Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mid March Megasale Next Year!

The final exams went ok. Im still nervous about the results though. I probably did ok for the practical exams, but I am really unsure about my performance in the multiple choice questions. For the first time I ticked off an answer labelled "X". As in ABCEDFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWX. Yeah there were that many choices so it wasnt exactly multiple choice. It's too hit and miss...too many educated guesses for comfort. I'll be returning to Malaysia on the 10th of December after the supplementary paper (I hope I wont have to sit) on the 8th.

I am now staying at Farrer Hall until the 10th of December as Richardson Hall is being renovated. Needless to say, moving rooms was a bloody nightmare. The new room is half the size of my old one and I simply couldnt fit all my stuff! I counted walking down the stairs from my room 44 times carrying stuff. I also had to carry the stuff up a flight of stairs to my Farrer Hall room. So here's how much I walked:
  • 44 trips down a flight of stairs in Richardson Hall with goods/luggage.
  • 44 trips back up the stairs to carry more stuff.
  • 30 trips up a flight of stairs in Farrer Hall with goods/luggage.
  • 30 trips down to make more trips.
  • 5 trips to a commercial storage facility to dump my bulky items (books, shelves etc)
Unbelievable. Freaking unbelievable. It took two days and I am proud to do it almost all by myself. Special thanks to Nigel for help with the fridge. I realize how much junk I have accumulated over the years. I need to discard/sell what I dont need and focus on what is really needed.

If I had learnt anything over the past year, it is how little you need to actually be happy. My most used cooking utensil is also my cheapest - a $15 rice pot i use for making soups and noodles almost daily.

Cafe 9E2 (my room in Richo) is desperately needing an overhaul next year. Too much space is being used for things that are used too infrequently. I am sort of a purveyor or good high quality items - from temperature stable cookware to a variety of glassware. What I'm trying to say is:

Mid March MEGASALE next year for all you Richo residents! Pay LESS than 50% of the normal retail price for all items.

Here's some of the things that will be available:

  • Executive chair. Solid, high quality construction unlike your typical officeworks chair. Height and tilt adjusttable! Leather with aero mesh on the main sitting area (the same type you find on cars, prevents your butt from getting sweaty). RRP $250. You Pay 90.
  • Evaporative air cooler. RRP $150. You Pay $50.
  • Samsung SCX 4500. Arguably the nicest looking laser printer / copier around. This goes for USD459 on Amazon. Comes with brand new toner cartridge costing $120 (3000 sheets @ 5%). Total RRP ~570. You Pay $299
  • Hot Plate. Local australian brand. Ideal for having steamboats and hotpot meals with friends! RRP $40. You Pay $20.
  • Model 79 Epson inkjet printer with five new unopened cartridges. RRP $90. You Pay $30
  • Nonstick 5mm thick aluminium pot. Ideal for instant noodles. RRP $25. You Pay $10
  • Tefal Steamer. For the health conscious person. RRP $70. You Pay $35
  • Quality Glassware RRP2.50. You Pay $1
  • Medical / Biomed / Health Sciences Textbooks!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Update 2: The 11th Hour


The day of reckoning.

The Monash MBBS program no longer has mid-year assessments for Year 4. That effectively means EVERY SINGLE EXAM is bundled at the end of the year.

11/11, 12/11, 16/11, 18/11, and 19/11.

First two exams will cover Paediatrics, Obstetrics (childbirth) and Gynaecology (women's health), General Practice (GP land!), and Psychiatry. That is followed by two days of playing doctor....the observed structured clinical exams (OSCEs). To finish it off, the final paper is vertically integrated - a fancy way of saying there's 4 f**king years of medicine rolled up into one three hour paper.

The stupid thing is, I'm still on placement 5 days a week. My placement ends on 5/11(!!!).

Study is impossible. Too much to cover. I dont even know where to really start!

My facebook account is disabled until further notice. Robot Unicorn Attack was taking up too much of my time (the fb version is linked to weekly high scores between your friends!)

Back to work.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Update: Psyched Out!

Just a quick little update for the five or so return visitors (who are you ppl??) who come back to check on this blog every day. No picture as I simply had no time.

