Friday, September 14, 2012

Are you the next great mind?

Often, I read history and got amazed by how those great minds thought of such resolutions. Wait, never mind the solutions, how did they see those matters as a problem in the first place? It's almost like we are so complacent, comfortable with our daily life that we are blind towards the mysteries of nature. We are immune to what could have been better...

I've been taught to look at problems as golden opportunities to greater heights. I embrace that. The problem is, I rarely see anything much as a big deal that needs to be resolved. The issues (e.g. global food shortage, global warming, overpopulation) are either too big that I feel completely overwhelmed by them, needless to say to even think of the first step towards resolving the issue, it's out of my bounds; Or, they are simply too petty to be bothered, I've got better things to do (like Facebooking, blogging.)

I am halfway through, the last non-academic book I'd probably be holding for this year - A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It's an amazing book, packed with facts and so much informations on science, from quantum physics, geology to the latest medical breakthroughs. Bryson showed me so much about the calamities of those great figures in the past (some unknown for their entire life even with their contributions) and those that claimed credits on others' relentless works. All I can say is that, it wasn't easy for each one of them. Even if it's pure luck, as some would put it (the incident of an apple falling on Isaac Newton's head which miraculously caused  him to ponder about gravity), each of these achievements still took blood, sweat, tears, social supports and whole lots of money to make them a reality. The sacrifices they made, literally, were their whole life.
However, how did they knew those issues that weren't even a problem to their society at that point of time as a MASSIVE mystery to be resolved? How did they view the world? How John Dalton even thought of the existence of "atom" when there is no obvious evidence that there is such thing? How geologist manage to fit each continent - so wide apart in this modern time- together based on their coastlines and came up with the existence of Pangeae through seabed parting, subduction, convection and plate tectonics, when you are physically too small to notice these massive changes right under your feet?

I've been searching around for problems (yes, I seek problems) but I couldn't find a proper one, one that burns with such passion in me to work on. This book explicitly showed many problems! There are so many "only God knows", "we don't know", "The greatest unanswered question until today"...littered every where in these sentences. Now, you can't see a problem? Just flip through this book, it covers so many fields that perhaps one of these "I don't know" would be the door to the scientific breakthrough of your lifetime. Of course this idea is more than that to be locked in the academic realm.

Every problem is a great opportunity to grow, in every way but the best outcome - To grow closer to God. :)

I shall end by sharing with you this sweet, happy song...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Second Blog

There. I've made my promise a reality earlier than expected.

This new blog will be a record my new journey in Cambridge as a medical student. I have started it with posts on the preparations done but decided to leave the banners and background designs till I arrive in the UK. Go check it out!

I will not abandon this blog. This will remain, as a place to record bits and pieces of my random thoughts. Up-close expressions.

Or...when I'm overwhelmed by sanity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


He is my Refuge,
He is my Comforter,
My Couselor, my Lord;
Through His daily miracles,
I see His enduring love and faithfulness;
But, my soul, my soul,
Let your faith be
not of the deeds of the Almighty,
But of who He is.
To His awesomeness,
I rendered speechless.
Truly, truly,
Jesus Christ is the still-point in this ever-changing world.

(Inspired by Four Quartets - T.S.Eliot)

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Thank you and Bye Miri!

Remember this plea? It feels like it's only yesterday and yet here I am, emerged gloriously from the other end of the this short tunnel. *plays 'Final Countdown' in mind* 1 month of holiday left. Actually, less than a month. When I first stepped into this hiatus, I thought without college, without work, without a fix group of companions, it will be one hell of a boring year bumming around, wasting the prime time of my life (or maybe something as predicted by a weird, random Feng Shui sifu who insisted to have a chat during my Taiwan trip when obviously, he's just a salesman trying to get me to buy a weird-looking stone) but I guess the past few months have proven the feng hui sifu very wrong indeed! 
Palace at Phnom Penh, Cambodia

