Saturday, September 20, 2014

Adieu Dr Justin Leow

Three years, seven months. Or was it longer than that? I was made to understand during one of the many farewell parties that Dr Justin was in fact one of the hospital-hold name in Keningau. He's been a medical officer far longer than any other of his fellow colleagues stationed there and is so senior that when our Hospital Director is away, he would be given the opportunity to stand-in as an Acting Head. And these occasions were quite common to see when Dr Adnan (the previous Hospital Director) was at the helm. Thus his tasks would be to pen his signature on every single document that needs the Director's attention.

I've personally worked with Justin for as long as I have been stationed in Hospital Keningau and that has been a full length of 16 months through which his leadership capability has time and again been shown to be flawless. He is the leader of the medical officers for as long as anyone could remember and despite the headaches and the multiple requests from his fellow colleagues, he has somehow managed to come out with a blameless monthly on call roster; at least to my eyes. And when shortages creeps up, I'd know he would be the first to slot himself up for more frequent calls just to ensure the medical department's services continues uninterrupted. And that's what his quality is like in serving especially when it comes to the field of medicine. He has clearly outshone himself in all of the virtues of service above self sacrificing sleep, time and energy for his patients relentlessly.

It is in fact with great pleasure that I should announce that he passed both his MRCP Part 1 and 2 Written whilst still in Keningau Hospital, both through first attempts which in direct translation; would mean that he's worked himself to his bones to achieve those successes. And they don't come easily with the distribution of his time for work, his wife and his exams. Thankfully, he did it marvellously well. He would serve in fact, as a fabulous reminder and encouragement to his fellow junior colleagues to keep up with the trend of progressing through the ranks in becoming future physicians.

But if you were to ask me one thing about this chap that strikes me the most (or at least that I could remember for the years to come), it would have been his ease of approachability and his calm demeanour in handling his tasks at hand. His cheerful smile and his adaptation of a gentle giant character wins many hearts and laughters throughout the whole of the hospital up to the point that he was in fact caught by surprise as to how strangers would have caught on the fact that he is transferring pretty soon. But that's the ideal beauty of all working personnel in a close-fitting community now isn't it? Not many doctors could achieve that attribute, and not even me. But he could so easily blend into the community at large with his jovial personality and ramble on almost any topic with anyone in particular - food being his favourite of course.

His knowledge embraces not only the confines of medical related stuffs, but you could well be aware of his other interests and inclinations in his Facebook status every now and then. Suffice to say, he keeps himself updated towards the ongoing worldly news more than his MRCP exams at one point of time that I had to veer him back to the appropriate ground so that he doesn't lose his focus. The ease of the people to people relationship in Sabah is not a frigid communion of boss-slave hierarchy, but that of a marriage between professionals where everyone should adopt the understanding of equality and respect. Only then could we progress as a team.

But that's the fascinating characteristic that resides within Dr Justin himself. Not only does he makes himself approachable by many, he could also relate any problems or issues with ease to his immediate supervisors and make us all feel comfortable to be around him. And as food is the number one priority (at least that is what we all thought to be) in his working life, he remains the glue that keeps all of us adhered to weekly or fortnightly outings especially for our Friday lunches before our very own department CME. I could only hope that this would continue despite his absence, but now that the glue that holds the bond has dried up, there remains the doubt that it would continue on.

But I'm digressing too much. Though really, here's one pat on the back for a great job well done as a medical officer in the Dept of Internal Medicine, Hospital Keningau. Here's in wishing you that you will pass your MRCP PACES pretty soon and in whichever subspecialty that you choose later on in your life, just keep on shining with that carefree mentality of yours as it will bring you far. Far from the stress that often comes as a package in our professional working lives as doctors. And so I bid you adieu and greet you all the very best in your future endeavours in Queen Elizabeth Hospital I, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah!

Before You Die, Samantha Hayes

Wasn't something that I expected after reading her much better written novel - Until You're Mine. Before You Die is an odd mix of twists and turns that ventures on a thriller which again puts the reader in the position of figuring out who the killer is with regards to the recent spate of suicides that happened in a small Warwickshire village of Radcote. I'll give Hayes the credit of throwing out red herrings through vital subtopics that veer away from the main plot alongside the attempts on her part to paint certain characters as highly suspicious as they are. Yet, after having gone through her older books, you'd think twice of falling for the same old trick again but it somehow grates on your nerve that your prediction would always fail terribly. I didn't manage to nail the suspect, wasn't even close to any of them and it was a turn of surprise when the final chapter unravels the truth behind it all.