So much has happened in the past two months I dont know where to begin. I have learnt so much about people; so much about myself. Why are people the way they are? Different states of mood. One's perception of self...of reality. I think I finally know why my weight dropped to 45kg after coming to melbourne. The more I learn about psychiatry the more I started to recognize the rut that I was in merely two years ago.

Delving into psychiatry, I cannot help but observe people. How the past affects the present. The antics of those who desire attention. The antics of the withdrawn. Undisclosed desires, and how people hide them. Behaviour, actions and reactions all reflect their inner sense of wellbeing and whatever negative feelings or unresolved desires that plague their conscience. Response to attention differs markedly, and different people seek attention (consciously or subconsciously) using different methods; creating a true reflection of their inner self.

I have less than 10 weeks to prepare for the fourth year exams. Yet I have 8 more weeks of placement at the Alfred Hospital in the city. It means waking up at 6am every day and getting home around 6.30pm. The work was starting to overwhelm me. I was starting to panic. To lose sleep.

But as luck would have it, stars align and chemicals collide.

I found it.

Or did it find me?

A sense of tranquility.


That which my right hand possess.

Did I transgress?

No...I couldnt have.

So positive.

This cannot be wrong.




Best Eid ever.

Selamat Hari Raya!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Status Anxiety; Update; Pause

"If we were completely ignored by everyone we come across, it would be worse than being tortured"
- William James

"The reward we really want [in life] is attention"
- Alain de Botton

The next blog post will be a very significant one. It will relate strongly to one of the key themes of this blog. I plan to use it as a prelude to The Real Game of Love (currently under construction). It's all about attention and how everyone craves it whether they realize it or not. Summary below:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Let Light Of Day; Shine.

For the first time in months I look forward to seeing the light of day. Prior to this, I was really stressed out. Night shifts didnt help either. I was sleeping really late, and getting only around 5 hours of sleep a day on average. I didnt feel like eating, I didnt feel like eating, I didnt feel like doing anything really and had no real motivation to even study.

Life Balance
Our lives are governed broadly by two competing systems in the body. We could be at a restful state, or we could be at an active state. In a restful state, your body tries to take care of itself; digesting food and repairing damage at a cellular level. In an active state,...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Comment Policy

Due to the circumstances, all comments are now moderated. I check my mail frequently for work and should approve your comment within a day.
  • To protect google pagerank, comments with excessive use of obscenities will not be approved.
  • Verifiable comments will almost certainly be approved.
  • Anonymous comments that have no content related to the post will not be approved.
  • Anonymous comments that have content related to the post WILL be approved.
  • Anonymous comments that have some content related to the post but also contains obscenities or ad hominems MAY be approved depending on how much relevant content there is.
  • As always, marketing spam will be instantly deleted.
Commenting Guidelines:
1) Make sure that your reply is relevant to the post you are commenting in!
2) Avoid obscenities.
3) Avoid ad hominems.
4) Try to use a verifiable identity. If not, do use a pseudonym for easy future reference.

I accept criticism openly and I will not delete a comment just because it says something bad about me. People comment all sorts of things about me and I dont really mind as long as the comment also has some kind of value to add to the discussion. However, replies that are focused on attacking my character and add no/minimal value to the discussion will understandably not be approved.

If you feel that your comment has been unfairly rejected/deleted, please contact me directly via facebook, email or telephone (link). I look forward to hearing from you. I do receive emails of all comments and I can re-send them to you on request.

Alot of effort has been made to ensure compliance with blogger terms and conditions. Names and places are changed when appropriate. Occasionally, images grabbed from the internet are used, but those are of low resolution and used to illustrate a point. They do not cause detriment to the value of the original work and are covered under fair use guidelines.

I am a proponent of free speech and have avoided deleting comments (even extremely antagonistic ones posted anonymously) for a very long time. Recently however there has been anonymous spam on multiple posts. Somebody is obviously upset with what I had said (read Two Tragedies) and has been posting hateful comments in multiple blog posts from the same computer (tracked with cookies, not just IP matching). I dont usually delete comments, but this was an exception. There were two other commenters who also posted on multiple posts with irrelevant content. They have been deleted. My apologies for the inconvenience.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Two Tragedies: A 21st Century Witch Hunt

pew pew...

