Archive for February, 2008

Med/Sci Library Closing Time

The demolition of the old Medical Library is well under way, and the week’s Evidence-Based Nursing and Medicine Conference has ensured that people are flocking to the Med-Sci Library to study for the upcoming examinations.

It’s very peculiar, really. With two libraries’ librarians in one library, you’d think the workload should be decreased and library hours could be extended.

Not so. It seems as though extending opening hours for medical students’ use is a relic of the past. Where once medical students would study on Sundays until late at night, now it’s a strictly 5.30pm rule.

There’s also now an amazing way they close up the library… they rupture your eardrums with terrible elevator music so loud, it can be heard from the canteen. That’s 4 storeys down and 75m away.

Location at which the music is loud but not eardrum-bursting
Med/Sci Library Outside

A very loud pre-recorded tape plays: “The library will be closing in 15min time.” It’s followed immediately by an announcement that the lights will be turned off in 5min time.

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How Many Times Can I Fail in YLL SoM?

J. was rummaging through his stuff, packing things into nice little cardboard boxes to move to his new place. He chanced upon a set of paper that he received on admission (over 4 years have passed… that’s pretty quick).

Anyway, given that some people have been retaining multiple times, J. thought he’d read through it with regards as to how long one has to pass the exams. In the YLL SoM, one gets two second chances per examination. After a borderline grade in the main paper, one goes for a viva voce (like an interview) and if he fails that, goes on to the supplementary paper.

Note that for guys who have disrupted NS, the maximum number of years they’re allowed to complete medical school is 8 years (confirmation required).

Faculty of Medicine Undergraduate Course

[selective quotation ahead]
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The Last Stretch to MBBS

My Dermatology end-of-posting test was held today.

Our clinical rotations have come to an end. No more will we stalk the wards dressed in our white coats [that spread dysentery! weee!]. No more will we introduce ourselves as “final year students preparing for exams”. No more end-of-posting tests. Just the real deal.

Well, not officially, at least. We’re not barred from the wards until Monday (25th February 2008).

Oh yeah, and I neglected to mention the general medicine (+ geriatrics/infectious diseases/dermatology) MCQ test that’s on Monday (25th February 2008) as well.

You get the idea. Onwards to final MBBS!

Medsoc Exam Packs

In a day filled with not-so-good news and alright news, it was a pleasure to end with a spot of good news: the Medical Society Exam Packs (a.k.a. the morale-boosters), distributed in bags sponsored by SingTel (“Win FREE Unlimited SMS. a SingTel Mobile Student Plan lets u text till da cows come home”).

So what’s inside? A mix of the useful and the… not-so-useful, naturally.
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Singaporean PRs, Uni Fees, and Prejudiced Writers [long]

In the Voices section (Page 26) of weekendToday on February 16-17, 2008, there are two letter responses to “Different varsity fees unfair” (Feb 15).

The article can be found here: National Service, national varsities, obligations and privileges

The Feb 15 letter was by the mother of 3 Singaporean PR sons, who was concerned about the PRs having to pay 10% more than Singaporeans, who then suggested that since male PRs have to serve national service, they should have cheaper university fees (as compared to female PRs). A peculiar notion, given that the main purpose of the fee changes is to have a clearer differentiation between Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners.

J. supposes the mother’s logic runs along the lines of: the government takes care of the people who in turn give back to the government (in the way of taxes, and defence of the nation). If there’s a clear differentiation between the PRs and Singaporeans, why shouldn’t the PRs have shorter NS stints and pay fewer taxes, or if the NS stints and taxes are the same, why shouldn’t they pay similar tuition fees? It makes sense… except it doesn’t. No matter.

Back to the thing at hand. The first letter by Ng Lai Sze, a thirtysomething Singaporean “PRs have a different view” gets the point but then goes off on a discriminatory and irrelevant point. Continue reading

Quick Comment: Song Censorship

On the way home at 10.30pm the night before, J. heard the song “Unfaithful” by Rihanna on the radio.

It went:

I might as well take [SILENCE] and put it to his head

The censored words are, of course, “a gun”.

Um. What’s the point? Are we afraid that children will hear these terrible words and be scarred or worse still, become assassins? The terrible influence of radio, especially when added to the uncensored television shows and movies with violence.

In the meantime, J. guesses the kids will just have to be happy with listening to decent lyrics like Akon’s “Smack That”.

Maybe go to my place and just kick it, like Taebo.
And possibly bend you over.
Look back and watch me
Smack that, all on the floor,
Smack that, give me some more,
Smack that, ’till you get sore
Smack that, oooh.

Chinese New Year 2008

In Singapore, having a Chinese majority population (75.2% of 3.58 million residents as of 2007, see Statistics Singapore), the single most important holiday to most people is not Christmas, Deepavali, Hari Rayan Puasa/Haji (though these holidays are the most important to the respective races), New Year, or even National Day. Its… well, the title gave it away, yes?… Chinese New Year, the date of which changes from year to year as it’s based on the lunar calendar. On Lunar New Year Eve, a rarity occurs in Singapore – most shops stop functioning in the middle of the day as people congregate at home for the reunion dinner. So it was this year.

J.’s family has a reunion dinner on the eve of CNY before heading to a neighbouring country to meet up with the extended family for an extended reunion dinner on the first day of Chinese New Year which spans 15 days (but it’s only a public holiday for 2 days). As a point of interest, it should be noted that, in the spirit of multi-racial harmony, CNY is also a public holiday in Malaysia and Indonesia, countries with a bumiputra/bumiputera majority.

Last year (2007), CNY was right smack 2 days before Obstetrics & Gynaecology exams and J., for the first time in years, was unable to do so. This year, it was time to resume the practice. Possibly the last easy one he can do. Working doctors have often had the ill-fortune to be on call on: Christmas, New Year’s Eve and now Chinese New Year’s Eve.

So it was off to Malaysia to meet up with the extended family. Once again, it was good to eat authentic Hakka food, like thunder tea and yong tau foo (steamboat for the extended family reunion dinner). It does seem to J. that every year somebody is unable to come back, likely due to the family being quite international with members in Canada, China, England, Germany, Australia, USA and Taiwan.

After being stuck in traffic on the way back via the Second Link on Saturday, J. finally returned home on Saturday evening. The next day, it was another reunion of sorts, this time with folks he had traveled with for 3 weeks approximately 5 years ago. Good stuff.

Most importantly, of course, was the respite from studying. It’s unfortunate that it’s come to an end so soon. Well now, there’s always next year to look forward to.