Left wing/Right wing

Elections always pique my interest in why some people hate certain people. And more importantly remind me that the other parties exist. And then there’ll be some googling about the person’s past and amusingly/frustratingly, painted in different lights.

To be honest, I have been confused about what left wing/right wing refers to. Why some articles say PAP is left, some say right? I never understood what legislative council is too. Or how is that different from parliamentary system. Or am I actually comparing oranges to apples? The list of unknowns is infinite.

Either I failed history back then, or my memory failed me, or my pre-JC social studies/history lessons have failed me. Some lines from National Day stuck with me but they were more like patriotism lines to recite and not so much details in the change of tides in terms of politics. “There was a time not long ago… xxx… they spoke a dozen different tongues, though their dreams were all the same.” Insert some chanting thereafter. Ok la, fair enough, I didn’t go read up by myself too. So here I am reading up for lost time and lost knowledge.

Sometimes I dare not believe what I read on the internet regarding historical issues because… well, you know how skewed things can be. But that is the most abundant and easily accessible source at Wifi’s reach (yeah the library is around too, I know). And it’s quite interesting how people get so agitated on forums because they think the information passed down is biased… and then I wonder if they could be the biased ones too.

Anyway, I digressed. Here’s a quick history powerbank for Singapore history, picked up from Wikipedia (LOL lousy source, confirm get slammed by the history teachers). Will expand the relevant events sometime later I suppose.

Ancient Singapore (before 1819):

TLDR: We’ve always been a trading post and were vulnerable to pirates, had many names over the centuries, the “Sang Nila Utama and the ‘lion'” story, different empires fought for the island, Portugese raiders made us obscure till Sir Stamford Raffles dropped by.

  • The island was controlled by different kingdoms in SEA so it had many different names. We were also long identified as a trading port.
  • The first written records date to the 2nd century. The Greco-Roman astronomer Ptolemy marked the island as Sabana on his map. I’m actually already quite amazed that we had connections with a Roman dude so far back.
  • A written record in the 3rd century described the island as Pu Luo Zhong (蒲羅中), which was likely a direct translation from Pulau Ujong, which meant “island at the end”.
  • Sometime later in the 13th century, Sang Nila Utama (prince of the Srivijaya empire ie. Indonesia a very long time ago) survived a shipwreck and ended up on the island. He saw a lion and believe it was an auspicious sign, hence he named the island Singapura (Lion city in Sanskrit). This was documented in the Malay Annals. There is also controversy about whether he really saw a lion cos of the ecology of the island, but I really don’t care about that haha.
  • Ok, just a quickie about the different names. Also in the 13th century, there were records from the Mongols about this place called Long Ya Men (龍牙門), where they were supposed to obtain elephants. Wow we had elephants… not sure if they were for trading or wild ones. A Chinese traveller Wang Dayuan described the island as Dan Ma Xi (淡馬錫), a direct translation from Tamasek in Malay. This Javanese poem referred to the island as Temasek in the 1600s. Long story short, the whole Strait of Malacca was important for trade between China and India, some European countries too, but it was also very vulnerable to piracy then.
  • Anyway, there are a few variations after Sang Nila Utama. In short, the Srivijaya empire eventually declined and the island was alternately claimed by Majapahit (also Indonesia a very long time ago) and the Siamese (uh Thailand). Err then I got confused about the Sultanate of Malacca and Sultanate of Johor part. Ok honestly don’t know what happened there and then, but the island continued to function as a port somehow.
  • Suddenly fast forward to 1511, Portugese raiders burned the settlement (we had things to raid??). Then we became obscure all the way till 1819 where Sir Stamford Raffles appeared.

Founding of Singapore, early growth and British colonization:

TLDR: The Dutch had the most power in the Malay archipelago and the British wanted to establish more power in the area for more economic returns. Raffles effectively bought the island over and it flourished. Sidekicks include William Farquhar, the Temenggong, the Sultan(s) of Johor. More people and economic growth but more social issues. Poor defence in general.

