M203 Diary

Sunday, January 30, 2005

My Wish Came True! I Think I Ask For Too Simple Things...

Finally. To break the monotony of everyholiday life, I have a football match to play in a couple of hours. It’s probably a friendly, but I entrust myself to take every opportunity at exertion to run myself into the (probably bumpy, hopefully dry) ground. It’s not every day that I get the chance to do anything, let alone work out, and I figure I have days on end to go before I break even with the time I wasted reading crap like Behavioural Sciences and CSU manuals anyway.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m enjoying my holiday, even if I’m doing absolutely nothing half of the time. I dare say I’m enjoying it more than most, as I can already name several people who are just begging to spend their time doing something other than wasting it. Some, more than others, simply cannot wait for classes to resume.

Some of you really don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.

Admittedly, it did take some getting used to, waking up every single morning not having to force myself to sit at a desk filled with open books. Actually reading the open books required perseverance of a different level entirely. Now that it’s all gone away, I generally feel relieved. Yet it's superimposed by dread at the thought that my respite will only be momentary. Two months is not a long time.

2 months protracted holiday
– 2 weeks already past
1 month and 2 weeks

– 3 week elective
3 weeks

– a week worth of sleep debt incurred b4 EoS
2 weeks eventual holiday

If you manage to interpret the complex equations above, you might eventually find yourself shortchanged. Because it leaves you with approximately two miserable weeks to do every thing you always had planned on doing if you had a holiday when you didn’t. Then again, it all depends on whether you’re having fun or not.

It’s no secret that time moves slower around people who are bored. That’s because their minds are inactive, which lowers body metabolism. This causes an increase in density, but because there is no change in volume, there is a direct transient increase in body mass. Being of a higher mass, the bored person would exert an increased gravitational force to its surrounding environment, and hence influence time in such a manner that it would slow, almost to a mind-numbing halt. Controlled experiments of subjects in LT 1 would prove this inference to be true most of the time.

In case you haven’t caught on, I’m only joking. I’m hopefully gonna be a physician, not a physicist. Though I do think it’s a good idea to have interests apart from the career that we’re pursuing. Pick up a good hobby. Learn a skill for life. Help others if you won’t help yourself. Or succumb to your willingness to laze. The choice is yours. But so is the result.

Hopefully at the end of this holiday period, I’ll have broadened my horizons. Time was never an issue.

Word of the day: Vegetation


Friday, January 28, 2005

What is a holiday?
n. day(s) of recreation

For me, it means endless boredom. There is so much that I can do, and yet there is still void, a feeling of nothingness, that looms over me, like a mysterious shadow, cast even when it is dark. There is a constant lulling, ever drawing me to the very edge of consciousness, of which when passed, I would only see obscure images of fantasy and nightmares, imitating and mocking the real world. However unpleasant it was, I could not hold them back. I am but a mindless drone, ever succumbing to the haunting and taunting I hear in my head. It is like it does not belong to me anymore, but instead to a power which I cannot overcome. They say the mind can conquer everything, but my mind has a mind of it’s own and irony of it all, my mind, the dark side, has conquered me instead…
Welcome. To my world…

In these past 2 weeks, I have been reading a 1008 paged with size 8 font book, not including pages and chapters of appendices with detailed maps and indices.
“I know of what it was that you saw,” she said; “for it is also in my mind. Do not be afraid!” and with it, comes my feeble inspiration to write.
“ The quest has failed, Sam. Even if we get out of here, we can’t escape.”

Of course apart from that, I have been watching movies of old. One particular movie that I came across was Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. And in it I pondered (or stole, I’m not sure) the words, How does the hands, of which is covered with the blood of others, play such beautiful music? The Mandolin (see picture below) is a string instrument, commonly heard in scenes where the gondola drifts over the canals in Venice. I guess it comes from Italy, and such wonderful music it produces.

The movie is about an Italian captain, who leads a company in the occupation of an isle of Cephallonia in Greece during WWII. Vastly different from their German counterparts, these soldiers lead a more peaceful relationship with the locals. Even a German Commander, Gunther, who was assigned to them is taken in by the beautiful music the Captain plays.

This being a war movie, it doesn’t fall short of battle scenes, in the form of the Germans destroying their alliances with Italy and killing all the Italian soldiers. The love for their Captain is shown when one of Corelli’s men shielded him with his own body, taking all the German bullets instead. So there he lay under the body of his comrade and his other soldiers dead all around him. As Gunther searches the bodies for survivors and killing them (yeah, KenJ, your sign applied here), he stops in shooting Corelli as he couldn’t bear betraying his friend and creator of the beautiful music.

And a movie would not be complete without a love interest, which is the main theme of this story. (Of course with love interest there’s love scenes and mass nudity on the beach, but that’s not the point of the movie…)

By the way, she is also learning to be a doctor from her father. And wise words comes form old people, “All wounds can be healed.”

