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?