Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Man's Worth

How do we judge a person?

For me, the true worth of a gentleman is measured by how well he treats the lowliest servant. Glittering heaps of accolades and awards don't exactly earn my respect. So what? Endless titles of Datukships and Tan Sris tagged in front of the name only earn a raised eyebrow from me as I wonder exactly how much a princely sum was given in exchange!

So when I see the entire hospital staff running helter skelter to prepare for the arrival of one of these supposedly awe-inspiring Datuks, I find myself shaking my head despairingly. Obviously our country's still pretty much feudalistic in culture. How else to explain the overblown festivities, the endless rites of protocol and the ever-present kow-towing toad-eaters associated with such titled folks.

Am I supposed to be impressed?

I honestly thought God Himself had come to pay a visit?

Paul : Wow. What's the fuss this morning?
Toady : Oh, we have to get things ready for the Datuk. The flower bouquets, the red carpet and the dancing girls.
Paul : What a merry carnivalesque reception. And what does he do again?
Toady : He's our elected representative.
Paul : So you voted for him? Isn't he supposed to work for you?
Toady : But he's a Datuk! Oh we need a ten-course banquet as well!

Like that's the end of all matters. Why not bow down three times in servile deference while you're at it? Or offer your virginal daughters as sacrifice?

But seriously, people. Haven't we moved beyond the olden days of antiquated feudalism? Didn't the French Revolution teach us anything at all? Give respect to the ones who deserve it. Though I'm sure there are a handful of titled folk who are actually deserving of the sobriquet, that doesn't mean all the Datuks are immediately worthy.

Respect should be readily given to the shabbiest-dressed teacher at the back rather than the shamelessly grinning Datuk with the shiny medals.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


This is going to sound awfully misogynistic but can a group of girls actually run the world?

Seems like someone already beat me to the punch. Y : The Last Man tells the story of an oblivious fellow who manages to survive a mysterious plague that kills every other male in the world.

Judging by that excellent graphic novel, you would think that the kimono dragons would do a pretty good job steering at the helm. But as I watch my female medical officers squabble over the veriest nothing, I start to wonder whether fiction presents a far better representation than reality. The entire group share the quintessential double-X chromosomes - which we'd erroneously assume would make them bond as inseparable soul sisters - but we'd be oh so terribly wrong.

Makes them quarrel doubly much it seems.

Betty : Veronica left work early. Not only does she do shoddy work, she runs off leaving everything for me to do!
Paul : I'll see what I can do.

Veronica : That bitch Betty doesn't even know how to clerk a patient. Just take a look at her terrible notes.
Paul : I'll see what I can do.

And the endless cycle continues.

Women make a more congenial workplace? Yeah right!

Don't think I ever did that in my entire working life! Look, I'm not saying that I've been in buddy-buddy workplaces where everything's wildly happy hunky dory. Occasional arguments at work but I think fellas generally have a tendency to let some things slide. Bloody punch-em-ups in the morning but we're best buds by dinnertime.

Not so with these ladies. Not only can they carry a grudge - with the prequisite silent treatment, these angry girls will proceed to nit-pick and tattle on each other on a daily basis. Hell, even the clothes they wear is fair play. Obviously far too tea-party polite for raucous public brawls, they depend instead on passive-aggressive bitchfights by trading catty remarks sotto voce during department meetings.

Betty : *cough* Lyingmanipulativebitchincrocs *cough*
Veronica : *sneeze* Skankyslutwithtackyhandbag *sneeze*
Paul : Good God.

Seriously I don't know whether to reprimand them with a knuckle rap - or toss them all in a bloody mudpit for them to wrangle it out. Maybe sell tickets. I heard straight fellows would pay to see girls mudfight?

Certainly makes me wonder about the underlying tension in the cloistered convents of old. Bet the repressed nuns were all just a prayer away from a bloody free-for-all.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Lampoon of Lanky Lex

Accidents happen.

Though we should all learn from our mistakes, few of us actually take that lesson to heart. Then there are some who stubbornly insist on hammering home the point that others should learn from their mistakes. :)

At least Lanky Lex does.

Unfortunately road traffic accidents are not uncommon - and can frequently turn quite grisly. As I've witnessed quite a few traumatic injuries - crushed limbs, torn fingers and cracked skulls, I can certainly attest to that! To walk away from an accident without a single scratch I find an amazing miracle all in itself.

Scrap metal can be salvaged with time. Lives can't.

Maybe I should dismantle the entire engine to check!

So when Lanky Lex started ranting about an accident his father was involved in, I found myself helplessly intrigued. Not because he seemed overly distraught over his dad's narrow escape ( hardly! ) but because he seemed far more involved over what had caused the accident. And why? And how to prevent it friom happening again.

