Sunday, March 29, 2009

A weekend with me, myself and Penang

This was an account of my weekend where I suddenly disappeared from Ipoh and KL. It was 2 very fruitful days that began with a surprisingly-educational series of talks on antibiotics by ID physicians in the Penang General Hospital and then me landing up at the corner of this infinity pool.

If there’s any place that we can go to pamper ourselves in a quick getaway, I would highly recommend Penang. Being a very social creature, I am used to travelling in a pack. However, each year, I would go on a road trip alone or stay at someplace all by myself. Last year, it was kota kinabalu and this year, I went to the Pearl of the Orient and checked myself into the Northam.

Now, the hotel didn’t sponsor my trip nor am I in any way affiliated to them but I love the concept of a small living room, bedroom and a huge bathroom (an all-suite hotel) complete with a cool working table by the huge window overlooking the Penang Bridge in the distance.

Enjoyed the bed tremendously as I could roll around as much as I like...and its so comfy that I slept like a baby, a lot! The bathroom has a huge Jacuzzi bathtub which I utilized to the fullest. Then had a personal facial session (courtesy of a face mask from Sasa worth less than RM6) with myself and the tv. I was tempted to try out the spa but decided that I want to save up for the shopping at Queensbay.

Aside from the gorgeous room and comfy bed (I slept so much, I think I repaid all my sleeping debt), I visited the swimming pool and gawked at the design. Infinity pool! My favourite! It was so cool to be lounging around at the corner of the pool overlooking Georgetown. I didn't get to catch sunset as it was raining and thus I sought refuge at the second best place...

The buffet restaurant....This time round, I tried the hotel’s international buffet dinner and it was scrumptious. I love the soft shell crabs and cheese cakes, beside the other sumptuous variety of goodelicious food. Attempted to walk to Gurney Mall after the gluttonous buffet but it was raining cats and dogs in Penang again. Plan A was thus abandoned and my friends and I grabbed the car and joined the madness on the road. (In case you wonder why my friends were hardly around, they were actually a very loving couple whom I happen to carpool with, and I was quite embarassed being a 'lamp-post' most of the time, so I decided to lie low and managed to spend most of the quality time by myself!)

Anyway, Saturday ended with me reading a wonderful book by Yvonne Foong ( on her life with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) as the city lights twinkled merrily below me. I believe I have not encountered any patients with NF2 despite my years in medicine. Her book was very touching and I feel that Malaysians and anyone who could read English should buy it to support her campaign... to raise funds for her next surgery, a courageous attempt with gamma knife neurosurgery in USA. Remember if you happen to wander in any MPH bookstore, grab this book entitled "I'm Not Sick, Just a Bit Unwell" by this talented but unwell young lady.
Sunday was a lazy stretch of nice breakfast at Pulau Tikus and a shopping excursion at the ever-pleasant Queensbay Mall overlooking the Strait of Wellesley and Pulau Jerejak. As we lumbered across the pleasant Penang Bridge, I whispered to myself "What a satisfying getaway indeed!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The other day I forgotten when was the last time I actually trained for my run. I'm so rusted here. I hate it when I keep on postponing stuff because of work. Tired of hearing myself talk about work this, work that...cut this, cut that. Finally decided that - ENOUGH OF MY LIFE EVOLVING AROUND THE HOSPITAL, LETS DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR A CHANGE!

A few days ago, I went cycling! On a stationery bike thats it....while watching Surf's Up and surfing randomly. I know surf's up has been out for ages but I was stuck in a town without a cinema for 2 years ok? Anyway, I love the movie soundtrack and the animation is so cute. Wait till I get my grubby fingers on that soundtrack......

Somehow, it's the idea of multi-tasking that really appeals to me..Therefore I went surfing (the Net), blogging, watching a movie and riding a stationery bicycle all almost at the same time! When I realized that I've finally burnt enuf calories and secretly read enuf of mindless stuff online, I repented. Finally decided to read some human physiology and literally fell asleep at the table. Aaaargh! Studying while working is tough( almost humanly impossible) when doing calls in busy-busy-busy Ipoh.

