Category Archives: rant

impersonal

technology has made relationships far too easy and impersonal.

you go someplace, you meet someone. you add them on facebook and exchange bloody instant messages over the bad excuse for a chat service called messenger for a couple of days before you finally give up your cellphone number. then, you proceed to send even more text messages with smileys that do very little to convey your actual emotions until someone decides it’s time to meet. and when you do meet, you realise the other person is insufferable without an electronic device to hide behind and the time required to compose a witty sms is crucial in portraying a character that does not really reflect who you are.

you comb the person’s profile, blog, tumblr, instead of utilising actual face time (not of the apple variety) to get to know what he/she is like. you think whatever you’ve put on yours is sufficient to give them an idea of who you are. you assume they’ve looked through your profile. you hope they have.

it’s so convenient isn’t it? to just go by whatever’s virtual and already “out there” and think that it’s enough. it’s such an integral part of relationships in this decade that we have forgotten there is a human aspect to things. what we “like” on social media isn’t representative of what we would spend time on or really love. your views on life and religion and politics and the future are so much more important than the pages you like or the personalities you follow or the photos you take.

technology just makes things so much more superficial. meaningless. an absolute waste of time and effort.

i think i need to stop for awhile, unplug and be a hermit. 2 months without a proper break has taken its toll on me. once the post-elections euphoria and training has died down, once the flattery wears off, once i go back to saying “no” – even at the risk of losing potential new friends and pulling the brakes on the resolution to put myself out there. there’s a momentum that needs to be kept up but seriously, i’m starting to feel it.

on a lighter note, my 3 favourite american boys put together a series called “technology ruins romance” a couple of years ago. here‘s one that’s relevant to this post. enjoy!

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snippets…because i’m too busy saving lives

in the past whenever i heard of the death of a child, i thought, “oh he/she lived such a short life.” now that i have a 4-year-old niece who brings me both joy and annoyance daily, i realise so much is invested in a life that eventhough 4 years can be seen as nothing compared to seven decades, it’s still 4 years of milk formula and sleepless nights and anxiety over delayed speech and overreaction to small milestones and stationery and pink dresses. it’s 4 years of love and losing a part of yourself to someone else. that’s not a short life.

perhaps the build up to this realisation is part of the reason i have abandoned ambitions of becoming a paediatrician. at least an adult would have spent some of his/her life independently. but a child…a child cannot stand alone, and to lose someone who is made up almost entirely of the people around him/her is too much to bear.

i’m may draw some flack for saying this, but i am now wholly convinced that anyone with any illness requiring any kind of surgery should head straight to a government hospital and be patient about the timing of intervention.

the laws of my department dictate that every referral must be attended to as promptly as possible. this differs from my previous workplace where referrals can be dealt with over the phone and instructions to admit a patient can be made via verbal order. this makes work rather difficult at times and i’m thankful the patient load at my current hospital is pretty bearable in comparison to other centers.

it does test my patience when i receive a referral for an illness that doesn’t warrant one but i’ve found that it pays off to disguise my displeasure with jokey sarcasm and a smile and do my best for the patient before resuming my precious sleep. i’ll be at this hospital for a couple of years and it’s best to maintain as good a relationship as possible with everyone there.

plus it all becomes worth it when i get an apology for a crap referral or support when i am obviously bullied into managing a case that isn’t even within my, erm, “jurisdiction”. hehe.

part of me wants to publish my monthly on call schedule and tell everyone with abdominal pain to abstain from seeking treatment at my hospital on those dates so i’d get some sleep during my calls. also, if you wanna get into an accident and break some ribs please stay away from the sungai buloh area. our stock of spirometers is depleting at an alarming rate.

and don’t drink and drive or fail your suicide attempts if you wanna avoid getting an unnecessary amount of large bore (read: very painful) venous cannulas inserted on your limbs. you’ve been warned.

i love being back in the klang valley. makes being a part-time fangirl very easy. it’s a pity that job costs more than it pays (it pays zero) and lands me a sore throat every time.

wait, that did not come out right.

wokay back to saving lives. *dons cape*

uninspired

it’s hard to write a blog post that doesn’t come out sounding like the juvenile whining of an ingrate when my life hasn’t been particularly extraordinary lately. the same old elements are there – love both unrequited and tried-but-failed, soul-draining work, hedonistic escapes – and the players are unchanged, which means it’s the usual spin and familiar selection of topics left for me to write about.

i’ve found it increasingly tiresome to watch and compose stories about the people who walk in and out of the coffee shops i sit in. they’re hipsters trying desperately not to blend in but being very successful at doing just that, young families hanging onto the remnants of their carefree youth, couples having brunch the way brunch should be eaten – with someone special.

it makes me all the more self-aware that i don’t fit into any of the above categories. i’m usually there on my own, feet tucked beneath me on the sofa nearest to the window, book in one hand and coffee in another. i’m seeking a few extra hours to myself, but once i get there i feel obligated to write a tale about the man gesturing passionately while talking politics with the faceless woman opposite him. or spin a tale about the men next to me, who are obviously the stereotypical “couple having sunday brunch” but are making an immense effort to disguise it.

the romance of having a heart etched into my takeaway flat white disappeared once i realised that every barista practices his/her craft in every espresso-based drink. the monotony of complaining about work leaves me more drained than the work itself. the constant worry about my parents’ health and dwindling lifespan. the despair of looking for passion and finding nothing there.

and so we’re back to the juvenile whining of a 28-year-old pretending to be a doctor.

i’m uninspired.

