Thursday, December 31, 2009

We Three Kings

Well, that's me and my other two colleagues.

Could all be stupid prejudice on my side of course but the first thing I noted about the both of them? Not myrrh and frankincense from miles afar, that's for sure.

Religious robes and agama schools. Turbans and islamic mantras. Perhaps I am exaggerating - though only a little - but I'm already freaked by the pious duo. Took only one frightfully enlightening conversation to have me wigging out.

Zannah : The children are going to the religious school.
Paul : There is one here? Is it a good school?
Zannah : It's a religious school.
Paul : Good school then?
Zannah : It's a religious school.
Paul : Good teachers?
Zannah : It's a religious school.

And obviously that is that.

Praise the Gods.

Would have thought of mentioning the dubious prospects of students from religious schools ( where do they go actually? ) but I figured it was a moot point. So what if the school's possibly indoctrinating the next Osama? No doubt the mere whiff of pork from the nearby native eateries would have them run screaming into the night.

Something that the pious duo seriously mentioned to me as they'd spent a week searching for suitably halal restaurants in town. Good luck to them since I think there are only three establishments serving kosher food in town.

Even Ebullient Eve is just a lil perturbed by their holy presence.

Wildly prejudiced I know! They could be perfectly rational folks. But what is it about religious fundamentalists that - ironically enough - strike the fear of God in me? Extremism scares me. Has anything good ever come of it? If you're thinking I'm biased, even Christian fundamentalists waving bibles and burning crosses freak me out. Same goes for the Buddhists, animists and etcetera.

Nothing like a pinch of the devout to make me realize how secular I really have become. Till now I still think school uniforms should be uniformly secular regardless of religion. Without exception. If not, they should just allow everyone to wear what they like. Can my child claim to be in a self-proclaimed nudist religion? Or how about dressing in Goth-like black?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

That Crack

For the past few years, Lanky Lex has crazy birthday parties that we all talk about for at least a week. And that's a long time for inane gossips like us. Half his party dissolves into a wailing South American melodrama while the other half is too wasted drunk to notice. Sometimes it's both.

Of course no one expected how wild his party this year would get.

None of his guests bitch-slapped each other over presumed differences. None of his guests slid down unconscious into a bubbling puddle of vomit. In fact no one was actually hurt at his party which was a first.

At least that we know of.

Quite possibly a few guests slipped unbeknownst through the cracks.

Prince Naveen
Welcome to the party! Step right over here folks, away from the crack on the floor.

Yes. You heard it. A deepening crack appeared right in the centre of the party floor. Right as we were indulging in shocking dishonourable vices.

Unlike terrified lil Japanese businessmen chased by raging Godzillas, we didn't run helter-skelter like suited mice with matching briefcases. In fact we didn't run at all. Just stood there staring agog with fascination, kinda like the idiotic drivers who can't take their eyes off road accidents.

The widening chasm on the floor just snapped and crackled ominously as we helplessly watched our relentless slide into impending doom. Almost biblical and practically 2012 in the making. With my peculiar taste for the macabre, I at least managed a chuckle over the sinister turn of events. Had a wicked flash of foresight where I wondered which hapless folks I'd hold out a helping hand for - and which ones I'd probably shove happily to their untimely deaths.

Or at least nudge to the ghastly preternatural black claw that will no doubt emerge from the hellish gap.

Which didn't happen obviously else I'd be publishing this in the tacky tabloids.

Fortunately the crack remained as it was. While the building stood untouched. Though we all hurried out as soon as possible - clutching crucifixes and amulets - after regaining our footing. Lex certainly throws eventful parties.

Still. Crack on the floor. A foreboding omen?

Or is Lex's disapproving Tradimum ( traditional mum for the uninitiated! ) cackling over a bubbling cauldron right about now?

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Lush Christmas

It has been a long time since my friends - the Lushes - and I met up. Getting together has become quite a logistical nightmare recently. What with Fabulous Fiona away in Shanghai playing with needles and moxibustion, Statuesque Sarah avoiding bomb-wielding terrorists to rescue the needy in Iraq and Shameless Shalom desperately finishing her final year thesis.