So I realized that even when I blog, I cannot run away from the omniscient presence of the hospital. Dear Lord God, I think the hospital has taken over my life. Aaaaaargh! 100 percent gonna do sth different and non-medical related this weekend. Can anyone suggest something different for the ever-hyperactive CPD?

Sunday, March 22, 2009 I smell pessimism?

Today, I wasn't me. I think it was a combination of fatigue, cyclical hormonal changes, hunger and some weird news about my intended destination for training. I was almost depressed, a strange feeling for the normally upbeat and feisty little CPD.

Then I had a very good lunch with SH in A La II (a Jap restaurant at Ipoh Garden East) and voiced out my worries. The good thing about having good girlfriends are they are a great tonic to the soul...especially when we discuss our fears and plans. Further chatted with PS and Mich, decided that if i have focused my mind on something, I should make it happen no matter how tough the competition is, no matter how much harder I have to work. I made it past STPM and the one of the toughest medical school in the country, I should be able to withstand the challenges ahead.

I think this journey to become a surgeon is not about the's about the process of moulding myself into a world-class, highly-skilled, technically-gifted, ethical & compassionate surgeon. The process may be shorter or longer, easier or even tougher than what I projected it. Yet, as long as I am living out my dream and doing my utmost best in the most principled way, I know that I am on the right track. After searching the Scriptures and having some time off with my Lord, I am so much more relieved and motivated d. So, by the end of the day, I guess I am back to my normal, 'kick-ass' self again.

In the meantime, I still miss the chumi-chumi bakar in Jogja. Been racking my brains out figuring where on earth do we find such huge, juicy cuttlefish in Malaysia...anyone knows?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Life cut short

Just the other day, 2 young adults (both in early twenties) died in my hospital's casualty department and it was barely 1 week before I hear of another tragic loss...a well-known actress from a lineage of movie stars fell on a ski slope and died from head injuries.

I know I try my best to write about happier stuff in my life but at times, I couldn't be more sober and serious when it comes to human lives. The truth is that there is a substantial number of people taking unnecessary risks when it comes to speed. The two young adults were from Kampar and died after a night out in Ipoh..the collision was high-speed and they didn't survive long enough to reach the operating table where we could have done something for them.

A few things I always tell my friends...and if you read this, you are considered as a friend too :

Don't drink and drive.

Do wear helmets and protective gears in certain situations, e.g high-intensity sports, on motorbikes, etc.

In case an accident occur, please remember that people with head injuries can appear totally normal in the first few hours of accident. As long as they fell on their head (no matter how old or young the person is), do bring them to medical attention.

