Friday, July 31, 2009

Reign of Terror II : Children of the Revolution

Cruel opppression of the hungry masses can only lead to certain insurgency. It doesn't take much for that little spark of injustice to ignite into a flame of uprising - and it takes even less to fan that into an uncontrollable firestorm of revolution.

I've certainly learned from the bitter experiences of other ruling despots. So when the persecuted workers in my modest estate offered to send a representative, I was apprehensive at first - but found myself compelled to agree to a meet after recalling the harrowing events of that befell our poor Marie.

Fortunately I agreed.

Jamie Dornan
Ooh la la!

Since Salem seemed almost God-send. Who knew the lower classes could produce such a lovely specimen! Perfectly tanned with curly black locks and dreamy brown eyes, Salem stalked over the green fields with an alarmingly large pitchfork in hand demanding to see the châtelain. Startled me enough that I almost dropped a breakfast cupcake.

Salem : I need to have a word.
Paul : With a man like you, I'd prefer an entire conversation.
Salem : My men need a reprieve of one more day.
Paul : Fuck that. Are you breaking the terms of our agreement? Should I return to get my whip?
Salem : Have pity, sir!
Paul : Well I could work out a compromise.
Salem : That would be wonderful. Bless you, sir.
Paul : Wait till you hear my conditions.

Don't think I've ever been so much in charity with the toremented proletariat! If only I had known they had such swarthy, virile fellows walking about. Perhaps I should review my strict policy of not fraternizing with the great unwashed.

Forget about the youthful stripling who painted my walls. Now this is a man.

If only he wasn't as surly.

In my wild unadulterated fantasies, I would no doubt have ordered the hunky Salem to my bed, strapped, tied and ready to submit to my tender mercies. I could already picture him clearly - crying out my name as he struggled futilely on my secondhand bed, rattling the broken headboard even as I ran my riding crop down his sweatsoaked abs.

*ahem* Obviously I really need a cold drink.

Don't underestimate the people! Really clever of the workers to send their prettiest member to seduce me into lustful compliance. Instead of marching to storm the Bastille, they obviously elected to send Salem as scrumptious man-bait to sway me.

And he certainly did.

It was all I could do not to slam him against the closest wall and ravish his luscious red lips.

But all I did was ask for new showerheads. With nothing wild or kinky intended.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reign of Terror

Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend, will keep the dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof shuts out the sky.

Wise words from the Marquis St. Evrémonde.

Definitely a strict, uncompromising dictum that I am beginning to take to heart. Especially faced with the nightmarish reality of the inept and unindustrious sans culottes in this century. In spite of the fact that I hail from a shockingly liberal background, I'm really not all that democratic.

In fact, moving in to my new château has effectively turned me into quite the despotic tyrant. You can't possibly blame me. Surely after all my labours, I am deserving of my modest luxuries.

Or at least the simple creature comforts of piped water.

Is that really too much to ask?

The reasonable space of a month has been given to these unimaginative peasants to complete the task of refurbishing my château - and yet these slipshod workers lag behind! Incroyable! How else do you expect me to treat these foolish, procrastinating laggards who have been assigned to make my modest estate somewhat liveable!

Paul : Damn the buggers. I still have no running water!
Eve : Barbarous! Shall we order Madame Guillotine for them?

Obviously as the châtelain, I must needs crack the proverbial whip. As hospitable as they are, I simply cannot reside in the local hostelry forever!

Heeding the callous words of the Marquis, every morning I make my morning walkabout with the servants all ready for inspection in a row at parade stance. Of course I first dispossess them of their kitchen knives, gardening shears and pitchforks. Certainly wouldn't want an uprising from these mutinous serfs.

And then as they hurry away to attend to their various duties, I sit lazily on my rattan lawn chair handing out imperious edicts while snacking on sweet bon-bons and cupcakes. I need my little comforts.

Paul : I see a spot! Clean it up immediately!
Cleaner : Yes sir.
Paul : It should be perfectly clean, do you understand? Clean enough that you can eat off it.
Cleaner : Yes, sir.
Paul : And if I find a speck of dirt I shall expect you to lick it off with your tongue.
Cleaner : Yes, sir.
Paul : Do it now or I shall have your head!
Cleaner : Could I have my wages?
Paul : What wages! You're lucky I don't whip you to an inch of your life. Stop your endless boo-hooing! You are desecrating my marble tiles!

Yes. Obviously the cleaner's not quite as visually arresting as the youthful house painter. Otherwise he wouldn't receive the Turkish treatment.

Quite monstrous. Back in ye olde revolutionary days, no doubt I would have been beheaded with ma bébé Marie and the rest of her rightfully snotty aristos. Fortunately the Madama Guillotine has long been dismantled.

But what's the fuss! At least I let them have brioche.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Stroke of Patience

Translates into something like patience or perseverance. Always a source of amusement for me - since my mother wanted to purchase that particular word written on a scroll for my hotheaded brother and me. Seems we both fly off the handle quite easily.

