med school mumblings...

Monday, April 27, 2009

The End

it's time to move on. mumbler has made her first post on her new blog. time flies doesn't it? saw the army boys coming for their interviews today. i still remember sitting in front of the interviewers and shaking in my seat, and coming out of it thinking i had blown the interview big time.

then it was entering the wards for the first time and being so lost, even asking the ward clerk for cases. before i knew it was electives, and i was having a ball of a time in the grand ol' dame emergency department and at cedars.

finally it was our turn to sit for the final mbbs, and we spent our time mugging and practicing endlessly for short cases, reaching the hospitals early to catch the new cases, traveling around the island to the various hospitals for other cases, and staying up till past midnight to mug for theory. the numerous msn conversations with my online study kakhis (haha, more like distractors!), the routine we quickly developed in that two weeks of study break, and then finally, the big exam itself came upon us.

first it was the horrendously tough theory papers, then it was crazy computer based tests (the usmle is not always better than our exams!!) and later, the final stretch of clinicals which were completely draining.

it's been a long road, and looking at the fresh faces coming for their interviews, i consider how much i have changed in the past five years, and wonder what is in store for me in the next ten to fifteen years of my career and training. only time will tell.

new blog is at http://thefavoureddoc[dot]wordpress[dot]com. please update your links. =)

Friday, April 24, 2009


for phones and mobile lines that is.

because of an email we received a few days ago, suddenly informing us that mohh will not provide any phones or phone lines for our use, we're all in a mad scramble now. the best part? there is no corporate plan available for us. don't you feel the lurve? anyway, mumbler has settled for a $15 plan from singtel that gives free incoming and 100 minutes outgoing. hope that works!

and mumbler has never done this, but she was out last night with her mbbs study group pals, and ended up in a place called house, at dempsey road. she shared this drink called prohibition, which is an alternate take to the long island tea, and it tasted great! it comes with a wedge of lemon and is mixed with coca cola, and besides being delicious, it was also potent. mumbler could only handle two cups (yes you pour the conconction into dainty teacups!) but of course the rest took a lot more. haha.

it was hard not to feel a little sentimental last night. we're moving on now, entering the system with its ridiculous workload and frequent calls, and we all know that it'd be hard to get together as a group again. and to affirm the night's melancholy, they played bucks fizz's "now those days are gone" on the radio. i love the first verse:

Long ago when we were young and free
Love happened easily
And dreams never died,
Life sang a pretty song
Now those days are gone

and while i'm at it, here's another dixie chicks hit (back to the country mood yeah).

Who doesn't know what I'm talking about
Who's never left home, who's never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

Many precede and many will follow
A young girl's dream no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

She travelled this road as a child
Wide eyed and grinning, she never tired
But now she won't be coming back with the rest
If these are life's lessons, she'll take this test

As her folks drive away, her dad yells, "Check the oil!"
Mom stares out the window and says, "I'm leaving my girl"
She says, It didn't seem like that long ago
When she stood there and let her own folks know

good bye med school, hello world.

Monday, April 20, 2009


mumbler will be doing six months of general medicine at the chalet hospital. she's hoping that she'll be given a chance to do cardio or geri, which is the whole point of choosing a six month posting. the grand ol' dame was her first choice, but it apparently goes to the best of the best (those posted there are like med shens) and since chalet hospital is so near her place, she doesn't really mind.

whatever the case, in this economic situation, she is more than happy to have a job that is secure. the first line of her contract says, "we are pleased to confirm our offer to employ you as a House Officer...on a six year contract term." there are so many articles and interviews in the papers about fresh grads having to lower their pay expectations by a fifth, taking on part time jobs, or not even getting a job interview, so that line is indeed very precious!

and some bimbotic comments: firstly, she loves her mcr no (read in her dialect it is both harmonious and auspicious!) and secondly, she loves the pretty lanyard she bought from montip! now, to find a nice bag and to phase out her wardrobe!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A New Beginning

it's time for a new blog. =)

more details when i get it up and running. for now, i am still in shock, even though i've looked at my employment letter several times today, especially the part that has the two beautiful letters in front of my name. it's surreal. it's indeed the free favours of God.

ten percent of the class didn't make it. this is the highest in recent memory, so in the midst of the relief and joy of passing, many of us are sad. very sad. we've no idea why it turned out like this. hopefully someone would enlighten us.

meanwhile, here is susan boyle's fantastic rendition of one of my favourite songs from the best musical ever - i dreamed a dream from les miserables. i tear up almost everytime i hear this song. this is where fantine tells her story, of a young happy lass who quickly loses her innocence when her boyfriend leaves her after making her pregnant, and who ends up selling her hair, her teeth, and finally, herself, to raise her daughter. somehow it doens't sound so tragic just reading it like this, but if you read the novel and then listen to the song again, it will be hard not to get emotional. youtube's got the embed disabled, so here's the link and the lyrics below.