  • Prior the Raffles’ appearance, between the 16th and 19th centuries, the Malay archipelago was slowly taken over by the European colonial powers ie. the Portugese, the Dutch, the British etc. The Dutch were the dominant power in the area.
  • In 1818, Raffles was the Lieutenant Governer of the British colony in Bencoolen (this area in present day Indonesia). He wanted the British to replace the Dutch as the dominant power because the trade route between China and British India was there and growing in importance as the opium trade rose, the Dutch didn’t allow the British from operating in the Dutch-controlled ports or imposed unfavourable prices for the exceptions.
  • British ports there were not good enough geographically so he set off on an expedition for a better one. He found the island, which was ruled by a Temenggong (governor) for the Sultan of Johor. The Sultan of Johor was controlled by the Dutch and the Bugis (Indo people), so he would never agree to a British base. But this sultan was only sultan cos his brother was away getting married when their father died and had been living in exile then. So Raffles and the Temenggong smuggled the brother back and offered to recognize him as the rightful sultan and yearly payment, in exchange for setting up a British base. A treaty was signed and modern Singapore was born.
  • Raffles left shortly after signing the treaty and put Major William Farquhar in charge. Singapore was a free port so many traders flocked to Singapore to circumvent the Dutch trading restrictions. There was generally success but when Raffles returned, he disapproved of some decisions Farquhar made, like sale of opium, so the latter was dismissed.
  • Second treaty was signed with the sultan and Temenggon to possess the whole island in return for lifelong monthly payments. Another governor was installed.
  • The Malay archipelago was divided between the Dutch (the north) and the British (the south), by the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1824. Singapore was grouped with Penang and Malacca into the Straits Settlements which is an administrative unit under the British East India company. The island continued to flourish with merchant houses, middle men, coolies, craftsmen and fishermen etc.
  • Social problems like housing shortage, poor health and living standards, secret societies followed with its population growth. Singapore was basically unaffected by the First World War (1914-1918) but the British did invest more in a naval base to deter the growing and ambitious Japanese empire. Sadly, got base, no fleet. And by the time the Second World War broke out, the fleet was occupied with defending Britain.

Wow ok already very long hahaha. But pretty interesting I must say. The Japanese Occupation, post-war and independence events will be continued in another post. And those events itself can be expanded into books themselves so… I shall try la hahah. That’s probably where all the intellectual debate comes in.

Note: Content was mostly ripped off from Wikipedia and I claim no ownership for that.

 

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Growing up/old

Found an old face mask in the fridge… so here I am using an expired face mask smelling like royal honey while watching a Korean crime thriller.

I really should take better care of myself. I guess being grown-up also means being about to take care of oneself… before taking care of others and taking on other responsibilities.

Plan:

  • Run tomorrow
  • Start sleeping and waking up at proper times.

On a side note, fixed some stuff at home and feeling happy that it turned out decent and secure!

We have this fengshui furniture that is supposed to bring in wealth because of crystal + running water + the right direction. I find it quite amusing cos we’re still staying in a HDB flat haha. But not complaining about that.

Anyway it’s hazardous cos it is near the powerpoint. Planted a “safety box” for it (and us). Prior to this was a flimsy plastic box… and that was preceded by a plastic bag. Hahahah how we are still alive is really, 谢天谢地.

Looking back

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This is turning into an obsession. o_o

In other news, this is my official last break for M4. Well, the rest of my electives aren’t that crazy packed so it’s fine I suppose. Chose not to go for a holiday this time although my brother and mother will be going to Seoul next week. First of all, dates don’t match la.

And also… Maybe it is because of the way I spent my holidays since young, I never had a very strong sense of wanderlust and need to getaway to feel good. I understand that it is nice to go out of Singapore. But it was never a necessity for me over the years and so it never comes as one of the first few ideas when holidays loom. It didn’t really seem like my friends travelled alot either. Many of my closer friends would spend the longer holidays in Malaysia…. for I can’t remember what reason.

I think I only started travelling alot more when I entered Uni. Thinking back, these are the few trips that I can remember –

K2/P1: Sunway Lagoon at Malaysia. This was the last overseas holiday where my whole family went?? Ok la I’m pretty sure we went to other places together before, with my late grandmother. But I have no recollection of those and it’s purely based on the photo stash. Anyway I remember taking a coach for this trip and it wasn’t a tour group thing I think because we could do everything ourselves? Then again, the whole trip was spent at the lagoon la. But it was quite fun! 🙂 I remember the wide spread of morning buffet… and me being very senseless and unable to appreciate the variety of food then… I also remember splashing around topless hahahahha because no one brought swimwear for me. And I was still a kid so it’s ok. I also remember nibbling on this rice cracker snack thing (I never knew what it’s called; it comes in many colours and is circular and flat) on the way back. That was somehow a happy memory for me.

