Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I write about how time flies so quickly so often that people must get tired of reading it. "Okay! I get it already! You think time is just flying right on by!" is probably what you're thinking, right? Right.

Now that I've said that for the hundredth time, I'm quite happy to see the time passing me so quickly. The bad days of medical school just sail on without a glance back at me. And that's wonderful. But at the same time, that means that the harder study days are coming up. The days which will be tougher and more torturous are coming at me faster than I can prepare for and the prospect scares me.

I feel more than ready to graduate but I'm most certainly not equipped to handle my final and toughest year of medical school! I'm more than ready to complete my internship and go overseas to study what my heart feels truly connected to but I'm far from equipped to tackle those 12-months. It's a contradiction. I want the time to continue zooming forward but at the same time, I feel like I need more time to prepare myself for the difficult times I know I have coming up.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." ~ Alan Kay

I'm the kind of person who plans their future in advance. I like to know what I should prepare myself for and the future I dream of, I can't wait to obtain. Allopathic medicine is by far the last thing I want to be practicing and I'm frequently frustrated by the thinking of many (but not all) conventional doctors. I think it contributes to my wanting to finish medical school quickly. I'm just so frustrated with it all. I chose to do allopathic medicine because I wanted insight into what these practitioners think like...I wanted to understand why they think the way they think...why so many of them can be so closed minded to alternative or complementary therapies. And I've slowly come to understand it in my time in medical school. Doctors teach students and pass on their beliefs and knowledge about their practices. The same goes for their beliefs about alternative practices. And it's something that can't be helped. But that stubborn sort of thinking cannot work for much longer, not when populations of people are becoming more aware of the advantages offered elsewhere. It is good to have knowledge of both sides of the table because you need to be able to advise a patient about interactions that could be fatal. And that's where integrative medicine comes in. An adequate mixture of allopathic and naturopathic medicine.

Today, one of my lecturers who is a general practitioner in one of our public polyclinics told us a number of stories of patients he has seen in practice recently. Patients who have had live microscopy where they're told that the practitioner says there's all sorts of bacteria and fungi. In allopathic medicine, this is a sign of serious blood infection. This is a story of concepts not understand by doctors. There was a story of a patient who went to an iridologist and was told she had fibroids after he looked at her iris so she went to this GP and he sent her for an ultrasound which showed a perfectly normal uterus. No matter the story, the opinion left on conventional doctors is that of disbelief. It's no wonder these negative opinions are made when patients present to them with problems and stories from alternative medicine practitioners. But, naturally, persons with successful stories don't normally end up in a GP's office. And so, such terrible reputations are built against alternative medicine, reinforcing the lack of belief.

All that to say, integrative medicine is what I truly want to do. I truly want to go into natural medicine. I want to study and understand it more. I want to practice integrative medicine. It's the ideal practice of medicine, in my opinion, as it offers the best options for patients. It's the middle ground between the two extremes with good understanding either way. Most certainly, not a contradiction.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Graduating Photography

Yesterday was a big day for all the U.W.I. Cave Hill graduates. They're all officially released from the confines of school work and assignments and have been thrown into the real world. Two of my closest friends graduated yesterday. I'm so proud and happy for them. One of them, I've known for 10 years now. It's like he's all grown up now.

My graduation is still a ways away. I'm only halfway through my fourth year with my fifth year yet to come. Time flies so quickly, I'll probably be graduating before I even realise. But until then, I'll be watching each of my friends obtain their bachelor degrees before I can grasp mine.

One of my graduating friends asked me to take some pics for his graduation. Me! I'm pretty surprised since I'm not actually a photographer or anything. I got to make use of his Nikon Coolpix L110...a very nice camera. I'm not a photographer but I certainly do have an interest in photography. So, place a good camera in my hands and I'll go crazy on the shutter button. Which, of course, is what happened.

I have to say, though, I was surprised to be asked of such a favour: to be entrusted with a camera to take good photos for memories of a graduation. And I was asked because, among my circle of friends, I'm always the one just snapping away with my little camera. Haha. I certainly felt quite honoured.

My friend is a difficult subject to work with when it comes to giving off a natural smile or general facial expression but I did the best I could with my extremely amateur skills. I think I got some nice photos though. I also captured a photo that I'm very much in love with at the moment. I'm not familiar with plant names and species but this little potted plant had beautiful flowers which certainly caught my attention. This was the result of my admiration:

I like photography because it captures moments that can be shared with everyone. It can capture an object from a different perspective so that its beauty can be shared with others who would not otherwise see it. And I really like taking photos of nature. Something about it is just amazingly beautiful. The world needs to be seen for the beauty it holds.

Congratulations to all the 2011 graduates around the world, regardless of when you graduated. I pray you all have the successes you deserve and that you thrive in the hardships of employment!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Parents are people, too

As we grow older, we see our parents differently with each stage we pass through until we eventually reach a point where we realise that our parents...they're people too. It's something that I've been thinking about for awhile now. With every passing year, I learnt something more about my Mom and with every step closer to adulthood, I feel more and more like I'm coming onto more equal ground with her.

