Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Good strings

"So Jon ah...I couldnt find the strings you wanted la."

"Er...ok(rubs eyes sleepily)."

"But ah, I got good strings for the guitar instead."

"Er, ok. What strings did you get> What's the name?"

"Good strings."

"Er...yeah. But what's the brand?"

"Good strings loh. Seems to be good I guess."

"Er...no the brand la."

"It says here good strings."

"Er...ok la...Should be fine...I.."

*Goes offline*

"Rats" *Goes back to sleep*

And when hsupheen came back, she handed me :

Well, can't argue with that I suppose.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Standing in God's way.

Lord I want to serve You,
Lord I want to know You more,
Lord I want to see You,
To hear You say well done,
Lord I want to meet You,
Lord I want to let You lead,
Lord I say all this,
But what do I mean?
Cos it's hard to do the things I say,
How can You lead when I'm standing in the way?

Lord I need You to intervene,
To break me down, to wash me clean,
Lord I need You to change my heart,
To give new life, a brand new start,
I know You can do all of this today,
Why am I standing in Your way?

Lord come in and intervene,
Come break me down, come wash me clean,
Lord take and change my heart,
I claim new life, a brand new start,
Lord You can do all this today,
Cos I'm getting out of Your way.

Just another nudge from God today. Its about action. I say that I trust Him, yet I am betrayed by my actions. So it's a challenge then. To live NOT necessarily the life that I, ME, MYSELF would enjoy living, but knowing that God will take care of the 'enjoying' part(Matt6:33). To be pushed out of where I'm comfortable and know God is with me 'to the very end of the age'. So in essence, it's all lip service until I allow God that amount of trust which says He DOES know best. And that I don't have to take matters into my own hands, because His are much bigger.

While I enjoy hearing from God(it bolsters my confidence that there IS indeed a God), I am looking forward to the day when God speaks more than just having to rebuke me. And yes, Jack and Alex, I somehow know its God speaking. Sort of like when I know someone, when I hear his/her voice, I know who it is.

Elder Michael passed away today, one of the reasons which led to this post. Do keep his family in prayer. He'll be alright.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Thanks Shubs and Squeaks. Miss you guys too.

Haven't seen anyone in paeds wear one of these yet:-)

Mayb its time to create history!

From Oxford Clinical Handbook of Medicine

An example of the futility of modern medicine:

Causes(of acute pancreatitis) 'GET SMASHED': Gallstones, Ethanol, Trauma, Steroids, Mumps, Autoimmune (PAN), Scorpion venom, Hyperlipidaemia (^ Ca2+, hypothermia), ERCP, (also emboli), Drugs (eg azathioprine, asparaginase, mercaptopurine, pentamidine, didanosine, ?diuretics); also pregnancy. Often none found. (last italics mine)

Forgive me, Oxford Clinical Handbook of Medicine. You're actually pretty good at being funny that way.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Fighting with bitchy housemates - Jack on MSN

Jack's nick on MSN was exactly what it said, except for the bitchy part.. I don't know what mademe suggest it, mayb due to some sad attempt to let off exam steam, but there it was:

Playstation tournament in I3!

Contestants: Alex, Ed, Jack and I

Games: Capcom VS Marvel, Granturismo 2, and some footie game I haven't the foggiest about..

At stake: Last out of the four gets the envied cooking position on Sunday! Third runner up washes..

Well, having not played PS before, but having watched Street Fighters being played ages and ages ago, I took on Ed with the WAR MACHINE(some Marvel character).

Unfortunately, Ed seems to play this thing in his sleep, and wiped the floor with my (sorry, WAR MACHINE'S) ass. Not a good start. Next I face Alex, and decide to keep the same character, after all, if he was a Marvel character, he cant be THAT bad... And for a while, it looked as though I was going somewhere other than fourth place. WAR MACHINE apparently can do this super power where he shoots missiles up in the air which rains down on the opponent. And he has this other super power where he hoists a HUGE gun/laser thingy on his shoulder and proceeds to blast the daylights out of...anyway.. As I was saying, though things looked pretty for a while, destiny overtook me, and I was left on the floor with Alex grabbing the 3rd place. So, at the end of the first round, the points were:

Ed/Jack in front, Alex with 2 points and ol' me with 1 point.

