|i could go on for 40 days and 40 nights about my blog title and bore you to bits and pieces with 10,000 different ideas i actually had for the name of this blog but because of the 500 characters limit that is imposed upon this mechanism which, by the way, is supposed to promote free speech, i shall shorten it to just two words basically describing what the hell this is all about and who this hell belongs to.|
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
project 355: the embodiment of innocence
every time i trawl through the crowded corridors of the hospital, i see a great big melting pot of people from all over the world. Indian nationals, Chinese nationals, Burmese, Malaysians, Pinoys and the occasional Caucasian. we're just lacking a few Eskimos to complete our global collection in the hospital. despite the differences in skin color, facial features and accents, one realizes that an international working environment starts leveling out after some time. to facilitate recognition purposes, one starts categorizing people in the various stereotypes and subgroups that exist in one's mind. and before you know it, everybody looks like everybody, no matter how hard you try to stand out from everybody.
i've never been one to lie low despite how much i insist on keeping a low profile. on retrospect, it seems that my life has always been about attention-seeking. drama during the polytechnic days, taking up nursing, a blog depicting several of my sexual exploits, a bizarre fashion sense that sometimes errs on the side of bad taste. i've conditioned myself to be prominent. and prominence, is what gets work done most of the time. especially in the hospital where there are more nurses than doctors, all fighting for attention to settle things for their patients. how many Jonathans in Singapore do you know from nursing?
still, if you have never been one to play the popularity game, there are still two more ways to be outstanding without exuding attention-seeking behavior like me: being at either end of the productivity spectrum. in the rat race, it's always about productivity and how much work one gets done in the least possible time. people tend to remember those that can work well. they just seem to exude this aura of confidence in what they do. and just like a ghetto hooker who has been too busy working the streets of Boston to get her bloods tested (i've been playing too much of Def Jam: Icon, forgive me), confidence too, is infectious. of course, nobody forgets those that suck in their work because they have made mental notes to watch out for her erroneous mistakes. that's how people remember the ones who are really shitty at their jobs.
that said, the personification of both ends of the spectrum indeed do exist in my ward. one of them, would of course be Pangkeng, the definitive man when it comes to all the Chinese hoodlums in Singapore. he's big, he has a coarse tongue, and he's permanently sweating. given that, his hulking frame is not exactly easy to avoid in the squeezy and packed hospital corridors, i never fail to exchange bodily fluids with him whenever we're on the same shift. of course, all this bad stuff just melts away when one sees the way Pangkeng works. he believes in the concept of free love for all the patients under his care. this same love extends to all the staff in the ward as well. i believe he calls it 'hia ti' or in modern day English, brotherhood. and a gangsta-loving brotherhood at that. come to think of it, he's one of the few Enrolled Nurses who actually bother to question the doctors' judgment. outstanding eh?
at the other end however, we have a pixie-sized girl with a lolita fixation which she adamantly denies any existence of. she's pretty if you're a paedophile. she has small little chinky eyes which she occasionally dabs some sparkling blue eye liner on special days. she has the handwriting of an nine-year old girl who's practicing her penmanship. she's rather oblivious to all things sexual. she sometimes stand with her feet pointed inwards and when she laughs, her legs collapse inwards and her hand automatically covers her mouth. she sometimes comes to work armed with a bottle of Mark's & Spencer's hand moisturizer which i gladly help myself to. believe me, Aloe Vera trumps alcohol-based solutions anytime when it comes to the dermal layer of one's hands.
but nobody remembers her for that. rather, people take note of her because her productivity is atrocious. she never gets work done, she wants things to be done her way, she plays the blame game, and she has the ability to piss off even the nicest patients. one patient even said to me once, 'oh she's on the afternoon shift ah? i better start calling my lawyer and inking up my last will and testimony, hur hur hur'. bad work, just like love bites and lipstick marks on shirt collars, is very prominent. the doctors working in my ward call her 'The Blurness'. or maybe it's 'The Blur Nurse'. either way, i'm still rather blur about it.
i knew The Blurness way before Pangkeng came into the story. back then, she was still this innocent girl who just went about doing her own things in her own manner. she was never the type to use words like 'fuck' or even 'chee bye' for that matter. she preferred terms like 'make love' and 'down there'. of course, the whole situation was turned topsy-turvy with the introduction of Pangkeng. he works with her most of the time and he dislikes it. he spends most of his time covering up the gaping holes that she leaves behind in her work, which really irritates him to bits. and when the brute is angered, the brute starts getting sarcastic and vulgar. to tell the truth, Pangkeng uses more vulgarities than usual when he communicates with her. and given her lolita nature, he likes to tease her with sexual advances:
Pangkeng (to The Blurness): Hoi. Can you give me a blowjob?
The Blurness (in her whiney, child-like voice): Eeeyurrr. You are so disgusting! I'm a girl you know (clenches her thighs together with feet pointing outwards). Anyway, you are so horrible! I would rather give all my patients blowjobs than give you one!
awww... such innocence. how not to love a girl like that?
Saturday, July 28, 2007
project 355: the world's greatest loser
i've just realized that i seem to have this propensity to lose a lot of my earthly possessions. it happens at least once a while. so much so that i suspect that somewhere in heaven, there's a gigantic lost and found container that stores the souls of all my missing items. if you look into that container, you would find a wide myriad of bizarre items like condoms, nipple rings, coins, stamp books, story books, keys, ear studs, jewelry, etc. may they rest in peace.
surprisingly though, i have yet to lose a single mobile phone, wallet, music player, laptop, PDA; anything that amounts to relatively big sums of cash. most of these items that i have just mentioned are stuff that people would more often that not, lose via theft.
i guess for most parts of my life, i have had the great fortune of being low-key enough to not be a target for theft. it's either that or i have very bad taste in general. i mean, who would want to steal a ratty Paul Frank wallet that's filled with minimal cash, a nursing license, banking cards, several spa memberships, my 11B and my identity card (IC)? come to think of it, my IC features a picture of me when i was eleven years of age, looking as dashing as the buttock of a 132kg Chinese man. couple that with my 11B which has a very unflattering shot of me (many whom have seen it said that i look like a recruit fresh from the Chinese Communist Army), and you should have enough reasons to not steal my wallet.
i can't think of anybody who would have any motive to steal any of my stuff except for greed in general. and when it comes to people in general, i'm very chummy, if not at least genial, with them. this is why i know that most of the stuff that i have lost in my entire lifetime is due to my own doing. which is why, my guilt-laden heart goes out to these casualties of my carelessness and forgetfulness. thus, here's an ode to my losses (insert sentimental 'heal-the-world' type tune here).