Was his dad negligent? Was it the faulty brakes? Was there an oil slick on the road? Did little magical imps tamper with the engine?

How like an engineer.

Doctors like me would have cried Hallelujah already. Hearing that no one's been hurt would have been enough for me.

Lex : We must learn from our mistakes.
Paul : With images, sketches and chemical samplings of the site? Maybe measure the angle of the crash impact?
Lex : I shall present a written report of the accident.
Paul : With slideshow presentation for the benefit of your parents?
Lex : Good idea.

How very CSI. I'd expect cameras, brushes and evidence kits to come out next.

All I can say is his kids had better watch out :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Repent Or Die

Obviously that's what gay men have to do to make it big in our local cinemas.

According to the latest reports by our wildly unprogressive national censorship board, it's finally perfectly alright to portray a fabulous gay men only if he either repents or dies. Pretty grim choices.

"We are now allowed to show these scenes. As long as we portray good triumphing over evil and there is a lesson learnt in the film, such as from a gay (character) who turns into a (straight) man."

What a pathetic concession!

Obviously our moral police are still desperately hanging on to the concept that sexuality is a choice. Either seek repentance or face retribution. What they don't know is the choice ( if that's even a choice! ) is clear for some flaming faggots! Turning straight would certainly be the death of us.

Repent or die? Eh, can I at least fuck him first?

Repent & die so to speak.

Fortunately most gay-themed movies are already heartbreakingly tragic with the leading protagonists usually suffering a miserable end - so I figure these would theoretically make it through the censors. With the prerequisite sex scenes liberally hacked away by our scissor-happy censors of course.

Of course with every inane rule created, there's always a loophole left somewhere.

After all gay men are generally stereotyped as creative, imaginative sorts! I'm sure if we all put our heads together, we can find a way to circumvent this particularly idiotic precept! Perhaps an adaptation of Sodom & Gomorrah before the flooding? Maybe have a wildly pornographic homosexual orgy which ends with the Biblical cataclysm? Or Atlantis submerging? Or the Titanic sinking?

At least the word gay isn't taboo anymore. Still considered evil but hey, we gotta celebrate the little victories.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gangsters Inc

Bring it on my enemies!

Now's the time to camp at my door wait for the chance to trash me. Go ahead and trash-talk me.

Whereupon I'll finally get the opportunity to hire a hitman. Seriously. A cool 3 thou to chop off a few hands? At least that's the going price according to recent news reports.

Or hire them from Gangsters Inc.

Who shall I chop up today?

New York has the Mafia and their pizza ristorantes. Tokyo has the Yakuza and their sake bars. Over here in Miri, we have the gangsters and the outdoor kopitiam called Gangsters Inc.

Ever had a burly tattooed gangster throw a pan of grilled chicken at your table? A surly waitress munching on bubblegum while she trims her painted nails on a kitchen knife? Anxious patrons huddled at the dark corners perched on their stools ready to escape in case of a gunfight?

Best of all - with the dozens of patrons beating down the doors - you actually have to call and make reservations at this exclusive joint. At least a day before. Or risk losing the table.

Paul : Hello, is this Gangsters Inc?
Gangsta : What's the matter with you? Don't tell me that you're that innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and it makes me very angry. Now, whaddayawant!
Paul : Could I make a reservation for five?
Gangsta : Bada-bing! Our food will blow your brains all over your nice Ivy League suit!
Paul : Uhh. Nice?
Gangsta : Leave the gun, take the cannoli!

Okay. Maybe a lil less Godfather and more Kung Fu hustle. Then the gangsta proceeds to whisper the directions to the secret cafe sotto voce - liberally sprinkled with vulgar profanities.

Truly service with a gap-toothed smile.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Pearl ( Necklace ) of the Orient

I don't really know what the furore about Penang becoming a gay sex hub is all about!

Has the crime rate in the state dropped so low that the bored coppers have started to harass helpless uncles in gay saunas? Obviously robbers, murderers and pirates have run so scant on the island that they need to round up gay boys instead to fulfil their daily crime quota. A fact that has the boys in blue getting a little peeved as the supposedly tolerant local government has closed an eye to such illicit activities.

Penang RAWKs?

I say bravo to the local council. As long as the folks pay taxes without endangering any of the other citizens - or break any sensible laws ( puritanical laws don't apply ), I don't see why the local council should even bat an eyelash. Clever of them. Doesn't anyone else see that it's a clever ploy by the local government to improve the island? Seriously, let me tell you why turning Penang into the Gay Discoball of the Orient would help boost the coffers of the state.

1) Boosting the local economy

The Pink Dollar of course.