It has been an extremely eventful year! Like I've said so many times this year, I'm just ever grateful to travel to the many places I've never thought I'd one day visit, and to meet the large diversities of people. Throughout the year, people has been calling me camp-addict for going for camp marathons! dNA, SUSOM, BTN, Camp Cam etc. (And trust me, the camp-marathon has yet to be ended at this point, one more to go! :D) I have travelled to Singapore, Taiwan, Cambodia, up north and down south of Peninsula Malaysia and into the deep rural areas of Rajang Basin, Sarawak. I have gone through a super fruitful, priceless experience of my 3rd attachment in hospital with surprisingly not-so-gruesome brain surgeries and watched blood spurting every where in another OR, worked as an accounts clerk and almost being plunged into this OCD madness, challenged myself to tutor an IB Singaporean Hwa Chong student in Physics despite Physics being my weakest subject and also tutoring a junior from Taylor's. This junior has been transferred back to Riam Institute in Miri but as all things happened for a good reason, she opened my eyes to the differences between the teaching style of Taylor's and Riam (an award-winning, full of straight A*s students college in Subang and a small-time, humble college here in Miri). Each has their own unique way of teaching, different group of staffs, and a very different group of students of different life outlook, so the competitions and learning environment are consequently, VERY DIFFERENT. In retrospect, Taylor's teaching style definitely suits me much better than the local institution, and I am ever grateful that God has chosen to place me there. Although the local institute may be lacking in facilities, but it's not all bad; it has its own very strong advantages too. Do not hesitate to email me at christinewsw [at] hotmail [dot] my if you need advices on comparing between these institutions. 
Kids at English for Fun, Tudan Methodist Church! The scene which everyone was confused which is left, and which is right...Bwahahaha 

But I guess the highlight is: God has, finally, opened my eyes to see the angelic side of children. Through the interactions with Khmer kids in Cambodia's slums and orphanage and the occasional helping-out at Tudan Methodist Church's 'English-for-fun' classes for the native children, kids are...not evil little monsters after all. Ok fine, may be some  of them still are. :p But I've learnt to talk to them and befriend these little souls. Oh, those cute little fellows who can't differentiate between left and right! *evil laughs* Yes, sometimes I do think the evil little monster resides in me instead. 
Marina Bay, Miri

My academic mind has, regretfully, been not as sharp as it has been due to the lack of practice. Don't talk to me about maths! I can't even do simply differentiation and integration now! Forget about the complex numbers, vectors, partial equations.... =.=" my goodness, faceplam is but a too-mild reaction. Please excuse me while I bang my forehead on the table.  On the other hand, this is the year which I am able to indulge in the opportunities to explore beyond the traditional syllabi, away from Medicine! (When in fact I have not step foot into it) I've read quite a few books on religions and philosophy that I wonder why am I not doing Philosophy/Theology, Law or Economics?! These were very unpopular courses back in my upper form days here in Miri. But then again, those may be just surges of hormones causing illusions. If you ask me why am I doing Medicine now, I can't tell you for sure, I can only tell you I can't imagine myself doing other stuffs. I'm not so certain of this whole PASSION thing, because there is no certain parameter to measure it, how can I have the knowledge of the level of my passion? 

Baked a cake for our good old friend's 20th birthday! <3 td="td">
Let's get back down to earth: I will start ranting, whining and crying over the pressure due to studies and exams once First Year officially commences. (Ah, remind me of the days when I almost chewed my fingers off while facing the calamitous Cambridge interview, Maths A2 P3, Bio A2 P4 and BMAT Test in a week!) This Uni, this Course is...gloriously certified CRAZY hardcore with the highest suicide rate in the tertiary education realm. People keep telling me, you don't have to be bright, you just have to be inhumanly hard working! I have been pressure free for so long, do need some time to acclimatise. But then again, this year's experience has assured me that I am not a paperwork/office-material and I absolutely savour the moments interacting with people. And I have this new-found fervency for reading, almost any type of materials. I can do some basic, logic/common-sense debates but I don't fancy having arguments at all. Medicine was once a route forced on me, but over time, over several encounters, I found myself strangely, gradually then obsessively attracted to this field today. Dearly hope, and pray that the stress will not thwart my intense interest in this course and...of course, Medicine, please be a darling. 

