Category Archives: Life

The Scheme of Things

Today’s lesson is titled ‘The Scheme of Things’ for a reason.

A medical student friend of mine who lives only 15 minutes away from my place was involved in a car accident while traveling to attend his CBL this morning. To cut the story short, he swerved to avoid a kangaroo and in turns were involved in an MVA with another car and a truck. His car is a write-off, but he has managed to escape with a cut on the forehead, bruises on the chin and his ego. Despite the condition of the cars involved, everyone survived and were relatively unharmed.

Today was a doozy for my friend. The police came this afternoon and he was charged with negligent driving. He’ll have a massive bill from the hospital. The car is a write-off, so he’ll have nothing to drive for the next few months. Plus, he probably needs to pay for the garage for the cost to remove the car, etc. Definitely a doozy of a day.


  • In the scheme of things, he is still alive. Looking at his car, I would have thought that he wouldn’t have survived.
  • In the scheme of things, everyone else is unharmed. Ego bruising aside, no one died. Heck, no one, beside from my friend, had to stay in the hospital.
  • In the scheme of things, it could have been much worse, but IT ISN’T.

Long after today, it would have been just another day when something happened. People learn from mistakes or bad experiences. In the scheme of things, it is just like another gravel in the road of life, nothing less and nothing more…

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New Year of Blogging

Dear blog,
I thought having a Christmas and New Year break means having more time to blog. How wrong can I be? Very…

I’ve been a bit lazy in my blogging department for the last few months, but I think I’ve been the opposite in real life. Since the last time I updated, there have been a few changes in my life. I better outline them here.

1. I’m about 3 kg lighter. YAY! Been very good with my exercise program and diet. First week, I lost 1 kg, but the I gained a couple during Christmas. Ever since then, I’m down to 93 kg from the original 96 in the beginning of December. My regime includes 1.5-2 hours of swimming followed by light bike riding. In the beginning, I could only take 30 mins of swimming, but thankfully my stamina has built up. Diet-wise, fewer desserts and more water seem to help. I have such a sweet tooth that I don’t know how I haven’t had a dessert since the New Year…

2. I’VE BEEN ACCEPTED TO CARDIOLOGY IN ROYAL DARWIN. This will be in July after I pass my last med school exam in June. Fingers crossed. I sent my application for paediatrics in Singapore, so fingers tightly crossed for that one. I’m very much looking forward to authentic Asian food in Singapore, especially after being ‘stranded’ in rural NSW for the last few months.

Actually, I shouldn’t complain about being here. It’s such a nice little town and my co-workers and preceptors have been nothing but amazing. I can thank the practice I’m at for reviving my once lost interest in general practice. I can definitely see myself being a GP, especially because it would give me time for other business ventures (I’ve been busy planning for a patisserie & cafe in a distant future; a man can dream really).

I don’t know what else to write, except to wish everyone a HAPPY BELATED NEW YEAR and here’s to achieving your goals in this new year.


And my new life has started…

Hello WORLD, I am back.

After grueling months of exams and the move to my rural placement in Leeton, I have finally gotten my life back. I would rather not talk about the exams just because everyone would probably know how the word HATE does not justify my experience.

Leeton, where I am starting my year-long rural placement, is a town with population of 11,000. So far I think this is the smallest place I have lived at. Another med student and I have been given a heritage cottage to live in courtesy of the council. I must say, I love this little cottage. Two good sized bedrooms, a cozy lounge, a modern kitchen and a large bathroom, oh and some olive trees and rosemary bushes in the yard. I may need to learn how to pickle my own olives. Leeton is pretty much a foodie heaven; yippee me! The largest producer of citrus in the Australia, headquarter for SunRice and Berri Juice, a lavender farm around the corner, what else can I ask for?

Placement-wise, I have had a session of parallel consulting, which has been pretty interesting. I feel like I probably need to have a separate post for this purpose. In the meantime, it is almost bedtime and I have to go.


Macaron God… NOT!


