Thursday, June 29, 2006

I Can See My House!

I guess almost everyone who has used Internet long enough would have known the existence of Google Earth, and its sister project, Google Maps.

Basically, these two are the whole-earth satellite images that are free for public access. Last year, I enthusiastically tried it out in my Melbourne apartment and "visited" a few places such as Melbourne, University of Cambridge, University of Surabaya, University of Michigan and most important of all, my home.

For the first few maps, the map resolution (the clearness of the fine details) are superb - I can see every single car and house clearly. But for my home in Alor Star, I was utterly disappointed. Despite my very best effort, all I saw was a fine water line which I recognized as Sungai Kedah, and a glob of indiscrete houses which I barely recognized as "housing areas". And I couldn't even estimate where my house was, not to mention to pinpoint where it is.

I gave it up since then, and I thought probably Alor Star just wasn't a city important enough to feature a high-resolution map.

Today, however, Michelle amazed me with her post about her hometown. I thought, eih, Michelle came from Kuching right, how come she can see so many high-resolution pictures one? To quench my curiosity, I decided to have a look on the Google Map, to see what's happening to Kuching map and Alor Star map.

I couldn't contain my excitement when I saw it. I could see it - *my house and *my school! Yes, it is shown with amazing details, and for the first time I realized that the roof of my house is U-shaped! *Yee Pin, I can see your house too! *Winson! The biggest surprise - the *St. John Garden in my school!! I have yet to find other's house like Xuan Ni's yet, KL is too complicated for to search... :P

Haha, thanks Google Maps, you made my day!

*Note: In the links, the said structure is in the middle of the map.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Post-Exam Rambling 2

I was absorbed with other stuff, and this topic is kinda stale now with the exam result coming out yesterday. However, to finish my record, I will just finish my purposeless rambling. :)

Note: This is merely a record for the uninspiring albeit memory-stimulating exams I had. If you have the least of interest in my studies, perhaps you shall stop at this point for the time being, and consider some other blogs, news or online articles. :) My blogroll and linkroll on the left might interest you.

8 June 2006 - CRL Paper 1
After all the shell shock for the paper 2 on Monday, the paper 1 came surprisingly as an easier paper for me.

CRL paper 2 is a 3-hour paper, where we have 3 PBL-based questions and 9 short answer questions. In the PBL we are given a scenario, say a patient who present in the emergency department with shortness of breath and blue lips. We are then asked clinically relevant questions such as history questions to ask the patient, clinical tests that we should perform, possible mechanisms underlying the signs and symptoms etc. On the other hand, for the short answer questions, we are allocated approximately 10 minutes each for a written response to a question, e.g. "Describe the organs and enzymes involved in the conversion of Vitamin D to its active form."

Overall, I think that this paper is answerable. For the short answer questions, for most parts I feel that I have been a bit lucky in my last-minute preparation. I can still remember how I was studying lung defense before I went to bed the day before, and there I was elated at the sight of a lung defense question. However, there are some questions which was doomed anyhow... Like the Vitamin D question I mentioned above, there was simply no way I could have memorised the enzyme involved in the conversion. Even if I were given 3-week Swot Vacation, I would still have flunked in that question.

Also, the university kind of regained our respect by setting fresh questions rather than copying the past-year questions. Last semester, I can still remember how I was happy but upset at the same time, when I saw 5 out of 6 questions coming from the past years. That was when I I nicknamed PBL as Past-year Based Learning and sent my complaint to the department (without a written reply, anyway). But this year, I am happy because they department is finally set to actually test the stuff up our sleeves. I may get a lower mark, but at least this is fair and square.

13 June 2006 - CRL Practical Exam
Having one of the most benign names among our papers, this paper is so much more malignant than its innocuous look.

Well, as the name goes, this paper is indeed testing us about the practicals. There are 48 multiple-choice questions in total, and 4 questions would be attributed to a particular practical that we had done in the past. The subjects of the practicals include histology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and physics.

In the past, practical exam was kinda a killer subject for me. There are questions which appear out of no where, and sometimes you look at the questions and wonder - "What?! Did they ever explain this in the practical at all?" Eerrm, well, perhaps it just shows how much attention when we were given the post-practical explanation everytime. But you just can't blame me, who don't empathize the agony of going through an indecipherable rambling after a long practical session on a Friday afternoon? :D

However, this time around, the practical exam is alright. Most of the questions are answerable, and for this exam I feel that there are less "I-have-no-idea-at-all" questions, which is good. When everything was over, I remember I heaved a huge sigh of relief... Although I still didn't figure out what in the world those histology slides were showing. :P

The result was out yesterday morning. I was lucky to have scored H1 in both subjects (CRL and HP). I thank everyone who has given me academic and emotional support throughout the semester, my family, my housemate and most importantly, my special one. You won't realize how much strength I derived from you. I give you my heartfelt thanks.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tag (not so) Fun...