I Dreamed A Dream

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

My Church

so much has been said, most very negative, so mumbler feels she should post something here to clear up the air. it's not going to be a lengthy discussion because she doesn't have the stamina that other people have, but she hopes it'll clarify some points.

preaching about grace does not mean preaching misbehaviour. preaching about grace means getting people to fall in love with Jesus again, and to continually be in love with Him, that we would then follow in His footsteps. preaching the law, on the other hand, means requiring a daily sacrifice to atone for your sins, and means you have to bear with all the curses with not keeping the law - and who can say that he can keep the law perfectly? read the list of curses: it starts from you, to your wife, to your children, and right down to your farm animals. strangely enough, many will continue to preach the law, and many will put their faith in the law (and declare that they'd rather have the "thou shalt nots") despite the fact that Jesus came to give us a new covenant and a better sacrifice!

so essentially, this whole grace versus law issue is the same with having a kid who will emulate the father he loves and looks up to versus another who will follow his father's instructions only because he fears his father's beatings. some might say this is too simplistic an argument, but paul, in his letters to the romans, knew that those who identified their righteousness in the law would insist that the law is the only way in obedience, and hence said,"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!" [rom 6:1-2] so even in the early church grace was a thorny issue, and we shouldn't be surprised that it persists to this day.

church building
new crea currently has a congregation of 18 000 and is growing every year. to give you a sense of how much space we need, here is a breakdown of our logistics every week:
  • 1st service: rock, suntec levels 4 and 6, eng wah cinemas, convention centre gallery west and east
  • 2nd and 3rd serivce: rock, suntec levels 4 and 6, convention centre gallery west and east
  • 4th serivce: rock, suntec levels 4 and 6
this does not include our mandarin and hokkien congregations and children's church, which take up the convention centre ballroom and entire floors of meeting rooms.

as you can probably tell, we're in need of space. i mean, even a place as huge as the indoor stadium (max seating: 11 300) cannot accomodate us, so i think it's a little unfair to criticise the investment in the new building without first offering us a practical solution, no? on a more serious note, the church council and committees spent years sourcing for land and hit snag after snag until this project came about, so it was not a decision made on the spur of the moment.

and just to make it clear, there is never any coercion involved. tithing (and giving in general) has always been encouraged (it came before the law anyway!) and new crea gives out millions every year to local associations, relief efforts and overseas missions. it's been a practice ever since the church was founded - it's just that the amount got bigger. and what's interesting is that on the day we raised the funds (yeah that famous $19mil sunday) there were 4 000 more people in attendance. it's a poorly kept secret that people from other churches (and other countries) also believe in this project with us, so we are truly blessed.

pastor's pay
$500 000 sounds like a lot doesn't it? but i noted something interesting while reading the article in the straits times. trinity christian centre had a turnover of $17mil last year and paid its two directors about $100 000 each. now new crea reported $55mil in income last year and we pay one person $500 grand. it's easy to be distracted by huge, absolute figures, but isn't tcc paying out a greater proportion of their annual income to their leaders? while reading various online forums i also noticed it is often pointed out that pastor kong hee from city harvest draws no pay - but his wife is a hollywood superstar if you remember! (that by itself is a topic for another day, but let me assure my readers out there that my pastor's wife only serves in the ministry and cares for a young daughter and has no "extra curricular activities")

another point i'd like to make is that the straits times conveniently left out the crucial point that new crea is not a public charity, which means that unlike ren ci where they can perform stunts on tv to get donations, we have to rely on something else (and like what pastor says, just focus on getting people to know Jesus). that something else is the weekly offerings which i have mentioned above, and not "donations" as often stated.

i am not agreeing nor defending the pay because firstly views on money are always subjective and secondly, it is difficult for those who have not heard any of pastor's sermons to even understand why so many turn up every week, so attempting to justify it is going to be like trying to explain to a wine noob why anyone would pay thousands of dollars for the best bottle of pinot. but still, let me point out that pastor has given the equivalent of an entire year's salary to the building project since its start in 2007, which means his effective take home pay over the past two years was probably about $250 000?

last words
i'd just like to say that if someone makes a negative comment about new crea, please find out how much he knows about the church. many people are pretty...mindless in such things, simply parroting whatever has been said to them before. because besides the hardcore traditionalists who know everything there is to know about christian theology, most of the comments are made by people who have never stepped into our services or heard tapes of pastor's sermons, so do know where your source is coming from before believing him hook, line and sinker.

incredibly too, there are falsehoods about new crea spread by the elders of some churches, and i know from my conversations with friends and reading personal anecdotes that there is a particular denomination that is extremely averse to new crea. i have been in this church for over 3 years and have never once heard pastor prince criticise any church or pastor. in fact, he has always pointed out that it is not a pastor's job to launch attacks on others while at the pulpit. sadly, it seems that other pastors spend their sundays being distracted and end up behaving like the pharisees of yore - which makes me ask again, so are you sure you want to stick by your "thou shalt nots"?