vanity

it’s easier to write when my hormones are at physiological but illogical levels and the slightest stimulus can trigger a cascade of unbearable emotions.

i have a month till my second attempt at an exam i am bound to fail again because i have, to put it simply, not been studying. what i thought would be 2 weeks of stress-free floating around in a department i care nothing about turned into a fortnight of long work days and catching up on information i can’t digest fast enough. i chose to spend my first free weekend off as a recluse in the highlands but the moment i reached sea level, i sped off for a dose of civilisation.

and here i am, 11hrs away from another work day, 48hrs from my first call, my room in a mess from all the unpacking i have yet to finish, feeling extremely uncomfortable because of all the coffee and durian i’ve consumed, absolutely reluctant to open a book or attempt any questions or even face the day tomorrow because…because.

i wish i were strong enough to be satisfied with a couple of hours to myself each day and to give the rest to work, study, community. but i crave more idle time now than ever and loathe any form of commitment that rattles me or requires me to push my limits. this is the kind of “strawberry” attitude (easily bruised, requires air-conditioning) that i’ve tried to distance myself from and yet i’m a fine example of. it’s terribly disappointing.

there are times i think i’m being too hard on myself but when i consider how blessed i am, i’m disgusted by how much i’ve wasted.

mother radar

“…so i asked the maid what my mother usually does while i’m out and she told me she’d go through my drawers!”
“omg you know what? i once asked my mother if she thought that was acceptable and she said she’d do it if the opportunity arose! i’m 27 years old and she thinks it’s alright to invade my privacy!”

i have no illusions about having any secrets from my parents.

learned helplessness led me to leave my diaries openly displayed on my bookshelf (though admittedly it was a narcissistic thing – i wrapped them very nicely and wanted to admire my own work) and as a quiet observer of human nature, i knew there was very little we can hide from the people who have seen us at the best and worst of our lives.

as a teenager i scoffed at couples who thought their parents didn’t know about their relationship (and tried not to be smug when they got “caught”). these days i laugh hysterically whenever my mother suggests that i head down to singapore regularly to visit a secret boyfriend – good grief if there is actually a man who can look past the intimidating job choice, temper, excessive adipose tissue and decide that i am worth sharing a life with, i would shout it from the rooftops la none of that juvenile “let’s keep it quiet first kay?” nonsense – because she is totally underestimating her inbuilt mother radar if she’s even considering the possibility that i’d be able to hide anything of that sort from her!┬ácome on! when one of the tyres on my car burst and i replaced just the damaged one, i attempted to keep it from my father; he found out 3 weeks later.

i could only shake my head in amusement as the conversation above took place. it’s rather appalling that some parents consider it appropriate to ransack their daughters’ homes in order to find out what they’re up to, but it’s also naive to assume it’s possible to hide a relationship or the “extent” of a relationship (if you know what i mean) from your folks. still, i was disgusted at the notion of middle-aged women with so much time on their hands that they’d act on their distrust of their children and violate their personal space.

anyway, life as i know it is increasingly like a bad soap on the telly. nothing surprises me very much anymore. the amount of manipulation of people’s emotions and ironic little tragedies makes for very good reflection at times but mostly makes me feel more empty than i was before. perhaps it’s the transition that i’m facing now and the relationships i see breaking down in front of me, but melancholy has gotten hold on my heart.

it’s why i’m grateful for moments like the above, the exchange of stories too funny to be made up. some of us are still teenagers well into our twenties. haha.

out of control

“so basically you’re worrying about things that are out of your control.”
“yeah, i guess so.”
“but that’s what we have God for.”

i never worry about things i have control over.

i seldom let my parents in on what it’s like to be a houseman. i brush off the long hours, telling them that at least i don’t take sleep for granted anymore. i seldom complain to them about work because no one forced me to pen down “medicine” in my scholarship application form and no one forced me to accept the offer. i don’t mention the deep regrets i have about going to singapore because i chose to go there, though admittedly an 18-yr-old who had ulterior motives for making the move should not have been allowed to make that decision on her own. i chose to come to ipoh. i chose the people i lived with here. i chose surgery. i chose to go home for the next phase of my career. these were all within my control, and i accept responsibility for them.

but the things that aren’t in my control – how other people respond, react, feel – those are the things that frustrate me most because i can’t accept responsibility for them. i can only…accept them. there’s a kind of pain in knowing that whatever you do will have no consequence whatsoever to the outcome, that the venn diagrams do not cross, that the events run in a parallel line.

i know people who see it as a sort of freedom when they are not a variable in any situation, but i hate feeling helpless and out of the picture. i want to know if there’s something i could have done to make things better or if there’s anything i can take the blame for.

at least then, i’ll know, that my human self is sufficient and able.

at least then there’ll be a lie i can convince myself its true.

confidence

what makes someone confident?

as the child of a man who literally got off the boat and made a name for himself through academia, i can safely say that confidence comes from knowledge.

as a junior doctor who has seen my seniors cut their operating time from three hours to two to 90 minutes, i can also conclude that practice makes one more confident.

as an aunt who is watching proudly as my sister does an exceptional job at caring for her second baby after exhausting all resources figuring out my first niece, it is clear that time and experience contributes towards confidence.

knowledge, practice and experience…surely my peers have picked some of that up from working as doctors for more than a year? yet a (disappointing) handful of them are still nowhere as confident as an impending medical officer should be.

it’s been a disappointing couple of months, made worse by the fact that there will be no change in environment for the next 3-4 weeks. perhaps i’ll miss it all when i go to a new place with new people and a new system, but right now that desire to leave and never come back is burning even more than before.