I know this blog is getting boring, even the red dot is a bit of stale joke after 2 minutes. =P Then I remembered, I haven't replied to Jiun Wuu's tag, and therefore here it is, the tag fun version 3!

4 jobs I would stink at:
1. Promoter (I can't imagine people come asking me what textile this or that shirt is made of)
2. Waiter (You have to see how clumsy I am)
3. Home Delivery (Haha, I would be sacked in no time, for my good procrastination skill)
4. Highway Toll Cashier (Arrgh, I can't stand being enclosed in a 3-square-foot cubicle for the whole day, with an additional stake of some molestor's hand... :P)

4 nicknames I'm making up for myself:
1. Mek Mek (Primary school I think... n. Chinese "goat")
2. You Char Goi (Primary school... n. Hokkien "Paired dumpling", homophone of "you")
3. Can't think of any more... (haha, got but is private and confidential...)

4 movies I can watch over&over:
1. The Matrix (Very philosophical and visually appealing)
2. The Green Mile (Actually just watched it 9 hours ago, but it's so touching I think I will come back to it in the future)
3. A Beautiful Mind (I like to watch this kind of profound movie... Depressing yet uplifting at the same time)
4. The Sound of Music (It's so nice!!)

4 things I love to do on weekends:
1. Sleep
2. Pak Tor.. :P
3. Surf online, participate in forum.
4. Listen to songs!

4 alcoholic baverages I enjoy from time to time:
1. No, I seldom drink. I get rashes all over my body.. :(

4 fantastic destination I would like to go before I pass out:
1. Chile
2. Hawaii
3. Paris
4. New York City

4 celebrities I would go on a Big Date with:
1. Eer, due to the sensitive nature of this question, can I skip it? :P

4 objects I could not live without:
1. Computer
2. Digital camera (not as much as computer, but recently rekindled interest)
3. My PDA
4. Mozilla Firefox!!

4 gadgets I do not have which I would quite like to have:
1. Car
2. Digital SLR Camera
3. A surround speaker system in a sound-proof room!
4. iPod would be good, but not necessary.

4 wannable friends tagged:
Not now... Scared already!

Conclusion: Aiks, I realized that I am such a geek, almost everything I mentioned in each category has got something to do with computer and technology... :P


Wednesday, June 21, 2006


One of the best, stupidest prank I have ever seen! :D


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Great Goal from World Cup

Argentina won against Serbia yesterday 6 - 0. Shown above is the second goal by Cambiasso - one of the best team work I have ever seen! :) I am an England fan, but to be honest they are just a class above what we have seen from England team so far...


Post-Exam Rambling

Just realized one thing I haven't mentioned here - my exams are over!! :D As I said earlier, this exam was kinda shocking when we had our first paper.. I know it wouldn't concern most people, but I would just jot down some notes for record.

Note: This is merely a record for the uninspiring albeit memory-stimulating exams I had. If you have the least of interest in my studies, perhaps you shall stop at this point for the time being, and consider some other blogs, news or online articles. :) My blogroll and linkroll on the left might interest you.

5 June 2006 - CRL Paper 2
[Image]If I were to sum this paper with one word, it would be a "nightmare".

In this paper, basically we are given 100 multiple-choice questions in a duration of 2 hours. Well, some might think that MCQ is nothing, but I can assure you, it is something. In fact, at the end of the paper, most of us came out of the exam hall feeling dazed all over. We could had had a fever for having overworked our tiny brains, regurgitating more facts than it would like to hold.

The fact is, the multiple choice questions are not at all easy to answer. There are some questions which rely entirely on good memories, which unfortunately isn't my forte. It's not that I can't memorise at all, I used to memorise stuff too (duh..) when I was in primary school, with quite some "accomplished" skill. The thing is just that, as I grew to be more fond of concepts than details, I always have this kind of reluctance to rote memorise things which are simply meant to be memorised. It's like, who would have thought that phrenic nerve supplies the centre part of diaphragm and mediastinal pleura, instead of centre part and peripheral part of diaphragm, if not because of memory? (I got this question right by luck, anyway...)