I rediscovered my kitchen creativity and my affection for MS Paint today. I figured I’ll just use the drawing I made since it pretty much summarises my Easter long weekend, which has been splendid if you’re wondering.


On travelling

This may seem random, but my mind has been occupied by the thought of travelling especially after watching ‘Into the Wild’ last night. So, here I am after a train ride from Wollongong to Nowra reflecting on my past travel.

I used to be the typical Asian tourist who wouldn’t stop taking pictures on every possible occasion. After all, those pictures are a physical evidence of having been somewhere. That was what I believed until I realised how much I was missing out on my travel.

On a bus ride that was supposedly the best in the world from Rio Bamba to Guaranda looking over Mt. Chimborazo, I bought myself the best seat in the bus for the view. Instead of admiring the majestic Mt. Chimborazo, I was so worried about taking pictures to share with everyone at home. What I failed to realise was that the travel was meant for me to enjoy.

Did I have fun? Yes I did. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time, but it felt like Etch-A-Sketch where it was fun while it lasted. Sitting in my room and looking at the pictures, it doesn’t evoke the sense that I was lucky to have evidenced the grandeur of nature.

I don’t regret taking those pictures, because I know one day I will return to the place that has changed my view of the world. On my train ride from Wollongong to Nowra which is quite ordinary for those who have to travel the distance daily, I looked out my window. The green meadow, the body of water so expansive and blue, the quietness and comfort of little villages. I’m letting those to be etched in my brain.

Break, I love you…

Yes, I’m having a week break currently. I feel more relaxed now that I’ve had my first break in a while.

– Housewarming
– Cleaning the house (I had to, the house was a mess after housewarming)
– Cleaning my room (actually, I started cleaning but got caught up in blogging)
– Catching up with sleep (I can only sleep for 7 hours, don’t know why)
– Catching up with Project Runway (I think my fave this season has got to be Mondo, he’s just so creative)
– Taking baths
– Cooking my heart out (I made strawberry balsamic vinaigrette jam, some pork and garlic shoot dumplings, and Vietnamese summer rolls)

To Do:
– Fix my dining chairs (tomorrow may be)
– Planting my backyard (later today?)
– Study (surgery study guide started, will be working on it some more Monday)

Enough blogging for now, will work on the rehab update tomorrow.


For your amusement

Try this:

Use the ‘Get Directions’ on Google Maps

Type ‘Sydney NSW, Australia’ for point A

Type ‘Los Angeles, CA, USA’ for point B

Click ‘Get Directions’

Google Maps will tell you to kayak across the Pacific Ocean for the quickest route.

Now, DO IT!


I know my last few posts have been pretty gloomy. Well, let me update you with what has happened for the past week. Turns out I did not pass my second attempt at the lower limb clinical competency and I have to schedule an appointment with NH who is in charge of the clinical skills. I emailed her Tuesday and I haven’t gotten a reply until now. I have until the 29th of June to redo it, but I have to discuss it with her first. I have the phase exams in less than 3 weeks as well. You’re probably thinking: OH NOES. HES GONNA FREAK OUT MORE. HES GONNA GET MORE ANXIOUS.

Actually, not really. I think managing stress is about choice. I have the CHOICE to focus on my exams instead of dwelling on the fact that I have to redo my clinical competency for the third time. I CHOOSE to not get stressed out by things that I can’t control (i.e. waiting for the reply from NH). It is my CHOICE to not deem my entire medical education as a failure based on the little things that I can improve on.



p.s. I apologise for being overly psycho-analytical with my life a couple of days ago. I do have some anger and bitterness, I suppose. Nonetheless I CHOOSE to move on with my life and see my past as an experience I can learn from.

my life summed up as a PPD

PPD = personal and professional development

See, at the UOW GSM, we have this thing called PPD. We have to do an assignment to reflect on something that we have learned thus far in medicine that would help develop us as a doctor. For me, it is like a cleaner-and-more-politically-correct blogging. Anxiety has always been something that I struggle with and I can’t help reflecting on it for the past couple of weeks due to several incidents that have happened. These are not necessarily what contribute to my anxiety, but I’ve just been in a reflective mood that I can’t help being reflective in almost every segment of my life.