Next up, GT2...Some racing game. Wouldnt you know it, in my hastiness to drift and slide and brake etc etc, I end up turning around and going in the opposite direction more than once. Basically I''m hopeless. I feel like I have 'ten thumbs' like I read in the medical magazine, which, incidentally tells me I'm not surgeon material. Ed and Alex race past me in record times, leaving me choking in the fumes of their cars running in the opposite direction.

Ed got 4 points here, Jack/Alex somewhere behind, and me with 1 point

Footie to finish off, with me in last place, the fight is on to see who washes up. I play Alex first, self proclaimed master of the pitch. And really, he moves me around really well, though I'm proud of my goalie...he saved every ball...except for one. ANd I'm into my final game. This time though, I'm up against Jack, so it's relatively easier since both of us are learning this together. The ball lies at his goalie's feet, and my player runs towards it. Jack waits, anticipating the foul, and the red card that is to come. Except that it doesnt. My player deftly dribbles away with the ball, passes, and shoots into an empty goalmouth. "But I thot TACKLE KEEPER MEANS FOUL ONE??" Jack shouts, while Alex and I double over with laughter. The turning point. My team(Arsenal, I'm ashamed to say) play with renewed vigour, another goal being scored in the second half after a running pass was hit past the keeper. And now, its all up to Ed. He beats Alex to win the overall prize. Rest on Sunday evening while I toil in the kitchen.

There's talk of making this a weekly event. Goodbye to peaceful Sundays then.

Not to mention, nasi lemak on Sat nite just before the tournament was pretty cool. We had it with rendang and sambal and 2 types of egg.

Oh, one final note: my previous post...is an illustration of how my relationship with God has been recently. Nothing more.

Friday, January 13, 2006


I guess I never knew how nice hair could smell, until I rested my chin on her head. The familiar fragrance, fresh and clean brought a smile to my face. Feeling the shape of my chin move, she smiled too. They say smells bring back powerful memories....

"Where are you going?" "I thought we had plans to meet up tonight." The look on her face caught my attention. But I was too far gone.

"Er..I've got work to do. Finals are coming up and I haven't studied." Man, lying is easy. Lying well isn't. Hope this works.

"Oh." A single word just before I turned away and started walking. But the look on her face stayed with me. Not angry, not frustrated, not hurt. Just sad, with a tinge of concern.

* * * *

Moving through the store, looking idly at items on shelves. Wondering with half a mind whether I actually had enough money to be here in the first place. Didn't I just spend over half my weekly allowance already? Then coming to a stop, eyes fixed on an object. A backscrub. Obviously a toy, but....memories of an idiotic song about a backscrub and a bath came flooding back. It was the weird song we had in common, singing it to the amazement of others. She would have laughed if she was here. And at the memory of her laugh, I smiled again.

"Hi, you doing alright? You're really the greatest, you know. And, by the way, while I'm here, could you look into some of my stuff? I'm not really sure if I should be going to Coddlington next summer. What do you think?"

She gave me a bemused look before opening her mouth to speak. Obviously, when written like that, you all know she's not gonna get a chance to finish before..

"Anyway, just thought I'd run that by you. Also, a friend just called in sick. Wouldn't it be nice if you could make him better? You know, what with you being the doctor and all."

"Well, tell me more abo-", she began.

"Well, hope you do, anyway. Hey, got to go. I'll be thinking about you. Did I tell you thanks for the pasta you cooked for me last night? See you around."

"Take care." she called out, just as I went out to hospital to begin my day.