Apart from the memory works, the conceptual questions aren't close to a breeze. Given that we have approximately 72 seconds for each question, it is not hard to appreciate the fact that we have less than ample time to analyze each question carefully and thoughtfully, let alone recheck the answers when we are done. By the way, those questions are not exactly tricky, but they are just hard to answer... There are some vague uncertainties where lecture notes (which I rely solely upon) are insufficient, and will only be obvious to people who have garnered clinical experience.

Just an example... Everyone knows it off the top of their heads that "an FER > 80 indicates restrictive lung disease, normal people's FER is around 80, while FER < 80 indicates obstructive lung disease". But there is this question which gives us an FER of 75 - how can one know for sure, whether this indicates "slight" obstructive lung disease, or a normal lung?! I would like to think that if you haven't read enough Kumar and Clark or worked for some time in a hospital, you wouldn't have much idea.

To sum it up, the MCQ paper is hard, really hard. I would be lucky to be able to score even 70 out of 100. But I will never know, anyway, because it is a closed paper and we will not be able to know our exact scores for this component.

6 June 2006 - ICM OSCE Interview
I guess anyone who knows me well enough would know that ICM interview is one of my most feared subjects in medicine.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine, or ICM for short, is a beginner's crash course to becoming a doctor. It actually endeavours to teach us to be a good communicator... Haha, well, I can't see much point - if you are not empathic, you won't turn into an empathic person by just reading the marking scheme which allocates a mark or two for being empathic. But I guess this kind of "empathic is important" preaching has to be done anyway, lest there will be more and more mean doctors.

Besides learning to be a good communicator, ICM's main point is to teach us what doctors do and why they do what they do (I know I am rambling incoherently know, but it's 2am now so paiseh larr.. :P). During our biweekly ICM lessons, we learn to inspect patient's hearts and lungs, circulation system etc, in addition to interviewing our patients about a medical condition (which in our semester is focused on heart and lung problems).

Alright, back to the ICM OSCE interview.. Basically in this day 2 of the exam, we had an interview with a simulated patient (a fancy word which means the same as actor / actress) for 9 minutes, and we are marked based on our performance in that short duration. In this 9 minutes, we are supposed to know our patients' every slightest detail - from how often he / she has the chest pain to how she is going with his / her family members. Miss one detail? Points deducted!

* Browser hanged, 3 precious paragraphs lost.. Grrhh... :P

Basically, I was saying that ICM is prone to subjectivity and bias since it depends on so many external factors. Good acting skill is of utmost importance, in addition to the basic communication skill. Luck is crucial. Besides, empathy should be feigned with finesse, and checklist approach employed under the disguise of non-checklist questioning style. Talking about checklist approach, I still don't get it today - we have been told since day-1 that "checklist approach should not be used", but how many of us actually got through the interview without having a mental checklist of all the keypoints we ought to find out from the patient?

Anyway, after all the apprehension and nerves, the actual ICM interview turned out to be alright. I would not say I performed very well, since there are so many weaknesses I could nitpick now in retrospection. However, with regard to my actual communication skill, I must say that I have done my best, and I shall leave it to the examiner to judge how much I deserved.

7 June 2006 - HP3 Exam
HP3 is supposed to be fascinating, if not because of some rotten eggs. Well, talk about the exams first, I will leave the rotten eggs to another blog post.

Health Practice is supposed to be an intellectually stimulating subject, since it enlightens us about the way population health policy operates - the principle is like: if you dedicate your time in saving one patient at a time, the most you can do is to save one patient's life. However, if you spend effort in promoting public health, say, about quitting smoking, you can actually save more people's lives with less cost. That, is the principle of public health we were learning all along.

In this semester, we had some sorts of lectures about epidemiology (which was dodgy) which is supposed to be about learning how statistics is employed in medical context, e.g. risks, prognosis, diagnosis etc. We also learnt to read academic papers from journals, and to "appraise" (which is a fancy word for "evaluate") the papers.

Eerm, I shall stop giving summaries and remarks about all our courses, if not I will not end my article at all... :P I am getting sleepy now, and it's time to get some sleep... Just a final note, for the HP exam, it's alright actually, not as hard as I had imagined beforehand. Apart from a few inevitable (yet lame) memorisation questions, most of the questions are answerable.

(... to be continued)


Friday, June 16, 2006

Tag Fun (Again?!)

