Category Archives: misc

being sociable

it’s rather tempting to say a couple of things about the upcoming elections. everyone has an opinion, even if it’s not originally theirs. being a self-centered blogger myself, it’s only right that i live up to expectations and get my thoughts out.

but i’m not going to, because i have nothing new to contribute. i’ve already decided which candidate party i want to vote for. the forums and ceramahs are purely fyi. the only thing about 5th may i’m not sure of is where i wanna watch the results.

so this is not an omaigawdicannotwaittovote post.

no, instead i’m going to reflect on the last month, or the first installment of “lishun does some socialising”.

it started with an eye-gazing party where i met some people whom i may or may not hang out with again. i know i’ve blogged about it in detail already but i’d just like to add a little more to my account of the experience.

although¬†i expressed my reservations about going for another round, i did go for the third edition last week. it was a different venue with alot more alcohol and better food. there were some returnees and i had gotten a few friends on board so at least i wasn’t all alone.

here’s where it got strange though. i realised that it was far easier for me to talk and be witty with people i don’t know than with those whom i’m already acquainted with. looking into a stranger’s eyes is less intimidating than gazing at someone i’m familiar with.

perhaps it’s a fresh slate thing, i don’t know. it was an interesting revelation.

then there’s all the other stuff in between – music fests and politiko sessons and facilitator training. it was weekend after weekend of meeting people and making small talk and being funny at all the right things and hoping i appear intelligent enough to be a credible “activist” when all i really wanna do is make people care about things outside their still small worlds.

this is new to me. i am usually very comfortable with my circle of bffs and suddenly i’m going to things with friends of friends and i feel like i’ve missed out on 2 years of enlarging my environment because housemanship in ipoh happened. every monday i feel spent because the weekend’s been so overwhelming and i’m 2 years older and more tired than i was before.

but then i remember that the reason i fought hard to be back in the klang valley is to do exactly this – be involved in non-medical stuff, listen to great music, be open to new relationships, be challenged always – and i savour the few hours i have to myself each day before i set off and be sociable once more.

there is so much to be grateful for.

let’s just hope a burnout isn’t on the agenda.



gary, howard, jason, robbie, mark.

ginger, baby, scary, sporty, posh.

justin, jc, chris, joey, lance.

brian, kevin, AJ, howie, nick.

you knew their names by heart. you had their faces on your bedroom walls. you copied lyrics into a pretty notebook. you waited patiently by the radio to record their songs onto a tape. you bought magazines with them on the cover. you hoped your parents would bring you to their showcase here. you went to your friend’s house after school to watch their videos because she was the only one who had satellite tv. you wished you lived in manchester or florida.

your taste in music changed as your grew older. when they eventually stopped performing together, you mourned but not for very long. your priorities changed to include financial independence. you valued knowledge, relationships, life purpose more than being in the presence of mortal idols. you found yourself burdened with a couple of debts in the pursuit of the above.

now, you finally feel like an adult responsible for things other than yourself…

…and the damned backstreet boys decide to grace the stage at an accessible venue with an affordable entrance fee and you forget you’re 28 and save lives for a living. for that one hour in the middle of a late-twenties-early-thirties crowd, you are a 12-year-old girl who knows all the words to all the songs and has perfected the dance moves a million times in her dreams and is convinced howie d will marry her one day (no, he won’t).

you think you’re too old, but some things never get old.

20 years on, i’m still a downright fool for the backstreet boys. hearing them sing the a capella break down bit in “all i have to give” was the most surreal moment of the night, even more than watching them do the iconic 90s “get down” choreography that is best performed in loose metallic sweatsuits. oh, and i finally told – okay, screamed – howie d that i loved him, which was a pretty cathartic experience!

okay, i exaggerate.

alot of childhood dreams came true that night. if 12-year-old me knew that this would be possible one day, she would have been less upset about missing that one showcase the boys did back then. she would have also spent less money on magazines and posters and put more of it into the “send lishun to england to watch take that in concert” fund. haha.

oh messrs littrell, richardson, mclean, dorough and carter…thanks for helping this little big girl check off another item on her bucket list and giving her a royally sore oropharynx just in time for her call tomorrow. it was a pleasure!

true story

a single shot, because a double would be too overwhelming. carefully steamed milk. poured gently into the paper cup, just a little short of a cappuccino. a drizzle, a stroke and a lift. a secret smile before the plastic cover goes on. an utterance of gratitude…then she was gone.

the second cutest waiter took my order that day. he had a shock of curly hair and a gap between his front teeth, which he displayed with pride when he handed me my change. i sat in front of the monster of a coffee machine on the counter and watched the designated barista make my flat white to go. he ground the (sumatran) beans, popped the resulting powder into the contraption, prepared the dairy component, then slowly assembled the drink before my eyes.

