Sunday, December 27, 2009

The wanderer wonders

Another lazy, uneventful afternoon on a weekend in my humble HDB abode after a few days of ‘debauchery’ back in KL. My version of debauchery, albeit mild, involves partaking a lot of Japanese food, baking in the glow of LED tv on hot afternoons, lounging around with my massive secret stash of pillows and going on mini-shopping spree whenever, wherever I fancy it to be.

The best thing about Christmas is always going home. This year, Christmas heralds an entirely new beginning for me as I joined the Malaysian Chinese diaspora and wandered out of my comfort zone. Of course I didn’t wander very far (5 hours by bus, 45 mins by flight) but it’s interesting living in another urban condition and then come home to familiar grounds, only to find that KL has changed.

This time round, I went to a Japanese restaurant in Desa Sri Hartamas area and enjoyed some of the best sushi rolls I’ve tasted. Both the unagi rolls and Berjaya rolls were wonderful, yummylicious goodies. I tried the salmon steak lunch set, which is slightly oily (I’m very picky when it comes to unhealthy elements) but my friends had the sashimi and sushi sets, which were quite nice as well.

After a leisurely lunch at Aoyama @ Hartamas (as described above), we stopped by the awesome Cats Whiskers for my contribution to the Malaysian economy. Put a bit of restraint on myself as I shopped in Sunway Pyramid and 1utama the day before (I love mall-hopping, window-shopping and people-watching).
Thereafter, I proceed to visit another mall...Tropicana City Mall as some people mentioned that this new place is quite empty, with good bargains. I was surprised to find people thronging the mall on Boxing Day and good quality Christmas gifts on sale. Now I know where to find presents next year if I am around that area. Not bad at all.

After the fun of Christmas, today I find it tough going back to my HDB habitat. Years of living in a terrace house in crowded Wangsa Maju, driving a car wherever I want and eating street-food (probably strengthened my gut in the process) has taught me a different set of urban survival skills.
Over here, I have to learn how to depend on public transportation and how to enjoy sanitized hawkers' fare, amidst a lot of other skills.When I arrived on this island, realized that while getting taxi is easy, lugging my worldly possessions around on my two feet is not-so-easy. I guess banishing the ghosts of homesickness involve a lot of courage, plenty of networking power and running! Yeah, time to go run outside!!!

P.S: Praying for a peaceful, blessed New Year filled with goodness, love and excitement as we welcome the second decade of the 3rd millenium in 1 week's time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Once in a blue moon...

Today I got home early. By early, I mean I actually saw some sunlight on the way home. I'm no longer a 'vampiric creature' living in the shadows of the hospital!! Hehehe...It's been 1 month since I've started here, but I felt a sense of belonging like nowhere else. The welcome that I felt has not worn out, nor my initial enthusiasm diminished. In fact, I felt quite motivated after a prayer session with a sister from Trinity last night. The spiritual climate here is so warm and encouraging; so much so that I'm motivated again : maybe it's time to get involved in some ministry soon? Now that's a happy thought!

I was reminded that I could do all things through Him who strengthened me, and that I could shine brightly for Christ in my workplace and personal life. Of course, there are difficult decisions that I will have to make along the way, but as long as I make my choices out of love and in the Holy Spirit, I know that God is with me and approves of what I am doing.

Anyhow, I had a moderately busy call (which reminded me of Ipoh Hospital) and I was very surprised at myself : I was drop-dead tired after 36hours in the hospital and that's unusual. In retrospect, I guess I haven't had a busy call for the past 2 months and I lost the usual 'call stamina'. Gone were the days when I could actually stay up until midnite after a night of oncall. I fell asleep in the bus and crawled onto my bed the moment I reached home. It really reminded me of my first call in HKL and Ipoh, respectively...but then again, I usually go home bone-tired after my calls in KL and Ipoh so it felt quite deja-vu..

