Sunday, November 28, 2010

Out of the middle of the jungle

Growing up and staying in a place your whole life doesn't mean you know all about it, esp since you've been away for the past 3 years. I found a little piece of rustic charm of Indochina in KL, situated in a place quietly and discreetly tucked away in the corner of Ampang, called Tamarind Springs.

I came here for my belated birthday celebration...thoroughly enjoyed it. The food was delicious (and do expect hefty price tags) but most importantly, the ambience was unique, befitting of special occassions.

Starters consist of a variety of fish cakes, rice-rolls (Vietnamese popiah), prawns and savoury little spoons of mixed vegetable. Cue the cameras flashing away on the big platter of aromatic & tasty delicacies. Quite a good start to the meal ahead.

We've decided on a meal of 'seafood'. My favourite is the soft-shell crab in coconut was neither spicy nor overpowering, just yummy & crunchy. How I wish portions were bigger as there were only 4 little crabs for the two of us (remember, this ain't Sri Lankan crabs) least we had more to come.

The next 2 dish were typical Thai fare - mixed vegetable in fish sauce and grilled salmon with spinach in savoury sauce. Nothing much to shout about, but at least these are healthy alternatives to typical fried and super-spicy Chinese food.

Dessert was different from the theme of the night, as we ordered from Il Tempio, the Italian restaurant on the floor below. When the tiramisu and durian cheesecake arrived, I would say that the tiramisu was forgettable although the durian cheesecake was quite unique.

The entire place was fully booked but you could see (from the pic below) that it's far from full. Ambience was perfect but I would say that it's pricey and the place was inaccessible to anyone without a car. Anyhow, this is still a pretty unforgettable and magical-looking place.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gooood week

Wow…what an inspiring week! The whole week represent a series of events that threw big spanners in my descent towards mediocre spirit and lackluster, demotivated living. I’m back to my hype-whatever, motivated and optimistic self all thanks to the following events….

Since I begin to blog enthusiastically again, guess I am back to being CPD again. I always feel better towards the end of the year, especially as thanksgiving,my birthday, Christmas and new year approach. Maybe the end of the year bonus helps (HAHA, I wish)

So, started the week in a new posting – adult cardiac surgery work means a lot of excitement and long hours in the OT. ..some of the things I LURVE most in practicing medicine. The other perks are of course, numerous, i.e getting medicine whenever I want, knowing when to stop and also to start running, wearing the amorphous, monochromatic ‘pyjamas’ in the workplace (a.k.a scrubs) and the list goes on. But I digress.

Anyway, spent some time cutting up, uh, I mean operating on people and literally giving them a new life is really fascinating. When we put people on bypass machine, we are inducing death. Modern-Lazarus- work per se is not everyone’s cup of tea. Every case involves extremely long hours and super steep, unforgiving learning curve. Guess there are pros and cons to everything in life, ain’t it?

Other than spending time in the OT, of course I see patients in the clinic. For the first time since medical school, I actually learnt lots while sitting in with the chief himself. Never knew I could work and learn in a fun way before.

The biggest inspiration of the year came in the form of an emergency case that only the most courageous team will think of going in. I mean, the patient has already seen the light at the end of the tunnel once. That being said, we still bit the bullet, went ahead with a life-saving decision and with everyone’s full consent and knowledge, gave the family a final hope, with the only possible effort.

Although the patient has passed on a few days later, this experience left an indelible mark on my life – something clicked in the jigsaw puzzle and I rediscovered the meaning of why I am here. It’s to do our best under fire, even when all hope is gone. God gave us the skills and talents, it’s up to us whether we are good stewards, whether we leave a legacy behind, should we perish. Incredible enlightenment.

Then, I read this book called ‘BORN TO RUN’ by Christopher McDougall. I recommend it to any runners and anyone wanting to change their life. It was such an empowering and exciting tome. The Tarahumara people are downright wonderful that I felt like picking up a backpack and joining them for a year or two. I will no longer look at running the same way again. We are truly bio-designed to run…our feet are wonderful engineering feat that propels us at long distances….extremely long distances. So much so that I started running again the past few days 

If there is one book that any runner is born to read, its BORN TO RUN...the book that triggered the wildly-popular barefoot running craze nowadays and the extreme ultra-distance runners like my dear fren, AYPS. (Unsponsored Promotion, courtesy of the National Library Board of Singapore)

After feeling really inspired mentally, professionally and physically, the final icing on the cake is the spiritual blessing that I encountered today as we celebrated Thanksgiving – a massive gathering of a family of 5000 people at our Paya Lebar complex.

Pastor reminded us of our role and existence in Singapore – to be leaders, to go where no one has gone before, to create a model when there aren’t any. This is what we call strategic leadership. Other than a power-packed sermon, we had a performance and a free dinner for the massive crowd. Logistics were impeccable as everyone was stuffed, happy and comfortable.

The lesson of the week : Reading can be a dangerous activity - it can change the way you live, forever :-)