Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Epilogue - New Year Resolutions That Will Make Me Happier ( and which I probably won't keep :))

Nag my junior doctors less.

You're right, I should stop caring so much. About poorly taken history, dodgy medication orders, the inability to interpret basic test results, and abominable ( lack of ) documentation. Most of the time, nagging doesn't work. It only gives me a dry mouth, lengthens each review by a few minutes, and the entire cycle repeats itself the next day because most of it doesn't sink in.

Besides, for all I know, even Talley O'Connor also gave up long ago and the textbook's Cardiovascular System now just says, "Who the hell cares?" ( or maybe every chapter says that lol ). Because Talley O'Connor wants to live long and prosper too, you know.

Ignore ugly Singaporeans.

They'll only get uglier. Locals these days like to fight over the smallest things, especially Hello Kitty dolls from McDonald's. At the hospital, they kick up a fuss over "long" waiting times ( 30 minutes to see the doctor, 2 hours for a bed, 4 hours for a specialist consult - the last one's not our fault okay? Who knows why XX doctor isn't answering his phone, or running clinic when an emergency activation occurs? ).

Anyway, where was I again? Ah yes, ugly Singaporeans should be left to their own devices. Don't bother to tell them off or your photo will end up on STOMP. If you're driving, at least make sure your car is bigger and faster than your opponent's if you're still keen on putting up a fight. But watch out for speed cameras and traffic police perched on overhead bridges - no point getting fined for being a righteous dude / dudette!

As for my pesky upstairs neighbours who think dragging furniture and bouncing balls at 7am and midnight is great fun, I have 2 words for them: ear plugs. :)

Be a social butterfly.

Conforming can be a good thing. Like Dexter Morgan - my favourite fictional serial killer - acting like "the rest of the gang" is superb camouflage. You blend in with the crowd, become quite popular, and no-one suspects you when dismembered body parts are found in a barrel in your backyard.

"It can't be Dexter Morgan - he's such a swell guy! Someone must've GIVEN him those body parts. You know, for RESEARCH!"

Note to self: instead of clearing queues during shifts, set aside an hour or two to chat up my juniors and peers. Ask about their holidays, their kids, their collections of rare pebbles / board games / laser discs. Develop a system of engagement: make constant eye contact, smile, nod every 5 seconds, and pay attention to every 3rd sentence so you can respond with a vague yet convincing comment.

Group activities are also good options. Paying for everyone is guaranteed to draw excellent attendance. :)

Win a Service With A Heart award.

Because that's the ONLY thing every doctor wants. That gold-lettered name tag! Out of the hundreds of thousands of patients I've seen throughout my career, I can't believe I haven't received enough rave reviews to help me secure this once. Instead, patients prefer to mail me thank-you cards or write me via Google mail or Facebook, like bloody stalkers. Next time, I'm putting a stack of forms in my pocket and handing them out personally. Some grovelling might help as well.

Watch less TV.

I sometimes wonder if it's reaching addictive proportions, but do you actually expect me to do anything productive after a shift kills half my brain cells? TV helps my cerebral tissues regenerate - scientifically proven... somewhere... - so asking me to stop is the equivalent of turning me into a blathering moron. Which is NOT what you want on the clinical floor of a busy ER.

But think of all the other fun stuff I'm missing out on! Enjoying Nature ( stepping on dog poo that someone didn't pick up, getting caught in a storm that came out of NOWHERE, or being hit by a crazy cyclist ), hanging out with friends ( see "Be a social butterfly" ) or heck, maybe even doing some research once and for all.

Err, I'll think about it.

That said, if you took any of this seriously, I hope your New Year resolution will be to develop a better sense of humour. :D

Happy 2014, dear readers!

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Roundup

With only 10 days of the year left before the arrival of 2014, I look back on the past 12 months with a big smile.
Not because it was perfect - it wasn't the least bit so - but rather, because it was by far, one of the most memorable of late, despite the lack of any personal encounters with famous people ( the fleeting M&G with Peter Cetera doesn't count ).

Concerts and theatre

I literally lost count of the number of shows I caught this year. In March alone, I saw 5, while in November, there were 4.
There were musicals ( The Phantom Of The Opera, Dirty Dancing, Hairspray, Next To Normal ), gigs ( Adam Lambert, Peter Cetera ) and plays ( Venus In Fur, Rabbit Hole ), not to mention a couple of truly excellent comedies ( One Man LOTR, Broadway Beng )!

