Monday, June 01, 2009

The Year Of Living Dangerously

I wish! :)

The title of this entry popped into my head from out of nowhere, though I suspect Adam Lambert blasting from the computer speaker may have influenced the choice a little.

Listening to Feeling Good - gorgeous, as always.

Anyway, I'm posting something only because my 34th birthday is coming up this week, and it's customary for me to reflect on the previous 12 months.

Was it a good year? You bet.

First and foremost, meeting Jason Mraz in person was and always will be a major highlight in my life. Waited many years for the opportunity, watching 2 gigs and buying every one of his CDs in existence before coming face to face with my favourite musician just before his 3rd show here in Singapore. Though it's been only 3 months since that memorable evening, it feels like it's been years ( wonder why? ).
But, of course, it exceeded all my expectations, and seeing him perform with the American Idol contestants at the finals results show was thrilling!

Second, saying hello to Peter Cincotti again ( 2nd meet-and-greet, very enjoyable ), and seeing Geoffrey Rush and the cast of The Bridge Project's The Winter's Tale up close at the Esplanade.

Third, visiting spectacular Egypt. Haven't done it justice with sufficient blog entries and photos - entirely my fault, my apologies. Definitely no longer that safe a destination for tourists, so I'm glad I've made my pilgrimage, and survived the trip.

Fourth, organizing the local annual emergency medicine conference. Made history as the youngest organizing chair so far, and am very proud of my excellent committee for ensuring its success. Also made 2 new wonderful friends from Mount Sinai Hospital's Department of Emergency Medicine, both of whom are leading experts in their respective fields yet humble to a fault. That outing to the Night Safari on a wet and windy night will always remain a fond memory. :)

Last but not least, recovering from the grief of losing a beloved friend and adopting a cat from SPCA. May not seem significant to some of you, but pets have always been an integral part of my life - I've had everything from hamsters to rabbits and even a chicken. However, cats sit right at the top of my list, and I've reached a point where even a few months without a feline companion causes actual physical pain.
Nemo's proven to be an absolute joy so far ( interesting name choice, no? :)), and I'll try to post a picture of him soon.

So what can I look forward to in the next 12 months?
Well, despite my July vacation plans being flushed down the toilet, things worked themselves out, and my extra leave is being used for another overseas trip in October - mixture of business and pleasure, but heavily subsidized by the hospital. I didn't really expect to get the funding to begin with, so greatly appreciate the support!
Won't be venturing that far, but it's a place I haven't visited before, and am most keen to spend time at those world-famous beaches, watching hunky surfers. :)

Will attend another international conference in September, which allows a few days of touring, during which I intend to purchase a crate of wine and distribute them to people I'd like to thank for a variety of reasons. Am also looking forward to savouring my share of pinot noirs and merlots. :D

Career-wise, my involvement in this year's local conference has certainly motivated me to volunteer my services for the big kahuna - 2010's International Conference of Emergency Medicine. It is a COLOSSAL undertaking, the details of which I won't elaborate on here. Lots of paperwork and deadlines and stress.

And of course, I need to publish something in a journal somewhere so I can get promoted. This is the part I hate. Apparently, doing tonnes of clinical work isn't good enough.

Anyway, moving on a slight tangent, I'm currently ploughing through Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People issue, and becoming nauseated by some of the tributes. In case you don't know, it's become tradition for those who make the list to have write-ups on them done by someone equally famous or accomplished. A few of these are great - e.g. Bill Gates writing about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Roger Federer doing one about Tiger Woods - but others are just plain indulgent ( Oprah Winfrey swooning over Michelle Obama, Bono blah-ing incoherently about George Clooney ).
As usual, there're quite a few candidates whom I've never heard of, hence the perennial question from Time readers about just how "influential" these people actually are. The disproportionate number of Americans even prompted a sarcastic letter from an irate subscriber, which got me laughing over my breakfast.
Same thing happens with People magazine's lists of 50 Most Beautiful People and Sexiest Man Alive. Aren't most of them American too?

I can live with the injustice. Time's writers are among the best in the world - my favourites include Joel Stein, Bryan Walsh and Nancy Gibbs - and my own style has been moulded by my 16-years-and-counting subscription to the publication. If someone can write about the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir or Vladmir Putin or harvesting fuel from algae and keep me up late at night with my eyes glued to the page, that's really saying something.

Straits Times reporters, take note.

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