M203 Diary

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

aka. The Vista Komanwel resident's guide to what to do in the event of tremors.

1. Evacuate the building.

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2. Bring what you need.

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3. Ensure you are part of a support network.

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4. And remember...

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It could be a case of Mass Sociogenic Illness.

"I also brought down my respi notes - if the building really falls down, I can make a lot of money renting out my notes to my other batchmates. Especially since we have respi exam this Friday."
- Jin Aun


Monday, March 28, 2005

Holy Thursday

One thing about Catholics... we're very into re-enacting scenes from the Bible. An obvious example would be the Holy Thursday Mass which I attended at St. Francis Xavier Church last week. (And just for the sake of stating the obvious, the day was a Thursday.)

Basically, Holy Thursday commemorates Jesus's Last Supper. But more than food, this particular Mass pays special attention to how Jesus washed the feet of his apostles, as an example of humility & servanthood. And in that same spirit of humility & servanthood, the priest at this Mass - and priests at every other Holy Thursday Mass around the world - also washes the feet of 12 men.

And so, it came to pass that the parish priest, Fr. Simon, washed the feet of 12 members of the congregation. They were made up of church-goers, church workers, people who were going to be baptised, the elderly, and the disabled.

I guess it's pretty difficult for any non-Catholic to imagine the impact of this act. You're so used to seeing the priest in a position of authority, and to see the same man whom you see preach sermons and pronounce absolutions every Sunday, bend over a man's feet, pour water from a jug over the foot into a bowl, wipe the foot dry & kiss the foot...

It's flabbergasting.

And it's even more flabbergasting when you see the priest demonstrating the same amount of care & concern - if not more - when washing the last foot, that of a wheelbound-chair man. Taking into account the atrophied and neglected state of the foot, he made it a point to wash between the toes, carefully wiped the foot dry, kissed the foot, looked up, and smiled at the man.

But you know what really makes it so flabbergasting?

It's not that the priest would stoop to do that... it's that God Himself did that. And you know, if they all had diabetic feet, He - and the generations of priests who follow Him - would have washed & kissed the feet all the same.

"Happy Easter!"


Monday, March 21, 2005


Two weeks into Endocrine. But I’ve been fooling around like its two weeks BEFORE Endocrine. I’m still out gaming, still putting off what I can do today for a tomorrow that usually never arrives. Funny how I’ve never tried actually consistently studying way before an exam. Ever. Not in my entire life have I devoted time to my scholarly duty without the uprising fear of failure. Naturally, that only surfaces approximately two weeks away from an in-course assessment. Guess I’m not curious enough to find out if I can really make a difference by starting early.

As they say, the early bird gets the early worm. Such is the proverb. But I’ve never liked worms to begin with. Furthermore, there is much ambiguity surrounding this phrase, primarily because it doesn’t really provide an accurate reference. Which draws a question: Metaphorically speaking, if I get up early, would I be the bird, or would I be the worm?

Just moments before I decided to type this out, a cockroach crossed my path. It was long. It was so long that I knew I wouldn’t forget it if I were to see it again. It would be the first insect on my “HolyCrapThat’sHugeIShouldGasIt” list that I had the means to dispose of at my disposal, but instead chose to allow to resume its journey. I watched as it slipped under the door to the Great Outside, where it would have to fend for itself against the vile dangers that lurked. Taking a whole millisecond to appreciate the meaningful moment, I subsequently turned my attentions back to the PC.

Out the corner of my eye, I spotted the cockroach peeking through the underside of the door. Like as though it was wondering why I would not give it chase. I looked at it as it stared back at me for what seemed like forever (2ms). As if daring me to pursue. I didn’t give in. Soon after, it decided to cross the room into the other door. Desiring my attention. Yet I stood fast, only slightly perturbed. Seconds later, it crossed the room again. And again later. I had had enough. I stood up and armed myself with the nearest aerosol insecticide cylinder (I’m well stocked).

I opened the door which last the cockroach slotted itself under, and sure enough, it was there. It was motionless, with only its feelers lightly jumping across the breeze that was blowing at its low altitude. Perhaps it was trying to communicate. Perhaps it thought itself capable of wounding me with a killer jab of its feelers. Perhaps it thought itself camouflaged by the white tiles it stood upon. Perhaps it was wondering what I would do next. Perhaps it was curious.

Whatever. I took aim.

Come to think of it, it could have been my 5ms response time. It floundered like a fish on dry land for a few minutes, before falling quiet. What was left of its life was spent on the occasional spasm, which I imagine to be either it imploring its God for finality, or a consequence of severe intoxication.

Now it lies sprawled on the floor, in typical dead cockroach fashion. It could have escaped with the mercy I so willingly granted it. It could have done what normally works just fine. But instead, it went against normal instinct and sought to challenge me for my PC room floor. It lost because it tried to change. And such action cost it its life.