Not only that,in the middle of my call, I had a big scare regarding some administrative problem from a particular Malaysian hospital. Finally settled my problems with the admin staff (after recovering from a really worried state) after my dad's intervention and a few costly phone calls. The final word is that I'm absolutely grateful; plus ever so glad and happy that I don't have to deal with some of these government hospitals ever again!!! Phew!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Endorphin addicts unite!!

When I said I wanted to run a half-marathon by the end of 2009, I thought it was N.A.T.O. After all, I was so busy with exams, travel, new workplace, new home that I hardly have enough time for myself, what more to train for a run. I sort of gave up on that mission.

I was mistaken. Apparently, as long as the mind is ready, our human body will adapt! I think I am much too kiasu anyway!!! It didn’t take much convincing from PS and CS to get my ass off my comfort zone and therefore, I decided to run this year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, last minute. It was a 21km run. I didn't train. As in 2 days before the actual run. Let’s not go into the technicalities of how I managed to run, but technically, I didn’t bandit ok? Anyway, we have to grab opportunities when they come right? It's called grabbing the bulls by the balls, uhmmm, i mean by the horns!! haha

After an inspiring worship service @ Trinity on Saturday (armed with lotsa good wishes and prayers), I fell asleep and woke up this morning feeling like a lark…erm, maybe I was a bit grumpy as it was 5am on a Sunday morning but in retrospect, it was darn worth all the effort.

Upon reaching the Esplanade area, I quickly connected with Emmy, the person who is most likely to run my pace as it was her first halfie too. The crazy runners have already started running the full marathon! We dilly-dallied and reached the starting point 10 minutes later than the gun but who cares? With the Championchip Timing System, everyone’s race is timed individually.

Also met Sher Lyn, Mr Chong (Bernard's dad) and sister, Ai-Lynn for the first time. Altogether,there are 3 of us running the 21km for the first time ever. Emmy, Johan and I. Couldn't find J at the starting point though. Nevertheless, it was nice running with the girls. I'm always in races with PS but that girl is so fast that I could never run her pace. It's nice that I have company for once!!

Initially, I kept up with Em for the first 10km. I think we were doing quite a good pace. Suddenly, my right knee hurt like crazy but I was telling myself that the pain is not there. Then I slowed down for a run-walk system while convincing myself that the pain is unreal. I can tell you that mental strength is probably more important than physical strength at that point, especially when I ‘embraced’ the pain and ran without a limp as bravely as I could. I literally ignored the pain and concentrated on the run and my ipod. Em zoomed on ahead.

By 14km and a drinking station with bananas, I caught up with Em again. The amazing banana entered my system and acted like firepower…I could actually speed up and resumed running like the first 5 km. However, EM’s calves started giving her trouble and she fell back.

Even though I was on my own from that point onwards, I know that if I passed the 15km psychological barrier, I could run all the way to the finishing point. Although my pace isn’t good, I carried on, took pictures, answered SMS and gazed at the awesome view (both human and non-human)

I was very tired and in severe pain by the 19km mark but the entire sea of runners seemed so pumped up as we approached Padang that I was hyped up enough to finish with a big smile on my face. I glanced up at the clock and was pleased with my timing. Sub-3hour! Maybe around 2hr55mins for my first 21km race? I know it’s not much as the running gang average timing is about 2hours for 21km but in my universe of crawlers and outliers, I’m just so glad that I finished despite not training.

How about the rest of the day? Remember the knee pain? Well, it haunted me with a vengeance as I limped around town. After a wonderful lunch @ Café Cartel, I slept on the MRT and almost missed my BV MRT station. Nevertheless, I reached home in one piece and vegetate upon my bed until dinnertime.

My conclusion for the day : No pain, no gain. I'm in cloud 9 bcoz of my respectable timing k? Let me live in my glorious fantasy world for awhile! Anyhow, I would probably limp like crazy at work tomorrow (it’s not my first time walking around with pain in my hospital anyway! Remember Ipoh?) but I actually preferred a 21km to a 10km run. Now, when’s my next race again?

