Sunday, July 31, 2005

Two Campers and A Bear

Storytelling time! Normally I don't publish two posts in a single day, but the message of the story is so thought-provoking that I can't resist sharing with everyone:

In a forest, two campers hear a grizzly bear coming. One starts putting on his running shoes. The other says, "What are you doing? You can't outrun a bear!" The reply: "I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you."

I have grown up to believe in the spirit of altruism, holding firm that I would be the best not by disadvantaging other people but by own merit. Throughout the years, I have always despised "top scorers" who refuse to help weaker students because of either the fear of being outperformed or just being plain impatient and lazy. There are a lot of selfish people out there, and many of them did reinforce their position by not helping the weaker ones. And let's not forget how Microsoft and any other major industrial players gain their market share by shackling other softwares' functionality. But still, I believed or rather, I convinced myself that I won't win by being selfish, in my entire life.

But... if I were the camper, wouldn't I run too? I would, certainly, and just like what he did, I would run as fast as I could - to run for my life - to outrun the other camper.

Trying to justify the bad thought that it's just a basic reflex in face of dangers, I couldn't help but to think further: What if the other camper is my beloved one? What should I do? Why should I do what I did?

What would you do, then?

p/s: I googled for it and found a lot of discussions and reflections on the story. Here's an interesting fruits of thought about the same story.


We are the IMSS!

Finally, a post I have wanted to put up for so so so long.

If any of you have looked at some of my posts and asked, "what is the IMSS?", the answer is here! The IMSS stands for the International Medical Students' Society, of The University of Melbourne of course.

At the beginning of the last semester, sometimes I see some of my friends heading off to some mysterious place during the oddest times, like during lunch - a time when I always find myself, Eng Kiat and Jian Wey in the Union House enjoying a plate of rice with honey chicken, roast pork, and stirfried chicken vege - and when I ask them where they are headed off to, they reply: "Oh we're going to the IMSS meeting, wanna come?"

I had no idea what the IMSS was back then, but then they organised their first major event, the IMSS City Tour, the pictures of which Jian Wey has already posted up.

And then a few weeks after that, they asked us, us being Jian Wey and I, whether we wanted to join the IMSS or not. And after much give-and-take, we decided to give it a go. And they gave us the roles, IT Officers. Haha, one of the easier jobs I must say, compared to some of the other roles. And it sounds quite cool too, I reckoned.

We held our 2nd major event, the IMSS Champagne and Pancake Lunch and that was great fun, albeit being only 2 weeks before our final exam for the semester. I've also posted the pictures for this up. and here is the poster for our event, which WE designed. WE = Jian Wey and I. If you remember, that was also one of the bleak moments I have been through, being served cold shoulder by one of my good friends for unknown reason.

So what does being in the IMSS involve? Well, it involves commitment towards the cause and the society. It takes sacrifice. Mostly it takes 1 or 2 hours of your time once every fortnight sitting in a meeting in some secluded room in the basement of medical building, where people won't discover Jian Wey's nefarious mime to everything Jing said. Haha sorry, just joking.

And what do we actually do? (Help people lah...what else?) Our role is to assist international students settle into their lives as medical students in Melbourne. Or something to that effect. I've heard some more inspiring words coming our from Jing's mouth before but I can't for the life of me remember her exact words. When I do get hold of our official motto or role I will post it up.

Okay, if you have made it this far and you haven't realized that I have been copying Jian Wey's post shamelessly, then you either have terminal stage STML or you don't know who's Jian Wey. Well, Jian Wey is a very interesting person, he claimed that dumb dumb duck is the cutest animal in the biosphere and that crushedguava tastes nicer than Rojak Campur. I would hesitate at the thought of giving out his blog's URL here, lest you will not read my boring blog anymore... But for the more savvier of you, you must have visited his blog before and must have your own share of laughter. Hint: The link to his blog is tucked away in a corner of my blog.

Oh yeah, before I move on, let's have a drumroll and give a standing ovation to those who deserve it:

The IMSS Committee

President: Jing
The Vice President: Jessica
Secretary: Jerica
Treasurer: Wanchen
Academic Officers: Ka Lip and Kathryn
Social Secretaries: Cathy and Jane
Sponsorship Officers: Clara and Jingyi
Publications Officers: Henry and Sue Faye
Us IT Officers: Chang Yang and Jian Wey

[and a few new committees, sorry will add it in when I get the names]

So now we are back in action after being dormant for almost two months. Cool as always, we IT officers are back to our routine mission again: set up a website for IMSS. Well, I must thank a few of the managers in the medical office, namely Mary Angelico, Catherine Wills, and in particular, Joanne Sullivan for their warm assistance. Well, to be frank we have gone no where yet, no website, no blog, no photo album... You know, it's hard to find free website marr..and then we also don't like those ad-ful sites, so what to do? Have to go beg the university and also Student Union. But then, the university said they don't provide website hosting and then we didn't hear anything from Student Union.

