Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gulliver's Travels

I have to say, I didn't enjoy the movie. I only remember 2 things that were funny enough to laugh out loud. Rest of it was painful, and a complete waste of 3D effects. Even the introduction short film, Scrat's Adventures, was a pathetic waste of 3D resources. You would not know the difference if it was in 2D. Really. Wasteful. Painful.

I also this remake of a classic. Jack Black's character just reminds me of Ben Stiller's movies, which is really annoying. It's just about a guy who tries so hard to be someone he is not, trying to act cool or macho without the desired effect, and just digs his own grave even deeper.

Yes, it spawned from insecurity and cowardice, something I am very familiar with. But this is just an extreme of what is capable. I guess that is my take home message from the movie, be honest even though it hurts your ego.

So the two funny parts:
Gulliver putting out the fire
Re-invention of brand names and slogans. G-pod.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Walking Dead

I don't usually like watching horror films. Even if I do, I watch it, or playing something scary, I'll do it during the day.

So why am I so attracted to this particular post apocalyptic zombie fear fest show then?

There have been many reasons why zombies came to be. Voodoo magic. Lacking full consciousness. Losing one's mind. Psychotropic drugs. Reanimation virus. Parasitic aliens.

Evolution has made it such that we have several parts to our brain and thinking. The Cortex, the most visible and distinguishable part hosts the hight functioning, reasoning, thinking, solving. Then, theres the midbrain, which hosts our instincts, flight or fight responses. Stripped of higher functions, you are reduced to simple animals, who just wants to survive.

They have simple equations, simple principles, and the way those instincts manifest can be surprising.

Something alive = Food
Sound = something alive
Sound = Food.

so they will follow the sound until they find food.

Fellow zombie is following a source of sound/food.
Follow fellow zombie to get to source of sound/food.

Horde of zombies following a source of sound/food.
Horde joined by second horde. Zombie parade.

Fellow zombie brushed hand against door handle.
Fellow zombie must have found food behind door
Must get through door to food.

Smells dead, acts dead, sounds dead = probably dead
Smells not dead, acts not dead, sounds not dead = probably food.

On the other hand, the survivors have adapted to the apocalypse.
There is the type that despairs and commits suicide or merciful homicide.
There is the type that despairs and look to others for hope, strength in numbers.
There is the type that bands others in a dictatorship to protect themselves.
There is the type that is reduced to cannibalism to survive.
There is the type that turns to religion.
There is the type that turns to science.

There is so much about the human psyche in The Walking Dead. That is why I love the show, the concept. I can't wait for season 2.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


What do you get if you cross the protagonists of District 9 and War of the Worlds?

What do you get when you combine brain hunting zombies with alien technology?

What do you get if Independence Day and War of the Worlds had no glimmer of hope?

The ideas behind Skyline isn't new. Aliens attack. Humans die. Humans fight back. What made it interesting was that:
1. Aliens had a purpose. Brains.
2. Humans die. But becomes fuel for aliens.
3. Humans fight back. And lose.

Similarities between zombies and Skyline aliens:
Both want brains.
Both don't want to stay dead.
Both have brains as weak points.
Both can't be stopped by the army.

Things I don't like about the movie:
Meaningless introduction. Kinda like bad scary movies, all about sex crazed teens.
Slow progression. Really a bunch of "No, we wait here where it's safe," vs "We have to get out of here."
Stupid characters who think they have it all figured out. I-am-cool-because-I-have-a-weapon attitude. Well, you died, they didn't. Nyeh.

Things I like about the movie:
Dog fights

Monday, November 29, 2010

Human Heart

I fell for this glassy eyed girl once. She was mysterious, and everyone stayed away from her. But it intrigued me, like a moth to a flame. She always had headphones on. She will never initiate a conversation with you. But she will engage with you when you talk to her, just like any ordinary person would. But she’ll gaze into the distance, like she is preoccupied with the world’s burden.