P.S : Actual shots taken while running are still stuck in my mobile. It will take a while.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What's up, Henderson?

Being at home is a state of mind and as I’m one person who keeps on moving to new towns, I need to adapt to new environment quickly. This is one of the rare weekends that I didn’t go home to KL and amazingly + quickly, I’ve found a lot of places to explore and got acquainted to plenty of new friends and met up with a few old friends, too.

One of the best things about facebook is that I’ve reconnected with so many of my old pals and yesterday I met up with J, someone I’ve not seen for 10 years! After 1 decade, obviously there are plenty of things to catch up on but I didn’t expect that the meeting included an impromptu hike across the Southern Ridge of Singapore, that is from Mount Faber across to Henderson Wave, Hilltop and finally Kent Ridge Park.

Apparently, there is a trail called Marang trail near the Harbourfront MRT station opposite Vivocity. Unlike the massive crowd at Vivocity, I could actually enjoy being with nature without being suffocated by people. There was hardly anyone out there enjoying nature post-rain…tsk,tsk,tsk. This is the start of an almost 9km hike if we choose to complete it all the way to NUS.

The funniest thing is that I was ‘hiking’ with my jeans, dressy top, handbag and crocs platform. This clueless klutz is definitely not dressed for the occasion. I’ve always forgotten that casual is ok in this country and bare legs are the norm, not the exception. Well despite the inappropriate costume, I still enjoyed the hike and the beautiful view along the way…thank God for brilliantly cool weather!

At the top of Marang trail is the touristy Mount Faber and Faber Point. We arrived to see groups of Chinese tourists snapping pictures of sunset. Talking about sunset, I think yesterday’s sunset was quite beautiful..I’ve never seen the sun being so red. I bet it’s because of the pollution but nonetheless, it was an amazingly vibrant red yolk!

Not only that, we managed to catch glimpses of hummingbirds and large bees hovering over the flowers and trees atop this famous mountain. There is another Merlion at Faber Point but I didn’t bother to take picture with the white stature as the landmark was packed with human beings flocking all around it.

The best part of the walk/hike was Henderson Wave. It’s such a cool bridge! Earlier in the afternoon, I thought I saw something unique hanging above my head while I was in the bus heading towards Harbourfront. I didn’t know that it was the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and made from tropical timber.

The structure was lighted up very beautifully at night and I snapped pictures until my batteries died on me. What a cool hang-out place after a long run! Apparently, the whole park stretches to Kent Ridge (near my hospital) but the gang was too hungry and moody to complete the whole routh. Anyhow, I’m hyped up to try the entire route later this week….

Thus being extremely famished after a happy hike, we decided to stop prematurely (we could have continued to the hilltop walk and HortPark and Alexandra Arch) because of a collective craving for meatballs. Yup, we gravitated to the famous Swedish meatballs at Ikea, braved the long queue and gobbled up the little wonderful goodies with yummy sauce. Not only that, I’ve finally gotten my curtains! A happy ending to an unexpectedly marvelous day indeed…

Monday, November 23, 2009

1 week and still sober :-)

Today's officially the second week of work here and I love it. Of course I'm still settling down to my new room and I've just met a small proportion of Singaporeans (and Malaysians working here) but I'm glad that I made a decision to wander out of my comfort zone.

I guess the most surprising thing is the way my new bosses helped me to acclimatize to this new habitat. They have been absolutely wonderful, helpful and crazy fun. Most importantly, food's not too bad and I've discovered that Mr Bean (a certain running friend's favourite stall) is available in the hospital (along with a lot of yummy Chinese food). Another brilliant place which I've ranked very highly is Bar Bar Black Sheep while The Soup restaurant is pretty awesome too...I love their ginger chicken. hopefully I shall blog about all these places soon :-)

Going to work in the early morning entails taking a bus ride past 5 bus stops (hospital's about 10mins away from my place) while all the happening watering holes are 500m away from my block of flats. The funniest thing is that I wake up at the crack of dawn because I don't even have curtains! I intend to do something about that in the near future...yeah, maybe in this year perhaps?