Yes, business folks all over the civilized western world have already submitted to the almighty strength of the pink dollar. Without children to hamper their purchasing power, gay couples seem to have walletfuls of chump change to spare. Surely enough disposable income to lavish on mindless consumer products from pricey pincushions to shiny iPhones. Stereotypical but true - and something my fabulously spending friends can certainly attest to. No doubt gay boys are just behind the avaricious tweens in discovering new trends to drive the local economy.

Simple. Promote the island as an Asian gay mecca to rival Bangkok and Taipei. Then open the doors and the gay boys will come shopping. Who wins in this scenario? Definitely the local businesses.

2) Gay gentrification

Aged Penangites frequently reminisce about the glorious heyday of the island with a few new gripes about lacklustre attempts to polish the gleam on the faded pearl. Well, the gay boys not only polish, they'd probably make the proverbial pearl shine. Ever seen a drab, dingy basement given the Queer Eye? Just imagine an entire inner-city neighbourhood undergoing a gay gentrification.

Let the gay boys out and given time, the entire sadly decaying city centre of Georgetown would probably undergo a renaissance it hasn't seen since Francis Light dropped in. Seriously. Crumbling store fronts overgrown with weeds and roof tiles caving down? No way would a gay boy allow that. By hook or by crook - or by judicious DIY, the place would come out far more fabulous than it ever was, leading to rapidly rising rents and property values.

All of which contributes to the coffers of the state. With the prudish religious conservatives beating their heads in the corner, I would say it's a win-win situation. Now you see why the local councils are keeping mum?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Out of Your League

Back in high school we had a social hierarchy of sorts with the various cliques placed on different levels from the jocks to the geeks. Fortunately in a traditional Asian society, being sports-crazy isn't lauded as much as being academically inclined - so the bookish valedictorians share quite as much prestige as the football heroes.

Leaving the under-performing outcasts in the cold.

Back then the boundaries were pretty clear. You were either in. Or out. Acknowledging the presence of the Other was alright but fraternizing with the enemy was a strict no-no. Definitely no dating someone out of your league.

Of course those lines tend to get pretty blurred as we approach adulthood. What we all perceived as social status tends to change as we get older. Things change as the geeky outcast turns into a dot-com multimillionaire while the athletic jock hocks pirated dvds at the night market.

At least that's what I thought.

Shall we admit this sad simpleton into our exalted ranks?

Seems social hierarchies still exist in the gay world. Or at least that's what Kimchi Ken insists. Seems this fellow has set his eyes on someone far out of his league. Someone he claims to be part of the much-celebrated Gay A-Listers - the local underground Gay Mafia if you will.

Ken : I am dating someone way out of my league.
Paul : He's an alien?
Ken : He's an A-Lister! He has such glamorous celebrity friends. So well-read, so well-travelled, so sophisticated.
Paul : How very nice for them. So?
Ken : He's so high above me!
Paul : Standing on his plaster pedestal? Get a ladder then.

For Kimchi Ken - who seems quite a swell guy - to say such a thing has me wondering. Why the shockingly low self-esteem?

When it comes to social hierarchy, I'm surprisingly democratic. Everyone's equal in my eyes. Datukships, million-dollar handbags and celebrity status don't really impress me much. Especially since most can be bought at the right price. Social status doesn't ensure kindness, generosity or any other virtue. In fact, strutting about claiming superiority only pisses me off.

According to Ken's standards, no doubt I'd be judged way down on the marriage mart. Possibly the bargain basement. Horrific eh? But maybe it's encroaching age / maturity that grants me self-confidence but I've never looked at myself as inferior to anyone. Okay, maybe God. King of Swaziland? Pfft, so what! Even if he comes with a list of titles behind his name, when all is said and done, he's still a man.

Cut him up and he bleeds red, trust me.

But seriously, it doesn't matter how great he is. What's important is whether he is good enough for you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tuesday's Child

You know that certainty of life - that unassailable fact that you hold on to since birth? Birthdates are one of them for sure. From the year to the month to the time of birth, it's something we all depend on, printed clearly on almost every significant document in our lives.

Till one day your mom just sends a message saying 'Hey, you weren't born on a Wednesday, you were born on a Tuesday.'


Chuck Bass

No idea how my mom suddenly received that blinding epiphany - or even why - but damn. How in the world had she gotten the days mixed up? Didn't she say Wednesday was the only operating day of the week?

And here I spent half my school life channelling a woeful Wednesday Addams when I should have been a graceful Tuesday instead.

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Graceful eh? Guess I should have become a ballet dancer.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Shrill of Santubong

Beware the Shrill of Santubong, they cried.

Though my sympathetic predecessors warned me to heed their portentous omens, I firmly waved aside the foolish notion that one particular Shrill could destroy every lil bit of satisfaction I have at work. After all what could one sharp screech possibly do to shatter my inner peace?