Well, I'm certainly learning to keep my cool over here.

Fortunately I have paint swatches and window treatments to keep me relatively busy - or else I'd be obsessing over the creaky plumbing that came along with my new house. Seriously it's one blockage after the other. It might look pretty from the outside but it's steadily crumbling on the inside. You'd have imagined that the Rajah Brookes had the colonial bungalow erected back in the 1800s instead of our local government having it built just a couple of years back.

Maintenance. The workers here just don't have that word in their vocabulary.

Plumber : Easy enough to get water. Just call up the water department.

Few days later

Plumber : Oh, there's a lil leak outside. Not a problem. A few hours will solve it.

Few days later

Plumber : I think we might have to dig up the lawn. Maybe check the plumbing.

Few days later

Plumber : There's water going into the house but not to the second floor. We might have to go under the drain.

Few days later

Plumber : Umm. I think we might have to get an outside contractor.

By that time, I was already chewing on nails with nasty expletives spitting out every other moment. Think the panicked plumber wished he could crawl right into the pipes to hide. So much for keeping a sweet, peaceable reputation in the hospital.

Deep breaths. !

Paint swatches. Kilim rugs. Window treatments.

Carter Oosterhouse
We all need help with home improvement!

Thankfully I have my paint swatches. Took my inspiration from the mellow greens and browns of the local Starbucks franchise ( oh yes they have Starbucks here! ). Celadon green and a soft champagne! Thought it would go extremely well with the ethnic handicrafts that I purchased on my first weekend here. Even the carved tribal headmask I saw the other day.

After the thundering scold I gave to the workers on the leaky plumbing issue, they were all willing to capitulate to my other demands. An entire band of painters jumped to work almost immediately and it took them less than an hour to paint the entire living room.

Gotta admit though one of the junior house painters was kinda cute. Certainly a pleasure watching that boy work :) Pretty boys with sculpted biceps definitely help calm me down.

Now if I could only get him to practise his brushstrokes at midnight with me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nesting Syndrome

Like all good lil gay boys, I'm an avid nester.

A far cry from the stereotype of the workaholic physician who plonk themselves in a tiny 10X10 closet of an apartment, toss their crumpled clothes in the cupboard and blaze off to work without a second glance behind. Then rush back after work in a flurry through a messy path drawn through the dust and grime of the barely cleaned apartment to fall unconscious on their hastily made-up bed.

Then it's off to work again.

They live and breathe the hospital. Forget about having that plasma tv.

Seriously. Doctors are slobs.

Thank God we have obsessively neat ( OCD? ) nurses to help us clean up at work.

Otherwise our clinical workplaces would more closely resemble the filthy pigstys some of us wallow in back home.

Nate Berkus
Here to help with all your decorating needs!

Don't think I could live like that. Dirt and grime aside ( hence the need for a maid! ), I can't live in an anonymous apartment with plain store-bought furniture, bland beige walls and zero personality. Talk about boring.

Paul : OMFG. There's a pathway etched in a layer of perma-dust in your living room! And I thought I had it bad!
Doctor : I only use the bed. Why clean up the living room!
Paul : That's not a living room. It's a rubbish dump!
Doctor : Not that bad lah.
Paul : Put some pictures up, man! You don't even have a poster on the wall. It's blank! No pillows even!
Doctor : But it's a rented place!
Paul : You've been here more than a year!

Really. Rented place is now officially not an excuse for sloppy decor. Nor a sad lack of personality.

Kinda like office drones with seriously dull cubicles. Which got me wondering whether Charming Calvin has an empty cubicle as well.

I need pictures. I need mementoes. I need bric-a-bracs. I need curtains. I need rugs. Call it junk or whatever you want but I need my knick knacks around me. I've even gotten several pictures ready to tack up in my office.

And yes, that's my office. I have one now :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Superiority Complex

Honestly the specialist cap still sits uncomfortably on my head.

Albeit a bit new. No doubt the heavy responsibilities that come along with the cap takes some getting used to!

It's certainly a change for an upstart who used to lead the rank and file to rebel against the so-called oppressive administration! These days I stand on the evil administrative side instead - and try my level best not to subjugate the abused proletariat.

Knowing all the while that I'll have to crack that whip sometime.

Not yet though. Adjusting to the new position is taking a while. Even my usual dealings with the medical officers has changed. Just a few months back, I fought the good battle alongside the rest of the Gungho Ginnys and all - and now I have to hand them orders from the sidelines? Have to admit it's a little weird having to give out advice, recommendations and such to my trusting subordinates. Not to mention approving budgets and drafting departmental policy!

Don't they all know what a crazy goofball I am?

Damn. They want a decision now. Maybe if I throw some dice?

Obviously not. These days I can't even crack all that many jokes since a couple of my medical officers actually take what I say seriously. Especially one shockingly idealistic officer who unquestioningly accepts my edicts as the gospel truth. Scary, that one.

Even the one I thought would be least impressed - our Ebullient Eve - has taken to dubbing me the boss.

