perfectly understandable, and something close to my heart.

6. They may SAY they don't want to save the world / find a cure for cancer, but I KNOW they do.

7. That will no doubt change once they start housemanship.

8. That's when a lot of us learn how to hate our patients. ( Sorry, just stating a fact, okay? )

As for the lone HO submission I've thus received:

1. Inevitably, it's about work.

2. Includes survival skills and such.

3. Very insightful, I must say.

4. Wish I could've recruited more writers from the HO pool, but suspect every single one of them will talk about the same thing ad nauseum.

5. Besides, I've decided to let the students bask in the spotlight this round.

So I've reached a number of conclusions:

1. All doctors eventually go down the road of cynicism and anger. Never mind why. It's just a matter of when.

2. Yes, laypeople everywhere, there's always a possibility that the doctor attending to you harbours homicidal thoughts. About you.

3. There's also a possibility that the doctor hasn't had any sleep for more than 24 hours, which is the clinical equivalent of an intoxicated state, so don't be surprised if s/he misses your vein 5 times in a row, or takes the wrong medical record, mislabels the blood tube, etc.

4. Medical students are the complete opposites of their harrassed, overworked and underpaid seniors, so patients, LOVE THEM as much as you can, 'cos these are the only people who will bother to sit and listen while you ramble on and on about your bowel movements and 10-year history of giddiness. The rest of us just want to get your ass out of the ward / clinic / ER ASAP.

5. High chance too that in the event of your passing, the students are the ones who'll remember it clearly, and perhaps even mourn a little. Because they still feel, unlike their seniors who've become so anaesthetized we stopped shedding tears a long time ago and signing death certs isn't any different from filling prescriptions.

Of course, these are just MY opinions. Methinks some readers will beg to differ, and I can understand if you do. But I've had many conversations with colleagues over the years, and most, if not all, share my sentiments.

I guess the best thing we can hope for is:

1. Do no harm.

2. Maybe try bonding with the nice ones.

3. Never lose your moral compass.

In closing, I'd like to mention a fascinating true case of a brilliant doctor who's gained some prominence in clinical research in recent times. Specializing in a field which cares for the terminally ill, this person has frequently exhibited a sympathetic side, both verbally and in writing, in the public domain.

However, I'm privy to a moment, 6 years ago, when this same person sat with me in a downtown area, as we people-watched. We made small talk, then I was asked to focus on a lady strolling by.

"Imagine, if you will, that there's a sniper somewhere, and that he shoots her dead. The people in front and behind her reel in shock, and panic ensues. The crowd scatters as everyone runs screaming for cover."

I stare, too stunned to speak, then stammer that I'm not sure how I should respond to that. My companion then returns to the drink in hand, calmly sipping as if nothing unusual had transpired.

Yes indeed, this person is a doctor. Might have treated or worked with you at some point. How does that make you feel?

At least I know said person's identity, which makes it a lot easier to avoid contact altogether.

Lucky me.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Cool Links

( Yes, I'm on night shift - again. But I need something to keep me awake, dammit. )


Was introduced to this by an endocrinologist at Alexandra Hospital during a recent AST tutorial. Quite entertaining.

2. Memorable Medical Quotations

Came across this during a Google search.
Reads more like a joke page than your typical "quotes". Get a load of the med students' section:

"What do you call two orthopedic surgeons reading an EKG? A double-blind study."

"The only difference between psychiatrists and their patients is that the patients have a chance of getting better."

"How many cardiothoracic surgeons does it take to screw in a light bulb? One--he just holds up the bulb and the world revolves around him."

"On rounds - It's better to be quiet and let them think your stupid; than to speak and let them know it."

"Five years after you finish med school, everything you were taught will be wrong; but if you wait an additional five years it will be right again."

And how about the surgeons' bit:

"All bleeding eventually stops."

"There are only three rules to life: Eat when you can, sleep when you can, and don't screw with the pancreas."

"When in doubt, blame anesthesia (or an anesthesiologist!)."

"Ask any surgeon Q: What is the definition of "shifting dullness" ? A: Rounds in Internal Medicine."

And of course, the medical section:

"Dermatology is the only specialty in medicine where there are 200 diseases and only three types of cream to treat them."

"How do you hide a dollar bill from an orthopedic surgeon? Put it in the chart. How do you hide a dollar bill from a radiologist? Put in on the patient. How do you hide a dollar bill from an internist? You can't."

"Internists know everything and do nothing, Surgeons know nothing and do everything, Dermatologists know nothing and do nothing, Pathologists know everything and do everything- but a day too late."

"Radiologist: Try to avoid using the word "lunch hour." I prefer the term "lunch break" so I don't limit myself."

It's a bit cruel and stereotypical, but speaking from personal experience, a lot of it is also quite true.

But funny nonetheless. :)

( Read the disclaimer at the top of the page about not taking ourselves too seriously. )

3. Another interesting site

This one's more academic and "deep". Educational, I suppose, but I much prefer wicked humour. :)

4. More

Taken from yet another site, but there're few gems here, except the following:

After two days in hospital I took a turn for the nurse.
- W.C. Fields

First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me.
- Steve Martin

God heals and the doctor takes the fee.
- Benjamin Franklin

Medicine, the only profession that labors incessantly to destroy the reason for its existence.
- James Bryce

One finger in the throat and one in the rectum makes a good diagnostician.
- William Osler

And Speaking of Sarcastic Humour

This week's House reclaimed some of its old glory with a pretty intriguing case and abundant griping from the good doctor.

A certain A&E consultant has a catchphrase I rather like ( and which he routinely dishes out to MOs who annoy him ): Don't order x-rays if you don't know how to read them!

I second that motion.


Am in a strange sort of mood today, somewhere between contentment and melancholy. On the one hand, I realize the great life I have. But on the other, I wish there was... more. There's a missing puzzle piece, and I can narrow it down to a few possibilities, not all of which I may be able to rectify.

Short-term solution? A quick fix, though not of the alcoholic variety ( outgrew that years ago - still vividly recall a pseudo-intoxicated state after downing a glass of Long Island too quickly, following which I miraculously managed to drive myself home in one piece. No more, thank you very much. )

I know exactly what I need, but will have to tread most gingerly in order to get what I want.

This should be fun. :)