Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Sliding Doors

A long while back, there was a lil known movie called Sliding Doors that told the story of a lady, reminiscent of a very youthful Gwyneth Paltrow, who found herself splitting into two alternate timelines because of one possible missed train. One in which she actually managed to get on that train and one where the doors literally shut on her.

Just a serendipitous incidence that would send her life barrelling down two entirely separate timelines that couldn't be more different. 

That very distinct image of the sliding train doors always remained with me - along with the surprisingly sentimental ballad from Aqua that accompanied it. 

One that comes to mind whenever I travel afield with Charming Calvin since he moves at a snail's pace while I'm decidedly ... faster. Though age has slowed me down plenty, I'm still plenty quick enough to leave him quite literally in the dust. Which is one reason why I'm always spinning around every hundred metres or so to make sure he's at least ten paces behind. 

Otherwise I might actually lose sight of him. 

Which is what happened in a train station in Tokyo.

And yes, we've been there several times since that first time. That's another couple of stories to tell. 

Rush hour in Tokyo is a crazy madhouse with crowds rushing to and fro at maddening speeds, though Charming Calvin always seems spectacularly unfazed by the human chaos and methodically trudges his way down the steps. Me, akin to many other brash mainland Chinese passengers, I'm all too prepared to smack, shove and strain my way into the nearest possible train. Scrambling down the steps to see the train doors fortuitously open, I rarely think twice about stepping in. 

Made it right on time!

Moments before I of course swung around to find him as I usually do. Only to see the train doors gradually closing. It was like a movie sequence with everything slowed down to a staggering pause as we both stared at each other through the doors. I could practically hear Aqua singing. Perhaps I looked amused, I might even have waved. Calvin for sure looked absolutely aghast. 

Fortunately though it was something both of us had anticipated a long time ago - quite brainy the both us! - and even prepared several options for what to do after. First plan would be for me to hurry out at the next station and try to enter the following train at the same carriage.  

After that, I actually suggested hurrying him into stations and then pushing him into the train in front of me. Calvin wasn't too amused at that. 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Code Blue

There's actually more to us than just being the casual gas man at work. Over here in these parts, your friendly neighbourhood anaesthetists also wear another hat, the far more austere cap of an intensive care physician.

Not only do we knock patients under, we sometimes also keep them under for a much longer while in the intensive care department - apart from a myriad of other more onerous tasks ranging from life support to specialized medical therapies regulated to the patient at hand. Working in the shadows as it may be since most of our patients, hopefully if we do our job correctly by keeping them well and truly under, don't even recall our faces.
And that's the way we like it.

Which brings me to the topic at hand which is Code Blue, something we all dislike vehemently since not only does it involve some unfortunate life on the absolute precipice of free falling into oblivion, it also necessitates dropping everything we are doing at that moment to make a literal run for it. Seriously, I've been paged halfway through making out - exactly like what happens on those scandalous medical dramas.

Damn, is that your pager or mine?

But every little moment counts.

So it makes us even more agitated when we are confronted with the most ludicrous situations, like the one I had yesterday.

Doctor : Yes, you called? 
Nurse : There's a Code Blue. 
Doctor : Alright, what is it about? 
Nurse : It's a Code Blue. 
Doctor : Yes. What is it about? Tell me more. 
Nurse : It's a Code Blue. 

I could have sworn I was talking to a dictaphone. Or at least one of those mechanical voice messages that are put on a loop.

Rather than a junior nurse whose faculties seemed to have flown out of the premises the moment a Code Blue was called. Realizing that her greenness required some proper handling and patience, I refrained from reaching across magically through the telephone lines to strangle her properly.

And that was after asking repeatedly for the incidence that brought about the Code Blue. Yes, it was even more times than what I wrote above. Code Blue just means an emergency situation where a patient has suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest. What brought it about could be an infinite number of possibilities that would probably require all number of different medical procedures.

So you can imagine my consternation. Fortunately after the umpteenth time of trying to draw out the reason for the Code Blue, a far more senior nurse grabbed the phone away from her to explain.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Much Ado About Small Towns

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

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

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

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

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

Oh man, are they from a small town? 


And something I simply cannot brain.

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

Tuesday, April 09, 2019



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 06, 2019

The Old and the New

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

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

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

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

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

Always time for a sketch!

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

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

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

Till Inktober came along.

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

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

Makes me wonder sometimes why I left this love behind.