At 3.30AM on a weekday, a horrible automobile accident took place. A speeding sedan had crashed into the road divider and entered the opposing lane. An innocent woman driving a small hatchback unfortunately crashed into the car. The sedan flipped over and the two people in the car were critically injured. The woman was not so lucky...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Golden Beans

Golden Beans

I've been getting about 4 hours of sleep on weekdays for the past few weeks. Things are really starting to pick up and I am really getting a feel of what I'll need to do as a doctor. Although medicine can be really simple and straightforward in practice, getting a grip of it requires alot of mental connections and associations to be made. I feel guilty for missing clinical learning opportunities and that is why I will try to make it even if it means waking up 4 hours after going to bed.

In this post I talk about My Story. Why I sometimes feel guilty and how I ended up as an international medical student. I also discuss the answers to some questions I get asked all the time. I am writing this as I feel many Malaysians do not know the real situation abroad, especially with regards to government policy on international medical scholarships (it's less racially biased than you think!). Next is a hypothesis why 16 straight A's will not necessarily secure you a scholarship in medicine. Finally, I will talk about what I think is important for a highschool student thinking of applying for a scholarship in medicine: Tips For Securing A Medical Scholarship And Getting Into Medschool.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Why Of Winning In The Game of Life

Epicurean Delights...

It tends to sneak up on you without you realizing it. Yet it has a deeper impact on your well being than you may realize. This post is all about why stress is bad for you and why it's important to live your life to the fullest.

Without realizing it, stress is also linked to pleasure seeking behaviour. This nearly consumed me last year, and I kick myself now for not realizing it sooner. So how did it nearly destroy me? Read on...

Monday, May 03, 2010

Infinite Loop

An Infinite Loop
The birth unit was pretty quiet at times, and I did think about some things I wouldnt have otherwise. About work and play, and social life, and how everything comes together. About the hedonistic pleasures that threaten to consume me, and the work that balances it. About friends and connectedness. I believe I have finally found the answer to a question I have been asking myself for some time: Why is it that I do not seem to derive the same pleasure from human interaction as other people?

My mind used to be filled with ideas and speculations, and due to the subjectivity of the matter my mind was getting stuck in infinite loops. The answer is really simple. It's elegant. It's straightforward. It makes sense. It has much to do with the pleasure principle (link), and how one derives pleasure from the world. I feel like knocking myself on the head for not realizing it sooner! Change is a natural consequence of this basic understanding of reality. It should reflect in my personality in the coming months. Time will tell. More on this in my next blog post.

Some Thoughts From Birth Unit
I took the picture with my mobile phone. It's published in black and white because the really bloody, colour version of it will put many people off.

This baby did a somersault inside mum. There is no other way this could have happened. Pretty cool eh. Got to deliver a few babies last week, and I have got to say that a natural birth is alot more bloody than I ever expected. Im no longer curious why so many women die in third world countries from childbirth. I mean, women bleed, and bleed, and bleed. They are literally shaking after the baby is born. Baby itself is very slippery and covered in slime. They tend to come out blue as the baby is starved of oxygen during delivery (they turn pink a few minutes after birth). The head pops out first, and the baby usually has this really cute what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-here look on his/her face at this stage. Even with baby's eyes closed, you could tell baby is frowning. It's cute as. I also learnt another word to call a baby - Bub - Awww...

LADIES, if you want to have kids, have em early, have em young. Maybe it's just chance, but from my observation, older (30-40yo) primies (first time mothers) tend to struggle through labour. The baby's head is the size of a small grapefruit, or medium orange. Stuffing such a large thing down your vag isnt easy, and seems to be more difficult as a woman who has never had children gets older. I've seen a few babies literally fly out of mum in under an hour after entering the second stage of labour - these women were under 25. I've seen some babies (in older primies) who just dont seem to want to come out, or the mother is not elastic enough for the baby to come out. So the doctor comes in and helps deliver the baby with a vacuum cup to help pull the baby out. Not a pleasant thing for baby, and mum needs to get cut with a scissors (yes, down there) to help the baby get out. It's a bloody sight to behold.