Not sure whether things will change when I start oncall and work becomes i've a brush with heavy activities at the clinic and I love the productivity. In fact, I'm totally cool with tagging unofficially. I suspect that I'm actually in love with my work. Or I'm slightly 'sick'..hahaha

The biggest bummer is that I've not found my running feet yet. The rhythm for outdoor sports and adventure is a bit stunted for now. Sadly, swam only once last week although there is a gym in the hospital. Nearest public pool is 5 mins walk from my house. Probably will go explore either the gym or the pool tomorrow eh? Or check out the parks near this area. In the meantime, excuse me, I've got to check out one whole island.....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How not to neglect a blog

I need to recap the week, desperately. It went by without me if I was on 'fast forward' when I should be on 'play' button.

Truthfully when I went on holiday, I thought I would be bumming around for 2 weeks. One phone call this Monday and it sent me scrambling to pack my stuff, meet friends for farewell meals and zoom down the Peninsular to S'pore for a few days of...paperwork?

Chasing paperwork on my two feet and a highly-efficient public transportation is akin to a sanitized version Amazing Race Asia. I've no idea about directions in Singapore and depended on mostly MRT location maps, friendly passersby and occassional google maps. And it worked.

However, in my zeal for earning carbon credit and going green...I've forgotten how bloody hot it is to walk around in a tropical country, especially since I ain't a schoolgirl anymore. Not only that, I've tried my darnedest to save money as I will be living on malaysian ringgit until pay day comes (and as for when...God knows!) so I was staying in a backpacker's hostel in Serangoon Road. It came highly-recommended but was shitty for me. I stayed in a 6-person dorm and the air-cond sucks (very warm) and the room has no windows. I guess it doesn't pay off to be a cheapskate! Serves me right eh?

My saving grace was the Singaporean efficiency and workaholism. Most of the staff stays on in the office during lunchtime and also way past 6 pm. I guess some people (like yours truly) would do anything to avoid overcrowding, thus they spend longer hours at their workplace. Whatever it is, babes, I manage to settle everything within 1.5 days (which is sth quite laudable) and left my dungeon, er i mean, dorm to the much younger, hipper backpackers. This CPD is home for the weekend, spending time with my creature comforts and heaping in the yummy Malaysian food. Till the war resumes again next week, I hope that I will not neglect this blog too much!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A KL girl talks on her b-day

I think I didn’t blog on my birthday last year because I was away in Singapore and China. This year, I was almost out-of-the-country again but my paperwork got in the way thus CPD is still here. Anyhow, all’s well that ends well as I’m about to start working proper soon and who's complaining when bumming around in KL can be good too (hehehe)

On the subject of birthday….IMHO it’s nice to spend birthdays at home and with family and friends. I’m not sure whether I’ll be in KL for the next few birthdays but this one is truly memorable and satisfying. The people that matters either contacted me or met up with me the past few days and the upcoming week. I’ve been to wonderful restaurants, visited interesting spots and had meaningful and engaging conversations with people I’ve not connected with for years.

KL could be both enjoyable and unforgettable once we actually have time to discover its various sights and wonders. Sadly this KL girl has rarely taken time out to savour the art of living as a young professional in KL. The last time I worked here, circa 2005, I was a fresh-out-of-med-school junior doctor, tired, inexperienced and overworked beyond my imagination. That’s why I’ve never contemplated coming back KL for work. However, coming back for leisure and pleasure is an entirely different story

The past few months have been a revelation as I enjoy the best of both Ipoh and KL. Well, more of Ipoh but I do make it a point to come back to KL as often as possible. I’m not sure whether I’ll be back to my hometown as often as before, but I guess it’s time to relax and enjoy life back at home before I go on the fast lane again.
P.S. : Contrary to what you see on my little tiramisu birthday cake, I ain't 12 or 21 or 30. I wish I'm forever 21 though hahaha....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Another chapter of my life beckons as I pack up my bags and leave. After spending almost 1 year here, I find it very difficult to say my farewell. Yet I look forward to one of the biggest challenge in my life. It will be different living in one of the most globalized city in the world.