* * * *

Coming home from a day in hospital isn't nice when you know you've got tons of work to do before going to bed late and waking up early the next morning to do it all over again. Especially when you know there's not nearly enough time to catch a nap before having to start on that report you have to hand up before this friday. But surprise, surprise, she calls. And I spend fifteen minutes on the phone before switching to skype and talking for another hour. I tell myself, I need to take a break. Which in all honesty, I do. It's good to be able to pour out my frustrations at the missed diagnosis, at the unrequested lab results, at the overbearing consultant. And hearing from her that she's also worried about me, that she knows what I'm going through, that she doesn't mind me not being there for her when she found out she aced her exams, because she knows how med school is like. She's touched when I tell her I miss her, and that I've made plans for the both of us during the holidays. We laugh at each other, we chat about friends, she prays for me over the phone, because she knows I need it. The tone of her voice, the little mannerisms of speech, her honest sense of concern for me speaks volumes and leaves me with a warm feeling all over hours when the conversation is over. It's nice to know there's someone who cares and understands.

I wake up one morning to find out it's been a month. A whole month of not seeing her, not talking to her, not hearing her voice. At least, I think I remember calling her, but I don't remember listening to her speak. With a start, I find myself struggling to recall the sound of her voice. Has it really been that long? How must she be feeling? I read the letters she sent over the holidays. It doesn't help that I'm still feeling drowsy as I do so, and that the main thought in my mind is how soon I can get back to sleep. I end the letter, and as I fold it up, think to myself "I really have to call her soon." I'm asleep before I finish that thought.

* * * *

How in the world did she know I needed that book so badly? I was casting around for information about living as a missionary doctor, but for some strange reason, no one seemed to be able to give me any. The deadline was fast approaching, and I had to submit my proposal. That evening, going up to my room, I received a parcel in the mail. With it, a letter reading "Read it, this is good stuff. Happy birthday." And I don't even need to know the name of the sender, because the inside of the parcel still has the faint whiff of a very familiar fragrance... Unwrapping the book and reading the blurb on the back, a warm feeling surges over me as I realise that I'm holding the book that will give me, finally, some answers. But the clincher, the defining thought, is of how she remembered my last minute groan during my last phone call to her, for answers to a question. And of how she came through.

Later on, when I wake up, and see the letters strewn at the foot of my bed, I begin to take stock. Clutching my cup of hot coffee to keep me warm as much as to keep me awake, I review the past few months. I have not called her, nor made much effort to speak to her, aside from the almost obligatory call at thursday night every week.
"Phone bills are expensive. You're a student. She'll understand" The thought comes almost unbidden to my mind.
Neither have I made any effort to listen to her the few times we've met. It's always been about me, and my needs and worries. Talk about a one-sided relationship. And speaking of relationships, is it even fair to say that I'm in the middle of one? Can I call it a relationship when I have to force myself to pick up the phone, when I barely spend time to think about her through the busyness of the day, when the thought of forgoing her means less than a round of Dota with the gang?

And I guess you can see where I'm going with this by now, probably much earlier than this, since I'm not much of a writer. How is it possible to treat God with such contempt, to label myself as having a relationship with Him if I'm not holding up my end of it? As someone said, it's not even about priorities at this point. If you love someone, it's just right that that someone is first in consideration. Spending time with Him? That's just one of the facets of a relationship, NOT THE RELATIONSHIP ITSELF. Jesus said nothing could ever separate us from His love. If that isn't a declaration of love, I don't know what is. Trouble is, what would my response be?

Note to self: am not trying to be melodramatic and making the best of a bad situation etc etc. Am just expressing what I felt during a prayer group just now.

* * * *
I picked up the phone and called her. And she answered.

One hurdle crossed

Its finally done. And it's just the beginning. There's more to come. But it can wait. I'm going to take a break.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

From my email Inbox

Dear Friends, Michael continues to improve and if he continues improving any more the doctors will probably remove the breathing tube tomorrow. The infection seems to be abating, which we believe is another miracle in answer to prayer, but he still needs a lot more prayer. At this rate of improvement it is still very likely that he will need to have an operation to stop a repeat infection. The operation is dangerous and especially so for someone who has had a cardiac arrest. The pus cell count has come down from 33 on Monday to 17 today. Michael has even started to pass urine again, so our prayers on Sunday that even his kidneys would still be able to function has been answered. Before he was taken sick, Michael was having trouble with high blood pressure, now that he has improved to some extent, his blood pressure has risen above normal again, which is something else the doctors need to take into consideration now. Yours prayerfully, Pastor David.