the whole time, i composed a story about a boy makes coffee for a regular at his cafe, a girl who first caught his attention with her cheerful demeanor whether he encounters her behind the cashier or as he hands her her order: flat white, no sugar. there was a time when she’d sit and read – one day ishiguro, another day rilke – but recently she’s kept her visits short. he missed handing her a ceramic cup instead of a paper one. he missed the smile on her face each time she saw the design etched into the frothed milk, the twinkle in her eye as she thanked him for the coffee.

he wanted to say more than “would you like to make that a double?” whenever she stepped into the store, but his courage failed him time and again. so as an outlet for his affections he laced her takeaways with latte art, drawn with the same precision required for display. hearts, ferns, animal faces, but mostly hearts. each one hidden by a plastic cover, unnoticed. until one day…

“here you go.”

my thoughts were interrupted by the barista who created my cup of coffee. he walked over to deliver my order. to my surprise it was left open, the cover by its side, to reveal the design on top.

it was a heart.

red coat

they entered the waiting hall together. her red coat was far too heavy for tropical weather, even in the artificially cool climate of the airport. he, on the other hand, was appropriately dressed in a polo shirt and cargo bermudas.

“you know, all i really want is to meet a great guy who is hopefully rich enough for me to not work another day in my life, so i can devote my time to taking care of him.”

she laughed the kind of laugh a woman makes when trying to impress. it confirmed my thoughts exactly – they weren’t a couple, but she hoped they would be. during the flight, she fell asleep and her head barely touched his shoulder. it was no accident, but she was hesitant about making contact.

she was right to rethink her move. he showed no signs of reciprocation the whole time they were within my field of vision. his voice had none of the added warmth and affection one directs towards a desired subject. when she dozed off, he gave her a glance but looked right back at the magazine he was reading. i couldn’t see his face clearly but his body language told me he had no intention of returning her feelings.

we locked eyes for a moment as we disembarked 40 minutes later. she had a look of defeat and i knew she had been thinking. it was likely that she wasn’t really asleep, that she was counting her losses the whole time. she broke her gaze, said something else i recognised as an attempt to get his attention again, and we went our separate ways.

i know an impending heartbreak when i see one. it’s easy when you’re an expert.


a comforting hum travels through the body of a plane before it taxis on the runway. it conveys a warm engine, ready to both obey and defy the laws of physics. as the aircraft makes its way to the strip prepared for its take off, the hum changes its tune. a low vibration takes its place, stealthily moving out of man’s hearing range.

then, an unnerving silence. hands clasp in an involuntary prayer. there is nothing reassuring about the roar that shortly follows. fingers tighten as the vehicle speeds up and bodies press harder against the seats. with each passing second, gravity loses its battle against thrust and lift.

lift off! a few moments of uncertainty as the plane decides to stay in the air then a turn, a dip, and it’s straight onwards.

i open my eyes at the blip that indicates it’s safe to remove my seatbelt and recline my seat. the choir of seatbelt clicks and hurried steps towards the washroom indicate that all is in order again. that we made it up and all is right with the world.

and my breath steadies once more.

one month

upper gastrointestinal surgery is a little depressing.

most patients go through months of discomfort before being diagnosed with a devastating, often advanced, disease. they are a shadow of their former selves, no thanks to the tumours which consume every one of their hard-earned calories. the surgeries themselves carry high risk of complications with significant morbidity, while patients with inoperable lesions waste away at an alarming rate.

in the end, not many live for long. it’s hardly rewarding at all.

i wonder if it’s the reason why there’s a less than positive kind of approach to the entire department, despite its optimistic facade.

i wonder how long it will be before my smiles become worn and my patience becomes thin.

christmas materialism

one of the perks of being a working adult is that i no longer have to depend entirely on gifts and goodwill to get some of the material things i want. i finally bought a smart phone last year and just committed to getting an accompanying laptop. murakami’s “iq84” is sitting on my bookshelf now, waiting for me to dive in next month. i’ve bought more cds than i should and indulged in a few vintage items that i have no space to put on display. needless to say my savings are almost nil. it’s a hazard of being generation y.

i’m not going to be self-righteous and say that’s the end of my materialism. i will always have a christmas wishlist that i may eventually be able to afford or finally fulfill on my own in a couple of years but would be nice to have by the end of december.


that specific brand and model of digital music player i want so badly but will never buy – because my phone (in all its brick-heavy glory) performs the same function – remains consistently on my annual christmas wishlist due to the impracticality of my desire to own it. i also refuse to purchase a full bottle of benetint because while it’s an amazing lip/cheek stain, it’s just waaaaaay too expensive to put on the budget for makeup. it may seem a little much to put what is possibly the most affordable range of products to ever successfully tame my mane on the wishlist, but i will welcome any offers to give me a year’s supply of that good stuff.

and there’s the volkswagen passat. omg the volkswagen passat!

anyway that’s enough materialism for today. it’s a public holiday and i plan to go back to bed for another hour before letting my day start proper. still deciding whether to nurse my cold or make full use of the day and risk having to get an mc tomorrow because i swear my sinuses are clogged up with mucus. ah the perks of being a working adult.