Having faced the harsh truth, we decided to try our own way: set up a blog in BlogSpot! Hehe.. it's as easy as 1-2-3, as blogger always says, but right now it's still in its infancy. Do pay a visit here, and don't spam the message board please. :D I would have been more pleased if we could get a paid hosting site and have some site like, but then it's a faraway dream. As Jing always says, we are still a young society, we are a sub-committee of MSS and we are poor financially. ~~Sigh~~ (Thought of embezzling some online storage space if we could get a hosting site... haha)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usOkay, blog is one thing in progress, and now we have another important mission. After the "tremendous" success of our previous poster, we decided to design another amazing poster for the Karaoke Night. So today I spent a few hours in Ormond College designing a draft for the poster. Well, for me, it turned out to be a tad less professional, and we reckoned that it's because we don't have logos down there. Err.. what to do? We don't have sponsors this time marr, so mar have nothing to put lohh.. At the time being we are still considering whether to put our faces on the poster, and Jian Wey insisted that it will surely be given a green light in our biweekly meeting next time, wuahaha... (another prawn behind the stone, hehe...)

So this is basically how IMSS works, with great fun and great activities. Well, did I mention the hidden agendas? Haha... Have I succeeded in making IMSS sound like some sort of terrorist organization?


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

How Do You Drive?

Phew... 11 hours of sleep after two days of chemical reactions. Thanks God for giving me a day off amidst the assault of metabolic pathways. You know, I would have rather enjoyed it, given the interesting insights and wonderful mnemonics in these cycles and sequential reactions. However, no Kama Sutra1 or Succinyl CoA dehydrogenase could boost my speed to finish the remaining two third of lecture notes in time... And did I tell you about my PBL tutorial on Friday?

Hmm, let's leave it to Lehninger at the moment. I just came across this news article about singing while driving.

Quoted from the article:

Motorists who enjoy a sing-along while driving tend to concentrate more and fall asleep less than their silent counterparts, new research showed on Tuesday.

However, drivers should avoid overly rousing tunes or complex rhythms which can divert attention away from the road.

"Singing while driving stimulates not only the mind but also the body which in turn produces heightened alertness and reduced fatigue," said Dr Nicola Dibben, a music psychologist from the University of Sheffield.

She said music was more effective than silence, conversation or talk radio in achieving an optimal state of alertness.

I remember my mum and dad always told me that singing or listening to music while driving is a dangerous thing. It's still fresh in my memory how I got scolded because of singing along to the tune I played on the CD player. I have always tried to maintain that it wouldn't affect my driving, but for years it was to no avail. And on the other hand, they have always asked me to talk to them when we were driving a long -haul journey on the highway.

So see, I have got a point to back my claim now.. :P Let's join the music club!

1. Kama Sutra refers to the mnemonics which summarises the initial of every substrate involved in the Kreb's Cycle (also called Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle or Citric Acid Cycle). The mnemonics is as follows: A Course In Kama Sutra Should Further My Orgasm which stands for "Acetyl CoA, Citrate, Isocitrate, α-Ketoglutarate, Succinyl CoA, Succinate, Fumarate, Malate, Oxaloacetate".


Monday, July 25, 2005

Sydney Pictures Uploaded

Hello, I am back from Sydney! Long ago, of course.. :D

The new semester has started, and for an unknown reason, I have found myself very motivated in the face of "biochemical" challenges. Glycolysis, Kreb Cycle, come larr! I not scared...

Having descriped my newfound, undescribable vigour, it is also within the reasonable context that I am relatively busy. Dinner at friend's house again, arranging parents' trip to Melbourne..

OUH YA! Parents' trip! My parents will be visiting me from September 15th to 29th! My sisters may be coming too, but they haven't confirmed. Siok... I miss my mum's cooking so much, and I can't wait to see them and learn some new dishes from her too! Haven't seen dad for along time too... hope that he would still be the same, or better, look younger. :D

The other major task I was up to, was to upload my pictures taken in Sydney. Please go to my photo album for the latest pictures. If I were to summarize my trip in Sydney, the only word I could think of is - wonderful. It is not an exaggeration to say that the 400-dollar trip was the best trip I have ever had. Compared to the others I have had, maybe it was the freedom of making own decision that has amplified the joy of this trip. I like it, and for a long time to come the trip will be embedded in my mind.

