this is a coconut shell, and i am it's frog

Saturday, December 26, 2009
why is it
that only at this time of year do we actually contemplate what significant events there have been in our lives? why can't we take daily stock of wuzgoingon, reassess, progress, and move on?

i blame it on the media.

publisizing new years like it's a big deal. it really is just another day. if we didn't have calenders, would we stop and pause to think about the past 365 days at all? now that's a thought.

well hello to all you wonderful ppl who still do read my ramblings. please leave a comment so i know that i'm not yabbing away to the cyberspace walls. not that i'm counting.

but i succumb to the media and it's cries of yearly self-evaluating, self effacement. it truly has been an interesting year. well and truly so. and changes in my psyche and view of life that i'm not sure is for the better. should i then try to reverse it? as i said in a previous post, still deciding whether to be selfish and momentarily gratified or selfless and pwned. does happiness = pleasure?

books i've read this year -
picture of dorian gray, oscar wilde
alice in wonderland, lewis carroll
skin - short stories by roald dahl
kitchen confidential, anthony bourdain

i can't for the life of me remember if i read anything else prior to coming over here. i think there was one by paolo coelho and maybe harry potter a couple of times again, but that's it.

now those above few paragraphs have been so self-indulgent i'm feeling a little nauseas. but if a personal blog isn't self-indulgent, then what is? onward with more nausea then!

ahem, as i was saying, it was quite an eventful/interesting year, specially in the other gender department. while friends are getting married (sarah, joanna, anna) and some are in new long term relationships (tim - as far as i know) i remain chronically single. ppl say i'm too picky. i say if i can't find someone that completely sweeps me off my feet, why bother being with someone just for the sake of it? pffft. i'm not gonna commit to someone who bores me just because people think it's the right time. i hate getting comfortable.
everyone i meet who seems interesting and worth pursuing at the moment will invariably have one thing which throws an oil-rig sized spanner in the works. too old, too crazy, too malay (not that i'm racist - i just can't stand the thought of being called weijin bin wong), too attached, too much past pain, too square, too afraid.

but gratz to all the new engagements - chai ling and kevin, and er, a few more which i'm not sure i'm allowed to mention yet.

my house is in a mess. i do wanna do it up nice and all, but i'm thinking - what's the point if i'm only gonna be here for a short while? granted, 2 years is actually quite long and it may be more than that but i have problems with commitment. furniture is commitment. it was traumatizing enough trying to commit to a 2-year phone plan (i settled for the more expensive 1 year plan).

i'm sensing a theme here.
me and my heart, we got issues.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 4:58 PM   2 comments
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
oh hey whoopedoo
yet another injury!

i'm beginning to wonder if i have some weird genetic connective tissue disease or something. seriously. marfan or ehler's danlos.

so i was happily indulging my inner golden retriever by chasing after a frisbee. who knew kk fields had random potholes in them. running at speed (the ladies don't call me lightning fast jin for nothing. wait.), my right foot got stuck in one of these random holes and as i tried to lift off at speed, my body wanted to move forward but my foot couldn't.


"oh crap how am i gonna stand in the OT now we have 11 cases for op tomorrow"
it was like the sound you hear when you bite into cartilege. like in chickens. or beef.
i hit the ground. i think i yelled. i know i was clutching my leg. when i finally picked up the guts to look at my foot, it was at an unnatural 90 degree angle to my calf.

resume yelling.
or grimacing. i'm not sure. all i know was that it was bloody painful. thank God that tiffany, a colleague of mine, had decided to join us for the first time that day. thank God X2 that she was working in the A&E. thank God X3 that she was buddy buddy with the orthopod on call. so she made some calls, and by the time they managed to stabilize my foot with a random board, lift me into someone's pickup truck and ship me to the hospital, they were all waiting for me. macam vip. this must be what it feels like to be a top flight football player. except they probably have stronger ankles.

so anyway. midazolam is a wonderful drug. i seriously recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it. i saw the orthopod and grimaced, "morphine. quick."
he smiled and said, "naw, dormicum and pethidine"
"ok sounds good"
"doktor doktor, cucuk sikit ya doktor"
"ok ya doktor cucuk ya"
"sakit sikit ya doktor mau cucuk ya"
"nurse bagi dormicum dengan pethidine sekarang"

the next 15 mins were a blur. might have been longer. i really don't know. apparently i was high. i apologize to everyone there if i said anything inappropriate.
i vaguely recall another crrrrukppt as he reduced the dislocation.
"subtalar" he said to tiffany, who was busy filling in the xray forms.
vaguely recall being rolled into the xray room.
"doktor doktor kaki boleh lurus tak?"
"ok habis sekarang kaki boleh bengkok tak?"

vaguely recall waking up and seeing my foot in a cast, knee down, and tiffany applying pressure.
"this is what housemen do, stabilize the POP" she giggled.

next thing i know i was being rolled out into another friend's pickup.
"what's going on now?" i think i managed.
long story short, they drove back to the field so that tiffany could drive my car back to my house. bought me some food and stuff after a brief search for an open pharmacy (crutches).
kwi sing (another colleague) showed up, bearing baileys & love basics of surgery, "to keep yourself occupied".

er thanks, i guess.

i remember taking a shower, and cursing my luck.

then all was gone again.

midazolam truly is a wonderful drug.

i remember once, in canada, a little old 75 year old lady had come in with a broken wrist. she was all prim and proper, british tea and crumpets kind. very polite, almost apologetic for troubling us with her broken wrist. we gave her midazolam before reducing the fracture. within 3 mins she was holding my hand and saying THE MOST INAPPROPRIATE things. i shall not say more save that she thought i was good looking ho ho ho. don't hate me cause i'm beautiful.

so yeah anyway add another one to the list. i've been injury free for the longest time so i guess when it rains it pours. it sucks even more that i'm working now and actually spend long hours on my feet. see, i don't mind injuring my hands cause you can still get around and do stuff. but injuring your legs, now that sucks, cause you're a bloody invalid. i hate being on the other side of the fence. remind me not to belittle a patient's pain.

at least i've developed a new skill.

driving with my left foot.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 1:48 AM   2 comments
Monday, August 24, 2009
one passion
the one i could never have
the one i could always have

one passion, one love, one lust,
one emotion, one decision, to last.