If any of you have been praying, thought you might like to know this. Thanks for praying guys. There's actuall a website by pastor where you can check on updates on Elder Michael's condition if you are interested.

On other fronts, I have been:
- slightly discouraged after exams but knowing where I stand.
- encouraged that I managed to fluff something out of the miserable mess that was my CTM.
- encouraged that people have started responding to my elective pleas, even if it is to redirect me to other places.
- encouraged by getting to interact A BIT more with my rotation mates(besides the malaysians I mean).
- discouraged after I realise I seem to be drifting away from God since I came here.
- encouraged that I'm able to be honest with myself and God and willing to find my way back to Him.
- encouraged by the changes I hear about back home, about the changes in friends who are facing problems far greater than mine, more humbled actually.(To you guys, it really means a lot to see you fighting the good fight the right way!)

So in total, I guess I'm slightly more encouraged than discouraged. Which, I think, is a good thing. Cos I plan, expect and dream about this year in more than a few aspects. There are things I want to accomplish, stuff I want to see happen in my life, and in the lives of others. Mainly about 3/4 things, which occupy some slight amount of my time, and which I'm going to bring before God this weekend.

Well, lest I end up all mouth and no action, I guess I'd better get started on getting to grips with the sample size calculation for my CTM. Can't wait for the minute I finally ask Jack to print out the finished paper!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I'm sorry

Father in heaven, forgive me for not worshipping you, especially in song for much of the past month. For treating quiet times with you as an obligation, for seeing church as merely a club for the weary and needful, and most of all, for trivialising You and putting myself in the driving seat instead. It's amazing how a hunger for you can be so easily buried in the day to day activities, and so stifled in the pursuit of other objectives.

Your Name is great, Lord, and You are indeed worthy of all praise, putting new songs in me when I come to You with a hungry and open heart. Come in and take control all over again, Lord.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Btw, if anyone is in the know of available placements for a medical mission trip around june/july of next year, please do let me know. I think CREST SIM and OMF don't like me. No replies yet to my long letter. Maybe I should call.. Had no idea going on such a trip was so complicated.

Harold Cohen Library

Thats where I spent the greater part of Friday. In a large computer lab. 12 HOURS. Well, if you want to be technical, it'd be around 11 hours plus. But it's pretty close. And I would like to be pleased with myself for sticking to it in order to finish the ridiculous CTM, if not for the fact that I'm pretty sure my eyes have degenerated to red and puffy and my sight has probably gone down a few notches too. The last time this happened, way back in Form 6: 12 hours of Fallout 2, I actually enjoyed it.

When I crash into someone on the road, or poke into a wrong vein ten years from now, I'm gonna blame Liverpool Uni for giving me such a project to do, and myself for being so serious about doing it well.

Now a cold walk home in the dark. If I don't get mugged like in Paris, I'll write again tmrw(today).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

O ye of little faith

WELL! The email came with a heading that I'm ashamed to say, was most unexpected.

"Elder Michael is showing some improvement"

And this after being told that scans showed massive gangrene in his abdomen, with organs shutting down all over. And now doctors are getting reluctant to take him off life support, along with a recount of the previous 2% chance given of his survival. They met to pray for him yesterday evening, and I didn't go. Possibly because I was tired out from a whole day out in hospital, but also probably because I'd sort of given up hope. Felt out of sorts last night, but with mind on other matters. This morning was good though. Encouraged by God's word reminding me why He came: to set me free.

And so, the burden is lifted, though exams are still on monday, and CTM needs to be done, and elder michael is still in hospital. No matter what happens, no matter what anyone says, we are not bound by circumstances, nor words, nor fears, nor insecurities.

Not because we are in denial, or because we are not being realistic, but because we accept the fact that WE ARE FREE! Free to trust in a unchanging King, free to show others the way without feeling guilty, free to live a victorious life that He bought for us.

