Monthly Archives: October 2010

Funny how one forgets the simple things

Woke up this morning and i found to my surprise, that i was able to get out of bed. I was refreshed. But then again, i slept at 10pm the night before. Strange how easily i forget the simplest things in life – like if i sleep early, i can wake up early too. Hurrumph.

Also i did my grocery shopping today and bought two packets of chocolates. During a conversation with a friend the previous week, she mentioned that it was Halloween this Sunday. Halloween! The memory still appalls me. Anyway, i am all prepared now. Bought the chocolates. Waiting for the neighbourhood children to come bang on my door. I will be so peeved if no one shows up, and my housemate and i will have to eat the chocolates ourselves – like i say, we don’t have the habit of pigging out on chocolates.

I have also given my housemate the heads up. I probably will not be home for the potential trick or treating since i have a futsal match scheduled around the time. Oh well…i was hoping to be able to salvage my tarnished image!

And for those of you that are bored – a rather educational video from Discovery channel  regarding pumpkins.

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God knows why i am so distracted these days…

An article i read recently.
Academics, who work for long periods in a self-directed fashion, may be especially prone to putting things off: surveys suggest that the vast majority of college students procrastinate, and articles in the literature of procrastination often allude to the author’s own problems with finishing the piece.
Philosophers are interested in procrastination for another reason. It’s a powerful example of what the Greeks called akrasia—doing something against one’s own better judgment. Piers Steel defines procrastination as willingly deferring something even though you expect the delay to make you worse off. In other words, if you’re simply saying “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” you’re not really procrastinating. Knowingly delaying because you think that’s the most efficient use of your time doesn’t count, either. The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn’t make people happy. In one study, sixty-five per cent of students surveyed before they started working on a term paper said they would like to avoid procrastinating: they knew both that they wouldn’t do the work on time and that the delay would make them unhappy.

Why does this happen? One common answer is ignorance. Socrates believed that akrasia was, strictly speaking, impossible, since we could not want what is bad for us; if we act against our own interests, it must be because we don’t know what’s right. Loewenstein, similarly, is inclined to see the procrastinator as led astray by the “visceral” rewards of the present. As the nineteenth-century Scottish economist John Rae put it, “The prospects of future good, which future years may hold on us, seem at such a moment dull and dubious, and are apt to be slighted, for objects on which the daylight is falling strongly, and showing us in all their freshness just within our grasp.” Loewenstein also suggests that our memory for the intensity of visceral rewards is deficient: when we put off preparing for that meeting by telling ourselves that we’ll do it tomorrow, we fail to take into account that tomorrow the temptation to put off work will be just as strong.

Still, ignorance can’t be the whole story. In the first place, we often procrastinate not by doing fun tasks but by doing jobs whose only allure is that they aren’t what we should be doing.

Read more at The New Yorker.

In particular, the last two sentences defy logic yet makes so much sense at the same time.
Not sure if i am too stressed or just too lazy, but i am more interested in reading my novels than burying my head in my textbooks. Argh.

Brutal

I need to whinge and vent my pent-up frustrations. Today’s BJJ training was just shocking. My performance was horrible. I accumulated several major injuries (i mean not major major such that i need to be sent to the hospital but enough to aggravate me – you will see what i mean).

First let me give you a bit of background. For some reason, the mood was very somber today. The coach was really serious because he was teaching a new technique and berating the rest (i never feel reprimanded – not sure why, maybe it is because i am a girl?) for not being proficient in their open guards.

Open guard against a kneeling opponent

 

Open guard against a standing opponent

Anyway, the minute i joined the training, this is what happened:

1. In my first bout as i started grappling, i heard my neck crack. I froze, the sounds still reverberating in my ears. I immediately paused waiting for any pain to hit – nothing. I moved my neck, all good. I continued sparring, but i was shocked. The hell?! It probably sounds more atrocious than when it actually happened – a girlfriend whom i told, was appalled. But i likened it to a chiropractor cracking someone’s spine; except i did mine myself.

2. In the middle bout, i was wrestling hard. I felt my ribs twist. I kid you not, i could feel it was my ribs. I was flabbergasted – you know i mentioned before i was flexible, but my limit of flexibility never cease to wonder me. I immediately succumbed to the challenge my opponent had on me because i did want to take my chances and fracture my ribs. Rib fractures are not fun – they are painful and take a god damn long time to heal and i really look forward to my snowboarding trip in Japan at the end of the year.

3. In another bout, my opponent executed a choke; he did not get a good hold on my neck. I managed to inch my jaw within his grasp, and because i obstinately refused to tap out (courtesy of my former training in Judo – you don’t tap unless you absolutely have to. In fact some of my former judo mates never tapped – they just passed out, wtf); i felt my jaw shift. In my mind, i could see myself give an inward sigh of resignation.

4. In the last bout, i was on the side of my opponent. I don’t know how he did it (he’s much larger than me); he managed to throw me off. Because i refused to give in to the challenge, i landed, on my head. It certainly was not like the impact i sustained when i had that infamous black eye, but it was an impact nevertheless, and oddly, familiar. I used to bang my head in the same way when i was undergoing Judo training.

