Friday, January 30, 2015

No Surgeon is An Island

Even if they might secretly think so.

Always dubbed as the proverbial forced marriage in the field of medicine, surgeons and anaesthesiologists have always had a thorny relationship with all the prerequisite ups and downs that come with an involuntary alliance. Most times however the conversation remains somewhat cordial across the green barrier.

Surgeon : I'm always surprised how close you all are. 
Paul : Who?
Surgeon : Well the anaesthesiologists. 
Paul : Why not? We need to work together, no?

No doubt it was a sly comment on how I'm always lending a hand to my junior colleague in a different hospital. It was at the tip of my tongue to make a barbed reply but I decided to focus on my recorded notations instead. As the case may be, I've actually made a similar observation myself and have come up with several debatable conclusions based on my few years of experience.

Yeah, we're always watching. 

Let's face it, surgeons like to be number one. Easy enough to see such apparently kiasu behaviour displayed even on the television screens with medical dramas such as Grey's Anatomy. Wanting to be the best helps them strive desperately for surgical perfection which is invaluable to the hapless patient but it also makes them just a tad egotistical much to the detriment of their own peers.

And yes, to the much-abused scrub nurses.

How often have we heard a boastful surgeon denigrate the skills of his own associate! As a matter of fact, it happened barely moments before the previous conversation as the exasperated surgeon whined about how awful the previous surgery was and what a bloody mess had been left behind.

Surgeon : Don't know what the hell he was thinking of to attempt that procedure - and what a botched up job it was too. Take a look. 
Paul : Yeah? 
Surgeon : Bad, no? 
Paul : You know I'm not going to say anything about it, right? 

Which is why it's rare to have several surgeons of similar field with comparable years of practice scrub up together for a procedure - certainly sounds like the perfect prescription for medical mayhem as they would all attempt to run the show.

For anaesthesiology I think I've worked cooperatively with my peers... well, countless times. In anaesthesiology, we usually work as a team; in fact we work better together sometimes. Very little room for ego when there's always the need for an extra pair of hands. Tensions might rise as it inevitably does but we have learned well to keep our mouths shut ( always helpful in a panic-driven work environment ) and just get the work done.

Think my nurses can all attest to the fact that I never ever talk ill of my colleagues in anaesthesiology when it comes to their professional work. Perhaps it's a code of brotherhood that prevents me from speaking up - or maybe I just don't feel the need to make myself superior to any of my brethren. The work speaks for itself and I certainly don't have to add anything to it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bringing Out Hartfield

It would be simple enough to just pack up and move into Hartfield without much ado. After all there's ample space even for a burgeoning young family, what more a couple of swinging singletons! But I simply cannot tolerate the presence of an absolutely hideous staircase banister. Not only is it a garishly blinding metal monstrosity that reeks of the Chinese towkay nouveau riche, it comes with a multitude of knobs, pulleys and various curious metal attachments that I find impossible to fathom.

So it has to go. 

Replacing it with a simple wooden banister without any frills would suffice - not to mention far more tasteful - but there would be few aspiring workmen who would deign to find time for such a simple task. Thus was born the idea to extend Hartfield to almost twice its current size, effectively giving me far more space for my designing ideas. There are even thoughts of expanding the bathroom giving more space for a tub and such. 

Unfortunately being transferred across the Big Puddle to the back of beyond comes with its distinct disadvantages - one of them being the deplorable inability to call up reliable workmen when the need inevitably arises. Back home, we had an entire list of manual workers from plumbers to electricians readily contactable on speed dial. Over here, all I could depend on was the clearly unsound personal recommendations of friends and colleagues. Helpful though they try to be, most of them - having never had a domicile of their own - have never even acquired the services of said workmen. 

Even Charming Calvin who hails from here found it difficult to drum up some names. 

Hence the dilemma. 

And the difficulty of hiring a worker when there are hardly any portfolios of their previous endeavours to peruse at length. Sure they all can spin a convincing sales spiel but would they actually be able to translate all my fanciful castles in the sky into brick-and-mortar reality? Always the niggling fear that my personal dream of a Neuschwanstein would transform into a horrific New Swine Estate instead. 