Thanks to See Hua, I have to do this tagging thing again, and this task is even more difficult than the last one, owing to its abstract nature.. :P

Okay, before I continue, I shall proclaim that I will not tag others this time, since I don't want another boomerang. This tagging thing gets quite sick and un-entertaining after some time.

Here goes: 10 things that make happy everyday...

1. Being able to live with people whom I treasure and who treasure me.
2. Waking up to realize that I am still living and doing something meaningful.
3. Realizing that there are people who think of me at this very moment.
4. Knowing there are so many exciting things out there, for me to discover.
5. Talk to friends, really good friends.
6. Learning new things, both online and from books!
7. Knowing that there will always be justice one day.
8. Listening to music and singing along.
9. Being free yet occupied.
10. Eat.

I am pretty happy huh? :D


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

World Cup - Australia

It's 1am now, and the cars on Lygon Street are blaring their honk like nobody's business - because Australia has just snatched their first ever World Cup win in history, what more by staging a come back from 0 - 1 to 3 - 1 in the last 10 minutes. I guess Japan has not yet realised that they have lost their game at the final whistle.

But then, siao ehh... to the drivers outside, you all gila ke? I got prac exam tomorrow leh, can you guys stop honking? :@


Friday, June 09, 2006

Tag Fun (?)

Thanks Joanne the bimbo!

Instruction: Name 20 people you can think of at the top of your head. Don't read the questions before you write, and tag 5 people to do the survey.

1. Xuan Ni
2. Yong Chin
3. Yee Pin
4. Winson
5. Alvin
6. Eric
7. Ren Jie
8. Ka Lip
9. iQing
10. Dr. Heather Rowe
11. Chong Chyn
12. See Hua
13. Boon Phiaw
14. Wee Loon
15. Li Enn
16. Heng Liang
17. Jiun Wuu
18. Michelle
19. Hui Bing
20. Freda

Tag 5 other people:
Boon Phiaw, Yee Pin, Winson, Eric, Chong Chyn

Note: This list is by no means an order of "importance", "relevance" or "closeness", and I purposely left out my family members as they would have taken up half the list... =P (I am the youngest of 7 siblings) It's just the order of names that popped out as I was writing.

1. How did you meet #14?
Eerm, he changed from Sam Tet to Keat Hwa in Form 5. I can still remember how he came into our form 5 classroom on one of the days, looking rather dazed and shy.. (which he is not.. :P)

2. What would you do if you had never met #1?
Haha, I saw this question coming. I would have been entirely different, and may have lost a lot of impetus in my life..

3. What would you do if #20 and #9 dated?
Oh Ooohh... I am gonna tell her boyfriend, who's living under the same roof with me now.. :D

4. Would #6 and #17 make a good couple?
Lol, I am not sure whether they will accept same-sex relationship.

5. Describe #3.
My soulmate who has been forced to become a bookworm since he started doing Law in Cambridge. =D Has been growing more handsome day by day.

6. Do you think #8 is attractive?
Ka Lip, YES of course!

7. Tell me something about #7.
He is sentimental, can cry in the library... :P A very very nice guy, even if you are a bully you will feel guilty of bullying him.

8. Do you know anything about #12's family?
Eerm, according to his own description, his mum was kinda strict in his studies last time... Kena rotan for the errors he made. I don't know much about other aspects.

9. What is #8's favourite?
Eerm, have fun with friends?

10. What would you do if #11 confesses that he/she likes you?
AHHHHH!!!!! Run!!!! :P Just kidding.. haha

11. What language does #15 speak?
English, Malay, Chinese, Hokkien, Cantonese...

12. Who is #9 going out with?
Eermm... Don't know. His girlfriend?

13. How old is #16 now?
Just turned 21!

14. When was athe last time you talked to #13?
Eerm, two days ago? Not so sure.

15. Who's #2's favourite singer?
"Don't know lehh... 周杰伦啦周杰伦啦!" Said #2.

16. Would you date #4?
That would be wrong. Wrong chromosome.

17. Would you date #7?
Oh yes, he's so kind!! hahahaha....

18. Is #15 single?
Eerm, not sure lehh...

19. What's #10's last name?

20. Would you ever consider being in a relationship with #19?
HELL NO!! Xuan Ni lives with her lehh... haha...

21. What school did #3 go to?
Superkid Kindergarten, SRJK (C) Keat Hwa (H), SMJK Keat Hwa, Sunway College, University of Cambridge, UK.