in the quiet of the mountain breeze
there blows a whisper of forgotten pain
in the tick, in the tock,
in the prose of a man's scribblings

too much pain
too much hurt
too much anger
too much loss

is the space between here and there
then and now
the wicked lies and cruel deceptions
the heartless slights and cold cold glances

the space between the smiles and joy
the laughter and rain
the warmth and silent contentment -

one passion
posted by theycallmecruel @ 8:16 PM   2 comments
Monday, July 06, 2009
it's been so long
that i don't know how to start anymore. so much has happened that this can no longer be called a web log. more like... a web once in a while publication. a web oiawp.

a boiawp. welcome to the world's first boiawp(tm).

but as it is, it's 5am, july the 6th, 2009, i cannot sleep, there's no one i can talk to at this time, i couldn't be bothered to read, therefore my one recluse is this - writing.

i used to write a lot.
scripts, dramas, poems, articles, etc. people used to find it interesting that i wrote a lot. i revelled in the fact that they underestimated me, and that i trumped their misconceptions. ego trip, yo.

back when i started this blog, i started with but one charter - to entertain.
there were so many blogs out there that were self-indulgent-woe-is-me-/wrists that i, in my eternal desire to stand out, swore i wouldn't descend to.
then those foodie look-at-me-i'm-a-connousieur blogs started popping out. meH. such pretentious know it alls, i thought. who the hell cares about what you think about random hawker stall #34547??
then there are those that are genuine journals, "i woke up this morning and had coffee instead of tea" things that, for all intents and purposes, should never be on the internet. i mean, come on, who cares? then again, there are many things that should never be on the internet. but such thoroughly boring personal details should be kept, well, personal. good for you that you keep such detailed records of your day, but do you really want the world to know at what time you had a bowel movement?


i think slartibartfast is a brilliant name.

so then, to entertain! i thought. if not the public in general, then my friends will suffice. so i started off with that in mind.

if it was about friends, to humour.
if it was opinion, to be profound.
if it was discussion, to try and see both sides of the issue.
it it was football, to be transparent.
it it was emotional, to cut deeply.
if it was intellectual, to be, well, intellectual.

but entertainment became tiresome. the m103 blogosphere, which i joined way back, had died a long, slow, drawn-out death. one that was inevitable in retrospect, as most of us got on to more important things in life (work, marriage, babies, taxes), but one that i mourn nonetheless. it WAS really funny. it became less funny as more and more of us dropped off, and an insult at one end would land no response on the other. it brought us all, far away as we were, close. but it is dead.

i realize now that we can no longer distinguish ourselves as m103. the overiding indentity we've had as a collective has gone the same way as the blogosphere. we are now islands. we can no longer rely on each other for an identity. we only have ourselves. such sad sobering thoughts. we are, growing up. we are forever bound as classmates, but the pride with which we uttered the words "m103" is now as distant as our IMU triumphs. therefore the mention of names, and the out-of-the-way-effort to make references to friends halfway across the world officially ends here.

why do i reminisce so?
maybe cause it's been a year since i graduated and i still haven't started a remotely dr-y job. i believe that i am the sole exception in this. whoopedoo.
therefore, the only memories of medicine i have are based in medschool.
which is why i reminisce so.

so i will entertain no more. if i inadvertedly entertain, then good, but entertainment will not be the sole aim of this corner of cyberspace anymore.

i need a job.

roger federer is 27, has won 15 grand slams, earned usd48million, and will probably be remembered as the greatest ever men's single's tennis player. ever.
i am 25. two years to catch up. go go go.

since entertainment is no longer the goal, i will embark on a quick summary of my last few months. be prepared for a self-indulgent-woe-is-me paragraph.

1) spent 7 months working a research job i hated
2) passed FINALLY the usmle part 1
3) broken hearts
4) had my heart broken, which lead to -
5) a chronic fear of commitment
6) decided that becoming more selfish might lead to more happiness
7) decided that being more selfish might result in less people liking me
8) haven't decided whether i care more about less people liking me, or being selfishly happy
9) had a hospital admission for asthma (ah, ye olde devile)
10) made contact with someone who calls herself "SHIT FROM BACK IN THE DAY"

i could go on but the above has been so painful to read, even to me, that i shudder to think what it would do to my legions of followers. induce seizures in some, no doubt. march, jackson, march. benzos are great at terminating seizures.

steroids are wonderful things.
the TCA cycle is the rate-limiting step to life.
i still have no idea what zero order kinetics are.

well the mosques are sounding the call to prayer. sleep has yet to tempt me.

man that was a strong latte.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 5:17 AM   2 comments
Friday, November 14, 2008
*enter witty title*
so yeah, i've said it many times before, but the m103 blogosphere is well and truly dead. the eternal optimist in me refuses to abandon this endeavour just yet, but who knows how long my resolve will last. i know i can be persistant but one can only take so many slaps to the face.

maybe it's cause most of us are finally working? past that transitional phase (which took longer than all our other peers) of studying post-adulthood, pre-work. past the age when fads and trends were the thing to do. maybe this blogging thing will go the way of the tamagochi. or those ridiculous roller-shoes, and ankle break away from a lawsuit. or baggy t-shirts, nike sneakers (you know the ones i'm talking about) and platform shoes. not forgetting nausea-inducing boybands (quit playing games with my heart... *my heart* before you tear us apart... *my heart* i should have known from the start!) and that lemon tree song.

a paFLASHn

see if you get that. hoho.

so what is there to entertain with, if there's no one to entertain? how about this random sms i received a few days ago - "i'm lihar (MNK maid agency), interested apply cambodian maid? 0% runaway, hardworking. promotion fee rm4500. pls log in contact 03-92816666/0172833266 (lihar)"

i'm assuming since it's spam text msgs, they won't mind the extra publicity and a few random internet callers.

but cambodian maid. 0% runaway don't mess. all for the low low price of rm4500!

in other news, my nephew joshua has broken the 5kg barrier. that's right, he's at least as heavy as a good-sized sack of rice now. apparently he chuckles when you tickle his tummy. can anyone say pilsbury doughboy? i have to admit i'm tempted to toss the fella up in the air everytime i see him, but i fear that my frisbee catching skills don't extend to what is, for now, essentially, a lump of eating, pooping, crying, multiplying cells.

