Thursday, September 12, 2019

Much Ado About Small Towns

Small town prejudices amuse me sometimes. From the irrational fear of the big bad city to the xenophobic generalization of all those others, we could all probably go on and on about the many little prejudices exhibited.

For me working in a small town hospital, the oft-repeated preconception that irks me would be this erroneous yet prevalent idea that only the most awfully shoddy professionals remain - since they would assume the exceptional ones would have brushed off the crummy dirt of the small town for the gleaming burnish of the nearby metropolis.

Many a time I've heard of many who travel far - more often than not a quick hop, skip and jump over the Big Puddle - for a medical procedure they could have done at a fraction of the price and with far less hassle back home. From something as simple as a herniotomy which requires little more than a snip and cut that most general surgeons would find elementary.

Paul : So you travelled miles to do something you could have done here on the cheap? 
Friend : Can they do it here? 
Paul : It's so simple, even I could do it. 
Friend : I don't really trust them though.
Paul : Oh? Why?
Friend : Well they are from < insert small town here >
Paul : Isn't this your hometown?

And when queried on why... they always assume the quality is better elsewhere. Have they ever thought that it's their very own hometown they are talking about? Talking smack about their own? Come on. Does that mean they are of bad quality themselves?

Oh man, are they from a small town? 


And something I simply cannot brain.

Yes, I am from the small town of Malacca - but I doubt any of my friends and classmates have ever seen themselves as despicable second-rate hicks. Perhaps it's the long history behind our older city or the more cosmopolitan air here but we've always taken pride in hailing from our lil town!

Tuesday, April 09, 2019



We all have them. Not only the hideous trolls around but yeah, even the cutest, smartest, most popular prince charming out there in high school. Though some insecurities might not be as apparent or as loud as others, they are always there. Whether it's the low-key anxiety over the lack of looks, talent or brains - or far more embarassingly, foolishly freaking out over the insignificant pimple on that otherwise flawless sculpted ass.

Or perhaps even that friend of mine inexplicably worrying over how the back of his head looks.

Like anyone would fall heads over heels over the back of anyone's head.

But I digress. Only with age do you look back and realize how foolish it is worrying over such inconsequential nonsense - especially when faced with far bigger issues such as the inevitable death and taxes. Millennials might whine that their personal problems can't be compared in severity with others - but really, that gap between your teeth that could hurt your visual appeal is nothing compared to a cancerous tumour that might kill you.

Which amused me today at the gym when I saw this young collegiate hunk checking himself out in the ubiquitous gym mirrors by the showers. Shirtless of course. He's one of those smoothly rosy-cheeked, effortlessly good looking fellows who wouldn't look out of place as an instagram hottie - so it surprised me to see him keep patting his evident six pack in search of nonexistent love handles.

With body image issues so prevalent these days, even he's insecure.

Don't think there's an ounce of fat there.
Maybe the back of the head? 

Since he was putting on a show, I obviously had to give him an audience. Though I would have liked to tell him that he looked fine. Actually, more than fine.

And if he wanted to look for hidden fat, I could run my hands over his taut physique to find them. Helping hands and all that. 

Sunday, January 06, 2019

The Old and the New

Yes, it's been a while since I've written.

Not that I've entirely abandoned writing - never that - but these days I've been otherwise preoccupied. You see, I've rediscovered an old love of mine; and that has led me to stray just a little.

Hence the time away. Fear not though, worry warts. Charming Calvin and I are doing perfectly fine - in fact we just came back from a romantic evening walk checking out the budding new cafes in town.

My old and rediscovered love is for the humble lil pencil.

Years back as a child, I was the ultimate doodler. Once I could reasonably pick up that trusty old pencil, I scratched bold graphite on every possible surface I could find. Even now, a quick investigation of my old bedroom would probably uncover some hastily scribbled doodle on the wall in whatever medium I was using back then, from kiddie crayons to pencils. Never too far from some wildly ambitious artistic project!

Always time for a sketch!

Much later when my father was in and out of the hospital, the pencil helped me while away the time as I drew little sketches on the edges of my notebooks. Certainly drove away the incessant boredom at some of my more boring classes. Even more so during the interminably dull lectures in university where the didactic professors would drone on and on about human physiology. So to the pencil I found refuge, doodling caricatures of my crusty old tutors for a laugh.

But as I started the grueling years of my housemanship, I somehow left the pencil behind. Rushing for ward rounds with the prosaic pen in my white coat pocket, there seemed little time and opportunity to sketch. All regrettably sacrificed on the preeminent altar of medicine.

Can certainly afford the most gorgeous pencils these days. Even the best material money could buy. But I somehow lacked the drive.

Till Inktober came along.

For the sadly uninitiated, Inktober is basically an art challenge that prompts daily sketches every day for a month. Nudged along by some of my artsy friends in the art market, it wasn't long before I was spending almost every day doodling according to the prompt of the day. Don't think I've ever been that happy whiling away the hours. Though I might spend ages on just a tiny lil sketch, I found myself far more satisfied with the time used!