22. Where does #6 live?
Currently in Michigan, US, but back in Malaysia lived in Taman Aman, Anak Bukit, Alor Star.

23. What's your favourite thing about #5?
Bak kua advertisement, Jolin Tsai newest MV, Lord of the Ring remake!!

24. What do you think of #13?
Narcissistic smart guy. :D

25. What do #4 and #19 have in common?
They are both into English songs.

26. What special qualities does #17 hold in your life?
He taught me how to behave nicely.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Three Down...

... two to go.

The previous three papers were quite hard, but I guess it's the standard we should expect from a university called University of Melbourne... Most of the people complaint that it's hard, but I guess many who complaint themselves are the same people who get the best scores later.

I was waiting for my Tom Yum when I found out that someone linked to my site. I followed the link, and realized that it's pointed to a touching article I put up in my blog one year ago.

I read it again, and after one year, I am still thoroughly touched. Perhaps even more, after the churning exams. Probably I will have a bit more strength to go through my PBL tonight. :) And if you are free, I would recommend everyone to read it - it's worth your time.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Put Down Your Pen or Pencil!

Some schools or universities have a penchant for wronging people for writing a few more words after the bell in the exam. Perhaps it is the invigilators' pastime to give people a little scare, after being so bored after suffering a few hours of hushing and cramping legs. But see, do you think it is right to penalize a student, just because he or she writes an additional line after the bell?

In my university, the invigilators are not particularly strict about the put-down-the-pen thingy. What they do is, when the time is up, there will be a public announcement through the speaker, saying some indecipherable words (due to the low volume and the reverberation around Royal Exhibition Building), which I think should be "put down your pen" or something like that. However, you can always continue until the invigilator comes near you and give you some "gentle" warning. However, it's not all that sweet and fun - the last time when it was the reading time (the 15-minute no-writing time before the actual test), I got scolded rather crudely by one of the invigilators for writing my student ID on the paper. Sheesh..

However, things are not the same in different universities. Recently, Yee Pin has just shared his experience about you-should-stop-writing in Cambridge, UK:

Exam in cambridge is a different experience. the invigilators are not as strict as those in malaysia. if u continue writing after they said 'put down ur pen', they would walk slowly to u to tell u that 'u arent supposed to write anymore' instead of screaming at u 'saya kata LETAKKAN PEN PENSIL' (sounds like form 3 math teacher mak leong :P).
He also told some stories about some stricter / madder schools:
In singapore Hua Chong, they would jz put a big cross on ur paper if u continue writing. so scary.....might as well dun sit for the exam....(siao eh, sit also get 0, dun sit also get 0, might as well go back n sleep.....)
As for universities in Singapore, Winson gave his two cents as well:
Hmm, in singapore, right after the exam, the invigilator will ALWAYS read the following sentence until it sort of imbibed in me already. Here goes: "Any student found writing from now on is considered to have cheated and his or her name will be taken down for disciplinary actions which will result in his or her repulsion from the university.." Ewwhh, scary huh? And indeed, i have encountered one student being literally shouted at by a female invigilator and then stared at for a long time when then the student was found writing after the time limit. :) Well, i always wrote even after the time was up but then i guess i was a bit lucky. we will see whether " Up mountain many times will see tiger" holds true or not in my case. :)
Come to talk about the strictness in enforcing "put down your pen", I always think it's kinda harsh and ironic. If you really want to make sure everyone has the equal amount of time for their papers, you should also have allowed more time for those who had to answer the nature's call halfway through exam - or if one has a diarrhoea... I am sure everyone has the memory of having a sudden urge but were forced to battle the urge, for the fear that there would not be enough time left for the paper...

It is such an irony. If you don't take into account the few minutes lost on the journey to and from the washroom, I don't see the point of picking on a few seconds and give people a big cross for that - people don't choose to go to toilet, they are forced to. Before they give back the few minutes lost to the toilet-visitor, I seriously think that they should not fuss over the few seconds, which may only mean writing the last 2 lines.



Sometimes we tend to forget that exams are meant to test what we really understand, not what we have just studied in the last 7 days before exams - or what we have just gorged ourselves in the last hour.

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, we are studying hard now to save people's lives in the future / build a better building / uphold justice / be better in whatever we choose to do in the future - not to get a high distinction / pass.

Sometimes we are so worried over a paper, when it doesn't really affect who we are.

Sometimes, we have to tell ourselves that we are always blinded by what we do.


Sometimes I should remind myself to go to sleep too. Good luck everyone! :)

p/s: My exam is on today (5th), 6, 7, 8 and 13 of July. It's a crazy timetable.