Even the supremely unflappable Kool Ken is not immune to her .

Ken : Beware the Shrill of Santubong!
Paul : Is she that bad?
Ken : Cover your ears with wax! They say her voice is poison itself!
Paul : Only makes me curious to hear.

I was wrong of course. The vastly Greek naysayers were right.

One banshee can be more than enough. You see, the Shrill of Santubong is a restless spirit that incessantly haunts the halls of the hospital every month, wailing her woes at an ear-splitting screech. Plugging your ears with wax doesn't help either since the very walls seem to reverberate with her shockingly strident shrieks.

Ear plugs
Doubt this would help block out the cacophony!

Worst of all, she's actually hired to do the bimonthly screaming. What is she screaming about? None of us can actually decipher her words since sometimes she reaches a keening pitch only canines can hear.

Guess all of us have certain workmates who seem to be sent from hell to torment us. Fortunately mine only comes semi-regularly. Till now I've tried to keep my cool, wanting to maintain my supposedly cool zen image.

But hell, the Shrill inspired me to write. Every once in a while I'm prone to a bit of poetry. Though of course I've never been very fond of mushy romantic prose. What I like is a bit of lousy limerick.

There once was an old hag named Jill;
With a voice so loud and so shrill;
She shrieked out her orders;
Scared beaus to the borders;
And left her unwed on a hill.

Certainly inspired by the events of the week. Professor Henry Higgins once spoke of Wagnerian mothers with voices that shatter glass. Well I've finally met a particularly nasty specimen at work.

Wonder whether an exorcism would work.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chief of The Complaints Dept

My sincere apologies to all my ex-bosses.

Since I've always been the hot-headed rebel who riles the rest of the minions into mutiny, I guess God - and the my ex-bosses - have found the perfect way to punish me by placing me in the very unusual position of authority. What sweet irony.

You wouldn't know from looking at it but bosses are a very stressed lot. That cushioned swivel chair in the corner office comes with a helluva lot of unseen crap. From balancing budgets to choosing minions for promotion, from office extensions to interdepartmental squabbles.

And unlike most, I don't get paid a cent extra. Trust me.

Chief Shepherd
Fuck. Is that another complaint?

Oh yeah we also operate the complaints department. Especially those that come from other departments. Despite what you'd expect from medical dramas such as House MD and Grey's Anatomy, the practice of medicine is extraodinarily diverse including disciplines as varied as paediatrics, surgery and radiology.

Unlike what you'd expect, most of the different disciplines in a hospital are run like separate lil kingdoms. All with their very own unique language, culture and perspective in life - which obviously leads to the occasional conflict. From the Orthopods name-calling the uro-surgeons Plumbers to the surgeons bitching about the lard-assed anaesthestists. With border skirmishes erupting every once in a while in such a tense environment, it takes a lot of diplomacy and tact to keep the peace.

Something I'm still learning, even with the wolves from other departments continuously baying at the doors.

Wolf : I have a complaint about your medical officers.
Paul : Oh?
Wolf : Lately they seem to be getting increasingly nasty. Even heard them come close to raising their voices at my doctors.
Paul : You're talking about the big hulking boys in your department getting harangued by the little girls in mine?
Wolf : Yes. Terrible bitchy behaviour.
Paul : And that's not due to your inefficient, mentally deficient baboon-like subordinates? he ones who wouldn't be able to recognize an asystole even if the ECG clocked them on their prehistoric cavemen heads?

Of course I didn't reply as such. Big words would have confused him.

Swore to myself that I'd always protect my subordinates if possible but I didn't think beaning him with my stapler would help. Instead I just nodded and told him I'd look into it. Suitably diplomatic, don't you think?

Odd complaint though. Certain personality types tend to drift towards certain disciplines hence the different stereotypes. Just amazed to find that it's the first time he's bumped into a quietly sardonic anaesthetist! Hell, aren't anaesthetists known for their wickedly sarcastic tongues?

For those who are wondering what anaesthetists do. :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kosher Much?

Remember my two religious-turbanned colleagues at work? For an irreligious fellow like me, I'd already steeled myself for endless lectures on the sins of humanity. Fortunately it's not as bad as I imagined. No crazed religious rants or incessant holy book thumping like I feared. In fact I've gotten pretty used to the pious duo.

Till this morning when I stumbled upon a surprisingly eye-opening conversation between them. Let's call them Sombre Salmi & Siti.

Siti: Can't be sure about the quality of goods at the stores here.
Salmi : Doubt they prepare them properly. Heathens the entire lot of people here.
Siti : Quite suspicious about the sold at the market as well.
Salmi : Looks tender, juicy and delicious - but I bet doubly sinful! Think you have to watch the handlers well to see that they don't sully the innocent goods.
Siti : So true. Never can tell whether they switch the goods we wanted. So hard to trust people these days!
Salmi : Easier to get one fresh off the farm so that we can indoctrinate them properly.
Siti : Really skin and dice them well.
Salmi : Offer a prayer for their souls.