The risk I take does not carry as ultimate a consequence, but if its working, why should I change it? If I break my routine, I might be spent long before the exam and forget everything that I acquired, should I fail to reinforce it in time. All my effort would go to waste. Now, that’s a risk I’m not prepared to take. I’m no maverick cockroach.

2 weeks to go before the exams. Time to start studying. Again.

P.S. The cockroach is STILL MOVING


Sunday, March 13, 2005

CH And The Chair

This one day, I was hanging out at vista B when all of a sudden CH comes walking in carrying a chair. “Sponsored by IMU”, in his own words.

Inspired by a) one of the most unoutstanding events ever to grace my life b) the inadequacy of student-directed learning; I’ve decided to write a self-help guide. Once more I prove resourceful, as I yet again derive inspiration from the most unlikely of sources. Here’s what I’ve come up with as yet:


Help yourself to: IMU Stuff
Living thrifty under adverse conditions

I think having the initiative and audacity to attempt it is key. Starting off is the tricky part, though if and when successful, I estimate a monthly expenditure not exceeding RM 250, not inclusive of the deleterious effects to your dignity. It’s obviously not gonna be a luxury, but if you can live with it, you’ll soon find yourself the only thousandaire who appears more like a beggar making ends meet through a tsunami aid scam.

At this point, it is important to understand that the advice suggested by this article restricts all expenditure to the bare minimum, allowing only amenities that the WHO defines as basic and hence, necessary.

Directions: Apply wantonly if you either feel oppressed by the steadily increasing cost of living, or intend to trade in your pride for an immaterial weapon to kill your conscience with.

2) Quarters
If you can tolerate sleeping on the streets, please proceed to the next section. Otherwise, you have two viable options. A) The Vista B) The Student Lounge

A) Beg a friend to lease you the ‘living room’. Under normal circumstances the ‘living room’ is unfurnished, barring a fan that, at mach 5, spins like a brick thrown over the sidewalk. Additionally, the ‘living room’ is named after something you want to be doing for the next 60 years or so, if you’re superstitious and all. Seeing that it was probably an undesirable cesspool of newspaper and cobweb to begin with, the ‘living room’ could be yours for a meager price with little negotiation. With kitchen and toilet privileges still inclusive, it’s like Sir Francis Light buying Penang all over again.

B) This place is never sealed, and is usually vacated by the time you feel sleepy. Problem is, other people snooze here all the time during the day, so it’s like a public bedroom. If you can get over that, and the fact that it’s really dark because you can’t turn on the lights for fear of alerting security, you got yourself a new pad, comfy cushions and all. Best of all, it’s free. The toilet’s not too far away either.

3) Sustenance
Sadly, if you’re gonna have to pay for something, it’s gotta be food. It’s vital to life, in case you haven’t noticed. Actually so is water. In fact, it’s more essential. Paradoxically though, it’s free. 2 words: Water Cooler. Investing in 5L bottles to use as a storage tank allows you your very own ‘bottled at source’ drinking water.

If you begin to attract the attention of security guards, who seem curious as to why you’re hauling water by the gallons out of the Uni, stop immediately, only to resume at a later date. During this period, you should have more than enough water to last anyway. Failing which, you can have meals at FA. The free syrup there is virtually isotonic to H20, and any sugar content would count towards the carbs quota, thus killing two stones with one bird. Or one stone with two birds. Or one bird with two stones. Whatever.

(To be continued, when I have more space)

Word of the Day: Aegis


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Malaysian Studies

Teacher's disclaimer: "I'm not anti-Malay. It's just that it's a fact that Malays get special rights in Malaysia. But the question is, how long should they continue to get these special rights?"

Well, she may not be anti-Malay, but she sure is pro-Chinese.

Several observations prompted me to arrive at this conclusion:

She discusses every other race in Malaysia in relation to the Chinese. She discusses Malays, because they have rights that the Chinese don't have. She elected to cover Indians as well, because Indians make up the biggest gangsters in Malaysia who are spoiling Chinese businesses. As for other races, she feels there is no need to mention them because at this point in time, we're so insignificant, and so disconnected from M'sian society at large that we don't present a threat to the Chinese.

And so, she embarks on her monologue of opinions from children's names, to books, to Dr. M to Dr.M, under the guise of teaching us Malaysian studies.

Key words being Hers. And Monologue.

So, what is the point of our attending Malaysian studies?

If the purpose of learning Malaysian studies was to form us into intelligent thinkers who are able to comprehend and conrtibute to Malaysian politics, then the form of one-way teaching that she is adopting is not the way to go about it.