All my life, I have always had that thought of being not good enough for everything. I am a middle child and I am sure that if there is such thing as the clinical diagnosis for middle child syndrome, I would be its poster boy. Growing up, I always felt that I was never good enough for everything; that is exactly the feeling I’ve tried to fight. My extended family always compared me to my older sister and younger brother; ‘why are you not as smart as your sister?’ or ‘oh look at your brother, isn’t he so cute?’. I had to constantly fight for people’s attention and that explains everything about me now. I listen to music that other people wouldn’t listen to and as soon as the artist becomes popular, I would lose interest. I do things that make me unique like taking dancing lessons as well as doing martial arts. Not that I am an attention-whore, but my upbringing has programmed me to be someone who always lusts for attention.


At one point in my life, I really hated my mom.  She always has this bitterness towards my dad’s extended family and it didn’t help that the first 2 years of my life, I was raised by my grandma (dad’s mom). Physical punishment was normal then and it would be a lucky day for me if I only get beaten once. I had nightmares about my mom and they were all the same. Me in a 4 by 4 room running away from my mom who was trying to eat my brain. I would say I had that dream constantly until I was about 13.

Another time, when I was in the eighth grade, I had to help my brother study. My brother doesn’t listen to me, never did never would. Mom was mad at me, we got into a big argument, and by the end of the night, she said something that shouldn’t have been said to a child: ‘I wish that you were never born…’ OUCH. I confronted her about it a couple of years ago about this and we made up. Forgiven but not forgotten; that was 14th of June 1998 Sunday night at 745pm. You can call me bitter, but it’s like when you’ve had a sharp knife pierce through your skin and you bleed. Eventually the skin heals itself, but you would still have the scar as a reminder of what happened.


What comes with being a middle child is the dreaming. My imagination always runs wild; starting from having a dessert bar to building my own ultra-modern and monochromatic house to thinking about food combinations that can potentially work well together. I think my dreaming is what kept me going and distract me from living my life. Being a child who really hated being home, dreaming was my escapism. I think that might have contributed to the fact that I plan way ahead for my future despite having a somewhat disheveled present life.  I’ve thought about this a lot in respect to my clinical experience. I lack an outline in general. I’m so focused on the endpoint/my dreaming that I get disoriented. I don’t have an outline that I can easily follow in clinical skills. I freaking cook without recipes and I make stuff as I go. Clearly I’m living a sad disorganised life.


The last thing that I could think of was the lack of love for myself. Being a middle child, I couldn’t help feeling worthless. I sometimes felt that my parents didn’t love me and that my siblings were more important to them. How has this affected my life? Well, the most concrete thing would be the condition that my room is in. It is in an utter mess, yet I would rather clean this entire (share) house instead of cleaning my own room.

Well, I think that’s enough PPD for tonight…

Mee goreng is a med student’s bestfriend

It’s a sign that I’m getting serious when mee goreng suddenly becomes my staple diet. *GASP!* Food bloggers around the world weep. I know it’s sad, but being book-bound also means less time for me to cook and bake.

I’ve been planning to bake sticky date puddings with butterscotch sauce for quite awhile. I have the dates in the cupboard chopped, but I can’t seem to find the time to make this thing. I just want to be done with the exams, but sadly (or thankfully?), they are still 3 weeks away. Right now, all I can do is tell myself: “N, you’ll be able to cook and bake and try all the recipes that you want to try once you pass the exam. Not that you like cooking with recipes.”

I did get to cook nem nuong and Vietnamese rice paper wraps for our ‘family’ dinner this week though. I actually still have a few slices of the patties and I heated them with the mee goreng. They are actually quite yummy together.



p.s. I’d also like to do a shout-out to this lovely lady for making my week with her chocolate-y goodness and to toast for passing on the chocolate as well as for the massive. You guys are awesome.