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note to self, [Feb. 27th, 2011|06:37 pm]
i think, you don't grow up at the arbitrary number of 21 years old. you grow up when you stop being obsessed with yourself and start being accountable to others, start living for others instead of for yourself.

when you become a Christian, you no longer belong to yourself - you belong to God.
when you sign the MOH bond to study medicine, at least for the next 11 years, you belong to the people of Singapore, and the 2 people who signed your bond, risking a debt of $444,000.
when you sign a study loan, you belong to your parents, who trust in your ability to become a doctor in future and pay back the loan.

so many more... from friends who share their lives with you, to MOE who gives you an awesome education when you're 10 years old and totally unable to appreciate it.

and later on, when you get a job, get married, have kids... you give yourself to more and more people... i guess that's why people hate growing up.

but i'm grateful for it, i guess. grateful for the reasons to keep living, and living well, giving your best and not settling for second best. and to overcome whatever obstacles along the way, and not be defeated by them. cos these people, they're counting on you, and they have faith in you. they help you to live big, and to live more meaningfully.

but that will tend to stress people out, and make you think of yourself as more important than you really are. and then your identity is all wrapped up in your work that you make work your idol, and your priorities get all screwed up. that;s when you need to look at God and be rooted in Him about whom my words do no justice, so i quote from denise's blog...

Why do we work?
It is quite true that, in general, the Lord provides the necessaries of life by means of our ordinary calling; but that that is not THE REASON why we should work, is plain enough from the consideration, that if our possessing the necessaries of life depended upon our ability of working, we could never have freedom from anxiety, for we should always have to say to ourselves, and what shall I do when I am too old to work? or when by reason of sickness I am unable to earn my bread? But if on the other hand, we are engaged in our earthly calling, because it is the will of the Lord concerning us that we should work, and that thus laboring we may provide for our families and also be able to support the weak, the sick, the aged, and the needy, then we have good and scriptural reason to say to ourselves: should it please the Lord to lay me on a bed of sickness, or keep me otherwise by reason of infirmity or old age, or want of employment, from earning my bread by means of the labor of my hands, or my business, or my profession, He will yet provide for me.
- George Mueller

And speaking closer to the heart, that you Entirely Unnecessary but Utterly Loved (:
So my friend, whoever you are. Know in your heart: You are entirely unnecessary. Entirely. Unnecessary. You are a profligate extravagance, a superfluous addendum, a needless flourish. The Lord, His universe, His church, His kindgom purposes could so easily do without you. You are completely surplus to requirements...
But you don’t need to be needed. You only think you need to be needed because you’ve forgotten you’re loved. So let me remind you…
You are wanted. You are desired. And not for anything ‘you offer.’ You are surplus to requirements. But our God doesn’t deal in requirements, He enjoys the surplus. He delights in you.
(via Australian Glen)

and so i'm grateful to grow up, and to have God, and so many other people and things to grow up for. to you,

Because You loved me
by Celine Dion

For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I'll be forever thankful baby
You're the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You're the one who saw me through through it all

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me
Maybe I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You were always there for me
The tender wind that carried me
A light in the dark shining your love into my life
You've been my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

I'm everything I am
Because you loved me
Link1 comment|any comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

muses on cell death [Sep. 12th, 2010|04:55 pm]
studying is screwing with my head - is screwing with all our heads. yesterday, at lunch after ifg, we were talking to the m1s about... anatomy. hoho.

and the more i study about cells, i begin to think about them as people. it's quite amusing, actually, because there is no basis for comparison (people are made of cells) but ohwell, my brain goes to strange places to better remember certain concepts.

and as difficult and complex as cells are, people are so much harder to understand. for instance, let's discuss their fears, esp with regard to death.