I feel like the character in Carrie Underwood’s song, singing Jesus Takes the Wheel. She said goodbye to her family and her small hometown as she embarked on new life at the Big Apple. I know I ain’t going to New York and my hometown is not Ipoh…but the feelings are similar. (haha)

Anyhow, I’ll miss PS and Michelle a lot. They are my gorgeous and bubbly housemates who stood by me over the years since I met them in 2006. Girls..I’ll miss the easygoing company, the scrumptious meals, the long chats and ‘counselling’ sessions, the numerous outdoor activities we enjoy together (I never knew I could be so sporty until I've met PS) and the mad shopping sprees! Anyhow, I sure hope I’ll see them again down South…..

Yeah, yeah I know I shouldn't sound so final as I’ll be in Malaysia for the next 2 weeks but I bet it’s not gonna be the same anymore. As I drive out of Ipoh by myself for the very last time tomorrow, I just wanna say : ‘Au revoir ma cherie’ to all of you who knew me in Ipoh….

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Late one night...

Sitting here alone in my room in Ipoh late one night..One cold, rainy and sentimental night. With easy-going, preselected music blaring from my speakers, the cold light emanating from my laptop and pleasant aroma wafting from my burner, memories came flowing back as I prepare for my impending exodus. The search for the promise has only just begun.

I recall the first time I came to Ipoh. I just finished housemanship and I was placed in the quarters near the labour room. Life was not-so-simple back then and even right now, I know I am still in search for the right answers and for that sense of belonging. I made good friends and enjoyed the food here but just when I thought I could settle down in Ipoh, I was thrown to Teluk Intan. Without much fanfare or drama, I resigned to my fate in a small town and left quietly. Hardly anybody in the hospital noticed. After spending 2 years of my life in the hinterlands, I was back in this picturesque and calm city.

This time round, things are a bit different. Somehow, my stay here started uneventfully but about to end with a big bang. Life always throw surprises at us. The month of October has turned out to be the most blissful, enjoyable, entertaining, fulfilling month in 2009 as I wrap up my stint as a medical officer here. No matter how difficult it is to say goodbye, I am preparing myself for the eventual farewell as my last day approaches.

I guess many people will question my decision. Leaving a comfortable place I love dearly is not easy but I need to fight for my dreams. At the end of the day, I know that God will lead me through the uncertain times ahead as I call upon Him to give me courage, grace and peace to start anew. Please pray for me as I strengthen my heart, mind and soul for a new beginning...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There's something about A'shore

My last few weeks in Ipoh are all about discovering new eating joints and testing my taste buds. If there’s a place that deserved repeated visits, it must be darn good.

I’ve been to this place A’shore for 3 times thus far and each time, we found something nice that we adore.

Somehow, this place is always packed with frequent customers and we have joined their ranks in becoming fans, too. In fact, we've caught many colleagues from the general hospital having their meals here...I guess it's conveniently close to our habitat after all

It was tucked in a quiet row of old colonial town-houses on the road linking majeedia mamak shop and Koh Samui know, the old greentown area near Cowan Street.

Firstly, we tasted the famous fried kai-lan. The funny thing is that when kai-lan is fried this way, it resembled sea-weed. There is no bitterness or oiliness to this amazing dish, which is healthy and tasty.

Then we tried the steamed fish which was mediocre to say the least. At least it was fresh. On the other hand, the butter-milk chicken was great. The creamy, savoury gravy complimented the crispy chicken very well.

Anyway, the next time I was got even better. The tofu looked cute and tasted great. The sauce is filled with egg-y goodness and the filling has this little dot of salted egg yolk (which I really like).

Surprisingly, we ordered something very traditional as recommended and was pleased with a little pot of filled with appetizing braised vinegar pork trotter. It was just the right mix of sourness and sweetness. Ah, the right balance really counts.