FOUR THINGS THAT I HAVE LOST IN ALL 22 YEARS OF MY LIFE
each time i'm out of the house, i would at least have two cigarette lighters with me. when i'm at home, the number triples (that's a lie, it's closer to ten actually). i'm not sure if my fellow smokers out there are experiencing the same thing, but i lose at least one lighter per week. sometimes a colleague borrows it from me and i couldn't be bothered to get it back. at other times, i leave it in my cargo pants pocket or nursing uniform pocket (that's the problem with having more than the standard three pockets on your pants) and the laundry puts out whatever sparks that's left in the love-hate between the lighter and me. in fact, it pisses me off when i lose my lighter because that would mean scanning the crowd for fellow smokers. and when you're in the hospital wearing the nurse's uniform, it's one of the hardest things to do. but you can generally tell smokers apart from the crowd. the yellowed teeth, the bulging pockets, the look of angst after a smoke, funky smells, etc. it's a minor inconvenience, but no less irritating.
Earrings & Ear Studs
what's an earring if it doesn't come in a pair? especially if you're the proud owner of a pair of ear piercings. it is most inconvenient therefore, that i'm always losing my ear studs. usually because i don't wear them at home and neither do i wear them at work. the parents don't really fancy their sons with ear holes. they would have being literally 'gunning' for a daughter if they wanted to dress their kids up with ear pieces. which is why i normally put on my ear jewelry on the way out. this usually results in me dropping either the ear stud or the piece that secures the ear stud in place. and believe me, looking for gray-colored stuff on a large amount of concrete is like looking for a single strand of hay in a stack of needles. i actually have a large collection of one-sided ear studs at home which i don't wear anymore. they don't call me the 'widow-maker' for nothing, y'noe.
Keys At Work
in my entire life, i have only lost my house keys once. in my entire time working at this current hospital however, i have lost my locker key more than ten times. out of those ten times, i have done the 'lost & found' three times, lost the spare key four times, and replaced the lock another three times. currently, i have lost both the original fourth key and the spare, which is quite irritating. it's not so much about locker security that i'm worried about because the only things i keep in my locker are my black Air Force Ones and a pencil case filled with kilometrico pens. nothing worth stealing unless you are one to hoard 'em ol' skool sneakers. the main irritation that comes with losing my locker key derives from the fact that my lady boss would always harp on me whenever it happens. and you know how women are like when they start nagging. you could get Polly to put a kettle on and do it in a French maid costume as well.
which is why since i lost the fourth key during the previous month, i have decided to do away with keys once and for all. applying what i had learned during my secondary school physics class, i crowbarred my locker open with a pair of nurse's scissors. that was the easy part. the hard part was having to use raw brute force to bend the lock till the locker could be shut without it getting in the way. but ten minutes of applied physics and months of gym training paid off. now, my locker can actually be closed without a key. ditto for my lady boss' naggy mouth as well. okay lah, at least until the next audit comes about when they will launch into a massive manhunt for missing keys.
since we're dealing with the topic of loss, i might as well talk about my first time as well. in fact, i have never shared this with anyone else other than ex-boyfriends. it is weird that nobody has asked and i'm actually quite thankful for that. simply because they weren't magical moments where i saw color in my life for the first time and it wasn't exactly mind-blowing as well.
i have always personified my virginity as a virtuous church-going girl. one who has sworn to lose her virginity to a decent guy who truly loves her and wants to make her first time a pleasurable experience. but of course, as my favorite saying goes: Man proposes, but God disposes.
my first blowjob was via cruising. back in the secondary school days when i learned about the concept of cruising for sex in the toilets, i was clueless about how to go about asking for sex and safety precautions. it was basically an older man, an ah pek to be precise. he was fat, he was ugly and the dirty deed was done in the even dirtier location of the public toilet. rather far from what the church-going girl envisioned her first time to be. i remember trying to avoid stepping on the urine puddles, all the while inhaling the putrid stench of shit. and the image that stuck in my mind today was that of a short and fat penis.
the first fuck was not that bad at least. this was when church-going girl was slowly transforming into a slutty cheerleader of sorts. she's still out and about with a bad 80s hairdo and netted stockings, but deep down inside she was still looking for that special something. special what she didn't know. but it was special all the same. so she agreed to hook up with this Malaysian hairstylist who brought her home to a rented apartment. amidst broken English and plenty of Mandarin, they managed to have some civilized sex in a bathtub with her getting screwed in them yonder regions. but it was the aftermath that made her swore that she would never do the same again. bloody stools, painful defecation and an overall feeling of being a slut. it was with that sentiment that virginity had found her way into that lost and found box in heaven.
at least now her previous owner's learned his lesson and is getting way better sex than her.