Eve : Boss, can I do this?
Paul : Go ahead.
Eve : Boss, can I do that?
Paul : Do you have to call me boss? I do have a name.
Eve : Call you Paul? Yes, boss.
Paul : Sigh.
Eve : I'm sorry but you are the boss.

Bruce Springsteen I'm clearly not.

Maybe I'd be more fond of the lofty title if it was a hot, sexy male intern in leather calling me that. Unfortunately all my junior colleagues are female.

Damn. Have to rethink the entire departmental hiring policy. Maybe even a cute personal assistant?

Now that I'm in this supposedly exalted position, I don't think that it's all that much to crow about. Seriously. Don't think your bosses in the comfy corner office are all so great! It's all timing. We just happened to get there first.

And don't tell anyone - but most of us are major screw-ups as well :P

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Meter Maids in Miri

Wasn't long before I stumbled onto a kindred soul at work. Or as Anne Shirley used to say, a bosom friend.

Just like me, Ebullient Eve has been exiled from the civilized mainland ( after a grueling year of internship ) to the wild jungles of Borneo. Eager to provide succor to the ailing natives, she arrived only to find a pack of bickering workmates, a crap-infested apartment and a sad lack of retail therapy! What's a city slicker gotta do!

Over dinner, our fellow urbanite Eve bemoaned the fact that she can't even purchase a decent pair of stilettos here! At least not without running the risk of being unfairly labeled a tacky strumpet. I knew then that we could be friends. You can imagine how quickly we bonded over our shared issues.

Talking about streetwalkers, we stumbled upon a burning issue close to our hearts. So in our spare time, we have been checking out the more salacious nightspots in Miri. Don't ask us why! It's like a hobby for the bored senseless. Seriously we need all the cheap thrills we can get.

Nurse : Choi! Why you want to know all these places? Very very bad places.
Paul : We are oversexed monsters with a healthy curiousity.
Eve : And we want to show our unfailing support for legalized prostitution.
Nurse : Oh liddat ah. Don't tell me I sent you. Well, you just drive into town and then you ... hmm, let me draw you a map.

Obviously my fearless nurses over here have their own enterprising contacts. Won't go as far to call them fledgling mama-sans but still...

No such money boys though!

But as it turns out, the classified information given was spot-on. By day the sad lil city might be a tad deserted / abandoned but by night it transforms into a dazzling red-light mecca for the undesirables ( or desirables as the case may be ).

Though still sadly lacking in paying customers.

Ever intrepid, our Eve took a painfully slow drive around the local haunts, pausing to check out the local treats in store. Sliding conspiciously low on the front seat, I was beginning to get worried when the tattooed bouncers started giving us the eye.

But we didn't look like the regular oil and gas boys in search of something to drill so they left us alone.

Forget about the flower girls at Covent Garden, these tainted blossoms have better things for sale at the old town market. Squatting at the marble steps of the local fishmarket with lighted cigarette in hand, these painted ladies offer their bountiful wares to all who pass. Then we have the mature meter maids sauntering around parking lots with their rouged cheeks and short skirts pouting suggestively at the cars that go by.

Even a couple of enterprising gals sitting patiently in a dim, narrow staircase of a shophouse waiting for sharp-eyed customers.

Unfortunately there didn't seem to be a meat market for gay men. Haven't the pimps thought of expanding their repertoire?

I'm sure we missed a few hidden places of course. But we have time. And we had great music to liven up the background - appropriately the tunes of a local singer made good, the wonderful Zee Avi.

Bitter Heart? Well maybe but the meter maids certainly didn't look bitter on the outside.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trials and Tribulations of a House Officer

Or an intern as the case may be :)

If you're thinking of becoming a doctor, think again.

And again.

Then smack your head and think it over again.

It's not as easy as it looks on television.

Just the other day I had my own sadly demotivated cousin ( have lotsa future MDs all in the family ) threatening to leave housemanship after one short week. Pity the poor fella!

Frankly it's not the first time I've heard of it. Fresh, dewy, enthusiastic houseman who walk into wards filled to the brim with stressed-up doctors, angry nurses and neverending piles of work usually find themselves freaked out with culture shock. It happens. Don't expect a welcome sign. Being immediately drafted for work, most of us get acclimatized fast enough, screw up our courage and usually soldier on - but quite a few just turn tail and run for the hills. The attrition rate amongst junior doctors can be quite shocking.

But why?

Grey's Anatomy
We all have different ways to react to stress!

Don't they know how bad it is? Don't they read House of God ( scathing satiricial treatise on the nightmares of internship! ) anymore? I'll be the first to admit that the conditions for internship are actually improving. And it will get better. Seriously. The poor interns currently struggling under horrific conditions might roll their eyes in disbelief but it's true! It was much, much worse before. Way back when.

Things you can expect as a house officer :

1) Trust me, you will be treated like shit. I would love to say that the specialists and MOs are wonderful - and yes, there are plenty of sweet friendly folk around - but by and large, freakishly short-tempered, egoistic monsters with big sticks abound. In the horrifying hierarchy of medicine, you are barely an amoeba. Expect to be squashed.

