Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Season's greetings


i was so busy talking about everything else that I forgot to mention the most important line this week : GONG XI FATT CHAI! And this year, i've been wearing red so much that I wonder if I have any other colours left in my wardrobe. Ah, the fixation that we Chinese have on the colour red during CNY! Ang pow na lai!

I’m so excited with my latest gadgets on blogspot. Firstly, I put in some piano music onto it and now by just by connecting to my blog, I could listen to gentle music in times of calmness and peace.

Aside from that, I put in a weather channel for an inane purpose as we all know that we Malaysians have two types of weather : hot or rainy (and sometimes, cloudy or hazy, depending on how strictly you judge the poor weather forecasters). The CNY weather has been predictable in KL, while on the other hand, my Sarawakian friends have been swimming on the roads in Kuching. I should probably look at the bright side and think of the reduction in the rate of Dengue and Chikuniya virus (due to the lack of pools of water formed by incessant rain).

Finally, I inserted a column called a follower list. I know I ain’t no religious leader and do not aspire to be a sudden celebrity but I whimsically added this column knowing that a few friends might pity me and add their picture to the list (I crossed my fingers and hope that at least one will do so! PS, Shelby, whoever?). Somehow, I am still wondering what’s the point of putting this column in other than to satisfy my ego? Sigh…..

Gadgets aside, I’ve recorded a few other things on my phone and hopefully, will be able to upload it properly. The food on reunion dinner (as shown above) was only 40% of the entire amount of food served that night. I really admire and salute all the wonderful cooks who toiled so hard for this meal and all the other meals during that night in other Chinese families. Cheers!

It’s CNY and guess what? I ran almost everyday and so darn proud of it. Although I dun cover enuf distance to reach my training schedule but at least I am keeping the momentum again. In fact, I am so happy that I went on a hike up Bukit Tabur (went the whole way for the first time! Hooray!!) and then only went on the CNY @ gluttony diet which I effectively neutralized with all the physical activities. Perfect!

This productive, glorious season was filled with good food, naughty & playful kids, adorable doggies, daily blogging and sports. Oh, the photographs here are all taken from my new Nokia slide phone. Quite handy but not yet a dslr. Hey, I am not about to renegade on my resolution, just that I am taking my time in getting a hot, biggie camera.

That's me all sweaty and happy while hiking up the accessible and technical Tabur hill. The sunrise was so quick and over before we knew it. The hike was slightly challenging during the rocky climbs but other than that, I would say this is a good hill for training purposes.

One of the many stars I met this new year..first, it was Sumo, then Benji and finally Cally and Rover. This little 1 month old puppy is called Benji and I think he looks like a little creamy lamb right? So adorable and obedient. He loves being carried by girls too!

So, as I am heading back to work soon, I hope that I will not miss the wonderful family activities, fast Internet access and fun too much!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Farewell is such sweet sorrow but till we meet again tomorrow....

Time flies and before we know it, it’s time to say goodbye. I was expecting farewell 6 months down the road, but suddenly, I am waving goodbye to D.C. It was quite nostalgic and emotional as I spent most of the past 2 years in this little town, living a very different life as I am used to my urban enclave.

The first half of my time here was mostly uneventful and lonely. I was at the lowest point of my spiritual, emotional and physical life. There was little social support and I was also working very hard to learn up surgical skills, thus a very difficult season. It was near the end of 2007 that I began to see the end of the dark tunnel. The light emerged.

I embraced the light fully by mid-2008. The absolute zenith was in late 2008 when I was involved in the doctor’s fellowship, running, rollerblading, hiking, blogging and meeting new friends. It was the happiest period of my life in the entire decade. Yeah, I am into a new language and its not even verbal : Sign language. It’s a very good tool and practical too.

It started from boss and radiated very quickly to Em, Ken and I. We were all eager beavers trying out the movements. In fact, we were so enthusiastic that we decided to perform the sign language version of How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin during the first year anniversary of the TI doctors fellowship.

The problem with the 4 of us is that we keep on having oncalls and thus that disrupted the practice schedule. It was so difficult gathering all 4 of us together that we ended up practicing only 3 times and I didn’t even practice on my own. It was truly by the grace of God that we managed to perform the mime/dance.

Anyway, it was a pretty emotional day as we performed, pastor preached, some were water baptized again and then we sang the song Friends Forever by Michael W Smith. The song is a very ‘emotional’ song and made me cry as my friends gave me a huge group hug. Oh, I will miss the wonderful fellowship in DC.