And her smile. She smiles as if she was happy for you but harbour all the sadness for herself.

Her hair was ethereal, long and wispy, like a permanent breeze going through her hair, emitting the sweet smell of her perfume.

And no one ever knew where she was from. She did not go to the same school as us, but there wasn’t any other school in town. After class, you can see her walking past the school gates. But no one knows where to or where from. No one really bothered to know I would think. Those who tried to follow her, will fail to track her. Some were brave enough to ask, but they never got an answer. I guess that is why no one bothers, and everyone stayed away.

I was so allured to her.

I finally, after months and months of collecting scraps of courage, just enough to get the words, “Hi,” out of my mouth.

“Hi,” she replied, smiling at me.

Clearly I didn’t think past that. She waved me goodbye as she walked pass me, with a giggle.

It was another week before I had enough courage to approach her again. This time, it went smoother. I didn’t want to pry in the beginning, so we just chatted about the latest movies, or pop songs. I would like to think we bonded, got to know each other. We didn’t talk about her past, despite me revealing my family, my childhood and my aspirations. I never knew where it was going, but she whispered to be once, that she enjoyed chatting to me.

It went on for weeks. The more we talked, the more mysterious she became. Instead of telling me her past, she shared her dreams, bringing me into her fantasy world of princesses and dragons and knights in shining armour. She was different from any girl I’ve dated.

Finally, one day, I tried asking her why she always had headphones on. She smiled again, her ever sad smile. She told me that it was her song, a song that keeps her strong, keeps her going. I’ve heard ‘favourite songs’ before, but the way she described it, her song was her life – passionate, if any good word fits. I really wanted to know what this song was, or what the lyrics said, but I was contempt with her answer.

The other burning question was where she was going. Again, she just smiled and whispered into my ear, that it was a secret, and that she could not tell me anything. It was something that I should not know about. Naturally, it just made me more curious. I’ve always tried to follow her beyond the end of the road, but she would always stop me. The more I pressed on, the faster she disappears around the corner. In the end, she made me promise that I must not follow her anymore.

But my curiosity took the better of me. I didn’t meet up with her that day. Instead, I hid in the bushes where I would always lose her. She didn’t see me. And so I followed her. Followed her through the park, into the forrest… up to a small little house. Awaiting for her at the door was a tall figure in black. The twilight sky cast a heavy shadow, and I could not make out his face, but the man was clean shaven with sharp features. I could not see his eyes hiding behind a hood.

She went into the house and the door locked behind her. I heard the man talking. I could not make out the words, but I felt frightened by them. I feared for her safety. Was this what she goes through every day? I had to go closer.

The words became clearer. The words were spoken in fear itself. "In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ... It is he who commands you... It is he who flung you from the gates of Heaven to the depths of Hell... Be gone from this creature of God... Be gone... In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit... In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ... It is he who commands you... It is he who flung you from the gates of Heaven..."

This doesn’t seem right.

Then I saw her.

She was standing in the middle of her room, arms stretched out in a cross, in the centre of strange markings on the floor. Her eyes were closed, but she was looking around, angrily. In the corner of the room behind her, the cloaked man was curled up in a corner, with a bible and cross in his hands. He was chanting the words over and over again, "In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ...”

I clearly did not know what was going on, and I probably shouldn’t have barged into the room.

The girl looked at me, with her eyes still closed, her gaze fixed onto my eyes. She smiled, but this time, it was not sad. It was happy… happy but evil. The smile turned to laughter.

She opened her eyes.

And it was not the glassy eyes that I looked into before. Well, one of them wasn’t. It was dark. I don’t know if there was an eye, but it felt like a chasm. It felt like all hope was being sucked out of me, the more I looked into the dark eye. I tried to look at her other, gentler, hopeful eye, but I couldn’t.

I was frozen. I couldn’t move. I blacked out.

And I dreamt.