And Lissome Lorelei vacillating between work and a life-time commitment :)

Of course not forgetting me stranded in the faraway island of Borneo.

Cam Gigandet
And yes, we'd like some of these for Christmas. No need for matching wrapping paper even.

So you can imagine that it's been a while since we've sat together at the same table. So it was a miracle indeed that they all managed to come down to my place for Christmas. Since we'd been communicating regularly online with the minutiae of our lives ( some better than others! ), catching up didn't take all that long.

After all I had so many things to share about the eccentric vagaries of the folks in Miri :) From the endless roundabout dilemmas to the dour-faced service staff.

Then Statuesque Sarah managed to add a few shocking titbits about her time in post-reconstruction Iraq. Bullet-ridden houses and blown-up victims? Sounds horrifically traumatic. Instead of heading for the hills after her harrowing experience there, our intrepid Sarah only seems revved up for more. No doubt I'll soon be hearing of her in some war-torn God-forsaken banana republic.

Biggest shocker was the news that Fabulous Fiona's brief acupuncture stint in Shanghai has actually turned her on to sultry almond-eyed Chinese fellas. After her experience kissing frogs from every other race and nationality, this comes as a welcome surprise to her doting dad - who is no doubt congratulating himself on coming up with the acupuncture suggestion. Have no fear, we will turn her into a patented rice queen yet.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

That Bump on Christmas Morning

There was a bump just before Christmas.

And unfortunately, it wasn't a sexy Santa creeping down the chimney with a big package all tied up in a thong just for me. I wasn't that lucky.

Prince Naveen
Fuckity-fuck. A fender bender.

If you've been driving for a few years there's a good chance you've experienced it too, that sudden sickening crunch of a fender bender! Well it happened to me just as I was leaving for lunch. Just that split second of distraction to admire a brand-new attraction ( damn that restaurant ) was enough for my car to slid forward into the next during a standstill.

You'd expect the entire motley crew of passengers in the backseat ( and I had more than a few ) to start a raving ruckus but no. Civilized bunch surprisingly. All my trusty wingman could do was whisper sotto voce in my ear.

Calvin : Stop. There's a car in front of you.

Though he's a mild-mannered soul, perhaps that was the right time to shout a warning. Had me thinking it was a whispered sweet nothing. Obviously I didn't listen. So with a slid and a bump. And that sickening thud that signals a car crash, I had an accident.

And though my lawyer buddies would be screaming deny all responsibility with written disclaimers, I claimed all wrongdoing the minute I stepped out of the car. All the time praying hard that I wouldn't meet an irate road psycho.

Turns out the owner of the other vehicle wasn't at all surprised. Seems he'd been in one too many unfortunate events to quibble over such a small misdemeanour. The father of two didn't resemble the deliciously ripped hottie I pictured above at all but I'd take all the little mercies I could get by then.

Obviously my mechanic was only too glad to see me.

How time changes though. It was the inconvenience that actually irritated me more than the cost of repair. Not saying the repair bill won't sting my wallet of course but I know this little dent won't break the bank. Fortunately.

Better my wallet than my bones. Or the ones I love.

But it was definitely a bah-humbug for the day before Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Frog Prince

Still have my reservations about kissing frogs to find a prince. Imagine the flickering tongue. God only knows where it's been.

Prince Naveen
Wait till you hear his peculiar accent!

But if it's the remarkably sexy, laid-back Prince Naveen from the Princess & the Frog, I just might take a shot. What the heck. Even in slimy green, the dark-eyed smoothie's charming enough to make me reconsider. After all, what's a little gooey mucus between guys! Not like I'm going to shriek in horror when he spills other bodily fluids on me.

I might even welcome it.

Glad to see Disney back with an animated, hand-drawn fairy tale though. A charming twist on the tale, the Princess & the Frog has the girl turning into a frog after sharing a kiss. To the amazement of the frog prince obviously. Thus begins their search for a cure as they befriend a trumpet-playing alligator and a hopelessly romantic firefly along the way.