If you're thinking of a caesarian section, know that it is even more bloody. The cut on the surface of your tummy looks ok, but the surgeon has to go through three layers to get to the baby. There is a layer of muscle, and the womb below it. The womb gets 15% of all the blood that comes out of your heart, and it needs to get cut to let the baby out. So yes, it is a bit of a bloodbath sometimes. And you will be looking at stitches on three layers of your body, the womb, the muscle layer, and the skin. If you saw these stitches being done you will probably never want to have a caesarian section.

I have just completed a week on the night shift at the birth unit of Dandenong hospital. Shift work really throws you off balance and I find that my sleeping routines are completely out of whack now...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Home Espresso Guide

Espresso is a method of making coffee. A small amount of water (~30ml) is forced through about a heaped tablespoon of ground coffee. With just the right grind, good technique, fresh beans, and a decent machine, magic happens. The coffee flavours become infused into the water along with aromatic oils from the bean. An emulsion is created, and it drips down like syrup into the cup. Done right, this syrup will be well balanced. Done wrong, it will be sour and/or bitter and just terrible to drink. I am convinced that a great majority of people have never tasted a proper, well extracted espresso made with fresh beans as commercial establishments are simply not up to scratch. I have tasted some good espresso though, at family owned Italian restaurants that rely on repeat customers every morning. They are not as flash and spunky as the new Starbucks across the street, but they genuinely make good espresso, with a seasoned hairy chested italian guy (who actually drinks the coffee he makes) behind the counter instead of some random part time highschool kid.

Add steamed milk to it and you have a flat white. Add steamed milk with a bit of foam and it becomes a latte. Add steamed milk with lots of foam and it becomes a cappucino. Stir in some chocolate sauce before pouring in the milk and it becomes a mocha. Pour it straight onto icecream and it becomes an affogato.

When was the last time you ordered an espresso ('short black') or an americano ('long black') from Starbucks or Gloria Jean? Most commercial outlets make barely passable espresso that is then diluted with heaps of milk to mask the bad flavour! The average size of a latte in Italy, the birthplace of espresso is only about 160ml. Compare that to the smallest 300ml cup at Starbucks and you get the idea.

This mega blog post (months in the making!) is going to be all about Espresso and contains what I've learnt from two years trying to make the best espresso possible at home. I live in a small room on campus. If I can do it, so can you!

TLDR: The Executive Summary
1) It's all about The Beans
2) The Grind
3) The Machine
4) The Art
5) Espresso Based Drinks
6) Getting Started (on the cheap)
7) Troubleshooting Guide With Pictures

Appendix: What is NOT an espresso machine.
Appendix: (under construction) Essential Accessories and Glassware.

Click below to read the full post:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Like Boiling Water

Medicine is like boiling water. It's simple really. Here's why...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Crema Conspiracy

A long black / Americano: 150ml hot water with a half teaspoon of sugar, topped with a shot of espresso made from freshly roasted week old Ethopian Harrar coffee beans. The crema floats on top.

Crema is the emulsion that floats on top of a properly made cup of espresso. It's like a foam containing all sorts of aromatics and coffee oils. Espresso fanatics worship it, and it seems to be present in every good espresso, but is crema really the holy grail of coffee? James Hoffman took a closer look, and discovered what many a coffee-geek will find difficult to accept.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

How To Study Medicine

It's really much simpler than this.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beginning With The End In Mind.

To begin with the end in mind. This really really long massive wall of text is a reflection of what I feel medicine is all about...which in turn will form the basis of my next (long massive wall of text) about my study approach this year. First up, a two questions I get asked all the time...

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Hey! My mommy says im special!

When I made my facebook account ages ago (you know, the time when TV's were black n white and "friendster" was popular), I accidently set my birthday to the wrong date. I noticed it a few months later, but decided to keep it to see how many people would remember my real birthday.

A grand total of three people (excluding family of course) remembered my real birthday. For that they will be awarded karma points and be blessed by angels. One of them will be getting a free cup of coffee... and I am going to bring someone lots of food to make that someone fat. (=

I would also like to thank everyone who wished me happy birthday on facebook for celebrating what shall from now on be known as Ezra's Facebook Birthday. Thanks for all the well wishes! I'll get down to replying you guys this weekend. It's been one hell of a week.