Anyway, I give it a 9 out of 10.
I would like to thank my sister for finding such a good movie to watch.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

An email I received, aka. news a batchrep gets

"Dear all,

A blog was set up by a PBL facilitator who wants to collect
annoynomous constructive feedback from the students w/ regards to PBL.
The blog also has a couple of PBL resources detailing roles and
objectives of PBL, how to make PBL more effective, as well as
ovecoming common problems faced in PBL.


I've taken the liberty of adding the link. For all who wanna rant, well, it seems people other than YP now have an outlet... only PBL stuff, though, peeps.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

kJ -O< Devil... kJ -O< Acidulous...

Welcome to a blog that is steadily heading towards single ownership. Don’t let the word M203 at the top of your screen fool you. It really isn’t the community blog its all made up to be. Just think of it as other students periodically posting into the wrong place, and so it ends up cluttering this space. (A quiet voice tells me that YP’s gonna be “mis-posting” soon)

I’m sure you’re a little surprised to see a post now when it’s nowhere near the weekend, unless time traveled backwards. I did say I was going back to a 1/7 routine, but seeing as its holiday time… This is like a mid-week special. Except it isn’t the middle of the week. And in accordance with my hostile takeover of this place, it’s gonna relate to something people do with their own personal blogs: Brag about themselves. And it just so happens that I have the perfect thing to boast about today.



kJ(this is me!!!!)---------129


[EDIT: Sorry about the ugly lines, but this place doesn't accept preformatted text without a fight. Note to self: Learn HTML before attempting hostile takeover]

The above diagram is a mock fragboard, which graphically displays a clearly one-sided 2-on-2 Counter-Strike (CS) session between 4 M203 students. Yeah, I made up a few numbers, but I’m sure it’s about right. Just for the sake of avoiding embarrassment, I opted to exclude the death count, and I’ve made sure nobody knows who each of us really are. Am I thoughtful or what? Don’t worry acidulous, NOBODY can tell what role you play in their lives. Your confusing appellation, a manifestation of a cryptographic device, is beyond the fathom of simple minds.

If you haven’t heard of CS, it’s probably because you’re a girl, you live under a rock, or you live in a house under a roof that looks like a rock. Anyway, it’s the one where you play the role of an average gun-toting male, and attempt to riddle your would-be opponents full of holes with all manner of modern close-combat weaponry, before they do the same to your skull.

Since there’s a chance that there are some of you who are unacquainted with the concept of a leaderboard, I’ve taken the liberty of translating it, for the viewing pleasure of the layman (not to mention my own :)

Acidulous--------------It’s ok. I joined the game late.

Devil-------------------But it’s so cold in here...

kJ-----------------------Kicker of M203 derrière

Zafirsalazine----------Yeah, I know I’m holding a gun.
-------------------------But I think I’ll just watch

Needless to say, I really enjoyed today. I think it’s gonna be a long time before I’ll be gaming with them again, so I’m not even gonna mention Warcraft. If I did, they would probably invite me next to never again. Heh. Just kidding, they’re good sports. I just wish every other day of my holiday would be like this. Because in between every other day, I’m wishing for something else.

Pic of the day:

Screenshot from a game I’m playing now, Vampire: The Masquerade, Bloodlines.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sufficiently Suggestive For Comprehension... Vague Enough To Avoid Prosecution...

Some time back, I spoke to a Cousin of a Good Friend of mine. She seemed intent on doing medicine, and seeing as how a medical student (namely myself) was within sight, she decidedly took it upon herself to interrogate… er… inquire about the university we medical students attend.

The name. This much she knew, among other unnecessary bits of information. I soon found out, however that I knew only about as much as she did. Here’s a snippet of our actual conversation, as far as I can remember it:

[CoaGF]: So, how’s the campus life?
[Myself]: Campus? What campus?
[CoaGF]: I mean, are the clubs active?
[Myself]: I know what you meant. And yeah, I suppose…
[CoaGF]: Do they have a canoe club?
[Myself]: Well, there’s a… lake… nearby… Otherwise there’s other stuff like volleyball, basketball… Um, there’s a foosball table… There are 2 ping-pong tables…
[CoaGF]: …and 2 dart boards. Yeah, I read it on the website. I mean, its quite amazing that a university would actually advertise that they have 2 dart boards…
[Myself]: Ooh, ooh! You went to the website? Did you listen to the song?

I’m no stranger to sarcasm. And if sarcasm smelled like murky stink, I’d be reminded of KKB every time I talked to her. Not that she smelled funny. Not that I know what she smells like. Anyway, she did seem like a highly educated person, and rightfully spoke like she knew what she was talking about. Apparently, she was short-listed for Oxford. And she likes canoeing. An exceptional intellectual with an unconventional method of escapism; such a profile is the mark of a good medical student in the making.