Many thanks to Emily, Mr Peter (Boss), Tay, Wang, Chua & Jan, Kenneth, Lau, Donny & family, Alex Tan, Fenky, Tse Nee, Lau, Kew + Koh + Shelby + the cool efficient surgical HOs, Ravi, Aqidah, Syed, Mr Vasu, Mr Pani, Sing Shung the Hope TI team and so many others who blessed my life so much!

P.S : I’m sorry if I forgot to mention your name. Mamak is on me if we ever meet again

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The dog who loves lion dancing and children

This is Sumo. He loves running around in circles and playing around with little kids. Children (and adults, e.g yours truly) adores him and he enjoys the attention.

Excerpts from my trilogy in progress

This trilogy is loosely based on stories from my grandmother, late mother and my own life. It is mostly real as I remembered sitting on my grandmother’s lap, listening to her tales while I visited my kampong near Tapah during Chinese New Year. At the same time, memories and the stories of my mother lingered on although she passed away for some time now.

My intention is to document three different lives : a hard-working and kind-hearted Chinese girl who came to Malaya for a better future; a young, highly-intelligent and ambitious girl from a small village in the early days of Malaysia as well as a post-globalization, modern techno-savvy Malaysian young lady. It is an interwoven tale of three generations of Malaysian Chinese, as told in three distinctly unique female voices.

“The first time I set my eyes upon Nanyang was at the port of Penang. I was too ill when we made a brief stop-over at Singapore, thus Penang was my first glimpse of the Promised Land. 5th Aunt was praying to the gods that I will not end up being fish-feed. All I remembered about the long and treacherous journey across the South China Sea was a lot of vomiting, chills, poor appetite and the endless blue sea.

Penang in the 1920s was a bustling port city with half-decaying shophouses, noisy hawkers, rich tai-tai dressed in finest qipao and many people of different skin tones and mother tongue. For most of us from China, this first port of call is a heaven-sent destination, a key to a much better life in the many tin-mines and rubber plantation in this warm and sunny land they call Malaya.

The moment I stepped gingerly onto the rickety wooden gang-planks bridging the gap between the junk and the jetty, I was very indifferent to the sights and sounds of this Pearl of the Orient. As we passed through the many trishaws lodged outside the colourful and grand Khoo Kongsi, 5th Aunt mentioned that Penang was pivotal in our motherland’s liberation and independence.

Apparently, Sun Yat-Sen was here to broker many deals and helped with the early days of our nation. I wondered deep inside on whether I still have a nation. Although I was born in the southern province of Guangzhou, near Sun-de where some famous martial arts exponents came from, I never found belonging to anyone or anything in particular. I wonder if I could find ‘home’ in Nanyang, especially in this British colony.

When my parents told me in a very cold tone that they are sending me off to a foreign land so hot that it’s perennially summer, I thought I was sent to ‘hell’. Actually, upon landing in Penang, I actually thought I was delivered from hell. The journey in the cramped boat was beyond my darkest nightmares and as I wobbled weakly after 5th aunt towards our quarters at Burmah Street, I thanked the heavens for sparing me from the wrath of the oceans. I was almost sacrificed at sea!

After a few more steps, I reminded 5th Aunt to make some offerings at the nearby temple as I blinked, took in a deep breath and slowly gobbled up the wondrous sights, smell and sound surrounding me. What I could behold was amazing…the cacophony of foreign languages, the riotous mix of colours in the streets and a heady, chaotic potpourri of scents and aroma wafting from the marketplace! I was turning dizzy from the massive sensory overload.

So, interested to read more about this tantalizing tale? Do pray that this budding ‘novellist’ could find the time to actually complete her most ambitious project to date.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Renovation in progress...

I need to jazz up my blog…desperately

After a long online hiatus (no internet connection at home for 6 months), I was back online in KL and started browsing through other blogs.

Then it hit upon me..

I am so darn boring. Oh, I mean my blog is a bit on the prim and proper side. Seriously, I think ppl could fall asleep reading my blog. Although I am supposed to be the cilipadi, it is hardly a spicy blog. In my humble opinion, I probably lead a ‘spicy’ life according to modern standards of medical doctors, but hardly ground breaking news. I still can’t cook like Nigella Lawson, or run like Paula Radcliffe or sing like Beyonce. But I can still try…just have to sacrifice a few taste buds, synovial joints and laryngeal muscles in the process!