So when was my real birthday? lol. Here's a hint. It's somewhere on this blog =D

Ezra is officially ONE facebook years old.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Workstation Tips

One week into MED4051, I have finally cleared up my desk. Initially, my workstation had serious ergonomic problems. By January 2009, I was messing up my lower back and was even starting to stand with a slight slant to one side. So I made real efforts to improve the ergonomics of my workstation. The final phase of my plan was just completed last weekend well within the $200 budget set aside for it. The keyboard tray and monitor arm are the latest additions to the workstation and it pretty much clears up all the space on my desk (picture of old workstation at the end of post). Now I can actually open a book and read without a keyboard getting in the way.

It took a year and a half for my desk to become what it is today. Here's what I have learnt.

Things To Consider When Setting Up A Workstation:

1) Computer: Always make sure your elbows are greater than 90 degrees when typing/mousing. Your keyboard should be low so you dont place strain on your wrist. Your chair should be adequately adjustable for comfortably typing (relatively high) and reading books on the table (relatively lower).

2) Books: Yes, a computer is great and all but in the end you still need books! Make sure you have space for books. Last year I spent alot of time in the library precisely because of that. I had a desk, but no space for books!! And my chair was so high I had to slouch just to read a book on the table.

3) Keyboard: Keyboards must be easy to touch-type with minimal effort. Forget gimmicky media buttons you'll never use. Go for a keyboard that has a comfortable keystroke. If you are a touch typist like me, notebook style keys are ideal.

4) Mouse: Your mouse should be light and precise enough to be accurate without having to move your wrist too much. Touch your palm on the table and hold your mouse with three fingers. Set your mouse sensitivity such that you can move your mouse pointer diagonally across the screen (and back) without moving your palm? If you could, then could you also perform daily tasks at that sensitivity? Some mice simply arent accurate enough at high sensitivities. Heavier mice tend to be fatiguing. Go for a light, sensitive, yet accurate mouse that's under 80g.

5) Lighting: This is very very important. There must not be any glare when you are reading, yet the light must be bright enough for you to read comfortably. The trick is to angle the lamp such that it is never in front of you. Notice how my reading light is positioned way to the left? That is intentional. It means that when I am reading a book in front of me, there is never any glare as the light is coming from the side. Placing the same lamp in front next to the speaker (where it would logically go) looks good in movies but doesnt work in real life. If possible, an additional soft lamp (I have one on the right) will reduce contrast and ease eye-strain over the long run. It also looks good.

6) Clutter: A cluttered desk can be distracting. Not only will you not have space for books, but it reduces focus on whatever you're doing. Keep your workstation clear (that includes your windows desktop).

7) Backup: All your files (Pictures, personal videos, work related documents and songs.) _MUST_ exist separately on two different hard drives. In other words, get an external hard disk and make a mirror copy of everything every few months. That's what the small black thing beside my computer is. It's there just to keep a copy of things.

8) Refreshments: Water and some nibbles within grasping distance. It's not in the picture, but I pretty much have a pantry right next to me. A sufficiently-large-so-you-dont-need-to-refill-it-every-two-hours, spill resistant, water container comes in really handy too.

I love my new workstation. That said, it still has it's kinks.
- The mouse doesnt really fit under the keyboard tray (too tall)
- The Kensington gas arm is superbly solidly built (it weighs 8kg *phew*) and is rated for 17"-21" 1996 (when it was released). I hadnt checked when i bought it and apparently in 1996 monitors those monitors weighed over 8kg. Fast forward to 2008 when I bought my panel and it's a measly 5kg. So now I cant lower my monitor as it's not heavy enough. Im thinking of tying some fishing lead weights to the back or something...
- The chair is too high for reading (even at the lowest setting) if the roller wheels are attached. Hence I took them out but now the chair is a pain to move around. I need to find some sliders to put on the chair leges.

Ezra's 2009 workstation

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cleanup 2010

I recently re-established contact someone. She's the girl in this post from April 2008. She does not use social networking sites (facebook) and rarely ever pops up online on instant messaging. I havent seen or heard from her in almost two years.

It made me realize something. Human relationships are ultimately independent of the internet. So what if you stalk and watch the status updates of a thousand people you barely know? It does not make you closer to someone, and cloggs up your brain with unnecessary information about people who dont necessarily care about you in return.