Not since the delicious Eric from the Little Mermaid have I gotten such a hard-on for an animated Disney prince. But Naveen's certainly yummy enough. And for the first time, I don't mean frog legs lightly stir-fried with ginger on a platter.

Certainly far livelier than the yawn-a-minute politically-correct heroine, Tiana - who works double shifts as a waitress to save enough for her dream restaurant selling beignets and gumbo. Our gritty Tiana's the most driven girl in the Big Easy, no damsel in distress, waiting for a prince to come to her rescue. Alas sterling qualities do not an interesting character make.

Hell, I preferred her best friend, the dizzy blond bombshell heiress Charlotte. Determined in her own way to land her dream of a prince charming, Charlotte pulls out all the stops. But far from being the prerequisite ugly, back-stabbing stepsister, she certainly proves her loyalty by sticking to the phrase bros before hos ( or chicks before dicks as it may be ).

She deserves a happy ending of her own. The creators at Disney should have dropped stick-in-the-mud Tiana in favour of feisty Charlotte instead.

Still wonder why the Disney folks seem to adore Randy Newman! Seriously. Apart from the Toy Story theme songs, has he written anything wildly memorable for the other movies? Though the songs in the Frog ranged from twangy zydeco to full-on jazz, I don't think anyone's going to find them irresistibly catchy in the least.

Nothing with pizzazz! Nothing as crazily entertaining as the dancing candelabra inviting the audience to Be his Guest nor as lushly romantic as Kiss the Girl in the Little Mermaid.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Slave to Books

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

Certainly far too true for me! Fortunately I am lucky enough to have my fair share of both! Came as a sudden realization that I might have had too much of a good thing when I had to unpack the entire lot this weekend. You see, I had the movers stuff all my books into huge boxes - hoping to one day catalogue the entire staggering library.

Turns out it's practically the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Kayky Brito
Wait. You'd rather examine this dusty book rather than check out my etchings?

Can't believe I managed to finish the whole catalog in two years - with the exams looming back then! Must have been crazy. Have I really been reading all that much? Emptied the boxes to find about 150 books. And that's not counting the boxes I shipped over to Miri. Or the ones I'd been slowly transporting in random shipments back home.

Let's not even count the dusty volumes I've left back home on the shelves. And the drawers. And the dining table. And below the stairs. I don't even dare unpack those.


Guess Arnold Lobel had it right.

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.

Obviously I need to unload more than a few books. Have dropped a couple of choice paperbacks on Charming Calvin's head - so that he can finally achieve his new year's resolution of reading ten books this year.

My New Year's Resolution? To get my books catalogued! Any cute librarians about?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'll be Home-Stay for Christmas

Well, who said you can't bring the mountain to Muhammad?

An adage certainly proven wrong by the recent spate of guests over here in Miri! Once Fabulous Felix and I ( and not forgetting self-described Picky Patty ) figured that geographical boundaries would forever keep us away from the social engagements in the city, we decided to transfer them to us instead.

Thank God for economical flights.

And I'll have to admit we've been keeping our social calendar pretty busy the past few weeks with friends and relatives coming over in regular intervals. And that's not counting the various events held in this surprisingly lively hamlet here. Obviously the local yokels need to have their own entertainment as well.

Kayky Brito
So where do we go today?

Obviously I'm not the shy, retiring wallflower I always thought myself to be. Especially after talking their ears off. So far - apart from family and our respective spouses, we've had two bintulu bindi babes, a city cockerel and a humble hobart.

Throw in a partridge in a pear tree and we might have a theme song.

From the boondocks at Bintulu, the beautiful Bindi Babes boarded a broken bus - barely breaching the borough boundaries before breaking apart. Fortunately they managed to survive the harrowing trip cross-country to make it to my place as the first home-stay guests. Hardly any payment needed apart from a bit of storytelling. With the information gleaned from their experience in the neighbouring town, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I picked the better of the two evils.