Coming from a Chinese fella who eats almost everything on the earth, sky and sea ( horrific I know! ), it left me puzzled at first. Not to mention a little suspicious. Were they talking about the local working girls? Surely my sober colleague wouldn't fraternize such unseemly places. The thought of God-fearing Salmi picking up one of the many painted streetwalkers here left me agog.

Preparing the Goods?

Then Siti and Salmi started discussing ways of plucking the chicken.

Surely it couldn't be a euphemism for a sex position. Then I figured out they were talking about food. Halal food that is - which isn't that easy to find around here these parts. And the method of ritual slaughter in conformance to Islamic religious law.

Forbidden for you are carrion, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that which has been slaughtered while proclaiming the name of any other than God, and one killed by strangling, and one killed with blunt weapons, and one which died by falling, and that which was gored by the horns of some animal, and one eaten by a wild beast, except those whom you slaughter; and that which is slaughtered at the altar and that which is distributed by the throwing of arrows [for an omen]; this is an act of sin.
Al-Maidah 5:3

Thank the Lord. You never know just how difficult it is to eat till you hear these folks talk about food preparation. So endlessly exhausting to hear the two debate over which store supposedly provides the holier service! Even nit-picked over every tedious step in the increasingly complex preparation. For a moment they even considered rearing chickens on their own!

Wouldn't it be easier to just turn vegetarian?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Concession Stand

The Scorpio not only enjoys winning, he has to win. Something inside him, dies when he loses, even in small ways, yet oddly enough, a Pluto man normally practices good sportsmanship.

Used to think that was such a crock since I've always been a good loser. Or at least that's what I used to think. After all, the art of compromise - the act of give and take - is what keeps us all from descending into barbaric behaviour.

Had my childish illusions shattered when I realized today that I actually hate conceding even an inch.

You see today at a meeting I was ambushed. Ambushed - as in leapt out at me bloody fangs bared. An entire pack of hungry wolves came charging at me with their unreasonable demands as I walked in unawares. Totally unsuspecting of the sudden attack, I almost capitulated to all their asinine ultimatums.

Wolf : Give it to us! One hour! That's all! Give in or die!
Paul : I don't wanna die! Let's compromise!
Wolf : Give it up now!
Paul : Fine, fine, just leave me alone.

Tag-teamed and strong-armed me into submission so I gave away an hour of operating time at gunpoint.

Which left me chafing for the next hour. Seriously. Such wimpy submission to force majeure only leaves me irritated as hell. Having given that entire foot of concession, I actually felt a little part of me die.

Hugh Dancy
Dammit! I can't even look at myself!

Seriously. Forget about calm and sensible. Half an hour later I confronted the alpha wolf himself to rescind my offer given under duress. Drink in hand, he'd obviously been celebrating his earlier victory. But this time I'd gotten him alone - without the rest of his greedy mongrels in tow.

Wolf : Yeah, what do you want?
Paul : I'm not giving you an hour. Nada. Not happening. Like ever.
Wolf : What happened to compromise?
Paul : Fuck that.

Of course I didn't express myself in so many words. But I finally managed to whittle him down to ten minutes extra. Not very much when you think about it but the thought still hurts.

Only an inch but I still hate the concession.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Failure to Launch

Failure to the path of success.

When Thomas Edison was seeking to invent the electric light bulb, he didn't get it right the first time. Hell he probably tried thousands of times - and therefore failed - to get the bulb to work. In fact what we do after a failure is what defines us. Those who fall into despair and alcoholism go down in history as losers whlie those who pick themselves up, dust themselves off and persevere are lauded as heroes.

That's what I used to think as well. Giving up has never been an option for me. After all those in the medical field have to face endless obstacles in the guise of neverending exams all through their lives. Failure rate's pretty high with more than half failing to make the grade each term. But only the hopeless wimps wring their hands in helpless surrender after a defeat. The rest of us soldier on despite unavailing odds.

Yet today when I heard on the radio about a boy whining about failing his exams for the eighth time, I had to wonder. Let's be frank. Failing eight times over the same paper.

Ben Warren
What will I do with myself!

Seriously. Isn't God trying to tell you something?

Old age speaking here of course but if I'm his doting dad, I'd already be tearing my hair out in exasperation. Talk about paying through the nose for his college fees - and there he goes flunking again.

Though I'd never show such unworthy emotion of course.