If the purpose was, in her own words, to "infringe" her opinions on us, that would also be pointless, because either we have already formulated our own opinions, or we honestly don't care what she or the world thinks as long as we get to pass our semester.

If the purpose was to accede to LAN requirements, then imposing 4-hour lectures, without any form of proper assessment, also defeats the said purpose and on a side note, makes me question the integrity of LAN's accreditation.

And so, I want to close this post with an opinion of my own:

"Just because we -the minority- are small, is no reason to exclude us from any discussion of Malaysia, because like it or not, Sabah & Sarawak, are a part of Malaysia. And just because we don't have a substantial presence on the political platform in Malaysia, doesn't mean that the government doesn't have to consider our needs when discussing, forming, or amending policies which affect the rakyat."

God bless Malaysia.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Who Writes Formal E-Mails?

To complement my previously inadequate post, here’s my letter from today’s English placement test. At least, as far as I can remember it.

The question goes something like this:
You are the purchasing officer for a large supermarket. The manager would like your input on whether to use plastic bags or paper bags. Write a FORMAL E-MAIL MESSAGE to the manager regarding the matter.
(Points that must be included in the message are provided)
To: Manager@LargeSupermarket.com
From: Purchasing_Officer@LargeSupermarket.com
Subject: Plastic Bags or Paper Bags?

Dear Sir,

Regarding the above subject line, I would like to recommend using plastic bags as opposed to those made of paper. I have decided to provide my expert opinion on the matter, given the fact that it seems to be so taxing on your decision-making capabilities.

Plastic is the obvious choice. It is water-resistant, durable, and can accommodate heavy loads of groceries. On the other hand, paper soaks water like a sponge, tears easily and can only hold a limited amount of goods. (I don’t remember this paragraph really well)

Perhaps the most telling advantage to using paper bags is its impact on the environment. Our customers will surely appreciate the fact that there is more on our minds than mere profit. However, they will not be wondering if their bags are recyclable when all their groceries lie scattered across the sidewalk.

Reality is harsh, but the truth is that we operate on high margins. I sincerely hope you make the right decision. The choice is yours, but remember, Mother Nature isn’t paying your salary.

Yours truly,
Purchasing Officer,
Large Supermarket.

This is possibly the worst composition I have ever written within my short blogging lifetime. It took me five minutes just to figure out what a FORMAL e-mail message was, and even now I’m not too sure. I decidedly took out my frustrations on the faceless manager. More importantly though, I used INFORMAL English in a FORMAL e-mail. I’m so doomed.

I hate writing within a time limit. It stifles creativity.

Word of the Day: Prosaic


Sunday, March 06, 2005

I 'm So Drowsy Right Now... I’ll... Have To Make This Short... Zzzz...

Eugene’s Bucket of Fun (a.k.a. Gook)

Bihun - plenty
Belacan - 1 block
Condensed milk - 1 can
Hot water - ½ pail
Chilli sauce - 1 bottle
Bag of rubber bands
A pail
A stick (or an equivalent of a stirring tool)

1) Place bihun in the pail with hot water.
2) Insert the block of belacan.
3) Add chilli sauce and condensed milk to taste.
4) Stir.
5) Sit back and observe, with a smile, as enthusiastic juniors willingly bear the fragrance and challenge the flies to be first to dip their heads in the gook.

Treasure hunt was the only orientation event that I managed to watch, and true to university standards and tradition, it was a disgusting affair. It takes a special breed to endure such needless torture: washing hair in the gook, searching for rubber bands in the gook, screaming in the garbage bin. I even bet some juniors think this is what medical students have to suffer every day.

I wish.

I suppose it also requires some perseverance to actually be able to enjoy such sadistic activity. Here’s looking at you ass-girl. And don’t worry dangly-parts girl, nobody’s forgetting you. You know who you are.

This happened way back in midweek, and in a flash, it’s Sunday. One day away from the rest of our lives. In contrast to most everyone else whom I believe feels the holidays have been too long, I secretly wish classes wouldn’t begin so soon. I like being at home. I like doing nothing. I like not having to worry about an exam that will claim my every waking hour just to pass. But as luck would have it, it’s Sunday. One day away from the rest of our lives.

These holidays rank among the best I’ve ever had. Ever. And while it is sad that it eventually comes to a close, the fact that I earned it makes it all the more worthwhile.

M203. Welcome to Sem 4.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

English Placement Test

This is to inform all M203ians, (so I made that up; sure me. :P ) that on the 7th of March, 2004, at 1030 a.m. there will be an English Placement Test for the incoming Sem 4 students (presumably at the MPH). Attendance is compulsory.

UPDATE: The test is at the MPH at 10.30 am.
CSU is at 2 pm.
Lectures start at 4.15pm
Get your study guides from the batch rep.

Information thanks to Chen San San. :D