which brings me to frisbee. and cells. so i'm the newly-minted league director of the brand-new Malaysian Ultimate league, *enter shameless publicity* stop laughing amy. yes, you. stop.
and cells. by all that is beneficial and enhances the human race, growing cells is bloody boring work. i mean seriously. the highlight of my day is when i take my work-time dump. 'ats right, i take dumps on paid time. the govie is paying me to take dumps. how many of you can say that? nothing gives me greater satisfaction than knowing that i'm still being paid while disgorging the contents of my bowel, with oft-spectacular acoustic results. the other day three of my petri dishes grew colonies of bacteria. i wondered why. i swear i wash my hands.

but in all seriousness, if taking a dump is the highlight of my day, you can imagine how sh*tty a job it is (pun fully intended).

oh and hello tim. special mention here since you're the only one who's made a comment on my chatterbox for the last 10 years or so. yes you can stay at my house, and yes you can sleep next to me if you want. i do miss your low-pitched droning snores and slightly musky body odour.

what did the blind man say when he walked past the fish market?
"why hello ladies..."

there was something else funny that i wanted to write but i forgot. the ravages of age on the memory. i think i just had a senior moment. it's a friday night and i'm at home. i AM getting old. maybe i need a girlfriend. or a dog. not sure which is higher maintenance HOHOHO aih i guess that's why i'm single!

enough rambling.

posted by theycallmecruel @ 8:29 PM   4 comments
Monday, October 20, 2008
you're at the right url.

i've been wanting to update the look of this corner of webspace i can call my own for a while now, but haven't found the time. so now i have. and now it is done. it is updated. times change, situations change, people grow, soil gets eroded, alaskan governers claim it's all about job creation.

i figured i'd ditch my pre-graduation abhorent green thing and go for a more mature, sophisticated, clean look. since that's what i am now. mature, sophisticated, and clean.


anyway i wanted the "about blog" bit to be at the top of the side bar but my non-existant html skills refuse to allow me too. so there. the benefit of links to your pages are on the top of my list then. i love my friends.

and i still have yet to come up with a snazzy catchphrase to what this blog is about.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 12:58 AM   0 comments
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Californian dreams
It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. Accompanied by increasing responsibilities - wurk wurk - a passable social life, the USMLE – yes, THAT monkey on my back – parts 1 AND 2 – I’m currently typing this in LA – wow that’s a lot of –‘s – structured thought is over rated anyway – and just the all-around natural deaths of the IMU blogosphere, which, I admit, is one of the reasons why I started writing in the first place (gasp more interruptions in thought flow can anyone say hypomania?) is also my old-age induced loss of self-promoting, self-indulging libido.

Wak wak wak

The desire to be funny and to entertain is as limp as the desire to… er yeah.
Dying buds.

Enough complaining.

I rode my uncle’s bike to Huntington Beach the other day, with full intentions of finding a cozy beach side café, ordering some good ol’ Californian orange juice, and study my brains out for usmle step 2 cs.

my l33t helmet

It was a pleasant enough ride, 45 minutes long, but by the half-hour mark, my butt was hurting like the dickens. Dickens that hurt a lot. Sparing the graphic details, I basically could not sit. On anything. Short of a cooling yet warm sitz bath. So it was with great relief that I saw the ocean after 45 minutes. It was beautiful. Breathtaking. Stretches of fine golden sand as far as the eye could see. Clear blue waters churned by loud, crashing surf. Volleyball nets and beach umbrellas dotted the sand like so much after-rain-fungi growth. Quaint little cafés spaced the beach.

One problem.

The place was deserted. Not a single surfer chick in sight. Visions of Jessica Alba in blue crush evaporated like spittle on the hot Californian sidewalk. Poof, and not the tight pink shirt-ruffles-and-brown-ball-hugging-leather-pants-wearing kind.

No surfer chicks I can deal with. Empty beaches I can tolerate. *poof poof*
But even the cafés were not open. Every single one. Disillusioned and in an aching-derriere-and-californian-sun-dehydration-induced delirium, I cycled aimlessly down the beach, hoping to find a stall, a hot dog stand, a juice vendor, a homeless bum willing to share a scavenged burger, anything.


*poof poof poof*

Thirst overcoming me, hallucinations beginning to taunt me, I explored the only option left to me. I drank water from a toilet bowl.


That diarrhea-defying, amoebiasis-avoiding feat remains the sole possession of one Dr Chacko. Penang mari.

I found a water fountain, drank a few thirsty gulps, clenched my aching butt cheeks, got back on the bicycle, and headed back to my uncle’s house.

for some odd reason there's a power plant right next to the beach. the simpsons theme song started playing in my mind. i swear i saw a fish with 3 eyes.

20 hungry, torturous minutes later I found a sandwich bar (Cindy’s sandwiches). I ate probably the best-tasting roast beef sandwich I have ever had. Amidst the gay waiter’s whines –

GW - the phone’s ringing, Cindy. Can I answer it? No? why not? Lemme answer itttttttttttttt lemme lemme lemmeeeeeeeeeeeee awwwww you never let me do anything
Cindy - “go wash your hands”
Me - LOL

– I mulled over the day’s adventure.

You know those dumb blonds you see in teen movies? They really ARE like that. I stopped at a traffic light with a couple of blond, giant sun-glassed girls with pink bicycles, one even had a Chihuahua in her front basket. I frigging kid you not. Both had ridiculously short skirts on (even if they weren’t cycling, can you say chao kong?), obnoxiously loud, and their dialogue went something like this –
“so I was like, drunk right, and she wanted to like, punch me out, right, so Jaime grabbed me and like, pulled her back and I was like, Jaime this isn’t your business cause Jaime can’t fight right, cause Jaime’s, like, pregnant right”
“no way! Jaime’s pregnant? With that dude’s baby?”
“is she gonna keep it?”
“like, she’s got no choice, right”
“why not?”
“she’s had, like, 4 abortions already, if she has another one she, like, won’t be able to have babies ever”
“no way!”