Father : That's the eighth time you failed, son.
Son : But Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before making the lightbulb.
Father : Are you seriously comparing yourself to Edison? In between making that damnable lightbulb, I am sure he had other experiments that didn't fizzle as much.
Son : I can still do it!
Father : You've climbed that same hill a dozen times. Isn't it time to find another path?

Pains me to advocate giving up but sometimes it can be the best solution. I know I'll sound terribly unsympathetic but after flunking that many times, isn't it time to think of other options?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Awakening of McSleepy

In the midst of all that macho surgical bravado in Grey's Anatomy, finally a sensible anaesthesiologist shows up in Seattle Grace. And thankfully he's neither an angry drunkard killing patients nor a spineless wimp who runs screaming from the OR.

And he certainly didn't mismanage the unfortunate patient who developed awareness during the operative procedure ( despite what the hear-hysterical surgeon claimed ). FYI awareness here basically means getting up in the midst of the surgeon's slicing and dicing. Not the most pleasant experience to have, that's for sure. And one of the most terrifying events for a patient - as well as the anaesthesiologist.

But seriously, talk about Grey's giving anaesthesiologists a bad name.

Been a while since I've tuned in to the show - since not only don't I have cable here but Meredith Grey's crazy twisty whine was starting to grate. Find it hard to believe that a hunky neurosurgeon like McDreamy could remain faithful to such a wishy-washy woman. Disgusted, I've stayed away till a week ago, when I got tagged by my colleagues to catch the anaesthesiologist in action.

Ben Warren
Our Dr Warren played by the luscious Jason George!

Not only is Dr Ben Warren the new anaesthesiologist in town, he also has the freaking balls to go after the terrifying Nazi herself. Dr Miranda Bailey. Despite the fact that she almost tore him a new one after a perceived wrong.

And did I mention Ben's smokin' hawt himself? Tall drink of hot chocolate. Yummy. Think someone out there's already tagged Ben Warren as McSleepy ( since only patented hotties with medical degrees are worthy enough of the moniker Mcs ).

At least for the meantime, Ben looks perfect. Knowing the medical soap opera that the show's turned into, I'm sure they'll soon find that Ben's either gay ( ooh la la come to papa ), secretly sired half a dozen illegitimate kids - or has some sort of rabid drug addiction.

Till that happens, I'm glad. Finally some screen time equity for this discipline, small though it may be. Now I wonder whether the other specialties in the hospital - Paediatrics / Medicine / Radiology - will find their day in the sun or do they only hire surgeons?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Prudes and Prejudice

Obviously my reputation as a calm, sensible fellow has been ripped to shreds.

Especially after my sudden outburst at the meeting last week. Hard to maintain any sort of strict decorum after I almost banged the table in frustration. Almost. So much for being zen. You couldn't very well expect me to remain silent while the rest were spewing such opprobrious rubbish, could you?

You see the wards here have always practiced a peculiar gender bias. While female caretakers are welcomed in all the open wards, male caretakers / relatives are frowned upon in the female and children wards. Solely based on the theory that all men are obviously crazed sexual perverts with zero self-control. The seductive sight of a wrinkled octogenarian female patient in crutches is surely enough to inflame their uninhibited passions.

What rubbish. Believe me when I say not even a nubile nymphette of sixteen can arouse when she's busy hurling chunks of her bloody lungs all over the floor.

Derek Shepherd
Wait, let me get this right. We're barred from the wards at night because we turn into rapacious sexual beasts after dark?

Don't even get me going on the topic of sexual segregation based on that erroneous theory. Baby changing rooms which forbid men from entering already piss me off. Do they expect the single dads to change the diapers on the supermarket floor instead?

So when the nursing staff started voicing such concerns - citing the uncontrolled lusts of men, it obviously put me in a flame as well.

Paul : Wouldn't it be easier to just be more vigilant in the wards?
Nurse : But it's hard to control the men.
Paul : Talk about gender bias. Are you seriously tarring all male caretakers with that same prejudiced brush?
Nurse : But the men can't control themselves.
Paul : So all men automatically lose their heads the moment they see a vulnerable female? I'm sure that's what we'd call defamation.
Nurse : No, but..
Paul : So what next? Female patients being examined only by female physicians? Male nurses only for male wards?

Why pander to such unprogressive parochial notions! Don't even think we should let such foolish prejudices take root. Nip such unthinking conservatism in the bud before it even begins! Just about to launch into an entire crazed diatribe about sexual segregation in buses and queues.

Poor lady obviously got me on an insane roll. Guess it's true that you don't wake a sleeping dragon. Pretty reasonable usually till someone nudges one of my sore points.

All this while the rest of the hall stared agog at my rants.

No wonder I'm recognized.