2) Expect endless caseloads dumped at your doorstep right on the very first day. Everyone's waiting for fresh meat. And they know you are coming. Work is already waiting for you.

3) Never expect to have regular mealtimes. That is like ancient history. Don't depend on the bell to be rung for dinnertime. Anything can happen in the wards - and farewell to dinner. Eat when and if you can, carry snacks in the wide pockets of your whitecoat and try your best to swallow the bland plastic food they serve in the hospital. Reason why most of us have gastric ulcers btw.

4) Social life? Don't even think about it. The hours are grueling. From now on, you live, eat and breathe the hospital. However you may socialize for brief seconds in the pantry over rotten food with the other tortured housemen.

5) Impossibly you are supposed to recall each and every detail of each and every patient in the ward. Think almost 50 in the bigger wards. Talk about an uphill task when patients come in and out through a revolving door. No particular advice here but I used to hurriedly scribble Cliff's Notes of the patients ( hence my hideous teeny-tiny handwriting ) onto lil pieces of notesheets to hide in my pockets.

6) Nurses can be mean to the newbies. Whether you bite back or shrink away, deal with it. Respect has to be earned after all. Think of it as a rite of passage.

7) Worse of all, you can complain but you'll probably get a dozen sneers. Crying babies who crawl home to their mommies and daddies ( usually the scions of Datuks ) to write letters of complaint are usually looked down upon - and the slanderous gossip spreads like wildfire on the medical grapevine. We all know who whines. Unfortunately the milk of human kindness is only reserved for the infirm. Weakness isn't tolerated amongst the ranks so whiny wimps generally wash out fast in the surprisingly macho medical line.

Sounds terrible, doesn't it? So if you can't hack it, please leave. Now. Why suffer through the terrible agonies of the job?

Of course it's not as awful as I painted it. But I went into the job with just such an image of the horrible working life - and it actually turned out to be much better than I imagined! Most hopeful young doctors probably stagger under that initial adjustment phase since they don't anticipate the horrors coming their way. I figure it's easier to be prepared for the worst!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Requieim for Ianto Jones

Been a while since I got caught up with a decent sci-fi series ( last one was the incomparable Firefly I believe ) but I've been getting quite obsessed with Torchwood lately. A pity the BBC releases only a few episodes each season - about a dozen or so each - kinda like wartime rationing if you ask me. Wouldn't have minded getting a lil bit more of Captain Jack Harkness and his Torchwood gang. Or even the roommate trio of the vamp, the werewolf and the ghost in Being Human.

Fortunately there's always reruns.

The series is set in Cardiff and follows the Welsh branch of a covert agency called the Torchwood Institute which investigates extraterrestrial incidents on Earth and scavenges alien technology for its own use. A late spin-off the infamous BBC science fiction drama Dr Who, Torchwood was something I never thought I'd grow to enjoy. Honestly I could barely last through an entire episode of Dr Who way back then ( prior to the recent revival ) so I figured the spin-off would bore me as well.

Well I was wrong.

Loved it actually. Especially that Welsh fellow.

Ianto Jones played by Gareth David-Lloyd
And I carry a big gun!

Torchwood’s dependable odd job man Ianto Jones who metamorphosed from a piece of office equipment into a very complex figure indeed. Though initially blending into the background as the unobtrusive butler figure waiting to clean up shit with no questions asked, he turns out to be the real dark horse amongst his more outgoing counterparts.

After all he had to get into Torchwood.

To hide his Amazonian Killer Fembot girlfriend in the basement. Though she seemed to have developed a slight glitch - what with her crazy megalomaniacal plans to conquer the known universe! Rabid killer rampages certainly doesn't faze our unflappable Mr Jones.

And what better way to get a job at Torchwood than to seduce your future boss with an open collar, tight jeans and sweet, sweet coffee. Amongst other fringe benefits.

Of course that only applies when you're a cute young thing like Ianto Jones.

Seriously. Doesn't that make you curious about Torchwood already?

Ianto Jones? Reminds me just a little of Charming Calvin. That serious, buttoned-down demeanour. That quiet, dry humour.

And that love for freshly pressed shirts.

Just hope he doesn't have hidden secrets buried in the basement.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Legend of the Locksmith

Once upon a time in the faraway island kingdom of Borneo, there lived a beautiful princess with a terrible protective father. To circumvent the hordes of ardent suitors vying for her fair hand, her father the king had placed impenetrable doors and gates all around the towering castle with a complicated series of cunning locks that threatened to daunt even the bravest.

However ubeknownst to the king, the very same locksmith he had hired had glanced upon the lady fair at her tower window and nothing would do but to rescue her from her miserable fate. So one dark fateful night with the lockpicks in his crafty hands, he made for the castle and stole her away.

Finding the princess missing the next morning, the king flew into a towering rage. Whereupon the wrathful king banished all locksmiths from his riverside kingdom.