P6: Guangzhou. It was a lot more like accompanying my parents as they do their business stuff with the factory there. I have very little recollection for this trip. I know it was post-PSLE and everyone was in school playing UNO and Murderer for that period of time. Then my parents decided it was ok to bring me out of the country since I’m just playing in school anyway. Actually not supposed to do that la it’s like self-imposed LOA hahaha but the school was not that strict on stuff like that back then. I recall being excited because it was the only long(er) haul trip I had since I started having a conscious memory. I also remember a very long period of constipation and getting a green jacket with my dad. Most of the time was spent at the factory where my parents would settle their business stuff… and I’ll fall asleep reading comics there.

Sec 3: HK-Shenzhen. I went with my parents and 2nd brother for this trip. This was with a tour group. Most memorable part HK Disneyland! I can’t remember much about the rides… but I do remember that that was where I had my first rollercoaster ride! And it was in the dark. I suppose it’s not very scary hahah but I still avoid rollercoaster rides now. But then there were also horrible fellow tourists in the tour group who fight for food that everyone is supposed to share. Then there is the usual tourist traps like TCM stores, jewellery stores, random phototaking sessions with monuments that are not so significant to us actually…

M2: Sydney with my mum and 2nd brother.

M3: Jakarta, Lombok. Taipei, Hualien.

The later 2 trips I guess I sort of blogged about before and I’m too lazy to recount them. So in short, i’m comfortable with not travelling and sometimes it just seems difficult to explain when people give me an incredulous look and tone when they realise I’m not travelling. Ya I’m not travelling la, what’s the deal?

Hahaha was trying to find photos for the previous trips and ended up looking through my old photos. I guess I was never the cute cute pretty baby girl. And I never smiled alot in photos?

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Thumb-sucking occupied a large part of my childhood I must say. How do people wean it off so easily?!?!?

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At times I can look normal. 🙂 Hahahahaha and my hair was like a helmet also… it’s quite cute.

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Then the camera man decides I need an Au Naturale shot.

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And there’s always sibling rivalry, circa 2000, since time immemorial and till infinity and beyond. I was also very annoyed that my mum made me wear something so sexy. It was bareback!!! Ok la but looking back the skirt seems really pretty. 🙂

Sunday best

I don’t know what they are singing about but I looped the song a lot when I was studying for Pros earlier this year hahah. Occasionally I still play it during the morning commute.

Anyway, you know how listening/watching other people’s love stories can make your heart swell? Yep, totally feeling that way after reading about people’s love lives on Dayre this morning. Hahahaha what a lovely Sunday morning.

On a side note, I’ve removed the remaining wisdom teeth yesterday. That included the remaining fragment from the previous surgery as well. The bleeding stopped way earlier than the previous surgery. Well, the surgery this time was also much shorter so I suppose it was simpler and less damage was done. My jaw is surprisingly more mobile and less swollen. I remember previously, on the second day, I could still barely open my mouth to eat and was mostly shoving food into my mouth instead of using all the mastication muscles. This already feels like Day 3 or 4 instead of Day 2.

I woke up early today too. 7.30am. Applause please. But actually it’s ok la considering I slept at 10.30pm yesterday. So even after doing all my random websurfing it’s not even noon time yet. 🙂 Decided it’s about time to go back and read about Neuro stuff. At a leisurely pace. I’m learning because I want to learn. Ya ya and pass exams la, but it’s electives afterall.

Korean dramas

I don’t claim to be a Korean drama fan because sometimes, I really don’t like the shows too haha. And usually when I do watch, I watch the more hyped up shows involving good looking characters and love triangle and tragic plots. I seldom look for family dramas to watch. I watch them cos Channel U shows them at the 7pm prime slots. And these are the few that I really like and would recommend!

What Happens To My Family

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Super funny show which didn’t fail to tug at my heartstrings at the same time.

Rosy Lovers

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I finished this just recently and I’m slightly ahead of what is airing locally now. It’s super drama la haha. Like the events can be true but I don’t think in real life these events will be so interlinked among 3 families. It has a fair amount of humour too. Almost episode has me automatically reaching for the ‘Next episode’ button.

15 days

(Disclaimer: I’m only representative of a sole, average at best, med student.)