My dreams of working in a far away land or a war-torn country is still in the drawing boards judging at how hard it is to convince my parents that I could be of use in a country in crisis. They worry for me as I couldn’t even negotiate a curve in a trunk road without crashing my car!

Well, I drove myself home safely this CNY. Without touching my phone on the highway, I concentrated on the road while chuckling at how smooth traffic was. I was driving within the speed limit as carefully as I can, being a very repentful little girl. Anyway, it’s so peaceful driving southbound while half the nation is going northbound from KL. Phew….

It’s hot again this time of the year. So hot that it scorches our brain and fry all productive cells. I was staring at the computer blankly thinking how best to update my blog without resorting to my old, tried and tested formulae.

All fails. I am still uploading the same kinda pictures, with the same kinda message. The least I could do was to renovate the blog and change the theme. Yeah, I am restless. And young, so I could do anything I want with my blog. Hopefully….

Anyway for once, I was trying out a 'bimbo' pose which simply looks weird on someone as studious and conservative as me right? My short-lived stint as a 'model' would probably fizzle out soon as I am reluctant to show much skin. Flaunting assets in public needs a different sort of verve and courage, I think. Sigh...maybe I should just stick to my outdoor sports, gobbling up books and playing my music.

Water babies everywhere...

The hyperactive doctors in Teluk Intan has done it again. Not contented with zooming around town on rollerblades, chatting up random people on the road about life, eating marvellous food and running around in circles, we have invaded the small quiet town of KKB.

Yup, Emily, Peter, Lynette, Amita, Alex and Tse Nee were seen with some KL friends riding the waves at the Sg Selangor near KKB. It was our first experience at white-water rafting (with the exception of boss Peter Wong) and we woke up surprisingly early on a saturday morning for it. It was so early, the sun was just waking up too....

Anyway, after a little miscommunication about changing into our water-friendly things (some of us quickly mastered the skill of changing in the car, eh?) and a short briefing by one of the guides in a funny language (some form of Manglish), we hit the water with a gusto.

Funny thing about white water rafting guides. They kept on throwing us into the water. first, the boat overturned and all of us were flipped into the water. then, they said that the boat was stuck in low water, and threw us into water. After that, during some of the rapids, we fell off the boat and we were in water as well. In short, we were practically floating in water half the time! it was fun and quite fascinating that way though...hahaha

As the water level was a bit low (dry season ahead), we worked very hard manipulating the boat around the rapids. The coordination from the entire team is very important in order to manoeuvre the boat, esp in dry conditions. i love the time when we hung out for a break at the water fall only accessible via the rafts. It was a picture-perfect picnic spot.

I think all of us got a bit of a work-out, a tan and not only that, plenty of bruises! The laughters, fun, near-drowning excitement, wonderful scenery and greenery, cold water and adrenaline was worth every bruise and scratch...

So, looking forward to another round of exciting, adrenaline-charged sports affair. I wonder what's up next in this cilipadi's life?

Friday, January 23, 2009

A letter to my neglected blog

Dear cilipadidoctor.blogspot.com,

Hi there..I am so sorry for neglecting you. I have been so busy the past 1 month that I cannot update you on anything new. The reality is that my life has been so eventful, exciting and happening that I couldn’t even begin to tell you about it,until now.

It all began on a hot, sunny Friday morning. I was busy putting various scopes into multiple human orifices, i.e. people’s stomach, urinary tract and colon when I suddenly received a phone call from the hospital. My friend reached for my phone and promptly put it to my ear (and no, I don’t hold my phone with my gloved hands stained with you-know-what! ).

Then the news came. I was being transferred. And it came 9 months after I put in my transfer request. 9 MONTHS! Just like the human gestational period, it took the relevant authorities 9 months to process a request for transfer to another hospital 1 hour away by car, within the same state. Being a good girl, I promptly finished my scope and took the phone to hear the extent of the new. It got even better..I was supposed to go in 2 bloody day’s time. Pardon my French, but WTF!!!! anyway, I calmed down and told them that I will be going to the new hospital after CNY. After all, I need to finish up my calls according to the call schedule and I am NOT about to leave my colleagues high and dry with so few of us trained people around. I would love the opportunity to practise in another big town but I disliked the fact that it was so last minute....sigh.....