And that place became Miri.

How else to explain why there are no locksmiths in town?

Locked out
Damn. I've locked myself out!

Seriously peculiar. No doubt with the shocking prevalence of violent crimes going on here, I assume the triads have all the canny locksmiths locked up on a secret isle. Possibly forcing the poor souls to manufacture keys in mass production for their nefarious purposes.

So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to find one to duplicate my office key ( yes, I have an office but more on that later ). Checked out all the usual suspects such as the neighbourhood malls but no one seemed to know where to find the locksmith. With the blank, confused stares I've been receiving from the locals, I might as well be searching for the long lost valley of Shangri-La.

Paul : Do you know where I can find a locksmith?
Bystander : Locksmith?
Paul : They make keys? Locks? Locksmith? 钥匙和门锁? Tukang kunci? Serrurerie? Cerrajero?
Bystander : Good gracious. Haven't heard or seen one in years. Last I heard there was one plying his trade over by the riverfront.
Paul : Oh! Thanks.
Bystander : But that was ten years ago. Theyc ould have gotten him by now.
Paul : Gotten him? Who?
Bystander : I've said too much! I've gotta go.

Okay. I added that last bit.

But you can imagine how difficult it was to find a locksmith. Seemed to be none hocking their business in town. Seriously. So what do they do if they have a bent key? Or if they lose their keys? Do they break down the entire door? Do they immediately shift to another house?


Finally found the sole locksmith in town hidden inconspicuously behind the old fish market over at the riverfront. Just as the spluttering bystander claimed. From the aged soul manning the shack, I found that the variety of keys can be mind-boggling, and even those that look almost identical can be differentiated right from left. Even with the dazzling array of keys in front of him, the locksmith couldn't decide. Seems the keymakers in the hospital adhered to the principle of choosing the most unique keys possible - hence I'll have to wait a few days or so to find a proper duplicate.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Half-Blood Prince


So salah.

It has to be a sign of my approaching senility but I can't seem to stop perving over overgrown schoolboys. Though I can excuse myself from being a chicken hawk by claiming that our delicious near-jailbait Mr Harry Potter has at least gone past the age of consent.

Usually I prefer a bit of maturity in my men but I have to admit he is a tasty ( though dimunitive! ) morsel. Took me some time to appreciate the budding changes in our youthful Harry - took all of six years actually - but oh yeah, baby show me your magic wand!

Daniel Radcliffe
Wait, you wanna see my wand?

That boy certainly grew up well.

Clearly even his canny headmaster Albus Dumbledore ( posthumously turned out of the proverbial closet! ) has noticed the testosterone-borne improvements in his handsome student. Why, he even sends his trusted protege to seduce a bumbling new professor into revealing his deepest, darkest secrets in the the latest installment of the Harry Potter saga - Half-Blood Prince.

Dumbledore : Get into Professor Slughorn's clandestine club. I am sure he would enjoy having a special boy like you in his collection.
Harry : Yes sir. I will do so immediately.
Dumbledore : Be his special friend.
Harry : I trust you implicitly.
Dumbledore : Then return here immediately and I'll extract the *ahem* knowledge from you.
Harry : Oh yes, sir! Very good, sir!

Ah, to have willing students like this. Is it any wonder that the unassuming professor falls for the scrumptious bait?

But really, Professor Dumbledore, pimping your brightest students for classified information are we? Awfully naughty for one approaching a crotchety 150 years!

Guess I'm not the only one growing senile.

Still it doesn't take a Potter-fan to enjoy the latest movie. Surprise, surprise, we do have an up-to-date cinema over here! Just make sure you catch my favourite scene in the library where his friend chides him for enjoying his Potter-fans just a lil too much.

Of course loving Harry Potter doesn't mean I like the actor himself any less. Mr Daniel Radcliffe certainly shows during his interviews that he's not just a pretty face. Lots of dry Brit wit on display.

Fact that he bears a passing resemblance to Charming Calvin doesn't hurt either!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dr Speedy Gonzalez

Parents always make the worst patients.

Certainly one of the main reasons I refuse to administer medical advice to my parents since half the time they'd go on their blithe merry way ignoring everything I said - and the other half, they'd probably try to refute my statements by extolling the manifold virtues of some ill-conceived home-grown remedies. Trust me. Almost impossible to dispense medication to your own disbelieving, non-compliant mother.

Derek's mama
Paul : You're sick. Time to see a doctor!
Mother : But you're a doctor! I believe you!
Paul : I'm not falling for that trick!

So I send them to others.

Though getting my mother to admit to being vulnerable to illness can be a challenging feat in itself. But I can browbeat as well as anyone. Being a practical yet shockingly stubborn woman, my flu-stricken mother elected instead to patronize a nearby neighbourhood clinic. One messy, rundown joint that looked terribly dubious to my jaundiced eye.

Made much worse when her brief visit there took all of six milliseconds.