Perhaps more enlightening was the fact that I never really knew about our uni as much as I thought I did. Not that I cared. But it makes for interesting possibilities, assuming my fellow colleagues are as ignorant as I am. Trivia Time!

What 4-letter word is synonymous with Student-Centred Leaning? (Hint: Starts with L, ends with Y. Rhymes with LAZY) [1 mark]

Darn. Did I give away that one? But then again it was so obvious, so you probably would’ve figured it out on your own anyway.

I don’t know if I owe enough to our uni to help advertise for it. And seeing that I’m giving advice to a Cousin of a Good Friend of mine, it’s only right that I provide her with an accurate view from my perspective. Especially when it concerns a decision regarding a fork in the road of life. Consider the fact that our uni was once slated to be a shopping mall. Its outdoor facilities, such as the volleyball court are fused with the road, next to unique locations like the garbage dump to save space and provide atmosphere. What’s more, it even plays a role in fighting the energy crisis by rendering all available escalators and lifts inoperable, save for special occasions.

I do think our uni is special though. Special enough to deserve special mention. So special that you might think it houses special people. It does.

Pic of the day:

One of my fav lecturers. Honest.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

... 'cos someone missed me ...

in fact.... other than grace's post... i'm the only one who's posted anything there this yr...

What is a girl to do when a fellow M2/03 blogger tells her this? Sigh. Post lah! :P I guess the only thing related to school that's happening this hols is elective. Most of the batch is off to UM for dissection. Some are going to IJN or to SJMC, I believe? (Right, KenJ?) I know some of us are going overseas too! Grace and I are going to Chennai, Caryn is going to Mayo Clinic in US (lucky girl).. anyone going off somewhere else?

Dictionary.com defines elective as "an optional academic course or subject" and in our case, it actually means "anything under the sun you can get your tutor to approve of you doing" Some people are going to take this as an opportunity to go on a holiday, some are going to laze around and crap something, me, I'm going into good girl mode this time 'round. I'm determined to learn something, something I will never learn in school. :D Last year, what I did was a lousy excuse for an elective and I'm not going to repeat that again. *determined* So yupz, YP's turning into a good girl. *grinz*

Anyone wants anything from Chennai???


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Hmmm.... Have To Get Back To A Once A Week Routine...

Friday was tough. Filled with mixed emotions. Yet again. Of relief and disappointment in tandem. This day, our End of Semester (EoS) results were out. Some couldn’t or didn’t sleep, and some couldn’t or wouldn’t wake up. Thankfully, I came through the ordeal largely unscathed. Only a thought in my mind lingers, of those who didn’t make it. It was a difficult situation for me. I mean, I’m no stranger to failing, but the tension was on a whole new level. I really didn’t know what to say to any of them.

As life would have it, not all of us can pass EoS at the very same time. Out of the three windows of opportunity we have open to us, the re-sit is perhaps the most precariously placed; during the holidays. Though given the fact that one of them windows is already shut tight, and the third lies a distant 6 months more of torture away, not many of the few are complaining. They know that time used to bitch about something they can’t change is time wasted, because it could have been spent on studying. And you can’t even get an A out of it all, because even if you score full marks in the second exam, you still get an unrewarding B.

Anyway, just in case the paragraph above confused you in some unknown way, here are a few definitions to help you: (stolen from m-w.com, with thx)

1: again

11 : to take an examination

1 a : to equal in meaning : have the same connotation as :

5 a : a grade rating a student's work as superior in quality

1 : the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals

For someone who has never had to study the same thing twice twice, I can’t say that I know how they feel. You can’t tell them it’s gonna be alright, or its gonna work out fine, because you never know what could happen. But I can say that when they can count their time in months, even if it is just the two, they have a lot of it on their hands. The important thing is to decide what to do with the time given to them. Now I sound like Gandalf.

I guess it’s all about studying hard and studying smart. I don’t think anyone made it camping in the library all day, only to fall asleep every few minutes. Focus is necessary. Motivation is required. Desire is key. The feeling of working towards a goal or sacrificing for someone else is a truly uplifting sensation. At least to this, I can say that I know it to be true.

Once again, best wishes go out to those who need them most. You know who you are. If you don’t, tough. Remember that of all the people in the world, there are those who are suffering more than you. This always applies since blind people automatically suffer more than you, and they can’t read my posts. Also, especially to those whose faces I may never see again, good luck in future endeavors. There will always be a tomorrow, as long as today exists.

Quote of the Day: (from Stevie)

Can you tell me how severe the pain is? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the pain of childbirth?


Friday, January 14, 2005

So how did everyone do?


Monday, January 10, 2005

VIVA Forever... I’ll Be Praying... That I’m Passing... With Everyone...

Live forever, for the moment,
Ever searching, for the one.