Two characters stand out - Detective Inspectors Lorraine and Adam alongside their kids Stella and Grace resume their roles as DIs in yet another thrilling case mystery at hand. 18 months right before this current event, six purported suicides were committed by teenagers with the sole interruption to the pattern being that the final two - Simon and Jason Rees were slightly older.

Characters Jo Curzo and her son Freddie Curzo are both sister and nephew to DI Lorraine. Jo met an acquaintance with the local townsfolk - the grieving, pallid Sonia with her husband Tony, her autistic brother-in-law Gil and daughter Lana. Simon was the son of Sonia and Tony who committed suicide about two years back.

Other prominent characters were Frank who took care of the home shelter managed solely by him with the help of both Sonia and Lana alongside other volunteers. The latter two only come into the picture after Simon's death with Sonia vowing to devote her life to helping the homeless as much as possible in the living memory of her dear son's death. The local detective inspector is Greg Burnley who is portrayed as a hopeless bum that often takes shortcuts to make his life easier. This sets the path for our protagonist to jump into the loophole of the whole investigation.

Dean Watts & Lenny were two characters who were found dead in the current events of the book and was said to have committed suicide. Watts was found in the crash accident whereas Lenny was spotted killed by Freddie.

Two events stand out as side-plots and one of them were given a large credence on both the prologue and the epilogue as the book opens with a motor vehicle accident that was interpreted later on as a suicide. The other event took several chapters down the road when Freddie decided to run off from home after he receives threatening messages on an attempt of his life which was really Hayes' portrayal of her intention in including school bullying in her novels. Just like many of her works in the past.


Frank; depicted as a burly, surly man whose son was killed way back 20 years ago and he was the prime suspect though there wasn't any evidence to file a prima facie case against him.

Gil; his persona as an autistic individual who could lash out in anger all of a sudden and coupled with his rambling thoughts as an atypical puts him among one of the list of a potential murderer.

Sonia; her fragile, intimidatory and nervous jitters puts her in the limelight as I considered her as a potential suspect too. This albeit less likely needs some reading of Hayes' previous works before you could psychoanalyse her real skills in shielding the purported innocent looking character.

But I suppose you should read it for yourself and find out who the killer is in the first place. Somehow towards the finale - some clues would emerge out of the cumulative hints to reveal who the killer is. Though it wasn't that much of a suspense that would keep you on edge.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Death Cure, James Dashner

The common connotation that proudly defines that all good things come in threes are a pseudo-statement, which is a mirthless guise to hide lousy things and attempt to sell them out to the public. The Maze Runner trilogy kicked off with a wonderful attempt at casting mysterious characters in a light that not even the smartest of them all could unravel the secrets behind it all. The clandestine approach undertaken by Dashner was crafty and shrewd though one has to bear the brunt of his neologisms used in the dystopian universe which comprises of youths that ages between 14-18. Things such as that like klunk, slinthead, shank, shuck, slim it and good that are just a numerous few to name some. It can get quite irritating after some time but easy does it.

The final book - The Death Cure was a let down. It was all part and parcel of what readers were hoping for in unraveling the secrecy that belies the Maze and the Scorch Trials. That's what the finale of any trifecta would have induce in hopes of culminating everything into a apogee so epic that would leave you yapping all the way till kingdom come. Sadly it wasn't to be. If in any case, The Death Cure only creates and stirs more annoyance and doubts.

From what I gathered - and from the prologue The Kill Order, in the potential near future, a Sun Flare would strike Earth, devastating lands, crops and animals alongside humans. A great amount of death followed and an accidental destruction into a safe haven for protecting microbes were also dealt a great deal of the brunt releasing an extremely virulent virus that infected the surviving human population. Sort of a double trouble whammy you would say. The remaining group of individuals then go through a phase of the infection depicting all sorts of altering personalities and behaviour before becoming totally consumed by the bug. They would then regress into their primal self and resort to violence where bloodlust lurks behind their countenance. Though most were infected and succumbed to the virulent threat, not all were subjected to its major blow. There were those who were immune to the virus, and they were aptly called Munies and apparently hated by every other infected fellow. Resources were pooled from various government agencies, be it locally and internationally which comprises of authorities of the greatest and highest leadership (which by now you would know are also infected and act out in desperation to find a cure) to sort out a remedy. The immunes were recruited and put through all sorts of experimentation and trials which are called Variables. Implants were placed within their brains which could send signal in terms of instructions or retrieve data from the way they react to responses stimulated from whereabouts. A pattern was sought after from a part of the brain labeled as the Killzone and in hopes that a blueprint could be designed to create a antivirus to cure the remains of the world from human extinction.

Well... so what's the final story behind it all?

Stop if you don't want to read the spoilers...