Esplanade Beach, Miri
In less than 48 hours, I am finally leaving this humble, small home town here by the coast, in this tropical region, where I grew up happily. It is a place which quietly preserved this naiveness in me that despite how far, how long I have been away from this city, I could always feel that pure joy even through simple daily events while back here. This is not the first time I am away from home but I will miss the warm breeze, the wide-open space, the sea, the blue sky, the ever-shinning Sun, the perennially summer weather, the group of childhood/adolescent-period friends, the church I've only started to settle in, the kids at Tudan Methodist Church's English class, the oh-so comfortable home, my bed, my pillows, my bedroom, the 9 white fur balls which always 'swim' around when I sit on the floor (and bark the symphony of Barkettey-Bark-Bark in extreme forte whenever there's a slight movement outside the house), the freedom to drive wherever I want and of lovely family. Although in reality, my family are no longer staying here in Miri. Everyone's dispersed everywhere, from Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, Sarawak and finally, UK. It'll be long before the next grand reunion I guess! (All the more reasons I must successfully graduate.)

I have several stuffs more to settle, not forgetting the luggage to pack (my freaking sponsors only allowed us to bring luggage of max weight 20kg, how is that possible?!). I am also in this dire need of honing my language skills too before being drowned in that English land.

Due to my weak heart's ego inability to suffer from the embarrassment, owing to the childish posts for the past 6 years, (oh my, this blog is 6 years old?!?!?!?!?!) I am considering of starting a new blog, for the new journey, on the other side of the world. It will be a record of my personal discoveries, but more of the medical side. However, I can't promise you, my dear reader (although I doubt the scarcity of the actual readers that I don't even dare to check the statistics report haha!), that the new blog will materialise soon as it depends on the anticipated workload. Sad thing blogging always takes the backseat. :( Perhaps, this idea will spring a place to pen down my thoughts in that new, strange place. However, I will not cease writing on this blog on non-medical topics, nor will it be closed down as it has served as a great memoir, a warm little corner for rare reminiscences of my younger days.

Miri River on clear, fine day
I have estranged myself on Facebook recently and have receded to the land of TWITTER to satisfy my ever-threatening need to spit out rubbish, random sentences to express the philosophical self  Do follow me there if you can successfully drag me out of invisibility in that realm! :D

On a lighter note, I would like to wish all my friends who are, like yours truly, embarking on the next chapter of life, who are starting a new semester, who are graduating soon, who are starting to work or just somewhere out there enjoying your day, all the best and thank you for journeying with me thus far!

I will continue to write so stay tune! :)

Marina Bay, Miri

*zooms off to the other side of the world!* 

p/s: Thou shall not steal my photos!!! >< 

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Secret and Pray like you mean it

Less than a month till departure and here I am, still not revising. Haha...I'm just taking what all my seniors are telling me to do, "ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY TO THE MAX. WARNING: DO NOT STUDY." Not sure whether it's a good sign but since the all the advices corroborates, I'll just take it at the moment and not study. So I ended up reading 2 more books this week. I just finished "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne yesterday and now in the mid of reading "Be the Miracle" by Regina Brett. 
The Secret is no doubt, a very powerful book. It has been classified in the New Age religion genre. I have not watched the movie so when I first saw this book in the book store, I was like, what on earth is a New Age religion? How is that possible? Setting Scientology, Gnosticism, Atheism and other not-so-typical religions aside, how is it possible for modern human to create a religion out of the blue and have so many followers? I believe, the effect that this book has on me has shown that it does have the potential. This book has left me with very disturbing thoughts throughout these few days. It's not all bad, but there are some parts that may not be so suitable for some ' rather gullible' believers. Of course I believe that Christ have chosen you and will lead you closer to Him, but it is definitely not advisable to expose yourself to temptations. Why put your Lord to the test? Read without believing everything in this case.