Thus began my marathon oncalls I was doing 36-hours work-day 3 times a week the past 3 weeks. It was tiring but as I was very motivated to help out, I didn't really mind the calls. Not only that, I was trying to spend as much time as I could rollerblading with my roller-kaki and practicing my mime/sign language performance (which I was about to upload). Add to that, a very fun and productive photoshoot, my first time at white-water rafting, a first-year anniversary for my CF and a trip to Ipoh, I was about to go bonkers with activities.

Anyway, I guess these are all fodders for my upcoming, juicy blog posts as I resume my online activities again once back in town. Yup, I am back in good old Muddy Banks for a few days…..until I got thrown to the land of yummy taugeh and beautiful limestones again.

By the way, pardon the poor quality of the pictures. I have yet to wield the magic of Photoshop on them and I’m still using my cheapo camera. Economy slowdown, u see. Anyway, pictured below is my new wonderful phone, courtesy of the sweetest colleague and friend one can hope for. What could I say more?


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prelude to 1925 : A Tale from Nanyang

Guess what I did last weekend? I had another photoshoot with my ‘official’ photographer who is a dear friend of mine. My last post was about CNY and decided for some form of continuity, thus I did a very Oriental photoshoot with a rags-to-riches storyboard. I got a bit tired of the sun and was very glad when BK agreed for an indoor shoot this time round.

I’m very pleased with the results. Not only I had a lot of fun and tried to give as much of creative and ‘technical’ input as I can. (I’m never a shy one when it comes to giving ideas and opinions!)

The computer at work has kicked me out of facebook! The Ministry has discovered that friendster, fb, etc is not conducive towards ‘learning’ and thus has blocked the website. I’m cracking my head trying to think of ways to access fb now. Not only that, I cannot even upload fotos onto my blogger. Talk about double whammy!

Looking out for a place to upload my fotos and can’t wait to tell my ‘melodramatic’ story straight out from some TVB serial drama or something like this. So watch out for this story set in Malaya, circa 1920s entitled 1925 : A Tale from Nanyang

Friday, January 9, 2009

Indulging in all things Sino

I know that I am going into a weird phase when I began craving for Chinese food. I am normally not a very Oriental person, preferring spaghetti, lasagne, fish & chips and scones to rice and noodles. however, after my recent jaunts to Yunnan, Singapore, Penang and Ipoh, I realized that I love Chinese food. Look at how good this Peking, oops I mean, Yunnan roasted duck looked. Juicy, crispy, sweet and yummy.

Not only that, the Chinese traditional costumes really suit our shape and size, thus a decision to do something Oriental for my next project. However, it will not be sth like this lar :

The latest CNY decorations are also quite OTT. Being bathed in hues of red everywhere we go..I think we see red all the time isn't it? Since Epiphany is long gone, the Christmas decor have been replaced with more Chinese-y theme and it's kinda nostalgic and 'patriotic' in a way

Of course I love red as long as it's not red from my patient's blood (my job is to stop that from happening ma)...but seriously, how much of redness can one person take? I guess we should all be optimistic and prepare to entertain parents and our relatives eh?

Anyway, look out for my new project for Chinese New Year coming up soon in cyberspace. I hope it will turn out well....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Transportation woes..

The season is upon us again. After a short break during the Christmas week, people are again at it..wedding cards arrived in droves as I tried to sort out how to attend some while politely declining others. It’s not easy when I have friends marrying all over the place..some in Ipoh, Bidor, Segamat, KK, KL, etc.

Not having a car makes it easier for me to decide. I simply couldn’t go to most of them due to transportation miseries. In fact, I find it hard even to go to the bank in town, what more for social events!

Of course I want to have my car back. Unfortunately, it takes time for the insurance agent to clear the mountains of paperwork and the process is killing me softly. I pray to dear God that I will have a car by Chinese New Year so lets see how it goes. I don’t want to drive a replacement car for now as I don’t know the condition of the car given by the workshop and I prefer driving my own car, thank you very much.

At least I managed to visit another town last weekend as my sister was backpacking down from Penang and I was the designated tour guide for half a day and night, introducing Ipoh’s sight, attractions and good food with gusto.

The caves and parks in this limestone city are always pleasing and evergreen. The rainy season created havoc to our plans but the cloak of gentle mist on the hills created an other-worldly effect. With an experienced flautist playing some old-time Chinese tunes, we felt as if sucked into a Chinese martial-arts, period drama. We strolled along the banks of a quiet stream surrounding a limestone hill in very cool weather while busy snapping pictures of whatever that caught our fancy. We even wandered into an aloe vera farm near the park and chit-chatted with the farmer running the show.