So I've come to realized that there are plenty of good food in Ipoh I've yet to unearth. Hopefully my dear housemates will carry on the tradition of discovering more good eateries and bring me to more new places in the near future.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I wonder....

I feel most creative, introspective and 'vulnerable' when I’m post-call. The tiredness after a few tiring nights in the hospital occassionally unleashes some inner machinery in the limbic systems that lead to a lot of outpourings of emotions. Everything seem to be extra melodramatic, nostalgic and….gasp, emotional.

Being someone who takes pride in mind over heart, rationality over emotions, I tend to detach myself from emotions. Yet emotions are what make us human. The most mind-boggling thing, to me…is the emotions that come with choices we make in life. So, does it mean that I am most human after my oncalls? Interesting huh?

Nowadays, as I’m preparing to leave a very comfortable surrounding, I mused a lot. I wonder what if I’ve never make the decision to move down south. I wonder if I’ve never make the decision to become a surgeon one day. I wonder if I never make the decision to leave KL. I wonder if I fight to stay on the HKL after housemanship. I wonder if I leave Malaysia for UK a few years ago.

In short, I wonder about so many things, about the people in my life, about the life that could have been. Most of all, I wonder what it would have been if my mother is still alive. I guess no matter where she is right now, I know that whatever choices I make in life, she will be proud of me. So I guess it's time to soldier and stop second-guessing myself!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sensational first-hand account of a disaster in Ipoh....

Nosy CPD woke up early one Saturday and went to work as usual (before 730am). Just as she was about to enter the operating theatre complex on 3rd floor (which by the way, faces Fair Park and the blue-domed mosque),one of her colleagues motioned frantically and pointed towards a pile of cement and rubble.

"Hey, fren...look at that collapsed building," she said.

" What?"

Catastrophe struck in Ipoh!
Apparently, a row of old shophouses at Fair Park area (I bet it dated back to the days of Yap Ah Loy and Co) collapsed around 945pm on Friday night (2nd October). Immediate theories surfaced on how the recent Sumatran earthquake could have shaken the foundations of the building or how the heavy rains have loosened the old structures
My friend who was involved directly in the incident, JT, had a different tale.
" You know la, friend, they have been trying to demolish the building for years. It was a drug addict lair and an eyesore. Being right next to the main road and frequently flooded, most of the shops have been deserted for ages. It was bound to collapse sooner or later ler. They already cordoned off the buildings past few weeks and the roof and back was taken down for some time d"
As for his near-death experience....
"Aiyoh. It was more painful for my car has left-sided hemiparesis now (damage on one side of the body causing paralysis). I mean, I could move it but poor thing...body almost crumpled leh. I felt the impact in front of me. I mean, 5 seconds, I could have been buried under all that cement and old bricks. I could see the buried cars and some people were screaming and crying...."

As JT was a casualty MO heading to work on Friday night, I asked him about any immediate concerns on disaster management.
"Har? What? Of course I have to get myself away from all the asbestos first lar! Then I called up the people at A & E telling them I can't get to work on time and then I have to continue my work some more....Then I discovered that 2 young men were sent directly to the mortuary while another guy survived."
Quite a sensational from a sleepy little city huh?
Pictures were taken from my handphone camera while driving past the scene of carnage. Shaky images courtesy of the Ah Beng-modified car behind ours.The blame is on him because he honked at my friend's slow driving and therefore I have to take the shot on the move. Aaargh!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Being a seasonal paparazzi

Ermmm...ah...errr....Sounds familiar? CPD was caught off-guard/off-balance today...was called to give an impromptu speech in front of the entire department during the departmental meeting. Quite a disarming move and something that I should have prepared for. Nevertheless, I was in a nostalgic and poignant mode but failed to impart what I felt in my heart. That's the tricky part about public speaking...spontaneous speech is not everyone's forte although I never had problems with speaking in front of any audience. It's just that I ain't no Obama wannabe. Wish I could give something rousing, heart-rending and impassioned...oh never mind, it's a Friday afternoon and everyone is gearing to go home or go back for Mid-Autumn's festival.