Seriously. I think I only managed to blink twice in the time it took for her to see the doctor. Talk about speedy! Talk about perfunctory! Doubt the lackadaisical doctor even found the time to examine her lungs with a stethoscope. Wonder if this is his usual check-up conversation.

Doctor : Got cough? Got fever? Got flu?
Patient : Yes.
Doctor : Okay. Go take your meds.
Patient : But I actually lost my leg, got my head bashed in and I -
Doctor : Next!
Patient : But I'm deathly allergic to antibiotics and I -
Doctor : Are you still here? Next!!

Like WTF.

Derek Shepherd
Waitaminute. You're still here?

Look, I know the value of expediency. In the early days of our residency when we had endless hordes of feeble patients lining at the clinic door waiting to be clerked, we had to do our jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Imagine a steady, unrelenting factory line of the infirm passing through the medical drones. Certainly no dawdling, idle chit-chat or bantering with the aged about their adoring grandchildren.

Always thought that a pity but I doubt the rest of the increasingly fretful patients tapping their feet outside would have appreciated me jabbering away about inconsequential matters.

But I still tried to hold a quick conversation while getting their histories. Show a little concern. Show a little kindness. Show a little heart.

Really. What happened to bedside manners?

I know private practitioners need to pay the rent but at the ( lightspeed ) rate this Dr Speedy sees patients, we might as well dispense with the obligatory visit. There might as well be a simple form ready at the door for the sickly to fill in ticking all their signs and symptoms into quiz boxes. Even better have an automated dispensing machine by the counter spilling out readily prescribed generic medications at the end of the brief quiz.

Cough + Fever + Cold = Antibiotics + Antihistamines

Hell, I might as well get it delivered with a press of a button online. Meds-R-Us. Maybe have several economical packages distributed according to price with extra vitamins placed for the value-added.

And where would our Dr Speedy Gonzalez be then?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beat It, Thriller

Hold on to your Michael Jackson CDs. You can keep the Moonwalk. You can keep the sequinned glove.

Say Beat It to the entire Neverland lot. Even the creepy ghouls of Thriller fail to amaze my jaded niece, Chatty Carmen. All she listens to these days are the suspiciously cheery tunes mindlessly reciting the times table. The top ten songs on her iPod playlist reads like a junior math textbook. Far creepier than the rotting denizens of the dead if you ask me.

Unlike my better half, Mathematics has never been my forte. Never could see the need to memorize the multiplication tables by heart. Hence the numerous times I stood in the classroom with my hand held out for the blistering cane since I could never recall what 6 times 7 was.

Isn't that what calculators are for?

And so far, I've gotten along quite well despite not knowing what the square root of 144 is. Take that, math professors!

David Krumholtz
Numb3rs can be beautiful, really!

But seriously. You have to commend the wily Chinese folk. Not only did they invent gunhpowder and the paper, they have found a devious method to indoctrinate their hapless children in mathematics. By repeatedly blasting wicked multiplication tables cleverly disguised as harmless, mirthful rhymes! Talk about subliminal!

Music so irresistibly infectious that even Carmen can't stop till she gets enough. Even I'm getting brainwashed by the surprisingly simple ( yet sneaky ) tunes.

Damn. I might even start knowing what 8 times 7 is.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Beast in a Belle's Bookshop

Bonjour! Remember that quiant bookshop our Disney heroine Belle strolled into after belting the introductory song serenading her little town, it's a quiet village? Well unbeknownst to us all, it seems that that very same bookshop is actually located right here in this very town. Right next to the baker with his tray like always, the same old bread and rolls to sell.

Mais ouis! No wonder I felt like singing about this provincial town just the other day. Unfortunately no wicked, handsome Gastons in sight yet. According to rumour ( and judging by the admissions to the trauma ward ) though, plenty of bumbling Le Fous, daring swordfights and magic spells in this far off place.

Still I can be content with a good book in hand. Hard though they may be to find. Have to keep the precious volumes I have away from hungry goats eager to munch away the tattered pages though.

Wouldn't be easy finding a decent replacement in Belle's Bookshop after all. Don't think the fastidious Beast with his awesome library would be all too pleased with the meagre selection in the shelves. I however found it surprisingly adequate - judging by the severely bibliophobic townsfolk over here.

At least Belle tries.

Though I doubt the unlettered rustics are appreciative of the efforts.

Looking out at this provincial town!

After an hour's perusal though ( and Ii was their sole customer! ), I did find a couple of gems. Quite impossible for me to walk away from a bookshop without purchasing anything! Not only did I learn about the fascinating reign of Sylvia Leonora, the last White Ranee of Sarawak! Obviously still some charming princes to be found in these parts back then. Witness a salutation written to the self-proclaimed Queen of the Headhunters.

'Ride a cock horse
To Sarawak Cross
To see a young Ranee consumed with remorse.
She'll have bells on her fingers
And rings through her nose
And won't be permitted to wear any clo'es.'