1. fear of death - cells are right, it's irrational to fear death! death is natural, normal. without cell death, you get cancer. so cells die. they die good deaths, which we call 'apoptosis'. nice, neat deaths, where it's taken apart, whatever's useful is recycled, and whatever's not useful is phagocytosed (cleared away). no damage done. and on a larger scale, some cells die in order for us to live better. for instance, our hands started off as one big blob akin to a piece of roti prata, but 4 columns of cells died, giving us 5 fingers, with which we do so much, for instance typing this blog post now. can you imagine how much more limited our lives would now be if those 4 columns of cells had not died?

2. fear of scarcity - we people store and store and store. money, food, everything. but our body's organs simply take what they need from arterial blood and send it back to the venous blood. trusting the heart to continue pumping fresh oxygenated blood to them. do you know what'll happen if cells keep arterial blood to themselves and refuse to let it drain away? hyperaemia. leading to necrosis. which is the medical way of saying 'bad death'. a very bad death, where cells rupture and contents spill out, and the cell dies while damaging many cells around them, possibly causing their neighbouring cells to die too. very very bad death.

i would say cells are wise, but that'd be quite an odd thing to say, because they act the way they do not because they want to, but because they were designed that way. so i'll say He who created cells (and humans) is very wise (:

last year, studying normal anatomy and physiology, it was easy to see God's hand in everything, in how beautiful and intricately woven our body systems are, how neatly the different organ systems work together to allow us to effortlessly live each day and do so many amazing things with our lives.

this year, studying abnormal physiology, it's a little harder, because in every lecture, we study about what happens when our created bodies turn against us, break down, sometimes even attacks itself, and dies. it's hard to see how a perfect and infinitely intelligent Designer would create something so imperfect.

but i only have to think of how much of the body processes we still don't understand, to see how beautiful we still are - even with the flaws. and sometimes, flaws are necessary - like how central tolerance cannot be too perfect, otherwise, too many of our T cells with affinity for self-MHCs would be negatively selected against, and our pool of T cells would be too little to fight against the diversity of antigens our bodies can be infected with. - in simpler terms, immune cells that bind to and remove our own cells are removed and not released into our body, so that they won't cause autoimmune diseases. at the same time, our immune cells need to bind to our own cells with some degree of strength in order to work together and fight infections, so it's a trade-off.
and so, perhaps, the flaws that we see are necessary trade-offs for other essential functions, all in order to maximise our ability to survive.

why do we need to have trade-offs? why can't a perfect God think of a way for us to have the best of both worlds? perhaps the solution is to look at humans not at an individual level, but as a 6+billion strong whole. while some die young and some die at their prime, most thrive, and with the help of medicine today, live increasingly lives. it's quite amazing, actually, considering how many things our body has to do each day to keep us alive and breathing, and how much more it has to do to keep us thinking, moving and functioning - not just surviving but living our lives doing the things that gives living its meaning.
and then think beyong our 6+billion strong current population, and think of the centuries and millenia before today, the hundreds and thousands of generations who have lived their lives before us. the world then and the world today has changed so much, and evolution must be such an awesome mechanism in order to ensure the continued survival of our species in spite of the scarcity and overcrowding and pollution and million other problems that plague our world today.

and just think about it - in order for evolution to work, diversity must be created. that way, the strongest can survive to continue to populate the world. yet not all the weakest can die, because he who is weak in one environment might prove to survive best in yet another environment or in another lifetime.
so this diversity of people is constantly being created, and in the process some people die because they're simply not suited to survive. but their death, esp if before reproduction, saves a whole generation of his descendents from potential disease & suffering, because they too would have his unsuitable genes. and some fall ill and die a little later in life, after reproduction, so they pass on supposedly "bad" genes. so their descendents continue to die younger than most, but as mentioned earlier, perhaps these "bad" genes would become useful centuries later, and these people will be the ones to populate the world when the environment favours the survival of people of their genes.
and so it goes on, a system made to create diversity, a system made to ensure the survival of not one person, but the survival of the whole human race. and perhaps, when we think about it that way, death is not so bad. just like some cells die so that others may survive or that we might live better (think about your fingers!), our deaths are merely the normal process of biology, a small part of the bigger processes that ensure that humans continue to live on.

i believe that we live on through our children and our grandchildren and our descendents to come. and living that way is much preferable to surviving on in sickly, diseased, degenerating bodies, overcrowding the world and using up too much of the world's resources, resources which would be better used in developing the future of our human race.