And also found out that buses from here do travel all the way around the island to far-off exotic places such as Pontianak and Entikong.

The charming City Cockerel came calling at the city center craving for a career change. Stranger he might be but that cute bubble butt made him instantly recognizable to all ( or at least we all hope ) at the pick-up point. Despite nursing the beginnings of a flu, he sang for his supper beautifully with tales of harrowing work experiences and axe-wielding ex-boyfriends. Would have sympathized a lil bit more except for the fact that we like our cute guys away from the creepy crazies :)

With the last meeting up with Humble Hobart. Strapping local fellow came along for dinner only to be overwhelmed by the crazy likes of us. Was afraid for a second that our wild boisterousness ( and our marked predilection for eligible hotties ) would scare the poor kid away! Which would be a pity - since it turns out this lil seahorse city does churn out its own cuties after all.

Well at least more than the one I'm already seeing.

So who else is dropping by for dinner?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That Wasted Vagina

Guess even girls can get all anal these days.

Or should I say their boyfriends?

Remember when I mentioned that straight fellas tend to be really curious about the sexual habits of homosexuals? Sure they might be a bit skeeved about the suspicious man-on-man bits but they're always helluva nosy about the butt-fuck bit.

Obviously nothing will do to satisfy the rest but a test-drive.

So when a couple of girls posed the question to me, I found myself non-plussed. Fielding that question with straight fellas has become quite the norm but it's different when girls want to know why their perv boyfriends want to go where no man have gone before. Far from being the unmentionable taboo I'd once imagined, this forbidden topic seems to have cropped up regularly.

Girl : My boyfriend wants to try anal.
Paul : Umm. Why? To promote incontinence?
Girl : Just try loh. Gay men seem to like it.
Paul : Short of having a vaginal transplant, I don't think gay men have much choice.

A challenge perhaps? The final frontier that only a brave and curious handful have gone before. Kinda like those intrepid explorers of the deepest reaches of Africa.

Or at least that's what they hope themselves to be.

Seung Jun
Somehow I don't think she'll agree to having me tour her backlanes.

Of course innate homophobia prevents them from reaching out to those who might be a lil more receptive to the anal suggestion. A little wary about travelling the infamous anal route with a fellow homo ( a fear of reciprocal anal play after the act? ), some adventurous men tend to risk that loaded question with their girlfriends.

Which begs the question : why take the low road when you have what's essentially a simple God-given highway to heaven? Has frequent unending traffic up and down Vagina Street caused it to lose its allure? Has persistent promotion for the Hershey Highway by the gay boys - erroneously touting a tighter, more pleasurable drive with a regular stops at the male G-spot - caused the susceptible breeders to lose their collective senses?


Monday, December 14, 2009

A Series of Troubling Uns

Forgive me Nervous Nancy for I have wronged you! For surely you can't be the sloppiest dresser around. Not after last night.

I forgive you even for the ubiquitous Crocs you strut around with.

That's nothing compared to Pig-Pen. Such an unflattering sobriquet but seriously I can think of no other more apt name. At close to midnight, Pig-Pen lazily schlepped in with a haggard expression on his scruffy face, his wrinkled shirt ( dotted with unidentifiable stains ) haphazardly buttoned over a crumpled tee and his dusty pants half-zipped. His shaggy longish hair knotted with a dirty old rubber band possibly taken off the snack he was munching on.

Kerry Degman
Don't hate me cause I'm a fucking mess.

Unkempt. Unbuttoned. Unironed. Unwashed. Uncut. Just a series of troubling Uns.

Would have thought him a recently dispossessed vagrant in search of his missing cardboard box - if not for the identifying stethoscope ( fortunately clean! ) looped around his neck. Fortuitously I noted the shiny stethoscope before dropping a few coins in front of him.

And he's a doctor!

For one of the few times in my life, I was speechless. I'd have imagined the bedraggled fellow had just rolled out of bed. In a makeshift tent in the unhospitable Taklamakan desert. Before being dragged across the dusty highways of Central Asia.

