Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Prowess of Men

For all the talks of peace and no war, fighting and violence is actually integrated into our life more than we realise. I mean, just look at how a man is defined by his ability to fight. You can't fight, you not worthy of respect and honour. In the wild, where the strongest survives, the inability to fight means death.

Some may argue that brains beat brawn anytime. And I totally agree! But that is not my point today. 

My point is that a man's prowess is highly regarded by society. Look at how Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of his time, had the world chanting his name as he fought. Look at how Leonidas, King of Sparta has every boy dreaming to one day grow up to be big and strong and to be the greatest warrior of all time. 

And what better sport to prove one's prowess? 


A sport only the strongest, fastest and the most determine will emerge as a champion.

A sport where one has to bravely stand and face the opponent regardless of injury

and regardless of pain.

A sneaky below the belt punch

The pain of getting punch in the nuts= 9000 del units (160 times more painful than childbirth)

A sport that requires one to deal with the panic and confusion once punched in the face and all strategy goes down the drain.

Boxing offers a thrill and satisfaction gain only from winning a fight. The feeling of triumph when you gain respect for yourself and taking it away from your opponent. 

And also the feeling of being at the top of the world for a brief moment as the crowd chants your name and gives you a standing ovation.

Hell yeah! I would love to pick up boxing :)

If there was magic in boxing, it's the magic of fighting beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It's the magic of risking everything for a dream nobody sees but you. -Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris, Million Dollar Baby-

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Blissful Holidays

After two weeks of a blissful holiday, I now report back to the National Defence University of Malaysia, where Malaysia's future military officers are trained. You may ask: "How are you guys trained?" And I'll proudly answer you: "By standing like idiots for hours in a parade square."

I kid you not, the moment I reported back to camp at 1800H, I have been standing in the parade square till 2200H. That is 4 bloody hours just for the duty officer to count our strength. 

Not complaining, since complaining won't help my situation much. Perhaps the best course of action would be to think positively. So positive thinking....... We'll, I guess I can be grateful the duty officer today was once awarded the Best Cadet Award when he commissioned a few years back. Meaning that he is the smartest, the fittest, the best the army has to offer. 

Just imagine for a moment if another officer is on duty today, one who has not be awarded the Best Cadet Award. He'll be struggling to count pass 10 making us stand till the next morning. So yeah... I guess things could have been much worse. 

I usually try to travel a little during my holidays, trying to experience this big beautiful mother earth. But this 2 weeks of holiday was a little different where I actually spend some time catching up with long lost friends, friends who grew up together with me, high school friends and so on.

I traveled up north to Ipoh to spend some time with these ladies before they head back to the US.

From left to right: Michelle, me and Kendra

With heavenly good food invading my stomach throughout my whole stay in Ipoh and good fellowship, I'd say I had a wonderful time.

I also traveled down south to Singapore to meet up with this crazy bastard:

Noel Martin Smith!!

With a drink in hand (I don't drink alcohol if you are wondering),

and awesome music blasting throughout the night,

we talked just like old times, catching up with one another and all in all having a good time.

There is a saying which goes: "True friendship is forged only in high school and in the army". So I guess I'm pretty lucky to have quite a few good friends in my life. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The End of Year 2 Medical School!

In Medical School, students who either get an A for a certain subject or a borderline fail (scoring just below 50%) will have to undergo an interview called Viva. This Viva is usually conducted by a panel of professors and external examiners. 

Just to be clear, there are two types of Viva: Distinction Viva and Borderline Viva. Both types of Viva look something like this:

A student sitting before a panel of stern-looking professors, bombarded with questions.

For Borderline Viva, students will be asked the most basic of a certain subject. If the student manages to answer proficiently and satisfies the panel, the student passes that certain subject. 

The Distinction Viva on the other hand is a whole different story all together. To be eligible for Distinction Viva, one has to first score an A- in the theory paper. The questions asked by the panel would be in depth and very detailed answers are required. If the panel is impressed, the student will now get an A with distinction. If the panel is dissatisfied, the student still gets the A, but without the distinction. The whole aim is to determine whether the student has superior knowledge of a certain subject.

My professional exams ended two days ago and one day after that, the name lists for Distinction Viva and Borderline Viva were posted on the announcement board. To my great delight, I was called for Distinction Viva for Pharmacology and Pathology. 

Ok... honestly, it wasn't really to "my great delight". It was more of a mixed feeling, happy I got an A but terrified I wouldn't be able to answer the questions and make a fool of myself. 

I actually contemplated not going for the Viva but in the end I decided to be a man and do the right thing. Just go for it, talk clearly and confidently then get out. 

So early in the morning the next day, all the Viva candidates, both borderline and distinction were quarantined in a room waiting for our turn to come. Everybody was feverishly reading and rereading notes accumulated throughout the whole year, hoping that by some miracle, the questions asked would be something we just read. 

The Distinction Viva candidates 

After pacing up and down, walking almost 10 miles and practising for the upteempth time how I was going to greet the professors, my turn came at last. 

My first Viva was Pharmacology. Just in case you are wondering, Pharmacology is the study of drugs where we learn the type of drugs, their mechanism of action, side effects, pharmacokinetics and so on.

So I walked into the room confidently, delivered my very well practised greetings and took a seat and looked at the panel of professors which comprised of 2 of my Pharmacology professors: Prof Dr Kombara & Dr Igor, an external examiner whom I can't seem to recall her name and Prof Dr Aminuddin who is one of the best Physiology professor in Malaysia.  

With their no-nonsenses and stern expression, it was very "soothing" to my already racing heart. I was introduced by Prof Dr Aminuddin to the external examiner and he mentioned I did triathlon. 

So with my slightly hypertrophied heart hammering against my ribcage, the questioning began. The first question I got was: "Say you are participating in a marathon race and the price money is 1 million dollars, what drugs would you take if you want to win this race?"

Without any hesitation, I blurted out the first thing on my mind: "I don't need any drugs, prof. I'd win that race on my own capability."

That brought a bout of laughter from the professors and I started to feel a little better. So with the ice broken, I managed to answer smoothly and confidently most of the questions thrown at me. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I'd say I scored a 7 or 8 for that viva. Let's hope I get a distinction for Pharmacology.

When I left the Pharmacology Viva, I started to wonder why was I so afraid of this Viva, it was not too bad after all.

I was horrifically reminded why when I went for the Pathology Viva. 

You know the feeling of shame you get when a teacher asks you a question in front of the whole class and you get the answer wrong or you don't know the answer to the questions? Recall that feeling and now multiply that feeling by 13 times. Then you'll begin to understand how I felt during the pathology viva.

Our body has its own mechanism to cope with stress. Under stressful stimulation, our pupils will dilate allowing us to have better vision; our blood vessels also dilate, allowing better oxygen supply.

The Pathology Viva was so stressful that my pupils dilated so wide that my contact lens dropped out and my blood vessels in my face dilated so wide that my face was filled to the brim with oxygenated blood making me blush super bright red. 

I was so red that the professors had to put on sunglasses just to look at me.

After squirming in my seat for what was like 8 hours 32 minutes and 56 seconds to me, the interview finally ended and I went out with my tail tucked in between my legs.

So the moral of the story, if there is one, is that I'll have to brush up my Pathology before I go to my clinical years in a few months' time. 

In the meantime, a few big things to look forward to would be our 2 weeks of holidays (yay!) and our elective posting to Bangkok's Medical University. Till then...