I said that The Secret is a good book as it has taught me about
  • Law of Attraction, 
  • Thinking positively,
  • Be extra grateful to everything in Life and being aware of our thoughts and our responses in Life,
  • Be joyful despite the circumstances.
Part of the content is eerily similar to Christianity, but of course lack of the essence of Christianity - Christ died, Christ resurrected, Christ saves, Christ reigns forever. It lacks the unconditional, everlasting Love - the core of Christianity. And yet again, how can we ever compare something worldly to story of God? The Secret incorporates part of Bible in it, part of words of wisdom from giants of the past like Charles Haanel.  I believe that we should strive for our best in our calling. I believe that we should remain optimistic and love our life too. I believe everything is good on earth, for everything is the creation of God to bring glory to God thus we should love everything just as Christ loved us but regarding ourselves as God, as eternal energy, as source of all wisdoms, that bit completely puts me off. We are the image of God, His creation. He is omnipresent: in us, out of us, around us, but we are never God Himself. Just as water is in us, but are we water? We have been blessed with the mind to think so creatively and make almost everything possible. Almost everything but we are never God. Besides, in this short book, many parts actually conflicts and contradicts itself if you read cautiously and digest with a critical mind. This has again shown me, no one is perfect, despite how badly the authors in this book wanted us to believe that. We can follow what the authors said in this book THINK we are perfect now, but can we guard ourselves against all imperfection every second of our life? What happens when that evil thought creep inside our mind, are we still that perfect? Of course I believe that we will be made perfect when we are with Christ but being perfect on our own, I doubt the most powerful thinkers on world has the power to guard himself against all evil thoughts, even if it's just milliseconds in their mind, deeply hidden away from the perceptions of others. The author also quoted from a famous religious figure we are what we think and creations are from the mind so we can create anything through total control of our thought alone, but whose mind thought of HUMANS in the first place? Who thought of putting those thoughts in our mind at the beginning? Are we still 'God Almighty' after all? 

At the end of the day, I do not base my faith on a gallimaufry of 'essence' from all religions and histories.

However, this book has brought a Bible verse to my attention: 

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

This verse is again repeated just the next day when I am reading Chapter 19 of 'Be the Miracle'. I was reflecting on the way I pray. Too often I do not pray like I believe it will happen, more of like a nag/complain/concession. Of course I know God has the power to do anything, but I keep repeating the same prayer every day, I keep on chanting the same sentences and right after prayer, very often I return to the state of anxiety as before, like nothing happened, like God's deaf. 
I would like to share an example from this book with you:

Let's say I call my friend Beth and ask her to have lunch with me on Thursday, and she says yes. Then I call her every 15 minutes to double-check if she wants to have lunch with me on Thursday. She'd start to wonder, Why doesn't Regina believe me? Doesn't she trust me to show up? That's how I've been with God. 
I'm an asker and a doubter.

Of course, everyone is free to pray in whatever way he/she likes. There's no rule that says, YOU ARE FORBID FROM REPEATING YOUR PRAYERS. You pray standing, sitting, kneeling, lying, before eating, while eating, while conversing, flying and every moment of you're awake. It lies with the intention, the faith, are we praying like we mean it? Are we graceful enough to receive whatever we've prayed for, or are we still taking things into our own hands? 

Pray like you received it. Thank you, Lord. :) 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Of removing birthday reminders on FB

I admit, I am no where near the description of being thoughtful. I can't remember dates well. I can't remember my friends' birthdays well. Remembering each of my immediate family members' birth dates by heart is a great recent achievement! I remember certain details of past events, but never the dates. It'll be no surprise that one day I'll forget my own birthday. Oh wait, that's quite unlikely. I would be celebrating Christmas anyway, if I ever forget about my own birthday. Not quite sure what will happen for my future anniversaries though so I'm hoping my better half would complement me in this sense. :p

I could still recall the great sense of relief that I have when Friendster and Facebook came with the birthday reminders. People just put up their birth dates without having their long-time friends to ask the awkward question: When is your birthday again? (Yes, this author agrees with the unspoken rule of close friends are obligated to know each others' birthday)

But here's my point: It's not that I do not want to remember these important dates, it's just that why can't we just enjoy these 'services' available? Good for you, if you are a thoughtful person, gifted with the ability to remember dates accurately. However, why not put in more effort in celebrating and remembering the moments with the person instead of plainly memorising the dates then give half-hearted, last minute birthday wishes? I do not know about you, but there's this situation on Facebook trending nowadays: People removing their birthdays from FB. It's ok if you want to keep your birthday a secret, it's your privacy, I have no problem with that. :) The problem arises when you deliberately remove your birthday with the intention of testing  who 'your true friends are', and 'those insincere people' like yours truly, who has horrible memory on numbers and dates forgets to send you a birthday wish, and subsequently the victim starts blaming all those friends that didn't send a birthday wish at the strike of 12 midnight, and finally resolves to declare a cold war against all those morons friends.