Don't think of it as dust. Just think of it as the dirt and dust of far-off lands blowing over here and settling on 'Pig-Pen!' It staggers the imagination! He may be carrying the soil that was trod upon by Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan!

Tried my best to be charitable and think the Charlie Brown way but I couldn't. Seriously. I don't think I've ever looked that grungy in my life. Not even after a harrowing 48-hour shift.

Like the iconic Henry Higgins with his lamentable muse Eliza, I wanted to dunk Pig-Pen in a vat of boiling water ( or bleach ) to remove the excessive gunk. For want of a better word. Not to mention the various fleas of misfortune. Trust me, besides Pig-Pen, our Nervous Nancy practically shines like Eliza Doolittle at the ball.

Even in her Crocs.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Parade

The first hint that things are vastly different over here in Sarawak could be the fact that very few colleagues actually wanted to apply for leave during the Hari Raya festivities. Turns out there aren't all that many Muslims around which is surprising in a Muslim-dominated country.

At least in the rest of the country. Over here in the Land of the Hornbills, Christianity rules the religious roost with the largest number of believers in the state. Judging by the number of ardent devotees last night at the Miri Christmas Parade, I'm inclined to believe the statistics.

Talk about enthusiastic.

Not only did Christmas arrive on these shores in October, we have been continually inundated with carols for the past month. Everywhere we go, fir trees glistening with ornaments abound with the prerequisite Santa hats on every other head.

Cam  Gigandet
Pa-rum-pum-pum. Yum!

So why not join in the fun? According to rumour - and the notice pasted on the church bulletin board ( yes, contrary to popular belief I do go to the rare Mass ), they have an annual Christmas parade in town. With Fabulous Felix and my home-stay guests - more on that later - in tow, we made our way down to the city fan to enjoy the show.

Felix : You sure non-believers won't be struck by lightning?
Paul : No worries. As blasphemous as I am, I think I'd be hit by one first.
Felix : OMG. Look at the Three Kings.
Paul : And that slutty Mary in a miniskirt! You're not fooling us with that blue wimple, lady!
Felix : Wonder if they have a lil donkey!
Paul : And a drummer boy!
Felix : Wait, is that the drummer boy?
Paul : Ooh I'd love to play with his drumsticks.
Felix : Waitaminute, Mary's closing in on him!
Paul : Skank! Go back to Joseph!

Obviously the naughty Marys here subscribe to the prevalent Ah Lian fashion as well. Trying to acclimatize religious icons to local traditions no doubt.

Starting off at sundown with a handful of prominent pastors leading the show with fiery speeches proclaiming the Glory of God in three different languages ( and yes, they do refer to Him as Allah ), the obviously electrified crowd from all the different Christian denominations seemed almost raring to go. I was almost a little afraid of the shockingly passionate fire-and-brimstone preacher screaming out Yesus Kristus at the top of his lungs!

So red in the face I thought he was close to an apoplexy.

Till they were dampened by the sadly lacklustre choir.

Rather than pick peppy, energetic tunes such as Santa Baby, the dull schoolmarm-ish choirmistress chose songs better suited for the sleepy octogenarian set. From the weepy Silent Night to a boring rendition of Away in the Manger. Doubt anyone would be swayed by their carols. Seriously. These soporific songs are meant to fire up the rapturous crowd for a candlelit march down the streets?

I almost dangerously nodded off into my candle.

Would have thrown a cross-shaped lantern at the lacklustre choir ( an ensemble made worse by the sad lack of hunky baritones ) but the disapproving Christian mob might not look too kindly upon such heathenish behaviour.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tween Romance

Gosh, I'm feeling quite the cantankerous fossil these days.

Not only am I dealing with kiddie house officers youthful enough to still carry teenage acne, I also have junior colleagues who can barely recall September 11 because they were busy squabbling in playroom. And now I have teenage problems to contend with as well - especially when a friend's tweenage brother inadvertently dropped a bomb on us during dinner.