-Spice Girls

Yeah, I know it doesn’t really fit. But it works for me. I personally feel that this song evokes a combination of varying emotions. Which is why I chose it to grace the title slot. Because it is akin to seeing your name on the VIVA list; it leaves you with mixed feelings.

For the uninformed: VIVA stands for absolutely nothing. It’s actually short for viva-voce which, like any other word that sounds like it was English spoken by an indigenous native of Kazakhstan, draws its roots from Medieval Latin. Basically it means to communicate by word of mouth. In this case, it means to communicate by word of mouth like your life depends on it. In fact, it arbitrarily does.

The two common responses to learning of your VIVAship… or VIVAhood… or whatever, (though neither ship nor hood will afford you any sanctuary) is as follows:

a) YAY! I didn’t fail! (Yet…)
b) Oh F%&@…

Of the two, the latter is perhaps more commonplace. Nobody wants to be in VIVA. It is like a taint. Those whose names appear on the list are marked. Scarred for life. Forced to live with the experience for as long as they choose to do so after the extent of the damage eventually comes to light. Even then, only should the light overcome the shadow that blights the world in their minds. It is their one day of immeasurable suffering.

Yet, it could also be their salvation.

It was a cool tropical morning spent indoors in the PBL rooms, back when I was sitting for VIVA in Semester 1. I knew nothing. I knew no one. And I sat in a chair outside the door, unconsciously staring at some girl’s (I later knew her name to be ##########) slender legs, while thinking to myself:

“This kind of thing’s made to help you pass…”

Out of the 12 participants of M2/03’s Semester 1 VIVA, I was the only one who passed.

I didn’t really believe this to be true when I heard it then, and to this day I’m not even sure if it is. But everyone seemed convinced. And I’m not one to avoid praise. Not that it was anything to be proud of in the first place. But I think a defining character was confidence. Not over-confidence, but confidence (there’s a difference). The belief that everything will work itself out. Its probably not any kind of belief most people are familiar with, yet no more is it blind than Morpheus’ faith in The One. That works for me, too.

The bottom line is that you have to believe. Mind over matter. Optimism is not a defence mechanism, it is a weapon. You can only do it if you know you can. It’s just that sometimes, we don’t know that we actually do.

Good luck VIVA students of M2/03. I’ll see you in Semester 4. I know I will :)

Word of the Day: Vindication


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Squishing A Mosquito That’s Biting You Through Your Pants will Stain You With Your Own Blood

It’s true. Really, it is. Anyway, shortly after a change of pajamas, I found myself (only slightly) tempted to describe this phenomenon in further detail. So here it is. Ready?

It is a metaphor for a medical student’s life!

Translation: If you study really hard, you will achieve your goal. But something else may be sacrificed. Studying is like slamming the infernal insect against your ripe thigh. Satisfaction aside, you accomplish your objective of not getting bitten by the thing. However, you leave your shorts compromised.

At any rate, it’s like a sign from above when you come across bizarre revelations such as this. As I would any message that tells me to stop studying, I took this one to heart, and went to town on my PC. I don’t expect to be done with it until the OSCE later today.

Speaking of which, it’s been hard to distract myself away from the events of yesterday:

TJ – Forgot to do Tactile Fremitus, but made up for it
KL – Didn’t have time to take a reading for BP because she spent half her time untangling the sphigmomanometer
EH – Elena vs the Clinical Skills Unit, pt. II.
ME – Started my examination on the patient’s left, ended it on the right :p
Sh – Implored for money. This time around she had a righteous cause.
YP – “If you want to impress a female examiner, you must make her feel younger!”

I’m not so sure how that last one works. Apparently it involves using those bi-pronged, black pins that you use to clip your hair, and would be the trend if you were living in the seventies. The same kind my sister now uses to clean her ears of wax.

Also, I feel for those of you who were penalized over technicalities rather than true mistakes.

In another news, it looks like the counter has been changed to calculate the time that separates us from freedom. My independence has evidently come through a lot earlier though. Doubt as much I would do any more for today’s session than I did yesterday, which was absolutely nothing to begin with. I mean, how much can you study for a clinical skills examination? It’s about remembering things you already know, so no book is truly necessary. I eventually found myself walking around quarantine, building up idle chatter.

It’s been a unique experience, listening to people tell me about how assured I look. I’ve not figured out a reason to my relative level of confidence, and I am yet to ascertain whether it will be detrimental to my chances of actually passing something for a change. One thing is for sure; I haven’t been taking this practical component too seriously. I guess days on end of studying has taken its toll, and I’m starting to feel depressed. All that’s kept me going on is the light at the end of the tunnel. I think it’s safe to say that this goes for the entire Semester 3 as well.

M2/03 – Days and weeks of sheer bliss await us all, and I assure you confidently, it is the collective thought of the batch that it is no less than we deserve.

Word of the Day: Transcendence