So I took on several bidders for the commission, trying to see which would be the best fit. Thus far none have actually managed to impress me with their skill and knowledge. Even less with their looks. Seriously, do hunky muscular manual labourers only exist in gay porn? 

Sadly they don't all look like this. 

Contractor : Here's my quotation. 
Paul : And what makes you different from the other two? 
Contractor : Well I can always throw in some extras. 
Paul : Oh really?
Contractor : Maybe do the tiling at the patio? Some extra power sockets?
Paul : That's all good but could you flex for me a bit? 
Contractor : Umm.. yeah sure? 
Paul : That looks really good. Maybe unbutton your shirt? 
Contractor : Not sure what difference it makes but sure. 
Paul : Oh yeah it looks like you could handle plenty.
Contractor : Really, I assure you I can handle the job. 
Paul : There's a dirt stain on your chest, lemme get that for you. 

Now if that were to actually happen, it would have been so much easier to choose. Maybe just sign off if the price is right? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy Family

Judging from the religious orthodoxy perpetually wailing over the wholly imagined homosexual agenda with desperate calls to start rehabilitation camps and so on, it's pretty clear that this country isn't exactly a renowned bastion of homotolerance. These days with their increasingly narrow-minded world view, even a hint of liberalism is seen to be a bad thing.

Nonetheless even with such ludicrous restrictions from the all-knowing clergy, the common people persevere. Perhaps their parochial prejudice has even driven the rest of the people in the other direction towards tolerance and liberalism.

Well, we can always hope.

Especially when surprisingly simple yet subversive items like that crop up every once in a while to remind you that things do get better. Just take a look at a recent primary school workbook with a sketch of the family tree. Simple enough homework to note down the familial relationships in the typical nuclear family.

Except there's nothing very typical about this family. Though my friends already offered some hints, it actually took me quite a while to see it but if you look closely you'll find two boys finding true love amongst the ruins.

Check out an example of the harmonious family in wonderfully progressive Malaysia

Harmonious family indeed!

Now whoever said our country isn't at all progressive? Neighbouring Vietnam might have beaten us to legalizing gay marriage but that seems to be already a fait accompli here, regardless of the current legal situation! Not only do we teach primary students all about gay marriages, we even have them adopting an entire passel of children, seemingly of different races. Even more shocking, one of the gay fathers seems to have come from a decidedly religious family - judging by the obvious songkoks on their respective heads.

Not sure what the hapless students are supposed to fill in on the blank spaces of course. Maybe Dad and Father? Or the colloquial Malay equivalent of Ayah and Bapa? Things apparently do get better!

So literally who's your daddy!

Obviously an unfortunate ( or would that be fortunate in our case ) error in publishing though it certainly successfully ignited the internet social media for a while with the usual tasteless jokes about gay men - though I did sense a little less homophobic vitriol of the burning pitchfork kind. Let's hope that bodes well for the future!

Hope to scour the town for a copy of the notorious workbook if I can - though I figure the much harassed publisher would hastily recover most copies after realizing their priceless mistake

Friday, January 16, 2015

Grizzlylocks and the Three Bears

Clearly written for much simpler times, fairy tales that we loved as kids tend to have astonishingly implausible plotlines that we would find wholly unthinkable in our real life from intrepid virgins who would heedlessly brave a stranger's hovel ( obviously no fear of stranger danger ) to wandering princes who seemingly plant their lips on random corpses ( unsanitary much ).

But we forgive them one and all, because few would have genuinely existed in reality - and those that did have been embellished so wildly through the ages that no doubt very little remains of the true story. Even little girls with blond curls happily traipsing through unfamiliar, seemingly deserted bear caves while wining and dining on her own doesn't seem at all unusual to us. It's an imaginary fairytale after all.

So how does it happen in real life that a boy actually finds three bears in one place?

Let me elaborate. Once upon a time there was a boy named Grizzlylocks who was apparently hopelessly heterosexual in nature - or at least that's what he claimed to everyone else in the little town, the quiet village and neighbouring forest. And yet when no one was watching he occasionally slipped Freudian-like for a moment.