The light turned green and I cycled off, butt still dickening away (that sounded wrong) but face smirking away. Movies do tell the truth every now and then. Makes you wonder. Maybe rich heirs who dress up like giant bats really do exist.

Why so serious?
posted by theycallmecruel @ 3:56 PM   0 comments
Thursday, September 25, 2008
hello world
i'm a quarter century old.




that's it, that's all i got.

mmhmmm. no poignant self reflective post. no "oh my goodness i'm so deep and philosophical contemplating the meaning of the past 25 years". no "i'm so old yet i don't feel old i don't wanna get old bwaaaaaaaaaa"



i'm 25.


to everyone who sent me a wish of wellness, happiness, and health, i thank you from the heart of my bottoms.

thank you so much guys!!

and to the rest who chose not to go the fb route, you know who you are, thank you too, 25 times over, and many happy returns, 25 times too!


i am humbled.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 12:44 AM   0 comments
Monday, August 25, 2008
ah pa once sms-ed me, the day before my final exam in canada - "you are ready for this. God will never bring you to what He hasn't prepared you for"


sucked into the facebook void i see, to the point of posting such raw emotions on your facebook page. i've always believed in never airing your dirty laundry in public but somehow feel that this is the best way to do this. for some odd reason. maybe it's the narcissistic "look i'm helping" feeling that this would bring. maybe it's the same reason that i posted a tribute to mom here - letting the whole world know i care (even though she proly didn't read it), and would be there at the drop of a pin should it ever drop. or maybe it's cause a reply-fb-note, in it's 250-odd-word limit, would not convey what i want to convey.

man my head hurts. CO2 incubators smell funny.

a rare word of encouragement from a brother who's always loved to jump on your inadequacies (if i spelt that right). so appreciate this.

every mother i've seen goes through what you go through. the short period of 6 weeks of obstetrics and 3 months of paediatrics - preceded by 2 weeks of child psychiatry, where mothers curse the world and preteens slit their wrists - has convinced me that every mother who says that "childbearing was the most beautiful thing ever" is lying. i cannot comprehend how they can say that when a mere 20 mins ago they were cursing to bloody murder, every orifice leaking it's respective bodily fluid (and solid), and a 3kg biological parasite is pulled from your overly-sensitive uglies to become a 20-year-long socioeconomic parasite (or, in some cases, 25 years. kof kof)

friggin' delusional.

just like in business - where for every successful first-million-by-twenty story you hear, there are only about 10 million first-bankruptcy-by-thirty, for every happy, easy going, simple baby, there are 10 million moms who want nothing more than to throw their babies far, far away - and return to those halcyon pre-baby days.

those happy moms are proly all smoking up and too bimbotic to see the reality of the situation anyway. and have 4 indon maids to do the midnight feeding and diaper changing, husbands who sleep around, families that do not support them, and friends that run when times are bad. she of the gucci sunglasses, peroxide blond hair, and the baby accessory.

it's funny how i draw my life's lessons from my studies, since i spend most of my time trying NOT to study. but every time an exam comes round i find me cursing myself again, why why why did i choose medicine? not just regular cursing mind you, but thorough screaming running in the halls cursing. every time i regret my decision to enter this field. every time i consider quitting, especially when i fail (which happens with alarming consistency). every time i enter the hall, i find myself desperately unprepared. hopelessly under-equipped. disturbingly inadequate.

so i stuff the doubts out of my mind cause that's the only way to retain my sanity, think of the beach, and open the paper. i have two letters after my name now. somehow.

what you will accomplish with Joshua will never be recognized in the way my struggles with a stack of questions will, but will ultimately mean so so much more. you will be pushed further, worked harder, cry more, sleep less (ok maybe not sleep less), and be more emotionally torn apart then i ever will be - such is the curse and the convuloted blessing of every RESPONSIBLE mother.

and why?
cause the beach at the end, untangible, never definable, always invisible; is also one that is far more beautiful than any artist can paint, any writer describe, or any imagination conjure.

ok i've used up my adjective-per-day quota.

i just know that one day, eyes glazed over, you will wax lyrical about that Joshua-induced beach. and i will remember women screaming bloody murder, every orifice ejecting it's respective bodily fluid (and solid); and i will think that you're lying - friggin' delusional.


ah pa once sms-ed me, the day before my final exam in canada - "you are ready for this. God will never bring you to what He hasn't prepared you for"

btw that manga big-eyed looking sad in the snow picture is way too cutesy for you.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 11:21 PM   4 comments
Sunday, July 13, 2008
every now and then,
i get the urge to write. More often than not these urges are not driven by any one thing, no compelling though, no deeply emotional stirrings, no poignant reflections of life. i used to wonder where these urges come from. I've figured it out, go Canada!

i just like to listen to myself talk.
Or read my own words. My hidden narcissism has come to the fore. Woe is me. I guess it's always been there, this narcissism, but Canada has thought that there's no point in being humble. Just put it out there, and whoever likes you for it you should keep as friends.

maybe there's a poignant life reflection after all.

The m103 blogosphere (who the hell came up with that term anyway??) is deader than my medical student life. No, i am not gonna cease talking about how weird it feels to be a graduate anytime soon. The people at the lab i'm working at now - oh yeah i'm doing stem cell research at HUKM in the mean time, just call me foetus killer - insist on calling me "Dr. Wong". I keep telling them to call me wei jin but they still call me Dr Wong. I told my dad this, stating this very interesting observation and he said, without even looking up from his newspaper, "they just forgot your name lar."

*turns page noisily*

I love my dad.

Carrie you should blog more. Cause i miss your inanity and the loose associations. And no matter how hard i try, how i cannot follow your flight of ideas. "eh look a dog! i wonder why dogs have 4 legs. you know what i like about legs? you can walk on them! YES WALK. cause if no legs then have to take wheelchair. and then wheelchair sure kena langgar when crossing roads. eh you know ah crossing roads in kl is so hard. not like kluang. i wanna eat roti bakar. i hate aucklandddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd. am i fat? eh cat! you know what i like about cats? etc etc"


it's like being hit by a train at full speed. a kluang train, just like the ones at kluang station.

i remember that when i first started this blog, i promised myself that i'd use it to entertain. don't write about myself and my "oh my goodness i'm so philosophical and deep" revelations of life. Those blogs disgust me. fail. owell.

i hope i don't fail usmle.

pray for me.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 9:14 PM   1 comments
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
that'll do, pig, that'll do
This blog was started a good 2 years ago, as a means for whoever wanted to keep track of how I am to do so. Those 2 years are gone. A lot has changed, yet everything's still the same. wah so cliched. I feel like my blog needs a facelift to suit the new open horizons that I am now faced with. But dunno how. Wait ah...