5. In the same last bout, for some reason i let my guard down (actually i have been doing that the whole night, why? I still don’t understand), and my opponent secured an armlock. Again i was intentionally slow to tap out because i wanted to break the lock, i was not successful and i felt my joint shift a little out of its socket before the lock was released. There was no major trauma, except a slight ache in my elbow which just rendered me more incensed. I really detest it when people inflict pain on me, but i know that other than calming down and focusing on my game, i was really no match for a senior belt. But still. Argh.

I realized that each time i learn a new technique; i am so focused on getting it right that i neglect other aspects of the game, and i think that’s why i did so poorly today. And also i reckon the other guys were keen to improve on their game too (guys are really blunt with one another – the coach openly tells them off if they have poor techniques. It is quite bizarre. I would have just been completely deflated if someone was so mean to me.) hence the increased level of viciousness.

So anyway, very disappointed with today’s training, especially when i have been doing well the past few weeks, and there was no indication that my skills were horrendous. I have reflected about it and i know this is probably the point in training where if i managed to get pass this hurdle, my skills would probably advance a level. I recognize the signs; but it still does not feel good. Argh.

I hope i do not need to wear my elbow guard to the hospital tomorrow. Did i mention that i managed to sustain a left medial ligament injury two weeks ago? And it is significant enough for me to not be able to execute one of the BJJ moves. Strangely, it only hurts at a particular angle – does not bother me when i am playing soccer. But point is i need to wear a knee guard if i am in in sports training, just so i do not exacerbate the strain. Would be maddening if i have to wear both a knee and an elbow guard!!

What the hell??

I saw this whilst browsing Book Depository.

 

I cannot believe this.

Do we need a clinical atlas focusing solely on Chinese infants?! This borders almost on the line of bizarre and discrimination. I have yet to see another book focusing on just one race (except for Natives). Unbelievable.

Click on the image above and it will lead you to Book Depository where there is a free Google preview. You will soon realize that there is no special (less than extraordinary) condition that affects this race than any other race.

Mirror

I was studying when i happened to look up and into the mirror. I frowned at my reflection; something looked off but i could not put my finger on it. After a few minutes of intermittent looking up into the mirror as i valiantly attempted to resume studying, i finally realized what was wrong. My EYEBROWS. They were too neat, too slim, too feminine. I do not have anything against being feminine, hell i think it would do me some good, but slim eyebrows in particular always make me think that the person is manipulative, cunning, vicious and really not very intellectual. (Perhaps i have seen too many professors with busy eyebrows.) My facial therapist clearly forgot my instructions when it came to my eyebrows – go easy, i like them a bit thick. Never mind, they will grow out in a couple of days? My relatively dark-framed glasses can cover up.

On another note, i went for a hands-on session in resuscitation a few days back. It was good fun and terribly useful – i now realize that the Universal algorithm ABC can be skipped if you know the person is in VT or VF, just go straight for the defibrillator. I also now finally got my head around adenosine and atropine – the former for SVTs and the latter for asystole. A world of difference. Anyway, the session included video-taping our performances so we could have a debrief and obtain feedback on what we had done well, and what we could improve on.

As the video played back, i saw a girl in long black hair entered the room. I squinted at the image, trying to recall who else was in the resuscitation room with me, before i realized with a jolt, that that girl was me. Holy moly, when did my hair grow so long?? I look so feminine i could barely recognize myself! No wonder acquaintances i have not met in months all stared at me in shock and approached me to tell me how long my hair has grown. I have never taken their comments seriously, dismissing it as small talk, but now i realized there is some truth to it. Wow. I am not cutting my hair – i have found a way to hold my hair back without looking like an auntie. I also like the contradictory image i am projecting (at least in my mind’s eye).

Book Depository finally delivered all the books i ordered. Also AbeBooks delivered The River (at a much faster speed than Book Depot!) by Ed Hooper promptly. The book is obviously second-hand (i have known that before ordering) but in a relatively good condition – no dog ears, no page creases or lines on the spine (pet peeve!). I was shocked to see writing on the inside of the front and back covers of the book because i do not recall that being in the book description of the bookseller, but that soon gave way to delight and nostalgia? These are the words:

 

Front cover

 

 

Back cover

 

Somewhere out there eight years ago in 2002, someone bought this book in London to read as they headed to Bristol the next day. Eight years ago, around that time, i was in junior college on a study break. Somehow, with a little turn of fate, this book landed in my lap, and i wonder what the previous owner is doing now.

Life is strange…and beautiful.