Despite the large number of choices, 2 easily stand out:

The Exchange - this 5-member a cappella group from America, featuring alumni from The Sing-Off, paid a low-key first visit to Singapore in March, performing at a tiny venue to an audience of only 70 people.
However, not even the most luscious musical production can eclipse these guys! Their 90-minute set left me breathless, and no-one deserves a showcase at the Esplanade Concert Hall more than they do. Let's hope my feedback to the right people will finally bear fruit. Please come back soon!

Lang Lang In Recital - After missing his previous performance in the not too distant past, I was again oblivious about his November gala concert with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, as well as his intimate recital of Mozart and Chopin pieces. Thankfully, gallery seats were released at the last minute, and I managed to snag two that offered incredible views of all the action.

I was in heaven for 100 minutes, spellbound by what I heard and saw. Nothing I write will do him justice, so I'll just leave it to your imagination.

Before that evening, Jason Mraz's acoustic gig at the Esplanade Concert Hall ranked #1 on my list of all-time favourite musical performances.
Now, we have a tie. :)

TV shows

2013 also featured an unprecedented number of amazing television series, both new and old.

House Of Cards - starring my idol, Kevin Spacey - made my head spin. ( And thank God for the Internet because we don't get Netflix in Singapore. )

I finally started binge-watching Breaking Bad at my friends' recommendations - also via online sources, because it's banned on local cable. ( Pleeease, do you really think we're that pathetic? )

Lots of exciting new shows caught my attention - in particular, Hannibal, The Following, Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD and Dracula - while returning favourites like Justified, Elementary, The Good Wife, The Newsroom and Major Crimes continued to delight.

Dexter, which has stayed so close to my heart for 8 years, sadly ended on an anti-climactic note.

My top choices for the year:

Masters Of Sex - a no-holds-barred dramatization of Dr. William Masters and Mrs. Virginia Johnson's pioneering efforts in human sexuality research. Aside from the top-notch cast ( which includes Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan ), it also boasts some of the finest writing in existence.

The Paradise - Granted, season 1 hit local cable only a fortnight ago ( season 2 ended its run in the UK in mid-December ), but I absolutely must mention it because it's positively intoxicating. Everyone keeps raving about Downton Abbey but have they seen The Paradise, which is 10 times more interesting?
I have my eye on lead actor, Emun Elliott, a half-Scottish half-Persian 30-year-old whose charisma and intensity belie his youth.


The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. That's all I have to say on this topic. :)

Looking forward

I only took 2 short trips this year, with the primary aim of catching certain people in concert ( Josh Groban in Sydney; Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess and Lea Salonga in Tokyo ).

In 2014, I will embark on a 4-week journey through the US ( a country I love very much ), this time visiting Hawaii, Washington, DC and New York.

Very excited, of course, but especially so about NYC, because through some unbelievable stroke of good luck, I will be able to catch highly acclaimed actors such as Bryan Cranston, Tony Shalhoub, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Alan Cumming, James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in what promise to be electrifying plays.

Let's not forget Broadway legends Sutton Foster, Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale, as well as West End star, Ramin Karimloo, in Violet, The Bridges Of Madison County and an updated revival of Les Miserables, respectively.

I've already earmarked 8 shows in total, to be squeezed into 6 short days. In fact, I had to cross Denzel Washington off the list to make room for everyone else. Sorry!

Work-wise, I hope I'll be able to cope with the demands of a part-time ultrasound course I'm taking. And there's a conference trip to Hong Kong to boot, for an international emergency medicine convention.

What else is left? My personal life - or the lack of it, haha. :)

Once and for all, let me make it clear to anyone who gives a crap ( why should you anyway? I'm nobody. ) - I enjoy being single, and fully intend to stay this way unless something unexpected happens. Please don't try to set me up with a guy, and don't dish relationship advice. I gave it a shot once and hated it, I bounced back, and have zero desire to have my life turned upside down ever again. I'm a solitary, independent creature and there's nothing wrong with that.

On this happy note, may you have a blessed Christmas, and best wishes for the New Year! I don't know how often I'll be able to blog from now on ( with the course and other commitments piling up non-stop ), but I promise to keep this site going. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you again soon. :)