He's dating.

Jenny Eric
I like you. You like me. Let's be boyfriend girlfriend!

This youthful James Dean wannabe of fourteen is dating. Holy Jenny Humphrey! Sure the world is rapidly changing with pimpled mean girls indulging in shockingly adult recreation but isn't fourteen far too young? Could have sworned I'd had my head buried in my books back then, far too obsessed with the coming exams than pretty girls in short skirts.

Not that I ever was interested.

James : I'm dating a girl.
Paul : Sounds like you'd better be careful. Are you alright with your schoolwork?
James : It's fine. She can help me. She's in the upper forms.
Paul : An older woman? Are you being careful? Are you using protection?
James : No! We're not doing anything like that.
Paul : That's what they all say when they're in luuuurve. Now tell me what you know about condoms. Do you need some?
James : OMG. Eeew! No!

At least James is still young enough to be shamed into red-faced embarassment in public. Obviously we won't be dealing with oops I did it again teenage pregnancy. Yet.

So my friend and I proceeded to give him reasonably paternal advice on tween romance with a slight detour to chide him about his less than stellar performance at school. Seriously. Told him that level-headed cheerleaders don't date brainless losers. Told him that reasonable colleges don't pick applicants with lousy academic results.

Not that he listened much. Oh yes, I do know teenage boys will just ignore well-meant advice.

Of course what I really wanted to say was... 'Bloody hell, you scored with a sophomore! You go, dude!' Obviously far too inappropriate a comment for a matured, seasoned veteran like me. Though I'd have been jumping ecstatically if I'd had the opportunity to score back in school. Hell, I'd have fucked a letter box. Imagine if I'd had a hunky teenage quarterback to play ball with after school.

Hot damn.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let's Talk about Lego

Love : Baby, you put down first la.
Love #2 : You put la. You first la, honeybuns.
Love : No, you la.
Love #2 : You go first la.
Love : You first!

A nauseating tableau frequently reenacted around college campuses way before cellphones became a ubiquitous accessory. Doomed lovers separated by time and circumstance connecting through the telephone booths. And I've often been the barrier to communication as I stand there tapping my foot while aiming dagger looks. Come on, wouldn't you feel like strangling those cooing idiots?

Photo booth
Get a room dammit!

Unlike most couples who seem to be calling each other every second of the day, we don't actually spend our time exchanging lovey-dovey messages. Not even in the first flush of our romance. Don't think our conservative fellow Charming Calvin would even agree to a naughty sexting!

Just messaged this morning to apprise him of the recent state of overcrowding in my Legoville. Seems the newbies in town - and their shockingly large apartment block - have proved too much for the lil piece of real estate they're squatting on.

Paul : Wonder whether the gay couple should move to the apartment above the grocers.
Calvin : Ooh. A step down on the social ladder. You want them to start selling vegetables instead?
Paul : Just that the apartments over at the grocer's look bigger. Then again they could purchase the entire building right next to the farmer's market for their own.
Calvin : But the floor above the grocer's meant for the illegal immigrant workers.
Paul : Trust me. The apartments above the gro├žer's pretty glam. And no way the wealthy granddaddy who owns the building would lease it to indigent coolies.

Yes. We have the oddest conversations.

And now I have my pal Preity Posh joining me in the toy craze as she plans to build her own suburban Lego dream. Guess I'm not the only deprived kadult undergoing a second childhood.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

English in Medicine

Judging by the overwhelming Malay-isation in this country with the added emphasis on culture and language, you'd be surprised to know that the medical faculty by and large ignores all that nationalistic dogma. Surprised even me to find that our medical notes have always been written in English. And it is in English - despite the fact that our horrid handwriting and the liberal use of incomprehensible medical jargon tends to confuse the laypersons.

Always been in English. Probably ever since the first practitioner of western medicine set foot on our tropical shores. No doubt a fair-skinned colonial Brit horrified by the primitive circumstances after being shipped here. Quite possibly appalled by the level of English spoken by the heathenish barbarians ( i.e. witchdoctors and snake-oil salesmen ) here.