My Enid Blyton Book
this one's for sentiment's sake. kids tend to lose things very easily. prolly cos they just don't having a single care in the world other than collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards and completing their homework so that they can watch the next episode of Shaman King. having led a deprived childhood, i wasn't like that. i was terrified of losing things because a big scolding would be in tow for each item that i lose. it was because of this fear, that i guarded my possessions with care during my childhood. well, i was the proud owner of an Enid Blyton book during the primary school days. i can't remember the title now for the life of me, but i do recall the front cover having a picture of a teddy bear with a kite tail. it was my favorite book, so much so that i colored in every single picture in the book. so you could imagine how much fear and sadness there was when i found my Enid Blyton book missing. i panicked. i even reported to my form teacher in the hopes that she perhaps might launch a massive hunt for my book. even a trip to the school's lost and found box reveal nothing other than various items typical of a schooling child. umbrellas, sweaters, textbooks, water bottles, etc. nothing that resembled an Enid Blyton book though. till today, i have no idea whether it was stolen or missing. i hope it was stolen though. at least i know my art is being appreciated.
of course, the list does not just stop there. because unlike my childhood, these days i tend not the guard my things at all. i could leave my cell and wallet lying around on a public table and still be sure that it'll be around when i return. countless colleagues and friends have repeatedly reminded me about the perils of leaving stuff lying around. but you know what they say: it takes one to know one. it's prolly the wrong quote, but the point is, that i don't think i'll really feel the pinch of loss until i have experienced loss myself. i guess it's good that i still have this innate trust in humankind to not take my stuff away.
try asking that church-going girl about humankind though. i bet she would would rip your ass apart.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
project 355: fat boy and his slim chances
i've always believed in the fragility of social mechanics. and this is especially poignant in the workplace. it just takes a few minute nuts and bolts like insufficient staffing or overworking the staff, to cock up the machine. in the instance of my ward, a lot of things have been happening lately, mainly due to the introduction of new players in the game. remember my preceptee and the new bunch of staff nurses that just completed their Foundation Program? those are the nuts and bolts that i'm talking about. apparently, my preceptee (or should i now say ex-preceptee? but more on that later), the fat boy with the insecurities and the girlfriend in the same workplace as him, is really headed down the path of condemnation. everyone has taken to calling him 'Fat Boy Slim' after Pangkeng coined the term. it's mean and it's quite horrid actually. but everytime we mention the magic words, Pangkeng and i would start singing 'Right about now, the funk soul brothers'. sometimes we get so immersed in the song that we start popping and locking, to the amusement of the colleagues. how can it be wrong, when it feels so right?
as for FBS, he is fast becoming a CRIC worker. everybody has noticed that he can spend the entire shift, ambling within the vicinity of case notes and not wanting to venture anywhere near the patients. while going through my clinical charts the other day, i kept hearing FBS begging all his juniors for help to do almost everything. 'hey, can you help me disconnect the drip?' 'hey can you help me bring 25/3 to the toilet to pee?' 'hey can you help me clear the dressing set?' all his juniors get extremely irritated with him because he never helps with any of the menial tasks. most of these things could be done himself, but i guess he was literally throwing his weight about. not surprising, one of his juniors got fed up with his incessant requests the other day and finally blew up in front of him. she slammed a clipboard down in front of him and asked him to do it himself. this particular colleague is a Guangzhou girl who seldom lets anything piss her off. it's almost like Jesus raging out when he saw the vendors hawking their wares in the House of God.
since Guangzhou girl was no longer keen to help him, he started asking another colleague for help. this colleague was assigned to room 26, whereas FBS was in room 25. so on top of having to entertain room 26's crap, she had to now settle FBS' bull. it was no surprise therefore that she also blew up like Mt. Krakatoa within the hour. it takes a lot to piss off a nurse, given that they have a high tolerance for bullshit. but it takes the ultimate to piss off TWO nurses in one shift. and apparently, that's what FBS is capable of. thank the heavens therefore, that FBS is no longer under my care. given that FBS is assigned to room 25 and i'm almost always in room 26, the ward sisters have decided to exchange FBS for a much better preceptee. and one that's really easy on the eyes indeed.
my new preceptee is rather pretty, very slim and owns a car. we haven't reached the stage whereby there's the all-inclusive preceptor-preceptee perk of free car rides to the nearest train station. but i think we're getting there. she works hard. she actually has common sense (a very rare trait amongst nurses). she does critical-thinking. she solves her own problems. and she has a boyfriend too. who also has a car. given the let-down that FBS has put me through, i can't help but be grateful and compliment my preceptee on everything that she does.
as for FBS, he's pretty much in a rough patch now. the girlfriend is not exactly having a perfect image of her boyfriend. Pangkeng did the honors of expounding the negative aspects of the boyfriend to her. one of the student nurses from the polytechnics whom she had a short fling with is coming back to the ward for attachment again. one of my colleagues who's very straight-talking but definitely far from being straight, bitched to him just yesterday morning, 'You better pull up your socks okay. Your work sucks. Your attitude sucks even more'. FBS just grabbed his case notes and gave a look that said: noted.
bad day, huh?
Saturday, July 21, 2007
project 355: the ladies of Beijing
last saturday, my team of debaters were discussing the pros and cons of representing the hospital in the debate tournament. it's true that the debaters tend to get more privileges in terms of career advancement, off days, leave applications, etc. things that matter most to the average hospital employee seem to be made readily available when you ask for them. it helps that one's status as a debater tends to lend an air of intellect and credibility, thus facilitating the job in more ways than one.
however, there seem to be more drawbacks to being a debater, some of the precariously balanced on the fences of being a pro and a con. because of this stellar image of the intellectual nurse that you portray, everyone tends to hold you in high regard. a minor cock up seems to disappoint the bosses a lot more than the average employee. perhaps it's true what they say then, that the higher you climb, the harder you fall.
the cons list doesn't just stop there though. there's still the post-debate events that the debater has to attend. in fact, we just received our certificates of participation last Thursday at Changi General. and i had to say that i didn't enjoy myself at all. falling short of a packet of kleenex, certificates of participation are the society's method of saying 'you suck, so thanks for making this competition easier'. the only saving grace was the beautiful trophy that every debater received for participating in the tournament. i haven't received a trophy since the age of nine, i think. and that was the second prize for a bible quiz competition in church. what can i say? i am as familiar with the bible as i am with the masculine anatomy.