Disclaimer: that said, i love old people. i love their wisdom, their experience, their resilience, because they've seen so much of this world and have so much to teach us. i just feel that if i were old and aged and have lived well, done my part for society and given whatever knowledge and service i may have to my future generations, i would not try to prolong my life, would not fight death, but would rather, find peace in departing. because death is not scary at all. and cliche as it may sound, i'm departing to a better place indeed. (:
Link3 comments|any comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

(no subject) [Jun. 26th, 2010|01:11 am]
the last 2 chapters of "boy alone" by Karl Taro Greenfeld... fyi, his only brother, Noah, has severe, low-functioning autism. Noah is also practically non-verbal and institutionalised. by this time, they are both adults.

Chapters 133-134Collapse )

i like how he is very honest. for instance, it is easy to admit that you're suicidal, not so easy to confess to homicidal tendencies. his honesty raises ten million questions in my head, though, questions i have no answers to.
Linkany comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

(no subject) [Jun. 20th, 2010|12:37 am]
i realised i love emotionally/socially stunted people.

for example, in my favourite TV series(-es), there's the brilliant Dr. Gregory House in House, the dark and twisty sisters Meredith and Cristina in Grey's Anatomy, genius-but-probably-also-autistic/Asperger's Dr. Sheldon Cooper and his geeky scientist gang in Big Bang Theory and the latest, genius forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperence "Bones" Brennan and her loyal student/assistant Zack from Bones.

yeayea, i have no social life. i spend my holidays watching TV on megavideo. XD

hmm. you know, my favourite people to hang out with are from pathlight. what does it say about me, i wonder?

birds of a feather flock together :P
Linkany comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

(no subject) [Jun. 16th, 2010|10:26 pm]
just came back from yet another pathlight sports and fun camp.
my no.... 6? i may have forgotten a few, but the number's about there.
when i first started out, i was totally exhausted everyday and couldn't imagine how teachers managed to get these kids into classrooms and sit still for hours of lessons.
and then i taught there, and wondered how i ever managed to keep my 2 eyes on 9 kids at a time, pull back those who are running away, nearly lose a few of the wanderers/runners and not get a heart attack.
and now i'm back helping out at the camps, kinda have come full circle (:

i love these kids.

i'm currently reading a book "boy alone - A brother's memoir"
i've read many books by parents of kids with autism, but this book is unique in that it's written by a guy whose brother has autism. i'm only halfway through it, but it talks about his journey...
when he was young, he sensed that his brother was different but he had known no other brother
growing up, being uprooted from community to community, as his parents search for a diagnosis, then a cure, then treatment
jealous of the attention his brother gets
taking advantage of his parents' lack of attention
the pressure of being the one who has to carry his parents' hopes and dreams for the future
sien at being made responsible for his brother
loneliness at being different from the other kids
resentment at his life always being looked at "through the prism of his brother's disability"

it's quite an interesting book :D
Link2 comments|any comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

(no subject) [May. 16th, 2010|09:36 am]
[Current Mood |sleepysleepy]
[Current Music |He will carry you]

50 more hours, and i'll have completed 20% of my degree.


jiayou, all 263 of us! let's set the record and be the year where no one has to take supps! give our dear kind profs a holiday for once (:
Linkany comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

what scares me [Feb. 27th, 2010|11:48 pm]
"They make it hard on purpose... there are lives in our hands" - Meredith Grey (from Grey's Anatomy)

you know, time and time again, in the moments i lift my head above the water to gulf a breath of fresh air, i wonder why i'm in medicine. it's not the studies that i wonder if i can cope with - if i study hard enough, i'm pretty sure i can scrape by and not get kicked out of med school. it's what happens later.
as a doctor, you save lives but you kill lives too. a cancer patient goes into the OR to remove his tumour. if he dies on the table, you'd have stolen away the 6 months more he had had to live if you hadn't screwed up the surgery. even if you are the best doctor in the world, with a 99% success rate, for every 99 patients you saved, 1 died.
my conscience would feel so much better being a teacher or something. maybe i don't save lives, but i'd help people, benefit others, 24/7, as long as i try to. and even when i screw up, a word of 'sorry' can turn back the clock and give me a second chance.