To the pessimists and the realists: there is always hope. Especially when the source of hope is Someone who's walked down the dreaded path of your fears, and lived to tell the tale.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Of work and death.

4 days into the new year, and I find myself being busy for what has to be the first time since stepping into Liverpool. Its preposterous, but I think(together with the rest of the I3 people) that we're finally settling down to work after a four months of play and travelling(yes tim, seems there was an element of truth in that after all).

Anyway, I'm thankful to discover I can still work when faced with it. Tiring no doubt, but paeds promises to be fun, in a hard work sort of way. Our supervisor is really well organised, and we have a good mix of people to work with, so these 2 months should be fun.

CTM(my research exercise) is still giving me a headache though. The problem is that I have no way of checking what I'm doing, since my convenor has decided not to reply my mails. Comparing 3 therapies seemed a good idea at first, but the amount of background reading I've had to do is just horrendous. And when I find I have to divide the people tested by age and sex among other criteria, it creates too many variables to consider! And as much as I try not to think about it, I think I've approached the topic wrongly; instead of finding out why my research needs to be done, I've gone looking merely for something that has not been done before.

Just realised I'm not making much sense probably. Oh well, it's not as if research was something I was hot for anyway...

Have recently heard that one of my church leaders has been placed on life support following a sudden collapse over the New Year. Had no idea that acute pancreatitis could turn so bad so fast. Multi organ failure set in in a matter of days. He's going to be taken off life support tomorrow.
The thought has crossed my mind more than once: Is there any point to keep praying? Where should I draw the line? It's not as if death is the end.
The other side thinks: God has done the impossible before. He has brought the dead to life. He's capable of anything. Where's your faith?
And the third mind, which seems to kick in a lot recently, thinks: This is only the beginning..when you're a doc, death will come regularly. How will you deal with it then?

Well, we'll keep praying till thursday anyway. God's Will be done.

Time to get back to work.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Surprise, surprise..

Discovery of the day: my sis has a blog!

And while reading it, I realised how much I have yet to learn about her. And the distance is not helping any, too. Am going to ask her permission to link my blog to hers. I think she writes very honestly, about stuff which I never thought she'd ever open up with. This is going to be an interesting journey..

And exams in a week! Have jsut found out belatedly how behind I am; need to review the basics of CVS, RS, GI, CNS and Endo in a week's time, plus reading up on ethics, comm skills, practicing OSCEs and on top of that, writing up my full proposal for my research topic(which btw, seems to be getting more and more complicated). Skipping grocery shopping today may help, and it may not.

Will post some interesting facts on hypnosis later...when I get organized.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Thanks Richard and Ai Wei

For letting us crash in his apartment. With his wife, Ai Wei, and the rest of the gang from student fellowship to welcome in the new year. Everybody bring a dish, lots of good food, playstation, big tv and cards...a great way to spend the last evening of 2005 - with friends around instead of burning in front of the computer screen.

Chew's KimGary french toast, with Marks and Spencer cake, lots of curry chicken, lasagne and even a crepe wannabe, with a bottle of white. I found out I'm rubbish at PS2...being beaten by Nu Wee(is that how you spell it?) in Burnout, and by Jack in footie...

Waiting for the countdown..

And the countdown from London on tv, with the fireworks right after. Chew nearly spending the first minute of 2006 in the loo, but joining in the raccuous shouts greeting 2006 after we got confused by the countdown from the tv, which didn't match the clock in the background.

2005 was great in retrospect. Quite a year of changes for me, from the last semester in IMU, to the first 4 months in Liverpool. I've learnt some lessons, seen how small my existing worldview is, and had a glimpse of what I need to be doing to grow. The fun moments were numerous, and the 'blocked out' ones were none too few either. Different people have made an impact in my life, and I have been continually humbled. Yet it has also been the year in which I've travelled the most, the year I've been away from home the longest, the year I've seen previously unshakeable things in a totally different light....Can't wait to see what God's gonna do this year.

Wonder, as always, how I'm gonna feel at the end of this year.

Welcome in, 2006.