It's chinaman in Canada no more. More like jobless MD in Malaysia now. One thing I've realised, my command of english has gone down the proverbial drain. I used to be able to pull witty neologisms from my buttcrack but now I struggle to find a different way to describe anything.

It's been fun. 2 years of clinical training thought me a lot of things, about my profession and about myself. I developed a methodical way of thinking that I never thought I was capable off. What's the problem, what other problems could it be, how are we going to solve it, what other obstacles might be in the way. At the same time I discovered that I could just as easily get lost in my work in a manner I used to despise in my father. It's no longer "studying", it's "reading". I have, perish the though, become what I used to think, was "boring". I work. I cook. I read. I sleep. I wake up. I work. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Who woulda thunk it?

Not me, that's for sure.

Randomness, having no plans, making it up as I go used to be the order of the day.

And travel! Travel is like a mirror to your soul. You really get to see who you are. Your comfortable pre-conceptions on the person that you think you are, smashed against the 747's windscreen travelling at 800km/h.

Plus, carrying 5 different types of currency on you fills you with this odd sense of self-importance. Only important people carry more than one type of currency at any one time, and I'm not talking souveniours. I saw myself as a citizen of the world, yet all the while realising more and more how much a paikiah Malaysian I was. You know those movie scenes which are taken from the ground up, looking at the protagonist, blue sunny sky in the background, the dude looking pensively nonchalant into the sky, ray-bans and suit on, inspirationally upbeat soundtrack playing, while the camera circles him?


Anyway. A new period in my life beckons. No longer a student, finally a grad! It's taken at least 3 years longer than my peers but here I am, circling camera and all.

I'm home.

At least until the next big adventure. Zurich? New York? Singapore? who the hell knows? who the crap cares?

It's always good to come home. Things are always interesting. This time, they got even more interesting. How interesting?

This interesting.


World, meet Joshua Eng Han Ruong.

Good to be home, indeed.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 2:05 PM   0 comments
Saturday, May 24, 2008
So many drafts, so little time
I have too many drafts sitting in my blogging edit posts folder. I wrote one halfway when Man Utd won the EPL - footie ramble IX - a moving dissertation of the state of modern football and the living legend that is Ryan Giggs.

Another piece on the emotional roller coaster that was the UCL final. Leave it to Man Utd to leave it to literally, the last kick to win the thing (and almost losing it about 4 times before that). Why do they always have to be so drama during UCL finals? Don't they know some of their fans got weak hearts? If what had happened in the final was seen in a movie, we'd call it a weak plot.

I have another half-chewed post on the concerns in the Malaysian political scene right now, tanah tumpahnya darahku. That was highligted by the very simple, yet touching music video that cm posted on to lb.blogspot. It was a piece pleading the need for unity, harmony, how we all bleed red and how all our bones are white anyway. It was a stirring call for us, the youth and future of our country, to stand up and be counted and to do something - anything - that would make a difference, that would make a better place for our children and our nephews and nieces, rather than sit on our bums and take the "it cannot change warn lah" attitude. Well nothing ever gets done with that attitude anyway.

But today!

May 23rd, 2008

Today takes precedence over footie rambles and political pleas, over emotional roller-coasters and the future. This post is about the present.

In reciting this oath, we graduates declare allegiance to an ancient, honourable, and durable tradition, the survival of which is important for the welfare of the sick and of society

At this time of being admitted as a member of the medical profession, I solemnly swear by that which I hold most sacred, that I shall consecrate my life to the service of humanity; That I shall maintain by all the means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession; That I shall ever remember with gratitude my teachers in medicine; That I shall constantly strive to add to my knowledge and skills, and be ever willing to assist others to the same end; That I will use my knowledge to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgement, and will abstain from practices that would bring harm to my patients; That I shall not undertake to perform tasks beyong my ability and competence; And that in the practice of my profession, I shall preserve inviolate the confidences of my patients.

These promises I make solemnly, freely, and upon my honour.

A day that marks the culmination of 19 years of education. 19! woah!

This day forth, I am no longer a student. I've been a student, well, forever. But from this day forth, I no longer fill in the "profession" box on important documents as "student".

I fill it in as Doctor.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 12:37 PM   1 comments
Sunday, May 18, 2008
bumbum pom tumtum tadumtadum

oh wait ten more years of residency. sigh.

but for now...

yeeeeeeeah they was.....
Dancin' and singin' and movin' to the groovin'
And just when it hit me somebody turned around and shouted
Play that funky music white boyyyyyy
Play that funky music righttttttt
Play that funky music white boyyyyy
Lay down that boogie and play that funky music till you dieee

bumbum pom tumtum tadumtadum
bumbum pom tumtum tadumtadum


oh yeah

uh huh

oh yeah

I couldn't decide whether to post this post on lb.blogspot or here, but since tim has already dedicated a post to me and my MD, i'll put this here. So nice to have friends like him.

up next - another politically-charged post, this time on a slightly more serious note. Whether or not it appears here or on lb.blogspot is anyone's guess! Gasp the suspense.

Yes I have a lot of free time now.
Don't hate me cause I'm beautiful.
posted by theycallmecruel @ 9:30 AM   3 comments
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Being much more mature and wiser,
it is inevitable that I would one day be interested in politics. Also, being in north america means that I am indelibly pulled down into the discussion of US politics. Hilary or Obama or McCain?

i have found a way, that bridges my mature-wiser-politcal-mind and my still juvenile gaming tendencies, that helps me decide on which side of whose fence i want to sit.

personally, I think Hilary looks scariest with a gun. Whoever said that chicks with guns are sexy has never seen the Clinton's better half tote one. kinda like saying that female body builders are sexy. *shudder* and who the hell is Romney anyway?
posted by theycallmecruel @ 2:55 AM   1 comments
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Footie rambles VIII



9 years. 9 years since that ever-memorable night at the nou camp. How oddly fitting that on the next trip to the UEFA champion's league finals, we have to go through Barcelona to get there.