That's all for today. Back to Kreb cycle then. Mum, I am motivated!


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Sydney, Here I Come!

Yahoooo!! Opera house, flea market, Sydney U, UNSW, I will be there!!

I am going to Sydney with Omega and Eng Kiat and will stay there from 6 to 12 July. So here is my short post before I leave Melbourne for one week. Hopefully it will turn out to be a memorable journey!


Monday, July 04, 2005

Antipyretic Drug

First of all, an etymology of the vocabulary:

Reducing or tending to reduce fever.

anti [Greek, from anti, opposite]
pyretic [New Latin pyreticus, from Greek puretos, fever, from pr, fire]

Okay okay... that was the only technical stuff. Here goes the real story. Yesterday night one of my friends' friend blushed out of a sudden, without a single sign of fever, light-headedness, dizziness, fatigue and illness. Her red turned flaming red and the sign persisted for a few hours without abating. From the first glance she seemed like having a fever, but no, contrary to the common symptom, she felt hot instead of cold.

There started an "intellectual discourse" among a few pharmacy students about whether to prescribe some antipyretic drug such as Panadol. As a first year medical student, the sense of helplessness suddenly overwhelmed me as I could hardly make out a sense of the name of drugs they were discussing about. Yeah, you are right, the only names I recognized were the two I am mentioning here: Panadol and antipyretic.

What's the relationship between Panadol and antipyretic drug then?

Panadol is a kind of anti-pyretic drug. (duhh... ) After their discussion, they kind of had a conclusion, i.e. not to give her antipyretic drug. Why neh? For the fundamental reason, we have to go back to the very mechanism of antipyretic drug then. Through the mist of their discussion, I was totally disorientated except for the fact that nobody really knows how antipyretic drug works. So I thought, okay, chance for me to learn something online...

So I came home and did some online research after helping my roommate with some grand projects. Wikipedia came to help here - I went through a few articles of paracetamol and discovered some surprising facts - biochemists don't really know how paracetamol works!! In fact, paracetamol was found accidentally from another drug and in the urine of a patient who has taken another drug. Today, the latest research result only "suspected that paracetamol has a similar mechanism of action to aspirin because of the similarity in structure". "Its exact mechanism of action is still poorly understood, but future research may provide further insight into how it works."

Hmmph... Although paracetamol is one of the most popular over-the-counter drugs in this world, imagine that we don't really know how it works. But yet, whenever we are feeling headache, having a high fever, we take it without giving a second thought!

In March 2004, I contracted measles and had high fevers for more than a week. In that particular week, I consumed more than 100 tablets of paracetamol just to keep the temperature under control. Today I am breathing without any problems, oh yea, except the occasional cough and some phlegms; but who in the world could tell me what other hidden havoc this little cutie might have wrought inside me?

Maybe I won't live until 82, then.


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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Not Dying So Soon...

Having talked about MSG, I took the fear out of me since I have decided to eat a bit less Indo-mee everyday, hence a longer life to live... To confirm my extended life span, I decided to take the death test. You see, I am not going to die so soon...

I am going to die at 82. When are you? Click here to find out!


Discovery of the Year

Today I had the biggest discovery of my life: I have found the real culprit to all my unknown allergies! You know, those red rashes all over my body after taking a shower, the itchy scalp while eating spicy stuff / after eating too much junk food or instant noodles / smelling something spicy / unknown reason. I have been so troubled all the while, sometimes I wish I could scratch my whole head off when it happens.

And today, I went to Melbourne Chinatown to savour a dish of pork chop rice in the famous soup noodle restaurant. It was absolutely delicious, better than all the pork I have been cooking myself in 4 months, and sure enough I ate to the utmost satisfaction of my stomach. And wonderfully, I didn't have any allergic reaction while I was eating it... then that stupid thing struck: a few moments later, I started feeling that the T-shirt I am wearing is a bit prickly somewhere, over my abdomen, my chest and my legs. Wah wah wahh... unbearable, truly I hate it when it comes...

Then, there it comes the light bulb, the stroke of genius: It's the MSG !! All this while I have been relating the itchy scalp to MSG, as the symptoms always coincided with the time I consume Indo-mee most intensely. However, never has it dawned upon me that it's also related to the red rashes and my random prickly feelings. Now I know it's MSG, or otherwise known as E631 in most Australian packaging...

I guess I have to seriously consider avoiding MSG in my daily diets. Doritos, Smiths Chip, daily cooking, eating out... and especially Indo-mee... how could I live well? Should I live on with the allergies or should I choose to live more healthily at the expense of good food? Arrgghh.... I hate you MSG!!

Anyway, two hours ago, I just had two packets of Indo-mee.