event number two that the debaters had to attend was the Ministry of Health's Nurses' Dinner & Dance. with august coming up soon, the nurses' schedule is normally packed with events. after all, august the first is nurses' day in Singapore. it doesn't mean much to me other than a whole barrage of corporate gifts with very little appreciation and plenty of corporate intents for all the nursing staff. the debaters had the 'privilege' of attending this particular dinner as we had represented the hospital and done them 'proud'.
sad to say, i can't really agree that i enjoyed myself. the dinner and dance which was held the Meritus Mandanrin, right smack in the middle of town, was a really good location. it gave one plenty of activities to do post-D&D. which is all fine and dandy if not for the fact that the average age of the attendees of this dinner ranged from thirty-nine to forty-five. it was a bit like a class reunion for the graduands of the nursing class of '62. the whole ballroom was flooded with veterans in nursing, most of them having been in the line for 20 years. and the men to women ratio was like 1:10. this made me banish all thoughts of eye candy for the night.
throw in the theme for the dinner, 'A Night In Beijing', and you have a fashion disaster in the making. practically all the grand ladies of nursing came to the dinner decked in cheongsams embroidered with peonies and lotuses and dragons. i was actually anticipating a silk dress with fortune cookies sewn onto it. one could say that the ladies were dressed to kill. and indeed, they have massacred whatever sense of fashion there was left on that night.
one of the ladies whom i had the bad fortune of talking to was a nursing lecturer who taught me Clinical Skills back in the polytechnic days. she's now the Assistant Director of nursing of a nursing home. i didn't really like her because her lectures never made sense. and she loves to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. God prolly created her with a nonsensical mouth in mind. i remember one time when i was supposed to host a new year's day event during year one of nursing and some of the performers for this event withdrew, citing studies and poor results as an excuse. this particular ex-lecturer called me on the phone and started complaining about the people who withdrew. she started from point A and diverted to point B, took a U-turn back to point A, made a detour to point G, realized that we had to go back to point A and instead, arrived at point A 4.0. total talking time? one hour and fifteen minutes.
when i talked to her at the dinner, she was relating her experience at the hairdresser's prior to the dinner. if you looked at her hair, it was a very bad interpretation of the 80s rather than the 60s. plus, the hairstylist decided to grab a whole tube of glitters and sprinkle them all over her hair, most of it having fallen on her pudgy arms instead. so the end result was a very shiny-looking woman with enough glitters to blind the sight out of an ophthalmologist. when the stage lights shone on her, she looked like a walking disco ball. as usual, she made an entire spiel about how the hairstylist did her hair and ended up telling us about all her other visits to various other hair salons in Singapore. damn the fact that there was no alcohol served to speed up the rest of the evening.
you can't rely on the people at the dinner, you can't rely on the performances and you can't depend on the alcohol to help you through the evening. thank the heavens therefore, there was the food. we arrived at the dinner at 6.30pm. the food was only served at 8.30pm after an awfully long-speech by the Chief of Nursing in Singapore, an even longer awards ceremony and three glasses of carbonated drinks. it was a typical eight-course Chinese dinner with the cold dish, shark's fin soup, sea bass, veggies with mushroom, some random dessert and some other side dishes to impress. the food was excellent, but the servings were so bloody small. each person was technically allowed one serving, which would all work very well if not for the fact that we had two empty seats at our table of ten.
and this is very typical of Chinese dinners. when everyone has already taken their fair share of a dish, there tends to be a small portion left that enough for one person. to take or not to take, that is really the question. the typical Chinese person wrestles with their emotions and guilt and the social setting to make a decision of whether to help themselves to the last piece. and when that person has finally decided to grab the last piece off the plate, another person would prolly have decided too. the two epic chopsticks swoop in to grab their share of the remnants and clash in the process. thus resulting in both owners of the chopsticks dying to give way to the other. by then, another Chinese person would have already started digesting that last piece that was left on the plate. it's what i would like to call... the piece de resistance.
a fellow debater and i decided to make our exit at the entrance of the sea bass. i'm not a big fan of steamed seafood and neither was she. all the bones and ginger just make eating fish such a hassle. the rest of the evening was extremely pleasant. we were starving and decided to do smokes, coffee and dessert at an NYDC chain opposite the Meritus Mandarin. it was bizarre though because we were dressed to the nines. she was wearing a red hot dress and a shawl, while i was in some chinky top coupled with skinny jeans and a blazer. but who cares eh?
at least we look way better than that walking disco ball.
Friday, July 20, 2007
project 355: language, people... language
i've had an exhausting day today, having traveled from the west of Singapore to the central for work, and then to the east for the inter-hospital debate prize-presentation, back to the central for some window shopping, and then finally back at the west again. okay okay. i admit i didn't window shop when i was at the central. i found myself at the spa getting screwed for a good forty-five minutes or so. what can i say? big dongs are hard to come by these days. having to nurse physical exhaustion, a sore rectum and a full bowel which refuses to defecate, i'm thus re-publishing an article shared by fellow blog reader, Michael P. thanks dude.
Futches and manties
if San Francisco has their futches and the ang mohs have their Trans Ams, then we the denizens of Singapore, also have our part of gay lingo to share. after all, we used to be a colonial settlement, and you know how the Brits pride themselves on all things linguistic. a gay ex-colleague of mine from the hospital shared this one with me: Botop. nope, not used to describe a gay top who's attending the local chapter of Plastics Anonymous. but rather, a closeted bottom who proclaims himself to be a top. come to think of it, who doesn't want to be a top? i can't think of much pain other than perhaps an ache at the pelvis from all that thrusting. the male ego is not as bruised because the top seems to be in control. and best of all, you can take a dump in the toilet at anytime without having to jet-spray your rectum with the garden hose.
and in case you're wondering. i may claim to be a top most of the time, but i'm more towards a flex. a flex who prefers being a top. but then again, there's no witty word to describe that, is there?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
project 355: C.R.I.C.