And how oddly fitting that the man who propels us there is Paul Scholes (he scores goals; the ginger-headed ninja, pocket dynamite, etc etc), the same guy who was suspended for that final in 1999. My all-time favourite footballer. Scholesy!! Still retaining the ability to smack the ball from 30 yards out with more venom than a black mamba.

Still oddly fitting that the finals are two days before the culmination of almost 20 years of education, and I receive a piece of paper that says Wei Jin Wong, MD.

I remember literally yelling and tearing the house down as Solkjaer tapped in that winning goal back in 1999. What a goal. What a moment. I remember the shivers down my spine as Peter Schemeichel lifted the trophy, confetti blowing in the background, and when Roy Keane and Scholes lifted it in their grey suits. I became a believer in the never-say-die attitude then.

The flight of the birds and the fish entrails portends another memorable night.

I feel a familiar tingle building again.

Moscow, May 21st, 2008.

I believe.

*picture ripped from*
posted by theycallmecruel @ 5:22 AM   0 comments
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Tanzanian Diaries IV
Though technically I'm back in Canada (and have been so for about 2 weeks now), I still feel like writing about the dark continent. Sitting in the cab, windows down, dust in my eyes, on the way to the airport got me thinking about quite a few things.

I'll miss Africa. Yes bad things happened, yes it was annoying how everyone sees you as a source of income, yes for a lot of it I was alone, yes there was a lot of frustration at the standards of care and appalling practices yet yet yet... I can definitely say that I'll be back here sometime in the future. Maybe not in 5 years, maybe not in 10 years, but definitely sometime in the future. When I can actually do something for this people.

Which begs the question - who says the Africans actually asked for our help in the first place? When did someone decide that this highly resourceful people need our help and that we should condescend to extend our gracious hand of support? There is so much to be learnt from these people, in the simple joy of the everyday, in the contentment of a full belly and a full house, in the bright smiles and bright eyes of children playing on a fallen mango tree (real jungle gym don't mess). And - this one is for the all le doctors in the room, CONGRATS DR RAJ, DR TAN and DR FFKHAMTAIWONG - in somehow being able to perform an ORIF of the forearm with rusty tools, running a TIVA of ketamine and diazapam withOUT intubation... and the patient surviving. It boggles the mind.

Maybe it's time to give Africa back to the Africans.

Maybe it's the heat that muddled my thoughts. Maybe the humidity karat-ed my gears a bit. Maybe it's here, that sometime in the distant past, for the first time in known history, a bipedal creature first thought, "I wonder what happens if..." and then realised - he was thinking.

Maybe I should get some sleep.

Goodbye Africa, I shall see you again.

posted by theycallmecruel @ 11:06 AM   0 comments
Friday, March 21, 2008
Tanzanian Diaries III - under the african sun
I once heard someone say “don’t bother explaining yourself. Those who like you don’t need it and those who don’t won’t believe it anyway”. While I totally agree, I have a somewhat pathological need to be understood sometimes.

There were so many reasons why I chose to ignore the warning in my head. I might be over reacting. I’ve heard that people here are really helpful, maybe they are. I might have been reading too much into things. I didn’t want to offend.

After coming under a lot of criticism for the mugging, all I wanna say is this – until you’ve traveled half of what I have, then judge me. Until you have the guts to step into Africa alone, then judge me. Until you’ve stepped into completely foreign cultures, not knowing who and what and how to expect, and how to react, then judge me.

On a less self-defensive note, Ifakara is awesome. Not a paved road for the last 4 hours of the journey, and so much bush medicine that for a full day I was really shaken up at the lack of care the patients were receiving. I suppose for a hospital with very limited resources, a 35% mortality rate is acceptable.

Under the African sun, indeed.

posted by theycallmecruel @ 9:46 PM   0 comments
Monday, March 03, 2008
Tanzanian Diaries II

20 feb 08

Given that Tanzanian cyber cafes are notoriously slow, it’s no surprise then that pirating a line is even slower and less reliable. Oh well. For all of 2 seconds I had internet in my room. Sometimes it’s longer than 2 seconds and then I get really excited and pop the bubbly.

In my efforts to re coup the aforementioned monetary loss, I decided to skimp on food. Yeah it’s that bad. Wei Jin is skimping on food gasp. The end is nigh. So for lunch I thought I’d be smart and bought the largest freaking bunch of bananas I have ever bought in my life for the low low price of 3500 tsh.

Short segue. Ever since I was afflicted with asthma as a kid, my mom has tried me on countless Chinese herbal remedies to get rid of it. Every time some sinseh told her of a new cure she would get very enthusiastic and subject us with said remedy (often times useless). Truth be told, I hated every single attempt to remedy it, because they never worked and more so because they involved putting something that tasted downright foul into my mouth.

I could get on fine with my asthma, why couldn’t she? Anyway now that I’m older I’ve begun to understand her point of view – seeing her son struggle for breath and turn blue must not have been a very pleasant sight. ‘Specially when that same son had to be admitted to the hospital at least once a year for said breathing difficulties.

Back to the point – herbal remedies – I have, in my time, tasted an inordinate number of blehgrk tasting concoctions, things no sane man would ever think of putting into his mouth. Among the more memorable being snake’s bile, crocodile soup, something that involved guinea pigs and/or hamsters/other small rodent, seahorse soup, and countless hordes of despicable roots and herbs that taste downright disgusting. I remember one of the brews being so foul I vomited right back into it after the first few gulps, while my friends looked on, wide-eyed.

I mean, come on, which bored demented senile old chinaman first thought “if I cut open snake… oooh green stuff! Hmm when I cough got green stuff come out… means if I eat snake green stuff my cough green stuff no more!”

In my later years, when the asthma had cleared up (I put it down to good ol’ exercise) and I had become a healthy daring swashbuckling risk taking bracing young lad, I set out to try and taste as many things as I possibly could in this world. Food-wise, that is. I don’t go around licking walls and rocks just for fun. That’s called pica. Pica! Pica! No, not of the yellow electrifying cartoon genre, it’s a symptom of mineral deficiency and sometimes schizophrenia. Crazy both ways.