I'm just upset and extremely confused. Why opt for the difficult way that will hurt a friendship when there's obviously free, easy reminders around.That's what reminders are for right? It is so that we can remember important dates, prepare and celebrate together! In all past circumstances which I was reminded of a loved one's  birthday ahead of time, it was all happy memories shared and to be reminisce together one day. There you have it, you're happy, I'm happy, we're both happy - win-win situation, happy ending, why not?! I know, some people say, if you are concern enough for a person, you will remember every single thing of that person. I understand, of the gazillions wishes you get on the wall on past birthdays, you wish to segregate the genuine wishes from the half-hearted ones on this special day of yours so you took this radical step, this risk to lose many friendships at one blow. If you wish to know the truth and a birthday wish is, in your terms, the parameter for measuring the sincerity of friendships, from this day onwards, my dear friends, let me warn you of this:

This friend here, wholeheartedly apologise if I ever forget about your big day. By this point, you ought to realise that you have a friend with super lousy memory on dates and may be the most unthoughtful person on earth and (insert whatever adjectives you like). Yes, she has been relying on Facebook or mobile's reminder to look out for people's birthdays and most important dates because whenever she jots the birthday down on a piece of paper/journal, that hard copy will be lost very soon. She has been trying hard to remember birthdays by heart but to her dismay, it doesn't seem to work very well until today. I am truly sorry. Am I a sincere friend to you? We are adults, I believe you have been blessed with a sound mind, matured enough to consider carefully. Judge yourself and take whatever actions that comforts you but please pardon me in this case for I could only ask for your forgiveness on behalf of this memory of mine. I will definitely try my best, to my knowledge and ability, to wish you a great great Happy Birthday.  :)

With or without the birthday wishes, it's still 'one year older, one year wiser' so do enjoy your day, mate!

Thursday, August 09, 2012


"Hey, you should come and help me with this," my mom said holding up a half fresh chicken with bloody looking internal organs, "so you'll know how to cut people's next time."

Now I know why did she protested so strongly when I first told her about my ambition.

About setting an ambition, I've been talking quite a bit recently about my past experiences of finally settling with medicine and whenever this happens, this whole dilemma of showing pride with honesty or hypocritically-pretending to be humble hits me. It just happens every single time. In fact, I don't know why I always get this pang of guilt talking about my past experiences/achievements, as if I have done something wrong. Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut no matter what next time. A confession: I really did do something wrong - for allowing pride taking over.

Fine, let's not even pull 'being proud' into the picture. To be genuinely humble, is extremely difficult. A person can be self-effacing, gentle, meek and 'humble' all the the time, but is the person really humble? Or is he just pretending to be humble, a hypocrite, so he can earn his rewards? Is he trying to earn praises from his friends, seniors for the sake of his resume/popularity, or is he really putting others' higher than him?

Next, how much 'humility' is humility? Where is the fine line separating humility and low self-esteem? What if I'm being so humble such that I've discredited all the blessings that God wants to me share with others, as a testimony of His love in my life, and yet here I am, keeping everything to myself? Should I share?

A friend once told me, that's not the point of humility. (I've talked to a few friends regarding this, but none seemed to give a pragmatic answer, or what a pragmatist would be fond of.)  Rather, humility is about imitating Christ. No doubt, humility has been a very central virtue of our Lord. But, what exactly is imitating Christ?

Who, being in very nature God, 
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing 
    by taking the very nature of a servant, 
    being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death 
        even death on a cross!

(Philippians 2:7-8)

Was reading this passage as a friend suggested. Then I read the whole chapter.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4)

There, that is more like a practical, clear first step of imitating Christ. :) 

Slightly more than 40 days till departure. I've been back from camp for almost 3 weeks and I'm back to madly reading. I mean, 40 days left to read whatever I like. Got bored of non-fictions, have been reading quite a few beautifully-written fictions. The stock-up session at Bookxcess in KL few weeks ago (3 books bought only) has proven to be obviously very inadequate to satisfy my craving for stories, but thank God for the another financially-able book-lover at home - my sister-in-law. Her library is amazing. So...back to reading!