The foolishness of it all. Come on, haven't these nurses heard about homosexuality? Following Kinsey's rule, you'd have at least a handful of homos amongst the lot. Wouldn't the wanton, unbridled male patients in the wards be all over each other enacting a wild Bel Ami orgy? How do we separate everyone then?

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Just a tip for the wannabe fugitive. It's much easier to disappear in the vast expanse of suburbs and large cities than in a smaller town.

In a small town with a close-knit community, it doesn't take all that long before you know most everybody - and everybody knows you. At least vaguely. Everyone you meet on the street starts looking eeriely familiar. Didn't you just see that lady walking by the grocery store? Doesn't the man sitting at the cafe look like the appendicectomy patient last week? Wasn't that the woman who serves lunch at the canteen?

Umm... do I know you?

Or is that fellow the doctor you met at the hospital?

Been gallivanting around town often enough that certain folks have started to look almost recognizable. Especially those who tend to travel a lot ( since I take the flight across the little puddle almost bimonthly ). Didn't realize however that I've become quite a familiar sight as well.

Seriously. You know you have achieved some notority in town when even storekeepers address you by name. A surprisingly genial one.

Paul : That's three eggs and some bread for me.
Storekeeper : Coming in early today, Dr Paul.
Paul : Huh?
Storekeeper : Usually you come by a bit later.
Paul : You know my name? Were you my patient?
Storekeeper : Of course not. We've just seen you around.
Paul : Huh?

Total random storekeeper.

As she waved me goodbye while I hurried out of the store, a dozen crazy thoughts ran through my head. Though I might have stopped in quite a few times the past month, I don't think I've ever given them my name. Don't recall walking by with my name tag emblazoned on my coat - or tattooed indelibly on my forehead. Haven't done anything to make the headlines in the local dailies.

And I don't think I'm wanted by the police as yet.

Don't think she's a friend of a friend on facebook!

Waitaminute, is she one of Charming Calvin's numerous aunts with an agenda? Part of his mother Lady Borgia's underground spy network?

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Day I Cheated a Dimwit

I've always been of the opinion that my math really sucks.

Real bad, I swear. Without a handy calculator at hand, I usually have to depend on my ten fingers to do even the simplest calculations. Till now I can't recall the times table nor do I know what the heck calculus actually does. Complex equations scrawled on the blackboard actually scare me.

Seriously no idea how I even passed mathematics back in school, much less a paper as reputedly tough as our STPM paper - our local equivalent of A Levels. Lucky day for me I guess. Always assumed that everyone else at the exam hall ( apart from the usual geniuses ) had taken a serious blow to the head so the grading curve shifted to my benefit!

My head hurts from all that calculation!

Of course every time I think of myself as a ditzy blond when it comes to simple mathematics, I'm reminded that there are some far worse than me. Dumb and dumber. Just like today when I lined up to pay at the cashier.

Cashier : That comes up to 14 dollars.
Paul : I have 9 dollars. Wait, I have some change.
Cashier : How much?
Paul : Oh, I think the coins come up to about 3 dollars. Should be enough.
Cashier : Oh yeah it is. Here's the change.
Paul : Oh, I have change?

Seriously. That's how bad my math sucks.

The amazing part is the cashier actually handed me some change. Which I - oh feebleminded me - accepted happily.

Then it took me almost ten minutes after driving away to realize that I'd inadvertently cheated the poor fellow. Palm-to-forehead moment. Like DUH. Not only did I feel quite the brainless dimwit, it shocked me to realize that there are some even thicker.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Guy, A Girl and a Party for Two

After a month of gallivanting with oil barons, Piratin Patty's recently returned to our lil outback. For folks not in the know, our Piratin Patty - like the precocious Eloise of the books - actually lives in a hotel suite. I've stopped her plans of getting a pug dog and a turtle though.

And the beauty of living in a hotel is ordering in.

Seriously. Room service. How many of us have wondered about what it was like having food delivered straight to the doorstep of your hotel room? Usually the prices are shockingly prohibitive but over here in the boondocks, we've found that it's surprisingly reasonable.

Despite the fact that the help's far from helpful here.

Food Delivery
You rang, sir?

This time however we both got a pleasant surprise when a seriously humpy fella came traipsing up the halls to knock on the door. Of course Patty was far too obsessed with finding her purse to notice the cute waiter waiting at the door.

Paul : Get nekkid.
Patty : What for?
Paul : The waiter's coming back with change. He's damned cute.
Patty : He was?
Paul : You were staring at the food tray again, weren't you?

Well maybe the server's apron detracted a little from his masculine charm but hell, I could already imagine the delights to be uncovered. Me, I see the potential in men. Obviously my probing X-ray vision scared the kid a little since he backed right up against the wall holding up the bill tray.

Was half-tempted to check in just to call room service for a party of two.