I dreamt I was a knight, rescuing a princess guarded by a sleeping dragon. The princess came up to me, and whispered to me, telling me everything I wanted to know.

My princess was a chosen vessel. She had to bear the burden of a demon; a demon that would have caused the destruction of the world if not contained. No man made structure was able to contain such an evil spirit, such that they had to use a human. Only the human heart was strong enough to fight the demon to keep it at bay. However, the heart only had that many beats in it, and it only had the stamina to keep it for a day.

The "In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ...” mantra weakens the demon, so that the heart could continue on for longer. And that was the song she would have to listen to every day, every hour, every second of her beating heart.

They also figured a way to release the demon once a day, allowing the heart to replenish itself and build the strength to fight the demon again for another day. So that the chosen vessel could continue living. Living a near normal life by going through this ritual every day.

And that was what I stumbled upon.

She told me that I messed things up. She was sad that it happened, but it cannot be reversed. For the first time, I saw her frown.

I didn't know how long I was out for. Everything looked like a blur, I felt glassy eyed. I felt like the worst was over, and the nightmare had ended. I felt calm, finally. Can't feel any worry or burden anymore.

...but something was amiss...

... I can't feel any worry...

...I can't feel...

...Why can't I feel anything...

...What's that sound...

...I hear something... droning... like a broken record... like permanent headphones on...

...oh no...

"In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ... It is he who commands you... It is he who flung you from the gates of Heaven to the depths of Hell... Be gone from this creature of God... Be gone... In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit... In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ... It is he who commands you... It is he who flung you from the gates of Heaven..."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Substance abuse

I think I am drunk, drunk with your love,
I think I'm going insane, crazy for you,
I'm addicted to your love, I can't get enough,
You have my heart, I beats only for you.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


From the darkness you came to me,
Unbeknownst, I failed to see,
Love was lost to me already,
Lost was I, until you came to be,
Majestically you appeared in front of me,
Opening my eyes to such beauty,
Opening my heart to such serenity,
Nothing shall ever compare to thee...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Schizophrenia. Part 1

I cannot trust anyone. I am my own man. A wise old man once said, "If you didn't go looking under the bed, the monsters won't be able to get you." I laughed at that, and now I regret ever looking. The more I dug, the more I found and it is eating my very soul...

I used to be a successful man. I had a career, I had a family, I had a life. Everyday, I would wake up, make love to my wife, spend breakfast with my kids, make another successful sale at work, and be home for dinner and to kiss the kids goodnight. I had friends who enjoy watching a good baseball game on tv over a few cans of beer. Life was good.

I cannot pin point where it all went downhill. But if I had to put an event or day to it, I would say it was the estrange phone call I recieved from my brother. His voice was trembling, as if Death was behind him, as if the world was going to end. I could not make sense of what he was trying to tell me, "...dogs are watching ... they know ... it is not what it seems ... the pier ... the fish are your friends ..." It was all nonsense, but being a brother, I called the acute crisis line on him. He died a week later in his own room at the asylum. It was put down to suicide, but I was not convinced.

I felt guilty. I was the one who put him there. But I slowly realised that what he had been saying all this time was true. As I visited the asylum to claim his body, I could hear the men in black suits and dark sunglasses even though it was 40 degrees indoors. They were saying that the task was completed, that the Dogs were unhappy that they had to clean it up. I had to investigate further, to seek redemption for what I had done.

It spiraled downhill from then on.

I made enquiries and searched every archive that was within my reach, to find out what Dogs mean. I searched every spelling I could think of, DAWGS, DOGCE, DOCKS... with no avail. Just when I was heading home from the library, I saw the men in similar suits outside. I slowed my pace, trying to get the gist of their conversation. The caught me eaves dropping and quickly walked away, pretending that they had a phone call. I knew they were spying on me. Dogs are watching. All I heard was "Bulls and the North Pole." I cracked my head what it was in relation to Dogs.