The next few weeks will be sort of a dragged-out, prolonged farewell as I turn into a self-proclaimed photojournalist covering events unfolding in Ipoh and KL. In order words, a kaypoh chee or a paparazzi in making. Armed with my trusted compact camera, I'll try to capture it all (just like a tourist). I found out from today's experience that it's very tough capturing portraiture of people on wonder I prefer taking pictures of inanimate objects and scenery.

At the same time, I'm cracking my head thinking of the best way to hold a party in Ipoh. I have tonnes of ideas in KL but when it comes to this city, I'm clueless/helpless/hopeless. Any ideas?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What happened @ Yam-yam?

It's not easy getting days off from clinic. What's even more difficult is getting the whole surgical gang out for dinner on a working Monday. Our regular workload and patient flow is pretty heavy but with the recent influx of medical officers in the department, life can be good when it comes to sampling Ipoh's gastronomical delights.

In conjunction with our colorectal workshop, we were fortunate enough to get 2 full days of seeing interesting cases courtesy of Prof Charles and Miss Chan. Although we see a lot of bowel-related cases in normal general surgery, there are also some high-level cases and procedures which are rare and technically-demanding. So, I was very glad that we all had a chance to be immersed in the 'gut' for a few days

After hours of playing with the gut, we need to fill up our guts too and what better place than somewhere extremely near to the hospital (so near, we could actually walk there but being Malaysian...who walk when we have cars!)

We decided on Yam-yam, a Nyonya-Chinese fusion restaurant at Old Greentown. It was surprisingly packed that Monday night and I've forgotten how food taste like in this place. I remembered it was previously unremarkable. I guess I could be prejudiced because the last time I came to this place, I was still a little houseman in 2006, living on my meagre salary.

There were 18 semi-hungry people (we were well-fed throughout the entire day) waiting for food amidst the crowd. It came sooner than expected as everyone was in a good mood (courtesy of some 'sponsors')

The omelette was alright although very small for 8 people (each table). On the other hand, the pandan chicken was tasty, very fragrant and well-marinated. I guess no one could go wrong with this dish.

The tofu was quite good while the tomyam was ok. At least, the entire dining experience was very pleasant as we catch up with each other.

So, what's CPD's verdict again?

IMHO, Yam-yam is not as unremarkable as I remembered it to be. The price is reasonable and the place has an authentic, old-world charm to it. Food is quite good, especially for a big party of 4 or more people. What's more importantly, the location is excellent for those of us in town.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Witnessing an accident first hand and musing on defensive medicine

Being a healthcare personnel has its shares of ups and downs, perks and quirks, joy and sorrow. We are often silent witnesses to some of the most tumultous events in a person's life. Trauma, birth, death, cancer, severe illness, recovery..these are all parts of the circle of life that we encounter daily.

For example, we were travelling for dinner while oncall during the Raya period. You can say that we are having a very good call if we are able to go out for makan at normal times. Anyway, we were following an old Roadways bus near an intersection in the Greentown area when a blue Viva shoot out of the intersection. BANG! I heard a loud sound and there was a collision right in front of us.

We immediately parked our car near Dave's Diner, jumped down the parking lot (I was glad I was wearing trousers and could run around anywhere!) and checked on the passengers of the small car. Apparently, a young girl was the 'unlucky' driver with her boyfriend sitting next to her. We checked on her briefly and although the car was totally wrecked (it looked bad), the direct impact was on the back seat behind the girl thus she was spared from any bodily harms. We let the paramedics do their work and continued on with our dinner.

Anyway, the incident made me wonder about emergency services. Although all 3 of us in the car was fully trained for emergency procedures as we are surgical registrars and medical officers, we would not be able to do anything if there were serious injuries outside the hospital. We do not have any medical supplies, oxygen tanks, splints or even bandages in the car. In fact, I don't even carry any resuscitation tools with me at all times.

