Thursday, March 30, 2006

Assignment Again...

I don't like assignments, really... Either there is too much stuff left unwritten, or I have exceeded the word limit when there are 2 questions to go.

That's why blog is a better place to write - there is never a fixed topic, a minimum or maximum word limit, logical connectors, paragraphing or grammatical correctness.

Good luck to me, in finding time for writing one more section, trimming the lengthy paragraphs and finding places to put in the citations.

I might be just a random variation due to sampling error.

Good night.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Trivia about Me

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Chang Yang!

  1. The average human spends about 30 days during their life in Chang Yang!
  2. American Airlines saved forty thousand dollars a year by eliminating Chang Yang from each salad served in first class!
  3. Chang Yang can smell some things up to six miles away.
  4. While performing her duties as queen, Cleopatra sometimes dressed up as Chang Yang.
  5. Marie Antoinette never said 'let them eat cake' - this is a mistranslation of 'let them eat Chang Yang'.
  6. Long ago, the people of Nicaragua believed that if they threw Chang Yang into a volcano it would stop erupting.
  7. Devoid of his cells and proteins, Chang Yang has the same chemical makeup as sea water.
  8. There are now more than 4000 satellites orbiting Chang Yang.
  9. Baskin Robbins once made Chang Yang flavoured ice cream.
  10. Forty percent of the world's almonds and twenty percent of the world's peanuts are used in the manufacture of Chang Yang.
I am interested in - do tell me about


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Patriotism and Unity in Melbourne

Yesterday evening, while Xuan Ni and I were walking back to College Square, we met a few Malay juniors who were heading to the city. The young, exuberant lads were clad in Malaysian flags and equipped with DIY "Malaysia Boleh" banners. I regret that I missed the chance to capture their striking outfit which some may think as incoherent with the Melbourne backdrop, but they exuded pride in their cause - they were off to support the Malaysia team playing for Gold in the Commonwealth Games Badminton mixed team event.

I attended the semi-final the day before, and the atmosphere was simply rapturous and overwhelming. The Malaysian supporters contingent, although relatively small in number, made a prominent vocal presence in the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. We were sure that we have taught the Melburnian the Malaysian vocabulary. Although I didn't join the Malaysian supporters this time, I am sure they would have cheered even harder and louder for our team - they won the England team 3 - 1.

I can't help but to wonder how patriotism and unity is playing in the air when you least know it. The Malaysian Badminton team consisted of only Malaysian Chinese. On the way home, I was thinking how good it would be if we share the same spirit on every arena in Malaysia. I dream that one day, our fellow countrymen are judged by the merit of your qualification but not kulit-fication. I dream that one day we don't have to bicker over oranges and apples when everyone knows the exact difference between them. I dream that one day, we share the pride of our achievements regardless of skin colours. I dream that one day, we no longer wonder why only 2.3% scored A1 in SPM Chinese paper when more than 10% can score A1 in many other subjects. I dream that one day, unity and patriotism transcends the realm of political rhetorics and SPM writings, to our every breath and step. I dream.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

What Will You Do?

Sorry for being missing in action for the last few weeks. The course is driving me crazy, and the cough I am having now is virtually bringing my lungs out. What an irony that while we are studying respiratory diseases now, half of the lecture hall are coughing away spraying their germs like perfume aerosols.

Yesterday I had my weekly PBL in the morning, and something that happened disturbed me badly. Just a scenario for everyone to consider:

Say you are a practising family doctor now, and your former coursemate is practising in a suburb nearby. One day the former coursemate ringed you up and asked for your opinion regarding a sign of his patient which he's unable to diagnose. You studied like a nerd back in med school, so you have a clear idea of what the sign means.

The question is - Will you give him the answer?
Now maybe some are going to say, "Of course not! He's unable to give the diagnosis, now if he's going to lose his customer/patient, so be it!" But if we give it a second thought, why did you become a doctor, in the first place?

A slightly similar scenario happened yesterday. Just so that everyone knows what I am talking about, I would just introduce Problem Based Learning briefly. Problem Based Learning is one of our course modules in which medical students are divided into small groups of 10, in which medical cases are discussed on every Monday and Friday. On Monday every group is given a case which is the same for everyone. On that day, we will go on with our routine of making hypotheses, constructing mechanism, suggesting types of medical examination and identifying learning issues. After Monday, everyone goes home and does their own research regarding the learning issues. On Friday, we will present our learning issues and bring the case to a closure. Oh ya, the most important thing about the PBL: we are marked according to our participation, presentation, knowledge, teamwork etc, and the marks count towards the final semester result. The PBL cases will also be incorporated into our final exams.

Eeerm, oh ya, to make the whole incident clear, I have to talk about another not-so-intuitive term first - TopClass. Topclass is basically an online forum in which we get our weekly lecture notes, have discussions online and post our PBL discussion notes every week. The PBL discussion notes, in this case, is available for access to everyone including people from other groups.

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A screenshot of TopClass.
So what happens is, at the end of the PBL, some people would visit every group and leech off the best mechanism notes and especially constructed mechanisms.

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A screenshot of PBL mechanism.

Eerm, so I have rambled for too long, let me get into the point. So it was on Friday that we had our learning issues presentation and everyone was trying their best to get the better of others' ass. Humiliation is not a virtue in PBL, impression and flamboyance is. There came a time when a group member rose and presented her meticulous mechanism on the whiteboard. It's basically about the neurological control of respiration with those never-heard-before words like Lower Pontine Reticular Formation, Nuclues of Tractus Solitarius, Pneumotaxic centre etc, and they were covered in our lecture just the day before the PBL. So she went on and constructed her own mechanism from the disorganized lecture notes and presented it impressively.

I admit that I had been impressed by her performance until the moment of truth - she went back to her seat and said, "Eeerm, can we keep this mechanism among ourselves? Don't post it on TopClass because others can leech it."


What's the rationale of keeping good things to ourselves when the point of PBL itself is to share? What is knowledge without sharing? We aren't even comparing among PBL groups, the notes are just for personal reference. I understand that you might have spent hours in constructing this mechanism, but for goodness' sake, do you lose anything by sharing with others? Has our malignant kiasuism deteriorated to such a state that we disadvantage others to our own advantage?

Now those are the same people who told everyone that they wanted to be a doctor to save life. Oh yeahh, oh yeahh.... Save your patients' lives, don't care about the others' patients, ya?