- in memory of head injuries victims, especially those I have treated -

~~~~~May you rest in peace~~~~~

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I'm 1 year old!

Or rather, my cyberspace alter-ego, the cilipadidoctor, is 1 year old. When I first started, I was still stuck in TI with a bunch of nice, crazy, friendly chums and a big, empty house. Now, I am having the time of my life with my good pals in Ipoh, a busy hospital life and a very full social calendar and most of all, the one best thing to happen to me this year bringing me smiles and cheers all the time :-)

Anyway, this blog was created initially to be a pet project..trying to pour out my literary creativity and document my passage through my twenties. As time goes by, I began to adopt a definite style. I love to jot down the many things that happen in my life outside the hospital and the various places I have visited.

I talked about the white water rafting at KKB with my TI gang. Although the water level was low, the excitement and adrenaline was high enough. I vow to go to another wwr trip soon....

I spoke briefly on my supporting role in my dear housemate, PS quest for marathoning glory in Singapore during the Stanchart Singapore Marathon 2008. It was almost Christmastime thus the giant displays at Orchard Road and goodwill all round.

I talked about the many trips up north to the wonderful Pearl of the Orient with many rainfalls and landslides. Thankfully, we managed to climb the 5 km uphill trek to the top of Penang Hill without any mishaps.

Inclusive of another 10 km run on the picturesque Penang Bridge in late 2008. I didn't do well in that race as I was unprepared, hungry and very dehydrated but the scenery was superb.

Then it was a very beautiful visit to Yunnan in China during the winter first steps upon the soil of China. This last minute trip was almost an afterthought to 2008, but it was one of the better highlight of the year.

The scenery was superb and the food scrumptious. I think the World Heritage sites accolades were truly well-deserved!

Of course, who could have forgot my actual birthday in November when I was in Singapore and celebrated it with my naughty nieces and nephews and extended family. Now, don't try to count the candles!

Along the way, I have tasted a lot of wonderful food in Malaysia and beyond. Of course, I couldn't resist snapping pics of the food I've eaten so far. Yummy...

Of course, I came back recently from a very fun trip to Java with a few backpacking buddies and it was a good adventure. We had very good deals, easy-to-follow schedule, interesting sights and sounds albeit the hit and misses with hotel rooms. Ah, the trials and tribulations of backpacking in Southeast Asia!

Looking forward to many more wonderful adventures and be sure to keep your eyes glued to these pages as I strive to blog more.
P.S : In case you noticed, I've mentioned mostly events in the second half of the year. What happened to the missing half? The reason was that my previous notebook was stolen from my room in the Medical Officer quarters in Teluk Intan in October. Therefore, I couldn't easily trace most of my pictures from earlier part of the year. Nevertheless, it wasn't that eventful and I choose to concentrate on better days. Here's wishing for happier, more glorious days ahead for little CPD!

Graveyard of the Fireflies

I am a novice when it comes to Japanese animations and cartoons. There is a whole big industry out there and I wasn't really interested in manga or anime. However, I saw this show recently and it literally broke my heart. The story is so real and heart-wrenching.

Graveyard of the fireflies is partially based on the life of its Japanese creator and chronicled the tale of two orphans in war-time Japan (in 1945) named Seita and Setsuko. In the space of a few months, they experienced the horrors of air raids, death of their loved ones, abandonment by adult relatives and hardship of life in rural Japan. The most interesting and sobering part is that the show begins and ends with tragedy.

The real victims of wars are the common folks, especially the elderly and the children. I hope that some people out there on a warpath may see this show and be touched by the simplicity of the animation and the sincerity of the storyline, that peace will prevail once again.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

ABC on Java (as according to CPD) Part 1

A : Ants. Hardworking insects preferring to work in team. Also produce a form of larvae irresistible to pet birds. Found in massive number in Pasar Ngasem, Jogja.

B : Batik. We have our own version, but IMHO, the Javanese produces the most brilliant, vibrant artwork with batik. Superb artisans..

C : Craters. Since Indonesia has one of the most turbulent landscape in the world and the amazing collections of volcanoes meant that we could access any volcanoes almost anytime, anywhere in this country.

D : Darlings. The demure ladies from the islands of Java and beyond, particularly from Madura and Bali are well-known to be irresistible, docile and hot,hot,hot. Of course Indonesian maids are exceptions to the cause, but have you seen the specimens on Indon tv? Yummylicious....

E : Enterprising. The people there can sell anything, from Gudang Garam cigarettes, to parking lots. Of course they sell batik printings and silverware in massive number.