Before I segue off the segue – in my quest to put as many different foods (as defined by its respective cultures) down my gullet as I humanly could (not all at the same time), I’ve tried everything from fried gecko to buffalo to tarantula. Not forgetting the locusts, termites, cockroaches and many other nameless creepy crawlies some culture or other has defined as “food”.

Also, being Chinese, no part of an animal is spared. Except the hoofs and horns. Cause that might make chewing a little tricky.

The point of this seemingly pointless ramble?

Among all the weird and wonderful things that my tongue has experienced, few have come close, in terms of pure nastiness, as 4 hujambo-tembo-tic bananas in a row.




Why? Because it deceived like no other food has. If something tastes gross (eg snake’s bile), it’s usually gross from the get go to the end. There’s nothing pleasurable about snake’s bile and vinegar. You prepare yourself for the grossness, you experience the nausea, you hold it in, choke it back with a litre of water, curse your mom, and then go along with your day. It doesn’t pretend to be sweet. It doesn’t pretend to be tasty. The only neurotransmitter it releases is the adrenaline coursing through your veins as the cold sweat breaks out while you attempt to not puke (edit - endorphins make you feel good, adrenaline is a catecholamine which mediates the flight-or-fight response, both are neurotransmitters. thank you psychoK. and incidentally, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!)

It’s nauseating, but it’s honest. It’s nasty and it knows it. And you know it.

The same way you know that that hairy spider’s leg is going to be nasty. Or that bug that’s the size of your thumb and still squirming is going to be nasty.

No duplicity about it.

BUT these bananas though... They’s tricksy. They’s lies to us. They’s promises us to take care of us but theys liessssssss

They start of promisingly sweet and mild-mannered but by the time I got to the 3rd one, they were getting bland and mushy. I was still hungry so I tried for a fourth and my dear was it gross. That weird coating in your mouth that you always get with bananas multiplied 4 times. A funky after taste in the back of my mouth that can only be described as organophosphate-ish . It’s no longer softly-textured, it’s about the consistency of a bowl of mashed brains and oatmeal. It’s no longer oddly (yet satisfyingly) firm, it begins to resemble a long yellow turd. It’s no longer golden yellow, it’s the colour of your puke after you puke everything else out and the dredges of your gastric contents are being evacuated.


You know you’re either very bored or very artistic when you spend two pages devoted to how a bunch of bananas supposedly tricked you. I think all artists are bored anyway.

In any case, I learnt my lesson and never had 4 of those things in a row ever again. The only problem was I also forgot I was in Tanzania, where fruit goes bad quickly as opposed to Canada where you can leave bananas out for a week. In three quick days, a thin furry film started to grow on the leftover bananas that I was doing my rapid best to finish without grossing myself out again.


So three of the bunch went into the garbage, having turned a garbage-water brown colour and having grown a furry white coat.

Next up – what’s up with the blue toilet paper anyway?

And – the African beach is absolutely breath taking. I’ve been to many beaches before, and this definitely ranks in my top 3.

*hujambo tembo - Swahili for “hello elephant what’s your problem?”

posted by theycallmecruel @ 1:25 AM   2 comments
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tanzanian Diaries I
So I don't have internet at the place I'm staying. I've consigned myself to writing on my laptop, and cutting and pasting stuff here. The more palatable public stuff, that is.

*dramatic voice*
the following is a record of my first 2 days in Tanzania.

16 feb 08

Here we go now, on the road again. Woootz. Well. More like on the wings again. No I’m not drinking red bull (cause it gives you wiiiiiinggsss) but I’m sitting in JFK for the second time in 2 months waiting for another flight. I love traveling. Call me the globetrotter. The zenzational azian globetrotting trotter. I like pig trotters in vinegar. I also like pie.

Mmm pie.

Whoever first thought of sticking food in a pastry and sticking it in an oven was a friggin’ genius. Genius I tell you!

So the cradle of humanity awaits. Paradoxically the last great unexplored frontier on earth. Where humanity takes a step back in silent respect of the elements and elephants. Where civilization is rare and technology rarer.

This should be very interesting.


18 feb 08

Interesting indeed. It’s day 2 and I just got mugged. Yeah. Mugged.

It was after work and I had come home to rest before going out for food. On the way out, as so often happens, a random Tanzanian man came up to me and started talking. The usual questions – how are you? Where are you from? Where are you going?

So me, being friendly and all, told him I was good, from Malaysia, and looking for authentic Tanzanian food. “oh good Tanzanian food! I bring you.”

I warily agreed, telling myself that should we go somewhere dark or had no people that I would turn back.

While walking there, a good 20 mins - 30 mins walk, he told me he was a musician, had a bar where he was performing tonight and I should go. I was suspicious but we stayed in well lit places where there were a lot of people. We had food, which wasn’t great but it was ok. When he told me it was 7000 shillings, asking me to give him money so that he could pay the bill, I became even more suspicious because Tanzanian street food rarely exceeds 5000 shillings. He had ordered a pepsi and made no offer to pay for it. When I pointed that out he insisted that he would pay me back.

He had also asked for 1000 shillings to buy the “food voucher”. I said that he had to pay me back and again he insisted that he would.

After the meal he re-iterated the fact that he had a bar and that I should go see him play. I declined, cause I was getting a little afraid. Then he said, “ok never mind, I take you back to your hotel.” I said I’d rather take a taxi but then he said he’s also a taxi driver and that he’ll take me back, only 2000 shillings.

I was undecided and wary, but he had seemed harmless though my gut was saying that I should run. Big mistake. Big big mistake. The moment I got into his car, two other guys jumped in with me into the back seat.


They drove and I said “stop the car, I want to get out”
“no changing your mind”
“I can change my mind if I want too”
A pause
“let me tell you who we are. We are mafia mojoa. We are bad people”
I was cursing my stupidity. Stupid stupid stupid wei jin
“we need 3000 euros. If you don’t give it to us you are going to be in big trouble”
“I don’t have 3000 euros. I’ll give you all I have if you let me down here”
The one on the left proceeded to harass me, searching my pockets and my back pack.
“what is this? What is this? What is inside here?”
I pulled out my wallet that he was tapping with his right hand, and gave him all the notes I had in there – about 70,000 shillings (about 70usd). He found my phone (goodbye helomoto) and my camera (not even mine, borrowed from Ernie), and insisted on giving him more.