Laughable

Most of you probably know that before entering Medical School, i was actually accepted into a pretty good business university where i was offered two Bachelors of my choice – Bachelor of Social Science and Bachelor of Business (i was going to major in Finance). On the first day of orientation, i was bedazzled, befuddled and bewildered by the behaviour of my fellow cohort-mates. It was, i swear i am not joking, a fashion parade. One with cat claws visibly extended. The girls were pompous and arrogant, and basically had their heads filled with self-compliments of how good, beautiful, smart and invaluable they are. Of course, i was horrified and intimidated. I cannot foresee myself working with people who perceive themselves as the centre of their world, nor can i ever degrade myself to such a level in order to conform and survive.

I knew i wanted to do a Science course so i withdrew myself from the Business University on the very first day. Come to think of it, i probably skipped the registration ceremony on that day. I threw myself into the applications for Medical School. Actually, that is also a lie. I applied to overseas Universities via an organization which took care of most of the administrative work. I simply submitted the relevant documentations. My laidback approach was probably instigated by the fact that if i did not secure a place in Medical School, i will easily go into Forensic Science, and at that point of time (7 years ago), CSI was not that popular so Forensic Science was not that highly sought after. I was guaranteed a place by virtue of my results.

The point of telling you all these is that, i decided on the most challenging Science courses (Dentistry was just unfathomable – i went for the entrance exam comprising of modeling plasticine into molars, and manipulating wires into braces and basically just wanted to hang myself because i hate Art and Craft and decided that i was going to skip the interview which i was short-listed for HAHAHA) because i felt that people (girls especially – you will start to see a trend that i really dislike certain types of girls) who qualify into Medicine should attain at least a minimal level of grace and character, and working with such people would be inspiring and gratifying.

HAHAHA. Now the laugh is on me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that was serious flawed thinking on my part. Whilst you meet the most inspiring people in Medicine, you also encounter the most insecure, self-inflating, obnoxious turds here. They are just better and smarter in hiding their weakness so by the time you discover them, it is TOO LATE. The knife had been lodged, right between your shoulder blades, and the pain masked by the art of medicine till it is too late. Ok, so maybe i am exaggerating a little. I mean, given a choice again, i would still do Medicine, because despite the strenuous workload, practicing Medicine is still gratifying, and there is a way to avoid the minions that always threaten to upset the rest because they fail to recognize the holes in their characters.

After a long convoluted way of opening paragraphs, i shall finally come to the main gist of this entry.

Last week there was an in house prize organized by the hospital for medical students. It was not compulsory – just a bonus monetarily and of course an added stud to one’s curriculum vitae. I participated in it because i wanted to know where i currently stood, what level of knowledge is expected of me as a final year medical student and as a future intern. Believe it or not (i was reflecting after my GP rotation), i realized that in my almost six years of Medical school, i never once received positive feedback regarding my performance. I know this is not specific for me, and almost everyone else has a similar experience, but i still can’t help but feel appalled. When i completed my GP rotation, i had some positive feedback that was sincere and not some random superfluous “Good effort” kind of shit; and that night i went home, not feeling estatic, but rather, just shocked, grateful and relieved. You have no idea what it is like to work your ass off only for the Dean in her old-schooled manner to constantly berate you for not knowing more. Sheesh. (The larger hospitals, i have noticed, seem to be the bigger culprits. Smaller hospital have greater support, feedback and ambience.)

So anyway, i did not study for the prize since it is not an exam. I just went for it with my current level of knowledge. I found it basic and i did say so when i was asked by a fellow student who chose not to take the exam for one reason or another. Two other students who took the test were appalled and started spluttering saying how difficult it was and talking to me in a tone that said i must think i am very smart when i am really not. For an absurd second, i was forced to play it down and pander to their hurt little egos that no, it is quite difficult and it is not their fault. Then i realized what i was doing and stopped myself. Hallo, we are in our mid-twenties, surely we are not that insecure?? And why does it matter if i think it was basic and you felt it was difficult? At this stage in our lives, should we not be focusing on trying our best rather than getting hung up on who does better than who? Seriously, wtf?! Also, notice i said it was basic, but i did not say i will ace the damn thing? Argh.

That day, i was sharply reminded of my initial decision to give the rest of the medical students a wide berth because i just did not appreciate remaining in this rut of mentality instead of transcending it to become more mature adults. This is another reason why i prefer hanging out with non-medical people (a phenomenon i realized that seemed to occur amongst the consultants whom i find inspiring and genuine). But i also know that these same medical students, in their own egoistical worlds, probably just assumed i was an anti-social personality (i found it amusing that one of them looked really startled when he discovered i was busy with sporting activities on most nights – why did he assume to know my life? That is another great self-inflated egoistical trait characteristic of most medical students).

Anyway, my point is, it took me five painful years to acknowledge and accept that not all medical students have the grace and character i thought they possess. I know i certainly did not have that when i first started out in Medical school, but i certainly made it a point to better myself. And i think that is the core difference that separates the nice from the not-so-nice.

The end.

Unsettled

I am feeling very tense at the moment. Just squandered my entire weekend away. That’s not to say i did not enjoy myself with my innumerable social activities but i have studied very little. I have no mood to study, and i am three weeks to the big crunch.

Argh.

Need to breathe.