Well, then again, there isn't any cure to begin with or to end in. The survivors - our main protagonist Thomas and his new found love, Brenda managed to pull through an escape with the help of Chancellor Ava Paige's explicit instruction to go through a Flat Trans that would bring them to another corner of the earth where they could then repopulate so that humans would never go into extinction. About 200 over people made it to the other side of the world. All immune, all ready to start over again what has been lost. Though the prose was far better than Hunger Games #2 and #3 and any of Veronica Roth's trilogy, it wasn't something to shout about.

Divergent (Film)

Read the book? Thought it was so mushy that it should be discarded into trash? Well, wait till you watch the movie! Depends on how heavily critics condemn the way the movie took its path, somehow in terms of how it is played, I would have to side with the way the direction of the film was taken. It wasn't as grim as I predicted it out to be though those who has never read the book before would easily point out that the plot was quite a giveaway. In some ways it is. It takes a lot of writing talent to cast a wonderful light on the characters chosen to undertake Veronica Roth's Divergent series but sadly as my readers would have known from the past, her trilogy was total bullcrap. You'd be way better doing something else or reading other better material.

I wouldn't give that much of a thumbs up for the film series, though I did say that it was cast in a better light. Considering the amount of pages that was written in the first volume, it wasn't quite evenly paced out as the novel would have wanted. Some confusion here and there could be more well appreciated in the book, but the film made light of everything. But for those movie goers, the plot is about to take a darker turn and a more confounding approach. So brace yourself as more 'interesting' characters and what with that dull ones continue to make it look like a turd.

Movie Rating:- 4/10

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Penang 3-D Art Museum

I do applaud the wonders that never ceases to amaze me when it comes to art creation in the state of Penang. Being a Penangite myself, I am proud to state the fact that so much has changed since it became a DAP stronghold. Much for the good of course and one of the wonders that I'm so happy to announce is the genuine interest in preserving the historical beauties that the state government has so keenly introduced. From the works of murals, to wall arts and to arts that is made up of intriguing gadgets comes the collective wholesomeness of opening up a 3D Art Museum. Located directly opposite the Swettenham Port, parking's not an ideal location by the side of the road. But there are ample spaces around the historical sites if you don't mind the walking. After all, that's the main aim of coming to Penang now isn't it? To walk off those calories from the Char Kuey Teow that you've devoured alongside many other local cuisines.

Penang CM Lim Guan Eng is kind enough to allow himself to be portrait drinking a cup of coffee. His genial and casual visage is one that allows for openness and approachability. And see how yours truly decided to take advantage of the whole deal. Just trying to be different of course. =P This wall art is located write outside the ticketing booth alongside many other art that depicts the jetty life of the Penang's colonial era. Some stevedores can be seen shouting towards the manual labourers carrying gunnysacks of rice to load on the trucks and pull carts. And you can even act like one of the manual labourers too!

What the blue collared workers do when they have some free time to spare off work. And what yours truly decided to do more than just merely eavesdropping. Something like that could only be thought out by the eccentricity of myself. Oh gosh, the way I behave in public. LOL! 

And once you've walked past the diorama of the nasi lemak stalls, durian stalls and a group of people having a feast by the roadside you'll end up seeing this cut-out Instagram board which is located directly opposite to a 3D aquarium where you can look as though you were actually underwater (with some goggles on). Takes some creativity to make a fool out of yourself after all, and I wasn't up to the mark yet, not at this particular moment. 

Right on the second floor, the landing cuts out to a makeshift gallery where tens of 3-D pictures are portrayed every which way with an instruction on its' side to inform you on how you should strike a pose. Depending again on your own marked creativity, its' a literal either you do it by the book or think out of the box. The clamour and the burgeoning intensity of the crowd soon took the better of me as I hustle through some of the remaining paintings and get the heck out. Too many people are allowed at any one time into the gallery and this sorts of make it a bustle inside. A crowd could not necessarily make your life any easier, but most of the visitors that we've encountered are polite enough to grab their kids off the wall posters so as to allow us to take our shots. And for that I humbly thank you for your effort. While for the remaining few, perhaps they were just too eager to take a couple more shots just to make sure their experimental grabs were good enough so that they don't have to return a second time. Local adults RM 15, students RM 10. I have no idea about how much a kid would be charged but foreigners' tickets cost RM 20. This gallery is one of its own kind and it will indeed attract a great deal of tourists to Penang along many other heritage sites located around the whole of the northeastern region of the island. Hopefully though, some manner could be organised so as to allow for a maximum amount of individuals visiting this gallery at any one time so as to relieve the congestion. Thankfully, and gratefully, the galleria has their own officers on the standby to help out the tourists in photoshoots and as well as helping out with the explanation of sorts that some folks might require.