whoever said being a nurse was all a bed of roses complete with a thousand-thread count bed sheets and 'memory' pillow filled with Bosnian goose feathers, is obviously sleeping in the wrong divan. nursing is one of those jobs that requires plenty of patience, empathy and tolerance, not only for the patients and their relatives, but also for the pay that seems to increase by a minute notch each time there's a revision. when i started work in the hospital in 2004, there was talk of an increment of the nurses pay by 10%. i reinforced to my colleagues then, that it was prolly all codswallop. the body count of foreign nurses in the hospitals back in 2004 was definitely overwhelming the local ones. fast-forward to 2007, the pay for nurses has only upped by a miserly $25 for me. what can i do with $25? pay a patpong boy to undo one button on his shirt? hell, it doesn't even cover air-expenses. for all the effort that the nurses put in and the responsibility that comes with the care of human life, a miserly $1.5k as a starting salary is just not worth it. i could prolly make more money making love, than giving that love away to the patients.
i wish i could say it was the money alone that deters me from nursing but another pushing factor would have to be the Singaporeans. when it comes to service, the locals can be quite an uppity bunch. they demand for service and they want it NOW. their loved ones in the hospital want to pee and they want someone else other than themselves to assist them to the toilet. they absolutely refuse to don a pair of gloves and partake of the cleaning and sponging of their loved ones. they refuse to aid in any part of the health-care process other than the portion that involves claims from the insurance companies and the signing of medisave forms. in fact, i daresay that you'll be hard-pressed to find a nurse with a loved one in the hospital, taking part in any of the above mentioned.
throw in a bunch of complain letters from the patients and relatives that constantly flood the hospital's mailboxes and you have a lose-lose situation. seldom do the hospitals do monetary arrangements in terms of compensation, the complaint has obviously reaped no benefits. disgruntle patients lead to bad reputation and lowered public confidence via word-of-mouth. and thus, an increased spending in publicity and public awareness is required. every time i pass the huge wall posters of the hospital's self-praise, it's like money being pasted on the wall. if not for the very strong adhesive holding the posters up, i would tear them down and make recycled handicrafts out of them.
money and unappreciative Singaporeans. perhaps this is why everybody wants their children to become doctors rather than nurses. the end, simply doesn't justify the means.
just as there are top and bottoms in the gay context, there are also in-charges and juniors for nursing. the in-charge would always be the registered nurse, dealing with paperwork, appointment-making and report-writing on an almost daily basis. the junior position (normally held by the enrolled nurse and sometimes the registered nurse), handles all the physical labor of bringing the patients for baths, sponging, changing diapers, fetching patients back from the Operating Theater, etc. i know of colleagues, who absolutely hate to do junior work because it's exhausting and physically-draining. plus there's plenty of sweat, shit and urine involved. nobody likes to touch their own bodily fluids. what more then, the fluids of others?
it is perhaps in this context, that a new term has been coined: CRIC. derived from the original acronym of CRIB - Complete Rest In Best. CRIB status is given to those patients who are supposed to remain in bed and avoid as much movement as possible. a common example of a CRIB patient would be one who has just undergone angioplasty. i can't be bothered to go into full details so i've provided the wiki page. the main reason for CRIB would be the risk of hemorrhage at the entry site of the angioplasty, normally the femoral artery. and you know how femorals are like when severed, constantly spurting like men in a pornographic video.
CRIC, or Complete Rest In Chair is therefore, our answer for nurses who assume the in-charge position fully. they park their asses on the chairs permanently, answering phone calls and writing reports, constantly saying that they are very stressed. in fact, so focused are they on the reports and phone calls that they have prolly seen their patients no more than three minutes per shift. the in-charge, you see, is expected to help the junior who really has the heavier workload of physical labor. even if they can't be bothered with helping in the sponging and toilet baths, they could at the very least answer the call bells. but do they?
i try to help my junior most of the time. not in terms of cleansing people and stuff of the like, but rather, the serving of food, the fetching back of the post-op patients and serving urinals. not because i'm trying to help, but rather, the ends justifies the means. i serve the diets so that i can scour for any leftover diets that i can make a breakfast, lunch or dinner out of. i fetch my patients back from the op as the theaters are just one staircase away from the roof where i usually smoke. i serve the urinals so that i can ensure that what i write in my report tallies with what is currently on the patient: a drain, a catheter, a peripheral IV plug, etc. little do they know that i'm a selfish bastard with my own intents for helping people.
it's a good thing therefore, that most of my juniors tend to be smokers. because nothing says 'thanks for helping me out today!' better than a free stick of cigarette. one particular colleague is heavily in debt with cigarettes from me because she seldom buys her own fags. most of the time, she keeps her smoking habit alive via a charity basis. every week, she would ask for at least four sticks of cigarettes from me. which is all fine by me because she's the one that's doing all the manual labor while i'm stressing over reports. best of all, she knows that she's indebted to me. all the more encouraged she is, to help me out at work.
truly, the end justifies the means.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
project 355: buddies and beer
despite nursing being a really PR job, i have to admit that i've never really liked working with people in general. simply because people have feelings and as a fellow person, you are obliged to take into consideration of that person's feeling in whatever you do. this can be rather irritating when you have to factor in the feelings of twelve other patients who are under your care, most of them prolly in pain or at least some form of discomfort. to top things off, you now have the added weight of a preceptee who's constantly asking you questions and making you feel horribly guilty for returning the answer with a fleeting look of irritation. and then there's the colleagues, most of them women and really emotional and gossipy ones at that.
this is perhaps one of the reason why i like working with men. not because i'm gay and am constantly on the prowl for medical sex. but rather, men have been proven to be more rationale when it comes to work. from past experiences, the women tend to play 'The Blame Game'. they have this inherent need to find out who did it, why they did it, when, how, the instrument of murder, the time of death, the victims and if possible, the clothes the victim was wearing at that point of time. the men however, just play 'The Game' by focusing on the problem at hand and generating solutions. which is all fine and dandy for me as i simply don't have the emotional capacity to entertain the women and all their crap. i have prolly offended a number of women with my scathing, stereotypical remarks. well... hate The Game, ladies, not The Player.
there are a few people in the ward whom i don't mind working with though, Pangkeng being one of my top favorites. his hulking frame and massive hands give him that brute strength to carry patients independently, rendering me free of having to assist him. his hoodlum, ah-beng nature terrorizes the patients into taking toilet baths or doing whatever he wants them to do, once again rendering me free of having to assist him. he gets along very well with the attached nursing students whom i can't be bothered to befriend, of course rendering me free of having to assist him. and who can forget his trademark brand of language which revolves around a wide variety of body parts that would get you into trouble with the police if you were to expose them in public? he does his work and i help him when i'm less occupied with the paperwork and appointment tracing, which all works out very fine. plus, being men, we don't even need to explain the entire situation at hand to understand each other. a typical conversation between us can go something like that:
Pangkeng: Eh. That's 26/2 damn fucking irritating.