Facebook will now be more focused. More relevant. I will only see updates from people whom I really know are my friends. Those who reciprocated empathy. Those whom I care about. Those whom I wont hesitate to call if I broke a leg. Allowances will be made for people likely to be important to my career (read: Friends from the faculty I dont really know well), but they will be appropriately classified as work related contacts and their status updates will be hidden from my view. There will also be allowances for new people I would like to establish contact with.

Robin Dunbar (read about Dunbar's Number) observed that social groups tend to lose cohesiveness after the size exceeded 150 people. He estimated that people could maintain contact with roughly 150 people at once. Any more and social connections will start to collect dust and break. As a young guy, a majority of my friends use facebook, hence it offers a pretty good representation of my social circles, both past and current. Despite having a pretty strict no-add policy, my friends list has ballooned to over 500 people. I dare say that I only have about ten people on that list whom I would call without hesitation if I broke a leg. Only half of them are in Australia. The target is to trim my facebook contacts to about 100 people, with the remainder (estimated to be around 100) consisting of people I recently met and wish to build bridges and those relevant to my career path.

Apologies to those deleted from my friends list in facebook and MSN. I just have to stop this flood of status updates that I want yet dont want to read =S. Even if you cannot reach me on facebook, know that my current contact details can be found from this blog (about me page) and I would be glad to re-establish contact. It's not going to be easy, but it has to be done. The criteria for selection has been highlighted in the previous blog post.

Removed 314 people from my friends list (updated 25th Jan). Final tally:
- 87 med acquaintences added to facebook list
- about 20 new people (ie. people I'd like to get to know better)
- about 90 friends

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The First Ezra Plan

2010 begins with a more balanced view of the world and the opportunities available to me. The negativity that has plagued me is no more. Major health concerns have been resolved and I have the strength and vigor to put my life plans into motion. Spiritual issues have been resolved and my mind is at peace. Through experience I now know what needs to be done and I find myself at a very critical stage in my life.The coming years will likely determine the course that my life will take. Career goals have to be met, but more importantly, who I choose to mix and empathize with will determine my social circles, and the real course my life would take. I also have to find someone worthy to spend my life with, and the current trend is worrying - the most worthy women from my generation are being snapped up even as I write this article.

Status Report, January 2010:
Fundamentals: Physical wellbeing finally adequately taken care of with kinesthetic knowledge improving steadily. Spiritual issues resolved. Connectedness improving though still not satisfactory. Mental health improving with a more positive outlook on life and new things.
Career: On track. Unsatisfactory progress in 2008. More effort needed to integrate ideas/concepts on various subspecialties. Anatomy and histology knowledge lacking.
Relationships (platonic): Ties with too many social circles from scattered, unrelated groups of people. They tend to lack depth. A solid core social circle is needed.
Relationships (romantic): Actively dating. Not attached. Up trend clearly noted following improvements in physical wellbeing and greater connectedness. More worthy women starting to reciprocate romantic interest.
Arts: I've discovered that I have a rather low pitched singing voice. Think Creed and John Mayer. My first cover, Check Yes Juliet, was sung one whole octave lower which is why it didnt sound too good. I could barely hit the high notes of my second cover Over It.

The First Ezra Plan, 2010

Broad Goals: To win in the game of life - Career and relationships, built on a solid foundation of a healthy mind, body and spirit.

[Fundamentals: Physical] A maintenance program at the gym with a better alternating routine to maximize efficacy of compound exercises. Hope to hit a realistic 67kg target this year. A proper stretching routine will also be implemented. There is a grave need to improve hip flexibility for everything from dance to pool (snooker). I can now confidently do wide grip pull-up's. Next up: Handstand pushups.

[Fundamentals: Nutrition] This underpins all aspects of my life. Bottom line: 2000 Cal with 70g of protein, fruit and green leafy vegetables a day. My diet in Melbourne has improved by leaps and bounds since 2007, but there is still room for improvement. A hybrid asian/western cooking style will be used. There were two very important culinary discoveries last year: Variations of the ricepot meal and the humble bean/tuna salad. Being able to prepare food efficiently and consistently is important for maintaining good nutrition over the long run.