before i end off, i must also add that the media has a way of blowing things out of proportion, just for the ratings and readership. they choose stories and facts that they know will catch people's attention. you only have to look at how they publicised the deaths of the two young doctors and how the tabloids covered jade goody's last days to understand how they can take nothing and turn it into anything, so please read the reports with a pinch of salt. you can read the read our full press release here.

i hope my post helped to give a different perspective to what has been strewn all over the papers and the internet, and hopefully, this will be the only post i'll need to make!

thank you for reading. ;)

Sunday, April 05, 2009


mumbler's been bumming around the past week, and the days have suddenly slowed down a lot. the wedding was great, and it was an honour to be there, to witness the ceremony presided over by our very own prof who's also a justice of peace. there was movie watching (clint eastwood tackling the issues of life and death in gran torino) and the usual shopping. i really have to watch it, because the weeks of suppressing the urge to spend is now finally being released!

it's a bit strange though, since almost everyone has left to far flung places. london, spain, greece, new zealand...just half an hour ago i was tempted to drop everything and take the first flight out to london. haha. but mumbler is going to a nearby country to visit a friend for a couple of days, then after the results (am keeping fingers crossed!) there's a part two planned. heh.

(yet another cryptic note) and yeah, mumbler's been thinkin'...and wonderin'...hmmm.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Over - The Relief

had a good day's out shopping, walking around orchard road with dad and friends. bought a dress for someone's wedding tomorrow, so i'm feeling pretty relaxed now. will be the mc for the solemnisation, and i hope i don't mess it up!

caught the winter's tale last night. in a way i think it was madness on my part, since it was the last day of mbbs and there i was trying to concentrate and follow a -shakespeare- play. i hadn't read the play before so i spent the first half of act one getting used to the accents and old english, but was later able to sit back and enjoy the performance.

it's an interesting story, essentially about a king who throws his pregnant queen into jail because he suspects she is having an affair and conspiring to take his life. misfortune befalls him after that, as foretold by an oracle, and the king, and the life that he knew, is shattered. years later, he is reunited with the ones that he lost, and the play ends happily. yes, that's the long and short of it, and yes, like all other shakespeare plays, it lasted three hours.

this version was brought in by the singapore reporatory theatre (well done srt!!) and stars ethan hawke and is directed by sam mendes. it's part of "the bridge project" which aims to unite talents on both sides of the atlantic, so it was a bit strange hearing two different accents on stage. act one was more subdued, more "british", but the scenes in act two were festooned with balloons (red, white, blue no less!) and top hats (a la abraham lincoln) and furniture straight out of a western movie. to add to my confusion, they had these minimalist sets that seemed more appropriate for a contemporary play and hence did not help in defining the setting. i did, however, love the idea of having the musicians on stage as part of the cala fare and having those ominous cowbells chime to signal yet another dramatic scene.

what i really -could not- understand was why the audience laughed at some points. i think singaporeans have a weird sense of humour, and i'm not sure where they get it from. the best example i can think of is this scene where the statue of the dead queen comes to life (dont' ask me why!) and the king embraces her. the king has regretted his past actions every day of his life, his "sorrow was too sore laid on, which sixteen winters cannot blow away, so many summers dry", and it is a tender moment as the queen reaches out for his embrace and he feels, for the first time, forgiveness and absolution for his deeds. he exclaims, "o, she's warm!" - and that's when the audience laughed.

for the life of me, i saw nothing funny in that scene, so why the laughter? my poor mbbs bombed out brain can't remember the other examples, but this alone is enough to illustrate my point! wanted to throttle those who laughed. perhaps they were expecting a jack neo type of humour (to be read as "so warm ah?"), where such exclamations are meant to highlight a ridiculous situation or bring out the ignorance of a character without spending much time on character development. whatever the case, it kinda spoilt my enjoyment of the play.

after all my rambling, i must say that i still prefer "
the seagull", which was the other srt coup two years ago. the language was easier to understand, the setting less...contradictory, and featuring a cast that appeared more at ease with each other. but i must applaud srt for bringing such fantastic productions to singapore - nothing like learning from the best, yes?

It's Over - The Rant

a short post just to mark the end of the mbbs. am relieved beyond words. there's much more i want to blog about, but i'm just too tired. all i want to say is, these three weeks must have been some of the most exhausting and tiring times of my (student) life. nothing compares to it. at all. and along the way, it revealed a lot about myself, and about others, both good and bad, and honestly it has changed the way i see things and how i view others. the demands placed on me by the exams and by others really was a wake-up call. it wasn't at all pleasant, so i'm not grateful for it.

maybe i'm just pms-ing, but at the end of it, i knew i had no choice but to redraw the boundaries.