Sigh.

Neuro elective has officially ended. I recall being excited on the first day and in fact a few days before the elective. I dug out my black book and printed out senior’s notes (which I didn’t back in M3 cos I relied on the softcopy). Tried to study amidst the haze and persistent cough and some other appointments. Ok sounds damn drama but in short I did try to prepare la.

We were greeted by this SR who seemed really nice. Said he’ll create a whatsapp group with us so that we can all ask any questions. Er, didn’t materialize for whatever reason. The idea of this elective was to get rid of any neuro-phobia and help us revise.

I can’t say it was a complete flop because I did learn something everyday and sometimes it could just be things in senior’s notes that I never read or committed to memory.

I guess it’s just the way the hospital is and how the culture is here. I just never really felt like I fitted in. And I haven’t felt very inspired by the everyday events. It is highly likely because most of the patients warded are stroke patients, headache patients, neuro symptoms for investigations. Alot of treatment is symptomatic or preventive. If you’re looking for a quick sense of gratification, this doesnt seem like the place. Intellectual rigor is definitely present though.

Maybe many factors played a part. Small things like waiting around for things that don’t happen or don’t matter. And eventually… any budding interest in neuro kinda died. Sadly. And I feel even more sad thinking of when I told my friend I’m interested in neuro. For whatever reason. Though on the flipside it is absolutely not wrong to feel the opposite after the elective. That friend had his interest in cardio axed when doing cardio electives haha.

I honestly think, in retrospect, that for students these days who just touch and go so many IM specialties, alot of revision is needed. It’s still puzzling to me actually, what is that thing, me or this elective really needs to make me feel confident/optimistic about neuro.

The thought of asking a question and only being told that ‘oh you can read up’, doesn’t encourage me to ask more questions, honestly. I rather you throw me another question back cos you are trying to lead me to an answer. The thought of asking for a teaching for approach to xxx and being told, ‘I used to come up with my own approach and I change it everytime it doesn’t work. I mean I can teach you mine but you have to find one that works.’… but not really teaching an approach that everyone voted for…. just… I dont know what to say.

Today I felt pressured ++ when I stumbled at this slides teaching and I couldn’t diagnose this CN 3 palsy (it was a video of the EOM). I just couldn’t register… like eh one eye looks funny. This eye also.

I don’t know if it would have been better if I did the examination myself, because i can pause at any point of the H to compose myself. So the video was replayed 3 times… and i still couldn’t see it. Answered INO, one and a half. Denggg. Denggg.

Things that did not help:
– “You’ve seen it 3 times, you still want to see it again???”
– My shaky, raspy voice from the nerves?? + pathological throat.
– The “no one should whisper the answer cos the person in the hot spot will stop thinking” rule hence the room is dead silent.

Things that helped:
– Friend who whispered the answer from behind.

Exacerbating factors thereafter:
– Being pointed out for being not good at the hot seat, not seen enough patients, should practise more…
– ‘Volunteered’ and grilled for another bilateral hand wasting case.

It was just mega sian ji pua. Of course everyone else did ok. I am not finding fault for this today and the Dr meant well I suppose but just… really sian ji pua. I really didn’t like that the elective ended on such a note.

There are things and people I appreciated alot in the last 3 weeks. Dr Zhao, Dr Tan and Dr Yong for offering tips for mbbs and tutorials when they are not obliged to. Dr Priyankan for the very kind comments on the elective form today (the last day) which made me feel alot less shitty about myself. Dr Deidre… for being a sort of imposing but strong and admirable character, who occasionally turns over during tea to ask if we have any questions. And leaving me with interesting food for thought like, once doctors overinvestigate, they lose their clinical skills and judgement. And also that neurology pales so much in comparison to cardio in terms of the vascular (mechanical) intervention that can be done, but that also means there is alot to expand on in the future. The MOs who I only got to know better very much later. The very very kind patients who let us examine them endlessly. I hope to be of good service to you and any other patients in the future.

And a note to myself. You may falter and you may fall. Remember that the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. You are defined by who you are and not your circumstances.

I am quite positive I’ll find love in neuro and IM/medicine in general again. I just cannot let my inadequacies confuse me and make me think that I don’t want it cos I can’t do it. I can do much better than this.

On a side note, I can only function in pairs or small groups (like max 4 I think). Hence I’m still looking forward to the other electives haha.