F : Foreign influence. The Dutch came, saw and conquered (veni, vincci, vedi). It shows on the architecture and food.

G : Grim skyline. Despite the cities bursting at their seams with the countless human population, the infrastructure is buckling under the pressure and the skyline certainly doesn't reflect the size of the city.

H : Handicraft. This place is famous for batik, silver-ware and brownies. Hey, creating delicious food is a handy craft!

I : Impressive preservation of culture. Ancient Hindu dances depicting the story from ancient text like Ramayana and Mahabharata were preserved in the biggest Muslim country in the world. Intriguing huh?

So stay tuned for the next edition of CPD's Alphabet Calendar on Java...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The end of leisure is the beginning of work and more work

Bandung brought about many happy memories of shopping and the end of a satisfactory and fun trip. The surrounding volcanoes, esp Tangkuban Perahu was huge and the nearby restaurant called Sapu Lidi was superb enough. I guess the highlight was the wonderful shopping, especially at Rumah Mode. For the record, I really loved the ambience and food at Sapu Lidi @ the Sawah.

Apparently, T.Perahu looks like an overturned sampan and by God, it was a gigantic boat. It looked marvellous from a distance. The cool and rainy weather also made it all the more dramatic. With hot steam rising from the 'cauldron', oops, I mean crater, we were transported to some Nat Geo or Discovery documentary. It was really worth the short drive from Bandung and this is clearly the most accessible of all active volcanoes in Java. Not that I've been to that many volcanoes! (sheepish grin)

My hope was we could trek down nearer to the point of interest. Unfortunately, some flimsy-looking gate stood in the way. Dang...

The winter-like flora around the rim of the crater was bleak and sombre enough....
That didn't stop us from snapping photographs like crazy among the gnarled, dark barks that contrasted remarkably with our colourful attires. Cool.

Still, we couldn't stay long as it was time for more shopping again. Factory outlets, here we come. Awesome!

The problem with long vacations is the amount of oncalls I have to do to replace back the amount of days I took off. I was working 36 hours four times the past 1 week and as a result, pimples sprouted out on my face, my hair grew limp and my stamina level went down the drain. Aaargh…

Anyhow, looking at the bright side, I’m back at home now and sleeping like normal again. Next up on the CPD agenda : back to training and running eh? Btw, where are my shoes again?

Monday, March 2, 2009

The allure of Dieng

Dieng means Di-Hyang (or di hayang) in ancient Javanese language. I guess a direct translation means that it is the abode of gods a.k.a heavenly realm. I'm not too sure whether it can be extrapolated to modern world today. I can just surmise that our brief yet worthwhile visit to Dieng Plateau was a sonata of serenity and isolation as this refreshingly cool wonderland is definitely off the beaten trail.

Finally managed to catch the sunrise..yay! It was pretty special as we see the sun rising amidst the clouds and volcanoes. Unfortunately, we didn't really catch the double sunrise...

Anyway, the Arjuna temples predate Borobudur and Perambanan by centuries and reminded me of the temples of the Aztecs in South America. It was so misty and cold up there...the weather was superb!

Not only that, we manage to catch many geographic the ever-bubbling, hot mud-pool at the foot of an active volcanoes. My friend SH kept on wondering whether the ground will disappear beneath her feet as we kept on avoiding hissing spots emanating very hot gasses from the ground under our feet. Not only we are visually-stimulated, our olfactory gland was activated to the fullest by the strong sulphuric fumes. I think by then, if any of us were still drowsy, we truly did wake up to the 'overpowering' smell eh?

Another interesting spot was this aqua-marine lake that is called Telaga Warna. Apparently, the
lake changes colour as the sun-light hits it at different angles. As usual, the weather was against us and it was the cloudiest day ever. All we had was the amazing blue that I absolutely adore so I didn't mind. At least it wasn't muddy-coloured like most of the waterways in Malaysia!!

Some of the fallen trees are so reminiscent of fallen heroes in a long-forgotten war eh? As we couldn't stay on for long (hunger beckons), we left after a few wonderful hours at Dieng Plateau to arrive at our hotel in Wonosobo in time for breakfast.

One of the best thing about being a doc is that we could access any meds we like and I took one anti-motion sickness pill and slept the whole journey. In fact, I was so knocked out, I was drowsy almost the entire day. Aaargh!

Nevertheless, the return trip was forgettable (it was raining cats and dogs again) as the Uncle Muddy negotiated the hairpins with skills comparable to Schumacher. I was pretty glad I wasn't awake throughout the entire harrowing trip (I'm well-known for vomiting in cars and boats).

This time round, we decided to stay at the Sosrowijayan Road area at Jogjakarta which was the most superb place to stay if you decide to backpack. Its so near to the train station and to Malioboro street, the shopping road that has it all.

Next up on CPD version of Amazing Race Java : very cultural experience which lulled me to sleep and the tale of two cities....