Jon: Yah, I know.
it's this sacred brotherhood between us that seems to transcend language and give us this capability to understand one another. of course, not every single person that works with Pangkeng sees it this way. especially the ladies. sometimes, the attached nursing student can't seem to see that Pangkeng is the perverted person that he is and his language just stays at that, a means of communication with no harmful intentions. take today for example, he was at one of the patient's bedside with two female nursing students. the curtains were screened and he called out for me when he heard me entering the room:
Pangkeng: Jon, come here!
Jon: (peeks from the curtain) What.
PK: Hoi. You want to see sneak preview?
Jon: What you mean by sneak preview?
PK: The student is going to do dressing for the patient now. Later when she bends over you can see sneak preview already lor!
PK & Jon: hur hur hur...
it doesn't just stop there, though. sometimes our conversations get really gay-friendly. in fact, a tad too friendly for my liking:
PK: Oi. Why you never tell me that 26/7 no need to fast anymore?
Jon: I forgot lah.
PK: Fuck you lah.
Jon: Fuck you back. With a condom.
PK: Safe sex, i like...
Jon & PK: hur hur hur...
as much as i love Pangkeng as a brother, i hope that he's not gay or anywhere near being bisexual. because that would definitely screw up the delicate balance of straight and gay boundaries between us now. not forgetting to mention our usual post-work sessions of binge beer-drinking and cigarettes. it's a common practice for the both of us to head to the nearest convenience stall from the hospital to chill out post-afternoon shift. this is the time where we would talk about our futures, our pasts and share things that we don't share with other people in our ward. Pangkeng, who doesn't give a shit about the public does it in his uniform. i, a bit more fashion-conscious, do it in my civilian.
it always surprises me how people of two different sexualities, upbringing, social status, education level, or even age, can get together and talk about life. truth be told, if not for work at the hospital, i would have never imagined the both of us ever forging a friendship together. he being brought up as a gangster. while i being brought up to be whatever i was supposed to be. i know this is going to sound like a cheesy United Colors of Benetton ad, but i guess what matters most at the end of the day is the friendship and memories. i have this worrying feeling though, that like many other friendships that have come and gone, this one between Pangkeng and i would prolly not last outside the workplace. you know the type of friendships where you can only see functioning in a workplace. outside of work, the both of you tend to talk about work and nothing else. yeah, it's a tad like that between us sometimes.
but i guess it's more like carpe diem for now, huh.
Monday, July 16, 2007
project 355: prayers & pinot noir
i have a word of warning to any prospective boyfriend that i might be seeing in the (hopefully) not too near future: Sundays will seldom be spent with you. this means that any plans of Sunday nights at St James are out and ditto for the concept of Sunday brunch with three of your 'bestest' girlfriends. well, not because my soul is leashed to the good Lord on the Sabbath, god, no. but rather, since the age of infancy till today, every Sunday spent in Singapore has been with family. be it the parents, the maternal or the paternal family, Sundays in my life revolve around church, God, lunch in some random hawker center, an afternoon siesta, dinner at the paternal side and perhaps some light grocery shopping at the nearest supermarket. even though i could and prolly should, i try not to skip these weekly affairs of the family. having lived the life of a harlot for most of the week, i've always felt that Sundays are my days of cleansing and forgiveness. all the malicious thoughts, the evil intents of causing harm to the patient's relatives and dirty thoughts of fornication; all of them seem to come to naught after some family time. furthermore, because i hang out with the parents the entire day, i tend to smoke way fewer sticks on Sundays. looking at the health benefits and spiritual growth, how could i possibly tear myself away from a chance at redemption?
the Sunday mornings and afternoons have always been uneventful: church, followed by lunch with the parents and then siesta. the evenings however, are a bit more lively with the paternal family and dinner. i have always liked them more than the dowdy maternal side. they have always had an inherent desire to make every week a different experience. it could be a new marinade for the chicken, baked scones, keropok, dinner at a different relative's place every week, a new Paranakan restaurant (side note: the paternal family are frequent patrons of Ivins, located in Binjai Park which is off Bukit Timah), or the occasional new vehicle that somebody has just purchased. there was even once when my taxi-driver uncle had new advertising decals on his cab and more than twenty of them relatives actually went down to the communal carpark to ooh and aah over it. it was extremely bizarre as it was only Jack Neo and some Japanese air-conditioning that he endorsed. i was adamant about not going down and decided to suck it up at one corner while reading my pro-American copy of Newsweek.
the Sunday that had just passed was no exception. we had dinner over at the first aunt's place and as always, she impressed us with her culinary skills. ok correction... it was actually more like her HUSBAND'S culinary skills. the husband is a contractor who apparently puts together beautiful homes at discounted rates for relatives. in fact, he's the one who came up with the creative and space-saving concept of putting more than ten cabinets/drawers/cupboards in every single room in my house. now my house looks like a scene straight out of a claustrophobic person's nightmare. but back to culinary skills.
