Ever since reading a review of The Chain in Lens Culture, i knew i wanted to get a copy of that photography book. But it was really expensive – sold in pounds. The conversion rate was incredibly high, and i was not inclined to invest so much of my money. But as i mentioned before, the currency rate took a hit, and i have been monitoring the trend, so i seized the opportunity to get the book. It still didn’t come cheap though – £95. Postage was over £20 because the book came encased in a metal box with its title printed on the case. There was also a delay in delivery because this book was becoming one of the rare books and the company had to source it out from one of their warehouses. All in all, i am glad i have the book. I bet the price will skyrocket in a decade although i am not intending to sell it.
I could not contain my excitement. I was curious. The photographer had taken photos of psychiatric patients in a psychiatric hospital in Taiwan. These patients were kept chained together, and were forced to work on a chicken farm in order to contribute meaningfully back to society. As i peered through each page, i felt almost guilty as if i was a voyeur.
The photos were really haunting. Elderly men were shown holding hands to comfort each other, elderly women were staring forlornly into the lens. I was a bit horrified that such elderly folk were made to live such destitute lives when their families should be fulfilling their responsibilities of filial piety. It really touched me on several levels – medically, i knew this was possibly the worst sort of way to manage a psychiatric patient. Socially, i was appalled that someone could mistreat their parent/sibling/relative in such a manner. Politically, i cannot believe that such a setup has not ignite much outrage in Taiwan. Surely one can see that it is inhumane?
Photos really paint a thousand words. The other book i am looking forward to purchasing is Life Before Death noch mal leben: portraits of the dying. This book depicts portraits of patients when they are still alive, and in the moments after death. It is another haunting, astounding book that will make you reflect about Life. Unfortunately it is in German, and i don’t know German. Hopefully someone would come out with a translated version, otherwise i might just have to get the German version before it goes out of print.
The other thing that arrived was my first print copy of the New England Journal of Medicine. I am so happy. So much nicer to thumb through the hard copy than to squint at the computer screen all the time. NEJM is also selling custom-designed binders (black with the journal’s famous crest on the spine of the binder) to hold the weekly issues. I am very tempted to purchase the binders; they will certainly look very smart on my bookshelf; but i am also aware that it is needless spending. I wonder whether The Lancet has the same sort of thing going for them. Anyway, i am pleased with my purchases.
Did i also mention, that today is officially the last day of Medical School??!! Of course i still have my finals next week and graduation still depends on my results, but holy hell, i have survived 6 years of Medical School (*touch wood lest something unpredictable happens during my finals*)! I never thought i would see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Anyhow, i came home, and i was just doing my own thing when i realized that i really need more of a celebration to commemorate the last day of medical school. I called up a good friend from medical school who was utterly frazzled by our finals and convinced her to attend the party hosted by the medical students society. Maybe we will have dinner after and have a nice long chat about our lives in Medical school, in retrospect. All right, now i need to get off the internet and do some studying!