I can even recall a stack of notes in the hospital library written about beri-beri by an intrepid physician in the last century.

Though the art of medicine has certainly improved by leaps and bounds since those early days, I doubt our proficiency in the language has done the same.

What gobbledygook is written here!

In fact we've actually gotten much worse. There are times I've felt the urge to hunt the wards with a dangerous red marker ready to circle the obvious gaffes.

In spite of the fact that we actually received extra lessons in medical school! Seriously. English in Medicine. The most boring classes ever. I could barely keep myself awake in the mornings as the awfully pedantic lecturer explained how we should introduce ourselves to the ailing patients.

Lecturer : Repeat after me. How do you do?
Class : How do you do?
Lecturer : Say it again.
Class : How do you do?
Paul : By George, they've got it!

Yes, how kind of them to let me come. I was this close to breaking into song - something about the rain in Spain staying mainly in the plain.

Check out this hysterically funny article by an esteemed colleague as he pokes fun at the general use of the language at work. I laugh but I'm pretty sure I've made a couple of mistakes myself. Easy enough to fall into that particular pothole. After all we all follow the same erroneous templates at work without much thought - whether it be an interdepartmental referral or a patient's orders.

So we tend to make the same grammatical blunders. Repeatedly.

Please do the needful? For your kind attention? Referred for your expert advice? And tripple inotropic therapy ( why the added p )? Oft-repeated phrases that have become so common that it has become a medical cliche of its own.

Most don't know any better. And the rest - possibly like me - find ourselves far too lazy to correct everyone else. Or find such boo-boos such a ready source of hilarity that we wouldn't want to change a thing. Nury Vittachi, eat your heart out.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Playing Truant

I have never actually played truant a day in my life.

Well, almost. With teacher parents, I hardly ever missed a single day of school. Short of a debilitating bout of pneumonia confining me to bed ( sop terribly rare! ) or an unprecedented natural disaster damaging all the possible avenues, I would be promptly left at the school gates by 730 every morning. Without fail. Even until the very last day of school when only freaks and nerds abound.

And after that in medical school, I didn't dare miss a day. With all the monstrously diligent Gungho Ginnys around, it was all I could do to keep up. Not only do they take down endless notes for everything, they also revise them over piles of economy rice during lunch.

Scary. How not to be kiasu like that! Keeping up with the ambitious Ginnys meant attending every single lecture given.

No playing hooky back then.

So obviously I'm making up for it in spades.

The expression on everyone's faces.

To the astonishment of everyone I know since I rarely do so. Witness the consternation on my colleagues' faces seeng me skip class.

Ginny : You're skipping class?
Paul : Yup. Errands to run. Chores to do. Gifts to buy.
Ginny : Right now? But the lecture isn't even half done.
Paul : Sorry but being bored out of my skull isn't an option these days.
Ginny : But it just isn't done!
Paul : Watch me.

What a scandal.

Even Charming Calvin finds it a little reprehensible - and like any good lil Chinese boy, he can't help but remind me of it.

Calvin : Aren't you supposed to be somewhere?
Paul : I am somewhere.
Cavin : Somewhere else.
Paul : Which is here.

So no, he's not approving of truancy. Good to know. Me, I've come to realize that a few days off doesn't hurt anyone. Just disregard whatever your parents and teachers say. Trust me, skipping one day isn't going to cause your entire scholastic career to go down the drain.

Maybe I'll actually consider giving my kids two days off every year. For no reason at all but to stop and smell the roses.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Every Man for Himself

Let's say you have a lil village set on marshy lowlands prone to recurrent floods.

Unimaginative folks would have uprooted to higher grounds instead. Others would have their houses on stilts. The more ingenious engineers would have diverted rivers and planned canals. Hell, the ambitious Dutch even have built dykes to keep back the sea. By sheer grit, hard work and gotong-royong, we would have somehow made it through the floods.