[Fundamentals: Career] I will need to devote more time to study this year, compared to almost no time spent last year (the 30 odd hours before the exams dont count). I have learnt that reading textbooks is a waste of time. Study smart. It's all about integrating knowledge and connecting all the dots in my head. This year, the focus will be on doing (workbook) patient cases one after another. Think what House MD does everytime he approaches a new case. Yeah, that's pretty much it. I will then do Q&A for topics relevant to the case. This should strengthen mental processes needed to deal with patients in the real world which is what really matters, both in practice and in my clinical exams. I plan to study for an hour a day. An infinite improvement over last year, on which most days I didnt study at all.

[Fundamentals: Spirit Core] Cognitive dissonance is no more. At peace with myself, I can now focus on what needs to be done. The ideas are all there. First Principles. Anonymously, I lift up the proverbial pen...

[Relationships: Platonic] Outreach attempts in 2009 ended up with varying levels of success. I had overstretched my mental capacity to handle human relationships. As a result, social connections ended up being too diverse and too scattered. A more focused effort is called for in order to strengthen connections with core social networks. Special attention must be placed on forming a core support group from existing social networks (or possibly new ones next year in the halls).

[Relationsihps: Romantic] There has been a steady rise in the quality of women reciprocating romantic interest in 2009. I hope this trend will continue. Last year's policy stands - I will continue to actively pursue women I find attractive who reciprocate romantic interest. I cannot determine who I will fall in love with (or who falls in love with me), but I can determine whom I choose to date.

[Sports and Recreation] With focus on the gym and kinesthetic arts I dont think I will have much time for sports, though I will try to make time for badminton. It will be more of a social thing and tie in with efforts to be more integrated into targeted social circles.

[Project GROOVE] 2009 saw my weight rise by over 20kg (Project RAM). 2010 will see me on the dance floor.

[Project VANITY] I've ignored looks for too long. Appropriate emphasis on looks and fashion is one of the things I am really looking forward to in 2010. The gym has given me more options when I shop for clothes, and I will use this to my full advantage.

[Arts: Music] I never knew I could sing until I tried. So why not try harder? I've learnt more teaching myself the guitar (from youtube!!) and singing in 2009 than I ever learnt playing the organ for years. I hope to record a few more covers this year. There is a small chance I will have time to participate in the Richardson Hall band. Was quite surprised when Simon (drummer and organizer) approached me. I may not be up to standard yet but I look forward to giving it a shot.

[Arts: Kinesthetic] Salsa once a week. Boxing circuit once a week. Hip Hop and Capoeira if possible. Capoeira is great fun and forms the basis for many freestyle hip hop moves (the same way ballet does for contemporary ballroom) but I will likely need classes as I am not yet at a level where I can explore it by myself.

[Policy: People First] Anyone who has sent me an sms knows I can take a whole day, or days, to respond. I read the message, then think about something else. It's like people simply isnt a priority in my life. By the time it gets replied, days could have passed. Something has to change about my approach to people in general. I need to place more emphasis on initiating and reciprocating attention as social situations demand. So what does it mean to put people first? Broadly, this involves thinking less of oneself and more of others, along with better outreach and sensitivity towards other people. I have to make it a point to reply messages more quickly and with empathic and meaningful replies.

[Policy: Facebook] Currently, my facebook account is a bit messy. My home page gets inundated with updates from people I barely know. There are too many random acquaintences - despite having a rather strict no-add policy (with the exception of family/relatives, I dont add people on facebook). There is a need for stricter control on who gets approved.

[Policy: Photos] I need to be more active uploading photos, especially for the purpose of strengthening social connections. Lugging around a big camera simply isnt practical, and technology has progressed to a point where cellphone point and shoot cameras are good enough for web/social use anyway. I expect most pictures taken this year to be from a cameraphone. That said, I will still probably follow the Monash Photography Club for excursions with my DSLR.

[Cleanup 2010] My facebook and MSN accounts are flooded with people I barely know. It's time to delete contacts. It's not going to be easy, but criteria would pretty much be:
(1) Am i likely to interact with him/her in the next one year?
(2) Is he/she significant to career/social progress?
(3) Can I recall doing something with him/her?
(4) Do I see myself re-establishing contact with him/her in the near future?
The target is 150 facebook contacts max. Apologies to all those affected. If you would like to re-establish contact with me, drop me a message on facebook or MSN. My current contact details can always be found here.