when you kill a patient, when a patient's heart stops in your hands... even if you had nothing to with her heart stopping and were simply the house officer on call who failed to restart her heart or got there a minute late and despite restarting her heart with pedals, caused her ischemic brain death... and so many other possible situation, too many to name here, and to scary to think about, there is no second chance.
a 'sorry' won't revive her. 
words of encouragement won't make her breathe again.
a chocolate cookie won't make her smile again.
hours of reading and playacting animal stories won't make her laugh.
she'd just be... extinguished.
wheeled into the morgue and put into a box there.

i don't fear my own death. but i'm deathly afraid of killing another.

and i know, deep down inside, that with my forgetfulness, clumsiness and stupidity, i could very well kill a patient with medical negligence. do some horribly stupid mistake and kill another human being, who trusted me with her life, who needn't have had to die.
Link6 comments|any comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

happy valentine's day [Feb. 18th, 2010|08:04 am]
Link2 comments|any comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

dreams do come true [Jan. 6th, 2010|09:31 pm]
monday, during my driving lesson at 4, i looked at my rear view mirror before moving off, and saw "PATHLIGHT 2A", the exact same sign as i made last june holidays. missed pathlight alot, so today i hopped down for a visit. a tiring one, haha, cos half the time was spent struggling with kids, but boy have i missed the school, man. ms sharifah is right, pathlight changes you. you remember that experience forever. can't forget it even if you try to (:

so besides the truckload of reasons i have gushed about why i'm in love with pathlight, here's 2 more.

1. learning to be a pathlight teacher is not unlike learning to be a doctor. 3 adjectives: competent, compassionate, professional. returning to pathlight, being surrounded by these amazing teachers, never fails to remind me of the kind of doctor i want to be next time.
of course, they also never fail to remind me that if i should open my own clinic in future, i owe them all discounts :P

2. pathlight is a school which meets students at their level, even as it recognises the potential that they have. you're not expected to be anyone else but yourself. as a "successful factory-line product of MOE" myself, it's refreshing. to see kids as different, unique individuals, and to educate them on that premise. just because these kids are more obviously different and unique doesn't mean that other kids aren't.

remember how i laughed that my lokun teammate thought i studied at pathlight? but in a way, in a very big way, pathlight changed me more than any school, rafflesian or not, did. the school itself changed me in ways more than the sum total of the individuals there did.

Pathlight - where lives are transformed.
i guess you could say that teaching at pathlight not only enabled me to transform lives. pathlight also transformed my life (: the lessons learnt there, the mistakes made there, the relationships formed there, the decisions made there...

if i hadn't joined medical school, i really might have gone on to teach there. or be a therapist there or something. wilson (pl colleague) keeps mocking me for visiting, says that pathlight has no need for a doctor. no need for me - i'm just wasting my time and disturbing everyone. well maybe it's this medical student who needs pathlight. :)
Linkany comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

funny stuff [Dec. 29th, 2009|11:45 am]
we were in the van, coming back from the floating village clinic.
Radio: I don't want to talk about it, how you broke my heart. If I stay here just a little bit longer, if I stay here won't you listen to my heart, oh my heart...
someone: Perfect song to a doctor

i was wearing my pathlight polo.
jiaxu: is that a school shirt?
me: yup
jiaxu: secondary school?
me: primary and secondary
jiaxu: you studied there?
me: [chokes on my thermometer]
Linkany comments?| The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all! (:

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