Nothing to stop me from flirting a little as I left however. Even dropped a little tip into his apron pocket as I walked by. Think he almost keeled over in astonishment.

Poor fellow. Was I a little too forward?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Deaths of Laura Bow

The museum's already deserted with the clock struck past midnight a little while back. There's a sudden chill in the air and I can't help but recall the headless body pierced through the back by a pterodacytyl. A vicious killer's loose in the corridors of the Leyendecker Museum - so it's all I can do not to scream hysterically even as I keep uncovering more corpses in each subsequent chamber. Always one step behind.

Who else will die tonight?

Oh yes, somehow I've managed to get this ancient DOS-based game running on the computer. If I remember correctly, this game used to come in a stack of disks or so to be inserted after each act. And now it fits into such an amazingly tiny file! Seriously I have work presentations that are larger in size.

Such a classic. Ah, Laura Bow intrepid girl detective, I remember her well. Just out of college, this hotshot cub reporter gets quickly entangled in an intriguing Egyptian mystery-murder in the Roaring Twenties. The games that my ISO and I played back in school. How can I possibly forget the number of times we replayed the various scenes in Laura Bow's Dagger of Amon-ra! Seemed almost impossible to surmount the preposterous obstacles without a simple walkthrough ready - though I sternly kept reminding my frustrated ISO not to succumb to that ignoble temptation.

Even an act as simple as crossing the road seemed an impossible task.

My ISO : Muthafucka. We got hit by a cab again.
Paul : Maybe we should make a run for it.
My ISO : The bloody cab's too damned fast. And this is the twenties!
Paul : I blame those heels!

Evidently you're supposed to hail a taxi instead. You can imagine how many times Laura turned into roadkill on her first day before we accidentally stumbled on the required solution.

And the number of insignificant items you have to pick up along the way ( e.g. dinosaur bone, cheese ) to place inside what I've termed Laura's otherdimensional purse. That only makes sense way down the line as you face a bunch of carnivorous rats.

What's a murder-mystery without a love interest?

Oh yes I had such an early crush over dreamy redhead Steve Dorian! Certainly would have pushed Laura into a steaming vat of industrial chemicals to get him. Or perhaps a more elegant death in keeping with the other grisly murders in the game.

Our reimagined Steve Dorian! Buffer than I recall!

Had such a great time reminiscing with Laura that I had to keep my ISO abreast with my replay. Surprisingly his mental faculties still in working order, he immediately recalled the game and picked up the game as well. The internet really has made the world that much smaller!

My ISO : Have you gotten to the museum yet?
Paul : I have! OMG. That man's fallen over a stuffed porcupine.
My ISO : Eeew. Have you reached that French skank yet?
Paul : The slutty Yvette who's after my Steve?
My ISO : I think Steve Dorian spoiled us for other men.
Paul : Oh so true. Feel like stabbing Yvette with a pterodactyl.
My ISO : Think you gotta pry it off Ziggy first.
Paul : Maybe I'll plaster her into a statue.
My ISO : I think someone thought of that already.

Oh yes, did I mention the murders get progressively more gruesome as the game continues? And we used to play the game pitch-dark at midnight :)

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Shell Game

In order to finance the rather astronomical bill that is Pemberley, Charming Calvin has hit upon a scheme that I've found surprisingly original. Rather than taking out an equally ginormous loan or pledging his life's savings on a winning horse, Calvin has decided to invest in a casino.

Or at least that's what I gleaned from this particular conversation.

Paul : So what are you up to tonight, my good man?
Calvin : Having some people over to play mahjong. Maybe it should be a regular event.
Paul : You mean a Charmed Casino?

What else am I supposed to think? A straight-laced, law-abiding citizen such as Calvin wouldn't dream of such a deed but you know what they say about desperate times and desperate measures...

Get Pemberley I must!

Immediately I could imagine the hypnotic clackety-clack of mahjong tiles, the smoky atmosphere of the clandestine gambling hell and the slit-eyed glances of femme fatales with hidden agendas. With Charming Calvin in a shiny pit boss tux presiding over his Charmed Casino with a watchful eye. Possibly backed by an appropriately butched-up Jaunty Jared with dragon tattoo and bleached blond crop.

Maybe with Soldat dealing out cards - since I'm sure one of his personalities would have worked in a riverboat casino before.

And there I'd be in the shadowy wings with a half-empty glass of wine listening to the live jazz entertainment - obviously typecast as the physician on-call. Just in case a sudden bloody gunfight erupts between Calvin's hellish hoodlums and the rival neighbouring gang. Or a disgruntled mahjong auntie with a trigger-happy finger.

A casino! Who knew! So come and place your bets, gentlemen!

Or at least that's what I think Calvin is saying. Then again, it could be a one-off mahjong game for the Chinese New Year.