Wandering about with my nose stuck in the book, I stumbled over an entire anthology of Bible comics. Seemed like a message from up above since they would make a novel gift for a friend! Surely Shameless Shalom wouldn't say no to a spectacular manga version of the Holy Bible with Jesus in a Samurai guise!

Seriously blasphemous. But isn't this amazing? Who'd have ever thought that this could be?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Just A Lil Bit of Funfair

Listen to the roustabouts call. Have a thrill at the awesome rides or try your luck at the sidestall booths. Marvel at the sights and sounds from wondrous places that you've never heard before. Meet the Bearded Lady and the mysterious Mermaid.

Simply hard to resist. Since I had the entire evening off, I realized I might as well find out what the local yokels did in their spare hours! Didn't take long before I found a beeline making for the local travelling carnival in town.

Seriously. A funfair. I haven't even been to one for the past decade or more.

So what are they? Like the ephemeral mushrooms that come with the rain, funfairs are makeshift amusement parks that appear mysteriously in the night and disappear weeks later quite as suddenly. A decidedly quaint relic of the past slowly ( and sadly! ) getting driven out of business by the likes of reality TV, cybercafes and Playstations. Few urbanites today would leave the creature comforts of the air-conditioned gigamalls just to tramp through the muddy grass of the funfair grounds for a simple game of hoopla.

Sheer nostalgia however had me purchasing tickets for most of the offered rides. Surely a thrill for the uninitiated but I doubt the outdated kiddie roller coasters here would intimidate the cynical tweens of today. Definitely pales in comparison to the exhilarating death-defying rides available in larger amusement parks.

Come take a joyride with me!

However eager to show support, I managed a reasonably hysterical scream each time it approached a steep drop. Incline couldn't have been more than 45 degrees yet I screeched like a wailing banshee. Must have looked quite the fool caterwauling like crazy on cue but hell, I had fun. Never can understand rigid, tight-lipped folks who grit their teeth throughout the rides. What's the fun in that? Just holler dammit!

Even went up the little ferris wheel. Bet there are zero safety standards in place here but what the hell! The rickety gondolas probably go up only twenty metres or so up in the air - falling would probably a broken limb at the most. So I went up with barely a qualm. Unfortunately not much of a view though since the town itself had already gone pitch-dark.

Then it was off to the booths. Bought some cotton candy to munch on while I tried on the games. Hoops onto rings, darts onto boards, pellets onto ducks, that sorta thing. Since I have lousy hand-to-eye coordination, obviously I didn't win any toys. Not even the pint-sized orange bear dangling on a string. Sorry, babe.

Just lucky I didn't fling the brass ring onto the stall owner's bulbous nose.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Not So Innocent Me

Innocent I'm definitely not. Just ask anyone.

That list unfortunately includes the local dvd pirateer. Seriously. How do they tell? Do I have a permanently lusty wolfish look on my face?

Just takes me a second to walk into a bootleg dvd den and I'll have the raffish sales fella coming by with a sly look to ask whether I'd want some of the dirtier goods on sale. Now if only he'd clutch his full crotch, clad in disturbingly diry jeans, while he said that.

Maybe I'd be tempted.

Imagine him grabbing his crotch!

Usually though all I get is a lascivious wink, a knowing smirk and a teasing flash of the hetero-porn dvds stacked inside his jacket full of heaving bosoms and dripping clit. Seriously. Don't make me hurl. I stayed away from OBGYN because of that.

Obviously that wicked glint in my eye translates across the little pond as well since the local dvd pirateer over here gave me the same lewd come-on. Barely moments after I strode into the bootleg dvd den. Pretty dyed-blond boy here - an exotic mix that I couldn't make out - couldn't have been more than twenty, I bet.

Pirate : Hey man, looking for something special? You want some of the good stuff? I've got a few.
Paul : Sorry. Just looking. Not interested.
Pirate : Really hot wor. Come take a look. Got some local girls too. What are you into?
Paul : Not into girls. Got any hot guys in there?
Pirate : Uhh..

Not sure what possessed me to out myself that way but I expected him to back away in a homophobic huff, possibly flinging the dvds at me while cussing me out in six different local dialects from Melanau to Hakka. Certainly underestimated these boys. Quick as ever, our canny salesperson changed his spiel quickly claiming that the gay dvds were recently out of stock. Mayhap I should drop by in a week or so?

Hmm. Clever. Looks like they'll do anything for a quick buck.

Maybe I will come again. Who knows, I might be able to persuade him to let me clutch his crotch instead.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Walking The Walk

I never had the pleasure of walking to school.

So I'm obviously making up for it big time. Especially with my workplace barely a stone's throw away.

You learn early on that children walk to school. After all you see the cheery fresh-faced students in teenage American dramas taking that brisk morning walk to school. Down those endless tree-lined sidewalks pass cookie-cutter suburban houses straight out of Pleasantville.

Back home, I only had a couple of friends who biked to school. For reasons unbeknownst - perhaps a paranoid suburban fear of perverted paedophiles - hardly anyone walked though. Most of them boarded lumbering schoolbuses ( cramped up to the gills with screaming schoolkids ).