On the other hand, I have recently heard of the Good Samaritan principles in the practice of medicine. Basically, if a doctor decide to help a person in need outside the hospital (let's say in a medical emergency on an airplane, in a boat, by the roadside, etc), we are equally liable to any untowards event in case of death, permanent disability, etc happening to the injured person. In short, we could be sued for malpractice despite the lack of diagnostic and treatment tools. Moreover, medical malpractice insurance may or may not cover the doctor, as the person in need did not deliberately seek our help in the first place; i.e. the person in need is technically not a patient as he/she did not solicit us.

Now this puts a lot of us in a dilemma isn't it? As a fellow human being, we would normally offer help and being medically-trained, everyone would expect that a doctor is the best person to assist a person in distress. However, there is this hand-tying, law-suit happy society nowadays that would not hesitate to persecute anyone that could be blamed in the event of an unhappy ending. I guess this will again reinforce on the practice of defensive medicine....

How about me? Would I help a person in need? I guess I need to be wise in offering help as the ultimate tenet is : FIRST, DO NO HARM. Whatever it is, we must remove ourselves and the person in need from danger and then, intelligently & calmly assess the situation. After all, we cannot be a 'hero' and try to perform some 'miracles' without back-up personnel and the proper tools and facilities!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Discovering new eating joints: Teppanyaki @ Takeyama

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir dan Batin's time to talk about the good stuff in life again : Food. A girl's gotta eat amidst depressive days of non-stop oncalls and a sure bet in finding yummy food will be in the 'Bangsar of Ipoh' @ Ipoh Garden East (IGE).

Thus in the middle of the long weekend & balik-kampung season, yours truly has decided to satisfy the crave for Japanese food. Apparently, a new joint has opened in IGE area and it's called Takeyama. The demand for Jap food in Ipoh never ceases to amaze me considering the small size of the city and population. I wonder why...

The interiors are quite simple and small. We expected a bigger seating area yet as you can see from the pic, the cooking area took up a huge part of the restaurant. The menu is extensive but without pictures, thus depriving us of the all-important visual input in selecting the food. For some mysterious unknown reasons, all 3 of us decided for teppanyaki spontaneously although there are many other choices of sushi, sashimi, dons, udon, ramen, etc....

KCCS had the seafood teppanyaki and it was really small, especially for a guy. The taste is ok but he was disappointed with the portion. It has scallops, prawns, fish and squids (sounded a lot on the menu) but the actual fact is that it's sadly too little for him.

As for me, I ordered the squid and duck combination. Being an atypical person, I like to think and make decisions out of the box so I choose sth rather odd. It's not often that we find duck teppanyaki. Surprisingly, it tasted great and the portion is very satisfying (to me lar). I'm not a big eater and so it was filling enough but I think this dish is too small compared to typical teppanyaki. I love the lightly sauteed vegetable with little salt and pepper. It's a refreshing change from the usual highly-salted, thirst-inducing teppanyaki in shopping malls.

One thing very certain about the place. The friendly waiters and waitresses were very smiley and attentive but the food took ages to arrive. We waited almost 45 mins for simple teppanyaki dish despite only 3 other tables of customers at the same time. I assume that the restaurant is too new to cope with the amount of orders. Anyhow, the chawanmushi is excellent...very very smooth and soft eggs (and again, the portion is minuscule!)

The only large portion of the day goes to JT, who ordered the mixed meat teppanyaki. As you can see, the entire plate is packed with all types of meat (chicken, lamb, duck)...but there was a missing non-halal component. JT was very pleased with his food. I tried the was delicious.

As for location, IMHO, this place is quite accessible, diagonally opposite Sky Corner and 777. Being relatively new to the scene, I would say that it should improve over time (faster cooking time, prettier menu, bigger portions). The pricing is ok and with the green tea free-flowing, anyone could spend long hours in this place, yakking away.

Oops, guess it's time to go prepare for another oncall again tomorrow. Wish me luck!