Built an ark if need be.

Especially if the floods come every year without fail.

We would make plans. We would prepare for the worst. Though our tactics might fail numerous times, we definitely wouldn't just sit around waiting for forceful nature to take its course.

Yet there are some hapless folks who sit in their houses waiting to be drowned by the veritable tsunami annually. Desperately wringing their hands in despair calling out for divine intervention every year when the monsoon rains slam into the vulnerable coasts.

Foolish beyond permission. Wicked scientists would no doubt call it natural evolution weeding out the weak-minded.

Justin Hartley
Unless you have this strapping fella come save you of course.
I find it very hard to argue with that statement myself. Seriously have no patience for idiots who don't bother to lift a finger to save themselves. Of course natural disasters that occur without any possible warning can't be helped.

But monsoon floods that come and go as regular as Swiss clockwork?

You wanna know what God wants to say?

Villagers : Help us God! Save us from this unnatural calamity that comes every year without fail.
God : I gave you centuries to prepare and still you can't do a thing? Drown then.

Surely you don't expect Him to move rivers just for this. Short of vengeful ancient Egyptians with swords and spears in desperate chase, don't go praying hoping the sea will part.

God gave you a brain. Do something about it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ye Olde Christmas List

Guess it's about that time again when we all come up with our own lists. As practical as the gift may be, we can't very well get ties and shirts every year, can we? So it's safer to come up with a gift list rather than depend on blind luck. Pretty long list since I still like the element of surprise.


Umm... sir, you mean I have to type naked again?

So what do I want Santa to bring down the chimney this year? With added responsibilities at work, a hot, virile blond personal assistant at work would be great but I doubt Charming Calvin would look kindly on such shenanigans :) So here goes my PG-13 Christmas List.

Antique white birdcage from Ambiance
Brittania cushion from Laura Ashley
My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living by Jonathan Adler

Know exactly where to place the Brittania cushion. Would go perfectly with my peacock blue bedroom. If not, I'd sure Jonathan Adler would find just the right way to display the cushion.

Moleskin notebook
Jack Spade Messenger Bag
My Bad: A Zits Treasury by Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott
Peter Pan: A Classic Collectible Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda
Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong
Angelic by Kelley Armstrong
Unleashed by John Levitt
Monster by A. Lee Martinez
The Spy Who Haunted Me by Simon R. Green
Band Fags! by Frank Anthony Polito
Drama Queers! by Frank Anthony Polito
Changing Pitches: A Novel of Love and Baseball by Steve Kluger
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger

So why the Moleskin? Figures that since I'm gonna be the de facto head of department next year, I'd better buck up and get more organized. At least try not to forget as many appointments! And obviously the bag for the book :)

Lots more books on my list but I figure I'd have already gotten half of them by the time Christmas comes around. Better leave it out just in case.

Tarkan Audio CD
Glee : The Music Volume 1 and 2 CD
Emma BBC 2009 DVD
Glee, Vol. One: Road to Sectionals DVD
Monarch of the Glen Season 2 and 3 on DVD
Little Men DVD
Brothers and Sisters Season 3 DVD
Nurse Jackie Season 1 DVD
Early Edition Season 2 DVD
United States of Tara Season 1 DVD
Desperate Housewives Season 5 DVD
Private Practice Season 1 and 2 DVD
Star Trek (Two-Disc Digital Copy Edition)

A whole collection of DVDs to while away the time in the boondocks. Seriously. I've had quite enough of driving in circles around town looking for entertainment. Perhaps it's time for some vegging out at home with the tv.

Careers Boardgame
McFarlane Spawn Series 34 - Neo Classics:Pirate Spawn
Pop Life Ken
Jazz Diva Barbie
Lego Cafe Corner 10182
Lego Green Grocer 10185
Lego Castle Medieval Market Village 10193

Careers is a classic boardgame. Have mine at home but it looks pretty dilapidated. Think even the board is giving way already.

And yes, I've obviously gone into Lego in a big way. It's terribly addictive!