Tuesday, March 21, 2006
things have been all head-swallowed-by-big-scary-textbook lately here in the yong loo lin house of education. everyone is studying, or getting dressed up in big girl and big boy clothes and trying to figure out the goings-on inside a patient's torso, or striding bravely to various hospitals armed with a tendon tapper to take some big scary exams.

i realised that ever since med school started, i haven't been able to do a lot of the time-wasting things that used to bring me so much joy and added value to my life. like playing hangman in class, or connect 4. nobody has had a decent game of connect 4 in forever, and between that and the fee hike, i can see why morale is going down.

there used to be so much room to expand your horizons in secondary school and jc, especially during the midafternoon siesta, also known as science lectures. ahh jc education, the good old days when nobody needed to listen to the lecturers, and could just depend solely on the divine nourishment of our overpaid tution teachers. if there were still time for being creative right now, people could be churning out great anatomical works of art, like this :

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but no! we have no time to draw cartoon organs with cute faces on them! woe is me. our artistic muses are being suppressed.

i used to spend a lot of time sewing two pieces of cloth together, stuffing them, and calling them birthday presents. if i had the time, who knows how far i could have taken my amazing two-dimensional sewing skills? i could be making things like this :

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plush fetus done by an amazingly crafty doctor-in-training as a project for embryology 101. if only i had that to cuddle in my crib as a six month old instead of a terribly cute but frankly uneducational stuffed giraffe. i would probably be on the dean's list by now.

and also this :
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astoundingly accurate and detailed knitted model of the human digestive tract, complete with loops and loops of knitted small intestine and tiny little gallbladder peeking out from under a woolly liver. this is what your little stuffed animals eat when they come alive at night like in all those Enid Blyton books and have a craving for kway chap.

although our days have been spent memorising every crack and inkstain on my favourite library table, they have been punctuated by visits from fellow library dwellers, like renjun, daniel and lynn, who has recently cut her hair and looks more babelicious than ever, and has also procured a necklace with a cupid pendant that seems to be perpetually shooting an arrow in the direction of her boobs. today carol and renjun are coming over to have a power mug and we have sharpened our pencils in eager anticipation of poking each other when anyone decides to fall asleep! as much as i like imprinting my arse into the seat of the same chair day after day learning about scary bugs, and eating the same thing at the NUH canteen until i have horrifying nightmares about mee sua, i cannot wait for these exams to be over. so i can finally get down to learning to crochet a working model of a human urinary tract! crochet is a pretty loose knit, so i expect the final product to have a very leaky bladder.



| mando | 4:14 PM

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Sunday, March 12, 2006
for the past few days, i have seen the brains of two hundred and thirty students twisted into wondrous shapes, and their faces shift through a glorious array of colours through a gamut of exam papers. it is almost like we are a class of human rubix cubes just waiting to undergo large amounts of torsion from palm-rubbing, evil-villain-chuckling faculty members. it is a painful state for any student, a state that requires an obscene amount of chocolate and hello panda to ease the suffering. it is interesting that one day before my microbiology exam, i have an epiphany that the single hole we so often see in a hello panda biscuit, positioned strategically over the rear end of the adorable little confectionery animal, is not, in fact, an attempt to be funny on the part of the manufacturers, but is actually the place where they squirt the cream in. extreme stress brings great moments of wisdom to some. unfortunately the 'some' which i refer to apparently does not include me.

thus endeth our killer five CA season, a rite of passage which scars every M2 who was fortunate enough not to be in the batch that had CAs every two weeks. i'm so thankful i had motivation from my favourite study buddy ian, whose forms of encouragement luckily was not limited to poking me very hard and telling me to wake up and study. in three weeks it will be final papers again, which i'm sure will try all of us immensely, but look on the bright side. what doesn't kill you will probably give you irreversible brain damage and you then have a very convenient excuse to sit around all day in a nursing home watching Channel 8 drama serials while your liquefied brain seeps slowly out of your nose! but i kid. i trust in the Lord to give us strength in our trials and lift us up, as we keep in step with the holy spirit. He has given me the privilege to serve him as a student, and if i have the opportunity to serve Christ in this way, to give back to him this little that i can, praise the Lord. of course life is going to get harder. look at all the year fives who need hugs. look at all the doctors who work themselves to the bone trying to balance all aspects of their lives. the good thing about knowing how fleeting and full of toil this life is, is that we have all the more reason to look ahead and jump around in childlike joy as we think of the peace we will find when we finish the race in Christ. for now, the simple joy of eating a hello panda while laughing at the hole in its butt will suffice.

after the last paper on friday, a bunch of sleepy people had a good lunch out at nydc, then me and ian went to treat ourselves to suckling pig and roast goose to reward ourselves for having put up with NUH food for what seems like since the dinosaurs were wearing diapers. after that we met up with nat, jean, zhongyang, and daniel in the lion's den-ise to have a good rant in between listening to the amazing Paul Ponnudorai and coming to the conclusion that yes, he does look a little bit like a cute little dreadlocked muppet when he flips his head back to hit those high notes. on saturday we watched a very gorgeous mingli turn 21, then went to her room to hang out and act like the seventeen year old girls we all know we still are inside. it is comforting to know that even though we may grow old, get strange perms, feel the need to wear colour-coordinated worksuits and pumps, we will always be tickling, giggling, buttsmacking girls.



| mando | 5:37 AM

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Friday, March 03, 2006
can you think of any reason
for a painful exam season?
could it be to test how much we learn from lessons?
it may sound slightly controversial
but it may be quite commercial :
exhibit A : the rise in sales of Nescafe and chicken essence

we sit in quiet fixation,
of the notes from the dictation
sessions that some would loosely call a lecture.
all day long we library dwellers,
once rosy girls and strapping fellers,
burrow into our books and dreamily conjecture:

is there more to life than this?
more than bones and blood and cysts?
have we sold our souls for stethoscopes and tendon tappers?
have we fallen for a ploy?
would we have lived our lives with joy
if we instead had an ambition to clean out crappers?

do we work for greater good?
if that was true, maybe we should
not pawn our beating heart for intellect
though i say this, i instead
find it hard to think ahead
past an answer sheet that comes back marked 'correct'.

many others who've crossed the ford,
have managed to (praise the Lord)
leap the dreary hurdles yet keep their heart.
i wish that i could be the same
as those honourable names,
but i find myself not knowing where to start.

if we keep going at this rate,
we may reach a dreaded fate,
which to general consensus sounds quite solemn;
three more years of so much worse,
the hard routes we must traverse,
i conclude that we will all end up like gollum.



| mando | 5:13 PM

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