Paul : Did Grizz just say he has a partner? 
Madison : Yes, he did. 
Paul : He's not a lawyer. 
Madison : No, he isn't. 
Paul : He doesn't have some company. 
Madison : No, he doesn't.
Paul : Very few straight guys say partner. Why would they when they have a plethora of sexy synonyms to play with? 
Madison : Now you've made me suspicious. 

So which way does he lean? Perhaps in the olden days, we would have depended on the local village witch with her scrying spells, hapless chicken and crystal ball to garner pertinent information on him but these days, we can just click on ye trusty olde Facebook. Basically in the tight little gay world, there's very little place to run and hide even in that darkest of closets. Let's just say your choice of friends can be extremely telling, even more so than a bloody trail of chicken guts on the ground.

Not only did we find three bears who recently offered the affable hand of camaraderie, Grizz already came with an entire pack of bears of his own. And I don't mean the savage beasts who rightfully chased Goldilocks out for intentional home invasion. Though some of these gay boys do have the same amount of bodily hair.

You mean these kinda bears? 

Seriously where did he find them? Clumsy Goldilocks might have accidentally stumbled into a den of bears but where did Grizz, an apparently straight fellow, find an entire Beartown to befriend? Curious!

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Boy Who Cried Blow Job

It was almost impossible not to stare. A bead of sweat, almost luminescent in the soft golden glow of the hedonistic gym lights, trickled down the edge of his square stubbled jaw only to spill down heedlessly onto the hard shelf of his sculpted pecs, still pumped from his recent exertions. From there, it could only slide its way down the deep valley of his chest to dance across the ridges of his perfectly carved abs. 

Dare the voyeur continue staring only to risk a fist onto his face? There was only one answer as that lucky bead of sweat tumbled down the corrugated six-pack only to dive down into the waistband of his black shorts where several dark curly hairs peeking out only hinted at the promising treasures within. It was a fortunate trail the voyeur would have enjoyed following with his hot tongue. 

Most of us would only have stopped with the hot sexual fantasy without acting on it. 

It's the gym after all. Pumped up muscular boys in the gym, who could possibly resist audaciously ogling while indulging in licentious speculation  - especially with the vain peacocks shamelessly posing and preening in front of the mirrors for all to see? Coupled with the occasional deep-throated moan and grunt, it's only a hop and skip away from lewd gay pornography

Wonder if I should head to the sauna...

Apparently just wanking off with that particular wet dream in mind wasn't sufficient for two horny older gentlemen who allegedly accosted a seventeen year old in a local gym recently. Specific details of the event are sketchy at best but from what most of us can gather from the report posted online, the victim in question was accosted by the two other men in the heated sauna and involuntarily given a hasty blow job. 

Easy enough to condemn the two perpetrators if the victim was truly the innocent prey. Come on, keep any non-consensual sexual fantasies locked up only in your mind - and perhaps the occasional dirty wank porn - but don't wreak havoc on someone else's life by imposing your depraved fantasies onto them. Or better yet go find someone, apparently our homosocial apps abound with enthusiastic volunteers, who would submit readily to any and all sexual penchants. 

However there is something quite unusual about the case. 

What I found odd was the pronounced lack of a no. No attempts to escape, no attempts to seek help, no attempts to even desist with the simplest no. In a crowded gym full of members and workers, surely someone would have come to his aid. Without all that, no doubt the two gentlemen who purportedly maltreated the poor fellow would have thought him quite extraordinarily willing and consenting. 

And a hunky seventeen year old in the gym after abs training who is quite exceedingly compliant? 

Seriously, very few would keep their hands off. Exactly the stuff submissive Japanese porn is made up of. 

So why didn't the boy cry for help? Perhaps his extreme youth or childlike naivete stilled his tongue? Guess only the three of those involved would be the ones to know. Till the case is solved however, I hope we all remember that everyone's innocent till proven guilty. Pitchforks and parangs - apparently what the boy's relatives intended - aren't the way to solve this. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Last Christmas

With the entire family spending Christmas over there, how could we possibly not call up the cousins?Specifically the Thai ones - the various children from my late uncle's unlikely trio of warring stepwives. No doubt the last time they actually shared a decent meal together on one communal table was during their departed patriarch's funeral. Or maybe after when they battled passionately over the meagre estate left behind.