there was an extremely artery-clogging dish of fried chicken chunks topped with a very spicy curry sauce to go. to assuage my guilty feelings of binging, i skipped the rice and went straight for the chicken instead. it was an instant hit with the kids and also an instant conversation topic with the adults. in fact, the one who chipped in the most was a grand-uncle who made an apparent guest appearance today. this particular grand-uncle is a freelance pastor with the appropriate certification but without a resident church to preach in. he has a church where he worships in, but he's a bit like a wandering minstrel, except without a lyre and armed with a bible, an organist and a pianist. it was he that suggested a time of family prayer after dinner. it's rather bizarre though. most families watch DVDs and play mahjong or drink liquered coffee post-dinner. we spend a good hour sitting around with our eyes closed and muttering weird things amongst ourselves.
as for me, i've never really liked prayers. i tend to look at prayers the same way i do when it comes to the taking of my multivitamins. you can't really see the effects even though you do it on a daily basis. but after some time, you start pin-pointing every single good and bad thing that comes your way to the power of prayers. it ends up looking a tad like a self-fulfilling prophercy of sorts. prayers with the family would also involve a short session of sharing. normally, the entire family would sit in a circle (i would straight away jump for the couch) and everyone would have to start relating some random story about work difficulties, health issues and life problems. of course everyone has problems, it's just a matter of whether they want to share it with you or not. i tend not to because the relatives have no idea that i'm a cock-sucking fellow. which is why they tend to ask me questions about my work and life. to them, the most pressing issues for a male twenty-three year old are work and love. work i can easily come up with some politically-correct answer that my hospital would be darn proud of. but for love... that's the tricky bit. the relatives love asking about love.
it was thus with great relief that the contractor uncle of mine started refilling my cup of pinot noir. he's a bit of a connoisseur and into fine foods and all that. plus he's a gracious host who simply loves topping up people's glasses with fluids. i've had my fifth glass of fine wine and i was already slurring in speech. but with the sixth glass, i managed to garble some crap about focusing on work before looking for love. of course, if you glanced in the direction of the parents, the father had his eyes diverted away from me and the mother was looking at her phone. the grandmother demanded for a child before she passed away to which i was tempted to reassure her that if i ever had a child, it would be via an orphanage rather than an orgasm.
if memory serves me well, it was with the seventh glass of pinot noir that the relatives finally started praying. it was at that moment that i prolly fell asleep. i do remember though, waking up when everybody said AMEN in unison. another reason why i'm glad i have an effective biological clock whom i suspect is an ardent Christian. being able to wake up in church when the AMENs have been muttered is a very useful ability to have. even though i'm not a Christian, i'm glad that my relatives are. i feel that it's because of their united love for the Lord which brought them together. they share problems. they pray for each other. somehow or other, they have even brought in the wonderful concept of combining fine wine with prayers.
how then, can i possibly bring myself to skip my Sundays with the family?
(NB: in the picture from left to right - taxi driver uncle, contractor uncle's wife, contractor uncle, John Chua's father, John Chua's mother)
Friday, July 13, 2007
project 355: bad parenting which leads to good rental housing?
it's seldom that the father has anything good to say about his children. every single conversation with the father revolves around work shifts, going to church, the bible, gay-bashing-cigarette-bashing, splurge-bashing, threats of bashing in general, how lazy his children are, how stingy the children can get, how selfish his children are and how much better the other children are. upon recollection, it has been several years in fact, since the father uttered something complimentary about any of his children. so much so that i've learned to draw compliments from his daily berating. a simple rant like 'You can exercise and go to the gym all you want, but if you carry on smoking, all your efforts will go to waste!' can be translated into 'Wow, you are losing weight and slowly attaining a much more eye-pleasing body!' it's a method i have adapted to try and stay sane in this really conservative family.
just the other day, the father came back from work and i was at the door to greet him out of routine and ol' times sake. he did not return the greeting at all. in fact, the only thing he said to me was 'Your goatee is very ugly'. and he basically removed his shoes, put his bag down and took off for the bedroom to take a shower. i think he felt good having accomplished his mandatory demeaning remark of the day on his son. being a peace-loving gay libran, i have never been one to advocate solutions through one's fists. but for the first time in my life, i really wanted to sock it to his face. a burning urge within me wanted to let him know that he's the selfish chap who wants everything to be done according to his Holy Trinity standards. the only thing holding me back was a cigarette in my hand and a limp wrist sustained from a previous gym injury. that and the fact that i'm a very bad aim. my fist has more likelihood to come into contact with the door rather than the father's face. i wanted to head out for a smoke, but the father came back at the precise moment i was about to open the door. i figured that it wasn't worth it. after all, i'm still living in the apartment that the father bought with his own money.
once again, it all seems to boil down to the dollars and cents. for a young working adult, there can never be enough money. for a young working gay adult, there WILL never be enough money. and tis' true as i have a inherent need to splurge on something every month. a very much watered-down $1.5k is far from being enough for me. i hand over $350 each month for my insurance premium (i was young and foolish back then), another $300 for the parents and their household needs, transportation, revised prices for cigarettes, a social life. minus all that and i'm slowly left with a minimal amount that makes me consider working with the denizens of the sex trade. i may sound like an ungrateful wretch when it comes to $300 for the parents, but you don't just give away lump sums of money to people whom you don't really like, especially if one of them makes it a point to put you down everyday with demeaning remarks. yeah yeah yeah, they're the parents who brought me up, paid for my education, changed my diapers, raised me up and all that Josh Groban crap. throw in the fact that we're all Asians and we have to respect them and you have a classic case study of a gay son caught between traditional Chinese values and western mores.
to be fair to the parents, i'm haven't been exactly the best son in the world either. i have never bothered with the majority of the housework. true, i wipe the dishes occasionally, vacuum the floor when i'm up for it and iron the necessary clothes that i'm wearing. other than that, i have never cooked for the family before and i have never bothered with the laundry. i'm also quite the ungrateful wretch for not having bought the parents or the brother a single gift for nearly six years coming. no birthday or father's day or mother's day presents at all. i avoid talking to them for reasons i have mentioned before. i have never brought the family out for dinner before. and i get very defensive when the mother tries to probe into my private life.