Since then I've filled several sketchbooks - albeit really small A5 ones - since I do my best sketches at work. Hanging around waiting for the next crisis to happen seems to be the best time for me to center and calm myself down with a quick doodle.

Makes me wonder sometimes why I left this love behind.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Battle of the Break-up Buddies

Weddings are a time for friends and family to gather together to celebrate the union of someone near and dear to them - to that other person. Hopefully well received of course. Apart from the exceptionally rare Romeo & Juliet tragedies where the church aisles are literally dripping in fresh blood of mutual enmity, generally weddings these days have both sides of the union in collective accord with each other.

Pick a seat, not a side, they would normally claim at a wedding.

However though a handful may be mutually shared friends of both the bride and groom, let's not fool ourselves into believing there isn't a secret dividing line through the aisles between friends of the bride and friends of the groom. Even when they meet up with new people as a couple, that new friend would still gravitate towards one more than the other. 

With certain few exceptions. 

His friends. Her friends. Trust me, they all know where to stand. 

So friends of the bride and friends of the groom can be clearly seen on opposing sides during such ceremonies, with few jumping across the centre to join the other side. So it was to my surprise that I noticed something peculiarly off when I snooped through the wedding seating for a friend's coming wedding. 

Paul : This is the final list? 
Friend : Yes. 
Paul : Wait, where are your friends? 
Friend : On the list. 
Paul : No. Those are his friends. 
Friend : Those are my friends too. 
Paul : Umm no.  
Friend : Common friends!
Paul : His friends. 
Friend : Common friends!
Paul : Nope. Invite your own people!

Clearly so. Though admittedly it was a pretty short list, it was obviously lopsided with none of her friends, her classmates, her colleagues... her people in that sense. 

Though many would claim that a relationship only matters to the individuals involved therein, let me tell you it isn't always true. When a couple finally settles down to a somewhat committed relationship, they also bring whatever emotional baggage they have been lugging about before, random rabid relatives - and also their own passel of crazy friends.

Only the really foolish would eschew the previous platonic / plutonic ties of their partner. The smart ones play it well so that his or her friends inevitably become their own as well. Even so rarely do those friends actually abandon their original comrade to become even more of a buddy-buddy to the new partner. 

Ties that become ever more apparent in the event of a breakup. Or even a break. 

When even the most amicable splits forces their friends to choose sides - so yes, even those supposed common friends. Those old college drinking buddies that he brings to the relationship, those brash working mates that come over for board games sometimes, they would inevitably drift back to his side. His friends, and yes no matter how close they may have become in the interim, would still muddle back through some misplaced sense of friendship and camaraderie.  

Really not so common actually. 

Thursday, September 06, 2018

To Tweet or Not To Tweet

That's a question I can answer quite easily.

When you're in doubt, just don't.

There are times I'm glad I came of age at a time where the internet was still in its babbling infancy so my totally trashy drunk photos of youth aren't splashed around for semi-posterity for all to see. Since social media wasn't always around, I've always known to be a lil more cautious of what to let everyone else see and what not to.

Or at least realized that what you send out into the internet could remain there forever. And anyone - and yes that includes internet trolls that could crawl out of any nook and cranny of the dark web - could place a snarky disrespectful comment.

But some easily bruised young-uns these days don't seem to have realized that pertinent fact which is how I came to read a repeated retweet. Basically something like this.
When I say I'm ugly I'm not looking for sympathy I'm legit just venting my fucking feelings. I'm allowed to feel unattractive. My feelings are valid. Don't just say 'But you're just so pretty' like okay. But I don't feel like it right now. Fuck off. Let me have my emotions.  
Really. So many thoughts.

Dang. What didchu say? 

Seriously number one. Gosh so incredibly churlish to all your soon to be ex-friends who actually tried to support you in their own apparently misguided way. Sure, it's not the right way according to you but at least they tried. So swallow your entitled pride and take that consolation pill.

Number two... well yes, your feelings are valid but isn't theirs as well? Your hastily shutting them would be invalidating their feelings and thoughts as well, no? Aren't you doing exactly what you wouldn't want done to yourself?

Number three is somewhat disconnected from the tweeted post above but about parenting and children at large. Perhaps it is good that our Asian Tiger Moms actually told us to shut the fuck up sometimes. Perhaps we shouldn't entirely dismiss the old-fashioned option of having our children remaining respectfully silent at certain times. Their feelings are perfectly valid of course - but there are times they shouldn't be so quick to express them all the time. Seriously. Bite your lip. Impulsively coming up with such a hostile response in public would probably earn a quick maternal whack across the back of our heads for being absolutely, almost criminally, discourteous.

Since perhaps you should have known better than to post such a comment on the web for anyone out there to see - and comment.

Last of all, imagine how much worse you would feel if all and sundry had agreed with a resounding 'Yes, you're ugly.' For someone who hasn't felt very handsome for his entire life, believe me I would rather have compliments than not.