Unfortunately the only way I could do that walk was by waking up the night before since I lived more than ten kilometres away from town. Schlepping my way across town with my inordinately heavy bag of textbooks would probably kill me.

If I wasn't run over by a fleet of runaway schoolbuses.

Country boys!

So now I walk to work with my laptop bag - dawdling my way across endless green meadows, dusty country lanes and busy vegetable patches. All very rural, I assure you. Almost feel like chewing on a bit of grass ( do country folk do that out of boredom? ). Hardly any sexy country boys horsing around though.

Still here's hoping that the fresh air does one good. Pity I can't take a walk to the friendly neighbourhood tuckshop though since the majority of the stores lie miles away in the town centre.

Still I think there's a little grocery store half a mile down the road.

Think I might take a walk.

Not at midnight though.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Childish Inquisition

Children are such inquisitive creatures, aren't they?

And none quite as inquisitive as my niece, Chatty Carmen. Not only does she chatter a mile a minute ( perhaps a garrulous genetic legacy I shared ), she also asks the most uncomfortable - and frequently inappropriate questions.

Incredibly awkward for us adults.

Though sometimes I find myself astonished by her sheer perspicacity. Possibly a budding Nancy Drew.

Still can't get over how Carmen has managed to suss out something that has confounded half the intelligent, discerning adults I know! Perhaps she's psychic. But just today our aspiring interrogator Carmen came up to ask me why men don't marry men while women marry women?

Carmen : Why don't men marry men and women marry women?
Paul : I have no idea. Did your mom put you up to this?
Carmen : No. Why don't boys marry boys?
Paul : You're preaching to the choir, babe.

Seriously. A loaded question. Out of the mouths of babes.

Really had no idea how such a thing cropped up in her prepubescent lil brain. Perhaps some partially hidden cues between me and Charming Calvin played out in front of her highly-suggestive mind?

Proposition 8
Maybe I could get these boys to explain!

Now how do you answer that?

Do I tell her what the religious right have to say? Had a trenchant rant chock-full of biblical hellfire ( with examples based on Leviticus and the Genesis with the wild orgies in Sodom ) ready on my tongue since I've heard quite enough from the homophobic zealots but I stopped myself. Certainly no need to fill her head with such small-minded prejudice when I'm far from proficent in Christian theology myself.

Neither do I see the need to leap onto a gay rights soapbox tirade. How to explain our desperate fight for equal rights to a pint-sized gal?

So there I was cracking my head trying to come up with a suitable metaphor for a kadult of 4 years. Finally came up with the flavours of an ice-cream ( inspired by the infamous oysters and snails argument in Spartacus ) to illustrate the point. Some just like vanilla. Some just like chocolate. And that's all there is to it. Since Chatty Carmen raised no argument, I assume she accepted that fact without demur.

Now if only the other homophobic rednecks would agree quite as readily.

Things were surprisingly simpler way, way back then...

Bet some of the impressionable young'uns would be puzzled by what I meant on the oyster and snails issue... well this is a brief excerpt from the film Spartacus where a lustful Roman master finds himself trying to explain certain habits to his comely new slaveboy.

Marcus : Do you eat oysters?
Antoninus: When I have them, master.
Marcus : Do you eat snails?
Antoninus: No, master.
Marcus : Do you consider the eating of oysters to be moral and the eating of snails to be immoral?
Antoninus: No, master.
Marcus : Of course not. It is all a matter of taste, isn't it?
Antoninus: Yes, master.
Marcus : And taste is not the same as appetite, and therefore not a question of morals.
Antoninus: It could be argued so, master.
Marcus : My robe, Antoninus. My taste includes both snails and oysters.

Talk about subtle.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Meeting of Mothers

It was inevitable.

After this many years of being with Charming Calvin, it was inevitable that our parents would meet - especially with the increasing number of times our families have crossed each other paths. There were times I half thought they would stumble upon each other though I tried my very best to stall such a watershed moment.

But Calvin's redoutable mother Madame Borgia insisted on coming along to meet my mother the other day. Had half a dozen plausible excuses at the ready but the wily Madame Borgia forestalled me by appearing suddenly at my place.


Cursed with an overactive imagination ( unlike my more placid other half ), I expected copious bloodshed. Perhaps even a vicious scrabble for dominance over the dinner table with one maternal figure blaming the other for condoning the perverted homosexuality.

Madame Borgia : 你害我孩子变同志!( Your son turned mine gay! )
Mother : How dare you! It was your deceitful monster of a child, not mine.
Madame Borgia : 你这城市臭婊子,看招!Take that, you citybred bitch! )
Mother : Keep quiet, you provincial simpleton!

I already had the emergency services on speed dial.

There was no such encounter however.

Don't think my mother has all that much in common with his - don't think they'll be playing mahjong together soon - but they seemed to have gotten along. Thankfully. Perhaps they bonded over shopping for edible ferns called midin.