But Christmas is a time for family after all. Knowing that it would please my mother very much, I embarked on this intrepid mission months before, knowing fully well that certain components would surely irk me to no end.

First step was obviously making contact with the eldest of the lot, the Samaritan, which I did dutifully more than a month before we arrived.

Paul : Hey, we're coming over for Christmas. 
Samaritan : That's great!  
Paul : We'll be staying in town for a week. All of us. 
Samaritan : Weather's nice. 
Paul : Are you going to invite us for dinner or do I have to? 
Samaritan : Sure, let's meet for dinner. 
Paul : Call up the rest of your siblings. 
Samaritan : The rest? 
Paul : All of them, even the half sibs. 

Gotta say the Samaritan never fails to disappoint me. Perhaps if he ever initiates an invitation to dinner of his own volition, I might possibly faint from shock. Don't know about the rest of you but as the dedicated host - wherever I am - I would usually take that first step, not only in arranging any coming dinners but also to ensure everything goes smoothly right up to the discreet bill reimbursement at the end. Playing host is something I do almost without thinking.

The Samaritan? We're the same age and he has never ever picked up the check. Ever. Don't be fooled into thinking that he's pathetically destitute having to beg for spare change on the grimy streets of Bangkok, the man earns quite a decent living. Then again, he hardly offered a miserable penny to cover his father's funeral expense so I doubt even the vaunted Christmas miracle could change that.

Well guess who I left out on the Christmas list. 

But hey, there's always second - third - and fourth chances. He might change? Season of giving after all.

Since the Samaritan lives there, I figured he would know best where to dine like a king in the food paradise that's Bangkok but he hemmed and hawwed without giving any proper reply. Moment the Samaritan deferred from picking the restaurant, I already figured out who would be footing the bill. Bah, humbug.

Paul : Guess who is buying us dinner!
Brother : Not the Samaritan of course. 
Paul : Guessed it right. 
Brother : Merry Christmas to us then. 
Calvin : So who's paying?
Paul : Obviously my brother and me. 

The season of giving. Though I would find it hard to offer much forgiveness.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Here We Come A-wassailing

Last time I travelled with my brother anywhere was the aforementioned Eurotrip almost a decade ago. Honestly other than dining out really cheaply and curtailing any added expenses such as shopping, there is very little I can actually recall about that trip! Photography wasn't really my thing so pictures were few so there's hardly anything left to jog the memories. Since I'd barely begun work, my wallet was still quite woefully spare which didn't leave much change for purchasing knick knacks and doo-dads.

Give or take about ten years, I find my credit limit more resilient this time, able to weather any minor financial disbursements that might occur due to somewhat indiscriminate shopping. Ever the prudent consumer, my diligent brother still keeps his purse strings cinched up tight.

Except when it comes to food, glorious food, of course! For that, our exceedingly well-fed Fuzhou kin have a well-earned reputation for providing an overflowing dinner table ready to feed an entire marauding Viking army.

And perhaps a couple of Huns as well.

Fortunately we were vacationing in the food paradise of Bangkok where food comes cheap, plentiful and all finger-lickin lipsmackingly scrumptious.

Time to load up the kids!

However I seemed to have forgotten my brother's peculiar propensity to effectively fill up every moment of the day with constructive activity. Oftentimes on opposite ends of the city map. Rather than the leisurely trip of boutiques and bistros we were blissfully imagining, suddenly we found ourselves briskly herded through stifling alleyways to perilous destinations unknown.

Not that I minded the trip.

I did mind the panicked rush though. It was if we were trying to cover the entire city of Bangkok in eighty minutes! Or perhaps less since I hardly had time to check my trusty wrist watch. There were times I wondered if we'd even paid for our meals yet before rushing away.

Paul : We're not done yet!
Brother : No, we have another place to be in ten minutes pronto. 
Paul : Where? 
Brother : Ten stops from here by train. 
Paul : What?!
Brother : Up! We're leaving!

Even I - with my brisk walk - found myself at times quite breathless. Seriously I can't imagine how Charming Calvin must have felt being unceremoniously whisked from one corner to another.

Definitely no time to go a-wassailing! Far too busy wailing as we were all swept into matching tuk tuks to dash through the grimy streets of the inner city.