She tells me stories about her youth...what things were like in her day living in Hong Kong and even little bits of what my grandparents (her parents) were like. My grandfather died long before I was even born and my grandmother doesn't speak any English, and since I don't speak any Cantonese, I can't learn anything about her from her directly. It's kind of sad and it's one of my biggest reasons for wanting to learn the language, if only I had the time and resources. Over time I've come to realise that she, like any other person, has had dreams and goals which she once aspired to. I've learnt about the numerous hardships she's had to endure, particularly after her move to an English-speaking country when she knew no English at all. Today, she has become a very successful woman and, for a lesser educated Chinese person, she has extremely well-spoken English.

Trailing back to my childhood...
I don't remember very much but what I do recall from my childhood was all very memorable. My Mom was the scariest person alive to me. Her punishments were mean and cruel and I was afraid to do anything drastic for fear of possible repercussions. But she was also very nice sometimes. She may not have known the answers to everything but she'd help me with my homework and let me sleep with her when I was afraid of something. She'd let me play with my friends and gave me toys and dress me up to look pretty. She let me go away with her and let me see all sorts of wonderful sights and sounds. She took me to Disneyland and Universal Studios. She threw me birthday parties. At the end of the day she was a wonderful, albeit scary, Mom.

Re-thinking my teenage years...
I wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend. I wasn't allowed to go out at night. I wasn't allowed to do very much at all. She dictated my life and didn't let me have any fun at all! Or, at least, that's what I used to think. In retrospect, I can now say that I'm quite happy with the way I was raised as a teenager. Had I been allowed to party at night, I would be an entirely different person today. And I absolutely love the person I am now. I can understand her reasoning for not allowing the things she did not want me to have or do. But, as teenagers, we're so caught up with what we want and what's going on with our peers that we think, "My parents don't understand me at all! It's like they forgot what it was like to be young!". In reality, they understand the teenage years better than we did, after all, they lived through those years themselves. It's not that they forgot, they just have a habit of not wanting us to make the same mistakes as they did. They're trying to enforce what they believe to be the better way of growing up during those hormonally-driven years. It's not that they don't understand us, it's US who don't understand THEM. And many of us don't even try to understand them. I always used to say, "When I grow up, I'll never be like my mother!"

Discovering the truth...
As the years flew by and life became less dramatic, I came out of my self-obsessed hormonally-driven state. I never knew how difficult a time she had, moving to Barbados, living in Barbados, learning English, raising a child. Many stories delivered to me over a number of years have opened my eyes as I finally took a good look at the amazing woman who raised me. She's a person. Just another person, like everyone else. Like everyone else who has had a dream career for which there was no opportunity to pursue...because life had different plans in store. Like everyone else who has had interests and love and true hardships.

Dreaming their dreams...
We live in a time that's laden with blessings and we don't even realise. We've grown up in what one could call a spoilt generation. Many of people know the pains of war and hardship but many of us don't. We haven't lived through terrors. We wake up each morning without a second thought about how grateful we should be to be alive. I've been told many stories about the wars of China and the things my Mom's family have had to live through. It's no wonder why Chinese people are as formidable as they are and it makes me proud to have family who survived those times. They are strong people. But they never got to live their dreams.

It wasn't easy surviving those days. It wasn't easy giving up on dreams which were out of reach. It wasn't easy raising us. The least we could do is dream for them as we dream our dreams. They want only for us to have what they could not: the joys of seeing our dreams come to fruition. They deserve that much, don't they?

I've come to realise recently, that I'm very much like my Mom. A decade ago, I didn't want to be anything like my Mom. Today, I love the person who I was raised into. And I look up to, respect and love the person who raised me like no other.

I recently saw a video that portrays what I've said really well, actually. Something nice that I thought I'd share. "The Six Ways You'll See Your Dad" by CollegeHumor.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Three Years & Still Posting

Today marks the three-year anniversary of Symplicity Me, the first blog I've managed to keep going.

Happy bloggerversary Symplicity Me!

I had completely forgotten about it last year...and the year before, I remembered the day after. To be honest, I nearly forgot this year too. It's only by an urge of feeling the need for change that I realised. So, to celebrate the big day, I decided that a slight makeover was in order. (Well, I was really going to do one anyway but realised it was the bloggerversary. So let's just say it's for that. Haha.)
The Old Look
The New Look
I decided to a go for a simpler, lighter look this time around. Nothing fancy and colourful yet not something too plain. In the end, I came around to what you see now. There are still some similarities to what I had before but something about this one feels a little neater. I didn't bother to change the header photo because it's still as meaningful to me today as it was the day I made it and just as applicable to my life, if not more so. I think it blends in nicer with the new background anyway. :)  

What do you think of the new look?

This blog has become pretty special to me over the past three years. I've said in posts before that I have a problem with keeping up with things and, even though I don't post as often as I'd like (I'll blame that on medical school), I'm still going at it.

May we still have more years of posting to come, yeah? :)