I was engrossed in my detective work. I called in sick. I did not go to bed, and I did not see my kids off to school. My wife tried to ask me what was going on, but I could not admit to her that I was responsible for my brother's death. I guess it was my fault also, but she started seeking help from other friends... And because of that I started to see who she really was...

...to be continued...

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Patients. Patience. I am intrigued that the two words sound the same. Patient, Patient.

Could it be that the patient have to be patient to be seen by a doctor? Well, I think its more likely that we doctors have to have patience with patients.

I'm currently on the psychiatric ward. Patience is what I need to get by. Sometimes, I feel like slapping them really hard. Sometimes I want to bang my head to the wall.

I rememebered that I sat in with a patient and we talked for almost 2 hours. I never spent that much time, even as a student. It was a complete waste of time, though I did manage to get more information from that interview, but it was still time wasted. At the end of it, I had to give up. After I reported what happened, my consultant told me to maintain a professional distance, choose your battles wisely.
So never again will I get too involved in my patients. I am there to be their doctor, not their friend.

I used to cold, when I was a medical student. I tried not to get drawn into the patients' lives and had no heart whatsoever. They told me as a student I had to have a good amount of passion towards the job, as it will dwindle as I progressed. I don't think it has dwindled at all. I seem to care more. I don't want to do my patients wrong. I want to help them.

But. Idiots fall sick. Sadly, idiots fall sick more often than not. Drug users mostly. Smokers. Obesed. Narcissists. There is a lot of them to go around. Too many. And although it is painful to treat them, we have a duty of care. And we get abused because of it. I am used to being a 'Yes man.' And I see myself continuously being stepped on. Will I still have that patience and passion?

Anyway. I don't know if I should feel troubled, when I start believing my patients' delusions. Is my heart too soft?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

1 Month

I've been on slightly over one month of service in TQEH. There are good days, there are bad days. I don't feel that I have learnt anything, but I know I have been approaching other people for help less. I guess I am learning something but there is never enough knowledge.

Last week was a really interesting week. A lot of things happened which makes life seem a bit more enjoyable.

I managed to catch 2 movies, "Up in the Air" and "Valentines Day." Up in the Air is an interesting movie, basically about a guy who tell other people about their bright future and yet not harboring any future of his own. When he did think about a future and changed his way of life, things really did not end up well for him. I don't know whether to agree to not change your way of life, or to change it for the sake of a girl. Twice it appeared in the movie, following a girlfriend/boyfriend to a possible future ended up bad for them. Even from personal experience, I felt that I have followed other people's decision and it did not always turn out so good for me. So I am more inclined to say, "stick to your own future." If the relationship ends, then it is not meant to be. If it continues, then there might be a chance... whether you want to take that chance...

The second movie's title speaks for itself. It is essentially a larger intricate web of stories revolving around cliche themes of Love and Romance, similar to "Love Actually" but Americanized. However, it was a really good movie and I really enjoyed watching it. It starred an all star cast and I would recommend watching it if you are a hopeless romantic.

This was the first time I watched movies in the cinema this year, all thanks to Evelyn who decided to spend her week off from work to visit us in Adelaide. It was really fun to have her around again, kinda like having our old gang back in Perth. I really missed those times and I am really looking forward to going back to Perth for graduation.

Sadly, Evelyn could not stay long and had to leave right before we had our "Reunion" Dinner at Wei Shen's place, despite my efforts to pay for her ticket back, like what we did for the Singapore trip. Of course, due to unforseen circumstances and unfortunate events, it was probably better that she went home early. Anyway, we had really good food, and even had our Lo Shang which was a little token to remind us of home. It was great fun playing Taboo and Mafia. It was really a new family away from my Perth family away from home...

That, and an excruciating workout session at the gym leaving me in all sorts of pain at the moment. That's my eventful week. Hoping my life continues to be this interesting.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


I was introduced to Jim last week. At first, I thought to myself, no harm in just knowing Jim. It would just be a casual meeting and we would both part our ways and never to see each other again. In fact, I was so unmotivated that I forgot that I had made an appointment with Jim.