I showed him my books, my stethoscope.
“we don’t want that. We want money. Show me your money. I saw your cards. You have credit card?”
“no I don’t” honestly, I don’t.
If only he knew that the tie that was in my bag and first aid for usmle step 1 cost more than what he had already taken.
“we are poor people” said the one on my right
“I’m poor too!”
“do you think I am a musician?”
“not anymore”
“we are not good people. We are bad people. What was that card”
“this is a bank card with 10 usd on it left”
“you lie. We are going to take you to the bank and you are going to take out 800 euros”
“I’ve told you, it only has 10 usd left on it”
“you lie. How are you going to live here”
“my friend is coming at the end of the week with my money. The money you just took is supposed to last me until then”
“you lie.”
“no, it’s the truth. I’m being honest with you. I have no money left”
“if you give us more money you will be ok, if you don’t you will be in big big trouble”
I wasn’t as scared as I was cursing how stupid I was. But I was getting really afraid the farther we drove.
I showed him my wallet again, empty. Showed him the front compartment where I keep my daily usage cash and avoided showing him the back one which had more cash – usd, Canadian dollars, RM and the few pounds I keep for sentimental value. Not much, but some.

Thank goodness the car was dark and he didn’t see the extra cash.

“please let me out. I’ve given you all I have.”
Short pause.
“we put you here”
I had no idea where I was. It was dark, quiet, and hardly a soul around.
Then came the kicker. And this part I still have a hard time believe happened.
He said, “here I give you money to take taxi back to hotel”

Some robber. Thank God for little mercies, I suppose…
He gave me 3000 shillings, enough for a 15-minute taxi ride.
“if you make trouble for us we make big trouble for you”
I got out, turned my back and never looked back. They drove off. It only occurred to me later that I should have tried to remember the license plate. I was pissed scared at the time and all I could think off was to get as far away as possible. But from what I’ve heard of Tanzanian police, it would have been useless anyway.

I hurried off, keeping my head down and walking as fast as I could in the opposite direction. I came upon a bunch of taxi men who started calling out to me. I had no idea where I was. I had no choice. So I offered one of them the 3000 shillings to take me back to morogoro road.

I was thinking that my luck couldn’t be so bad to be robbed twice in one day. Again, thank God that this taxi guy was an honest one. He took me back to the hostel, and I paid him the 3000 shillings that the mugger oddly gave back to me.

As I was climbing the stairs back at the hostel, I bumped into Karolina, a Norwegian girl that I had met on my first day here.

“hi Karolina”
She was on the phone, so she waved. I needed to talk to someone.
“is Kjersti here?”. Pronounced “shash-ti”, she was another Norwegian girl that I had met with Karolina.
“in the room, go in and say hi”

I went in and said hi to Kjersti. Apparently they had both had a bad bout of traveler’s diarrhea and had spent the whole day in bed with oral rehydration salts.
“Bad day for all of us then eh”
I told her my story.


After talking to her, I went to the reception attempting to place a collect call home. No matter how old you are, sometimes you are still just ahboy and call home when bad things happen. The phone couldn’t place international calls, and the receptionist didn’t know what an “operator” was. So I went back to Karolina and Kjersti’s room, knocked, and asked if I could borrow their phone to send an sms home. I had forgotten that it was 3am back in Malaysia, and my dad wasn’t the kind to keep his phone on all night.

I ended up calling home. My dad picked up. I asked him to check his phone for an sms. He called back. I told him what happened.
“calm down” he said.
Funny, I wasn’t panicking at all. At least that made me laugh.

He gave me the classic father spool that I expected to hear, but at that time, very much needed to hear.


So my second day wasn’t a very fun one. Relieved of my friend’s camera, my phone (plus sim card) and about 70usd. There was nothing valuable on the phone and I highly doubt they would track down the people who’s numbers are on it. I hope Ernie had saved all his photos to his pc. Plus, at least they didn’t harm me, though I still think it’s really odd (but nice of them in a perverse sort of way) that they left me cash to get a taxi back.

Whoever heard of nice robbers?
posted by theycallmecruel @ 1:51 AM   5 comments
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Yeah I'm homeless. How? Long story short, I wasn't gonna be in Hali for a bunch of months this year so I gave up my lease and am currently crashing random friend's couches. And sometimes beds, when they're not home. Sometimes even when they're home.


How is everyone doing? I shall answer some comments posted on my chatterbox here cause I can.

tim, the headquarters wouldn't be where I get viagra (as if I need it pfft). The factory would be. I understand your need to insult people but at least try to get your facts right first. *flares nostrils in disdain*

cm, I know I know. sigh. But I was there once as a kid and if things work the way it should, I'll have 10 years to go see it whenever I want. As I crashed yours, so shall you be welcome to crash my couch/living room floor.

kim-z. where are you now? working boh? dr Lim it seems lol.

ahjie. Just cause you marry young doesn't mean I have too. crazy ah. I have to make money first ok. Pay for ma and pa's international cruises. You can view my facebook page anytime. You just gotta figure it out. Which means you won't see it anytime soon hohohoh

seryoung, haha how have you been. how did you even find this blog? victor wooten was amazing.

so that's all. I shall now procede to narcissitically expound on my current life developments.

Africa (tanzania to be precise) calls me in 8 hours. 3 weeks in Dar es Salaam at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, doing internal medicine and ER. Then 3 weeks in a rural community clinic in Ifakara. Where elephant stompings and crocodile bites are everyday facts of life. OK that was a bit off colour but whatever. I'm becoming too politically correct. curse you canada.

speaking of canada, I'll be leaving in May. May 23rd convocation - the big day! DR WONG IS COMING TO TOWN WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO
posted by theycallmecruel @ 6:44 AM   2 comments

    LIFE is like a glass of coke, it may seem full but it's actually just all froth.


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ribbit Chinaman in Canada, no more. i still can't come up with a better phrase.
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