I guess my sister and her friends enjoyed their brief visit to Ipoh and D.C. They spent more time exploring D.C than Ipoh due to the better weather here. I was a tad surprised but seriously, Perak is too big a state to truly have every attractions thrown into a town. D.C has its own charms and peculiarities, I guess. I think God wanted my sister to truly enjoy DC as the town was cloaked by a mysterious, charming mist each morning and thus not so hot for people wandering about.

Anyway, totally captured by this little doggie called Mongoo whom belongs to an avid birder. This lady trained her dog so well that he could actually take care of her when she is ill. The whole visit makes me want a pet, especially a well-behaved, friendly puppy. My problem now is that there are no one at home to take care of a puppy due to my long hours and frequent travelling. Oh, what a spot of bother indeed!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mamma Mia!

3 months ago on a sleepy workday afternoon in D.C., a friend contacted me regarding tickets to a smash hit musical. I sat up immediately and my eyes lighted up when I saw the words : Mamma Mia.

During my last few trips to London in between 2005-2006, I dropped by West End many times as I am a die-hard musical fan. Growing up in an all-girls’ school with a strong heritage in staging quality musicals, it was ingrained into me that I must go see at least one or two of the West End shows. I knew ‘Mamma mia’ was on top of the list, so was ‘Wicked’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’, etc, etc. However,while I was in that great city, I only managed to catch ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘the Lion King’ due to the popularity of the top-rated shows- sold-out way on all the days I was in town.

It was no surprise that I quickly agreed to the plan and began planning my last week of 2008, hoping that it will be a wonderful big bang closure to an eventful year.

On the day my two close comrades-in-Christ tied the knot at the Dream Centre (that would be another story as soon as the pictures are out), Fenky, my little bro (who is not-so-little compared to mua) and I made our way in Ben’s car to Istana Budaya. I was wearing a very festive dress in my favourite colour (purple dress mah)

Fenky and I were both very excited as we are familiar with Abba songs due to our parents’ influence. Actually, I know the songs because dancing queen was one of my school band regular repertoire and back in the 1990s, we played the song over and over and over again during our marches. Ah, those were the day..

The moment ‘I have a dream’ started, the roller-coaster of emotions started. Most of us knew the lyrics of the songs as we hummed along with the cast. The sweet and simple storyline was touching and at times funny. When they sang ‘Money, money, money’ and ‘Mamma mia’, we were drawn to the 70s in full force..it was as if we were caught in a time warp.

Truthfully, after a while, the novelty grew a bit stale and the whole thing got a bit tedious. The musical seemed to be longer than ‘Fame’, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ or ‘Lion King’ as the songs seemed to go on and on and on. By the time they reach ‘Winner Takes it All’, I wished that they would hurry up and finish the show as it dragged to almost 11 pm. I guess the audience really lept to their feet in relief when we were all invited to dance together with the cast during the encore!

Of course I enjoyed the performance tremendously. I just wished that I didn’t have such a high expectation of the show. Or maybe I should be less of a cheapskate and buy a much better seat to get a better view. Or maybe I should be more patient and learn to appreciate the fact that we really got our money worth as there really make a big effort to sing most of Abba’s best hits. Well, thank you for the music anyway!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Waking up in a misty wonderland

Sometimes, I really enjoy the rainy weather especially when I am not planning to go out. The pitter-patter of raindrops on the moist ground, the freshness of the morning air and the cool temperature really rejuvenates a person.

The past few days have been wonderful on D.C as the nightly rain is transforming it to an ethereal pseudo-highland. Of course, the mist will disappear by 9 to 10 am but the first few hours and last few hours of daylight seemed to be enveloped in a thick, cool fog.

I think it's a very unique beginning to 2009 but looking back at how wet and rainy 2008 was, I haf a feeling that this streak of good weather is about to end soon. In the meantime, i will try to capture the beauty on camera but unfortunately, I have been so busy seeing patients that I couldn't even indulge the shutterbug in me.

We are extremely short of staff lately and with the departure of our surgeon and head of department, the remaining surgeon and the rest of the medical officers are working like mad dogs. I think it's a good time for me to learn and really improve after the months of relative relaxation but we have a premonition that the worse has not arrive..the CT scan machine is about to start functioning after chinese new year. I guess its good news for the people of DC but the bearer of even more work for people like me. serve me right for being a hyperactive workaholic.

By the way, thanx for all the good wishes for the girl who has been given second chance in life. I will try to post some pictures soon in view of my recent adventures.