I was half asleep on the bus, as I made my way back to the city. It was a long and tiring day, despite it being only a Psychiatry rotation. Things did not go my way throughout the day. All I wanted to do was to go home and lie down in bed. Strangely, I opened my eyes just to check that the bus was not going the wrong direction, and at that moment, my eyes caught Jim as the bus drove past. Only then I remembered that I had to meet up with Jim that evening.

I could have continued going and just missing Jim. It wasn't a big deal if I didn't go, but I decided 100 meters later to press the bell. I got down with still doubts about going to this meeting. The more I thought of it, the more I became reluctant. But I continued walking to Jim.

Jim was quite nice, it turned out to be. Jim is well equipt with the latest stuff and I could see myself enjoying being around Jim. There was so much that we could do. Jim even reassured me that I can visit whenever I want, and do whatever I feel like doing. Jim only charged a reasonable amount, for me to enjoy the facilities which he provides. A small price to this relationship I was about to take.

Eventually, without much persuation, I signed my name and I became a friend of Jim.

I walked away realising what I had done, but I could not think of what the consequences will be for being Jim's friend.

I didn't really think about it much after, but Jim called me a few days later to set another meeting. I went, half excited, it being my first time, and mostly nervous as how I would perform. I was out of touch with all of it and I have not done it in a very long time.

However, it went quite smoothly, and I was proud of myself. I used to be able to do so much more, and I am just hoping to get back to that level. I hated it when my friends assumed that I was weak, without knowing me or what I am capable of.

After that session, I went to another one of Jim's services. It was a half dance, half workout session. I really enjoyed the session, but I was such a beginner that I had difficulty following everything that they were doing. But it really brings back memories of numerous dance practice sessions back in IMU and in Singapore. I really want to go back into dance...

Anyway, that was my experience with joining the Gym.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Curved Horizon and The Invention of Lying

For the first time, I noticed that the horizon was curved. Maybe it was the refraction caused by the multiple layers of the airplane window, or the effect of the sun setting right in the middle of my view, or maybe it was the fact that I was flying 5000m in the air. Whatever the case, the view was magnificent.

Only a thin redish glow across the horizon served as a reminder where the sun laid down to rest, the sky darkening above it as the night creeps in. There was a clear demarkation between the dark blue of the Indian Ocean and the diminishing warmph of the now orange sky, highlighting the curved horizon.

With some srange reason unknown to me, I was captivated by the scene as we flew further south.

We have always been taught that the Earth was spherical. Early astronomers and physicists were rediculed and condemned for postulating such theories. The world, then, was flat, and was at the centre of the universe. I can only imagine the ramifications will be if the scriptures of the holy books mentions that the Earth was indead the centre of the universe. Perhaps religion would fail back there and then.

The curved horison reminded me that Science prevailed that round, in the never ending debate between the delusions of evangelists and the dreams of scientists. I do not claim that science and religion are exclusive, but there are real grey areas which are stil being debated today, like evolution and creation of the universe.

I guess that is the human's need to seek the truth in all things...

Which brings me to a movie we just watched, "The Invention of Lying." What will happen if lying and falsehood and deceit never existed? The movie potrayed a really good example of what the world would be like.

What really got me thinking was, at the same time, the movie can also be called, "The Invention of Religion." The movie mocks the 10 commandments on two pizza boxes, describes the beauty of the afterlife which no one knew, potrays the evolution of procreation beyond genetics, starts the story of making a story, and even shows the delevoping of a conscience... All created from lying.

When did the human race start lying? Would religion come into play if not for lying? How can they believe that an afterlife exists when no one can truly tell us what lies beyond? What would the world really be like if not for lying? Would we even bother about seeking the truth about all things or would be just take everything for granted as it is?

It was a really good movie for my mind to watch right before the new year.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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