looking back, i have no idea how things at home have reached such a state. is it the upbringing? is it the over-zealous love in the Lord? or is it just pure Asian values working their best to counter the evils of the western world? parental love is something that i haven't really experienced in a very long time. and i'm not even sure if i want to come into contact with the parent's brand of love even. to them, love is the little things that they do. things like buying a box of cornflakes for breakfast, getting supper, ironing my work clothes, etc. things that i could actually do myself. truth be told, i would rather they touch me and listen to my problems without bringing up the bible for once. things that i can't exactly do myself without bringing in some form of sexual context.
i know this sounds really cheesy and whiney and very 'i'm-trying-to-show-my-vulnerable-side', but whenever i think of parental love, an image of a particular family i used to see in church always makes me pine with jealousy. there used to be this family which had three sons. all of those sons made it a point to wear Black Sabbath and every other death and black metal t-shirt they could lay their hands on. and perhaps as a sign of rebellion, they even put on their piercings to church. it's actually quite a taboo in my church given that it's a piano on the left, organ on the right and a pulpit in the center type of church. their mother is a beautiful lady of about 40. the father, a rather dowdy looking fellow who looked a bit like a hobo.
but here's the Disney-worthy magical moment: every time the kids left for Sunday school, the mother would give each of them a peck on the cheek. do note that these kids were prolly eleven or twelve years in age. of course, the mother kissing her son who was wearing a rebellious tee is not something you see everyday. this scene never fails to make me wish that the mother would kiss me as well. of course, she doesn't even touch me. what more kiss me then?
yesterday however, was the straw that broke the camel's back. i was randomly trying to type stuff into my laptop when the father came in and started to do his usual berating act. starting from smoking to my money habits to my hedonistic gay lifestyle, the usual spiel of things that he rants about. and then it suddenly struck me that i could end this whole ordeal with the parents that i go through on a daily basis with one simple solution... Moving Out. of course that would mean another money issue, paying for rental and electric bills for the first time in my life. but i think it's a relatively fair trade given that i get less of the father's daily dose of bull.
so it is thus that i'm on a quest now to look for housing. to move out. it's a gay milestone and i think i'd be very proud of myself if i actually have the cash and guts to pull the whole thing off. well, here's a plea to the general public: i'm looking for housing. preferably near the central part of Singapore. but if you have any other offers, please do not hesitate to email me. willing to pay up to $300 in terms of rental, but price hopefully is negotiable. i'm very friendly, i can make good conversation and i can cook good pasta. and i'm adapt at vacuuming the floor. and somehow or other, i'm always the one to wash the dishes rather than wipe them. quite a good bargain actually when you throw in all the other sexual possibilities that could result from a room mate. so if you have any offers, please don't hesitate to email me. email@example.com.
as for now, it's a matter of being at home when they are not around and going are when they are.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
project 355: we can haha, but at different things
you know that feeling when you've been carrying the burden of a lame joke for so long that you are just bursting to tell it? and the worst bit is that when you actually do, nobody finds it funny. or at least they pretend to find it funny and laugh along just because you are charming and it's the effort that counts. well, this tends to happen a lot in my ward. my bunch of simple-minded colleagues are not exactly the kinda people who can appreciate puns and metaphors. they don't know what a 'your momma's so fat' joke is and believe me, they haven't reached the stage whereby they can understand irony too. yes, my working environment is definitely amongst the third world countries when it comes to a joke culture.
in fact, the typical jokes that my colleagues can laugh along very well with are those revolving around Pangkeng's brand of humor:
Pangkeng: Jon, you want to smell this? this is from bed twelve's stoma bag. cheebye, damn smelly seah.
(insert colleagues canned laughter)
Me: yah i agree. cheebye damn smelly. that's why i've never liked them in the first place.
(insert colleagues' canned boos)
Me: i'm more of an ass person, you see
Pangkeng: OOOOHHH! i'm a breast person man, and i feel like squeezing some tits now!
(insert colleagues' canned laughter)
that's what working with Pangkeng on a daily basis is like and i'm not exaggerating. bless his soul, but he thinks mainly with his heart and dick. not very helpful when one is trying to process my brand of humor:
Colleague: Damn, the phone is engaged.
Me: (scandalized look) But I thought they just got divorced last month???!!
what usually follows is a clueless look of thought-processing, cogwheels churning in the mind and prolly looking up streetdirectory.com to see where my joke is going. most of the time, my victims turn into casualties and end up being truly lost. at this point, they could do a Russell Crowe with the phone or simply laugh along with me and avoid charges of assault. thank goodness that most of the time, i'm spared the pain when they play along with the latter.
but it seems that my colleagues can only laugh at anything dirty, smelly, gross or involving a random body part. i mean, FB in rectum was a riot to them. the latest gossip about a patient playing with himself during the night shift is currently making its rounds in the ward. and not helping is the fact that Pangkeng's jokes are fast becoming an addiction. i could jolly well work in the ward, maintaining a straight face (can that be considered as a gay joke?) and keep all the smart-ass remarks to myself. but i simply can't. my mind is constantly working overtime, processing the simplest of words and churning them out as contextual puns. lame jokes, aside from coffee and cigarettes, are the only way i know of staying sane in a stressful ward environment.
thus, it was with some surprise that i struck the lottery of lame jokes while the boss was having 'contact time' with the morning staff a few days ago. contact time at the ward level is like one of those pre-work briefing things that all the wards have to disseminate circulars and pass messages and generate morale amongst the staff. in fact, it seems to be a global phenomenon. the Japanese conglomerates have their roof-top exercises. the French prolly have baguettes with coffee and cigarettes (J'adore France!). but the Chinese would rather just start work and be productive if not for the fact that the organization makes 'contact time' mandatory.
that particular day's contact time was just fraught with the same old circulars that have been read one time too many. fruit sales, policy updates, compliment letters and an ever-increasing number of standards that seem to be clamping down on every single hospital staff. nothing new. the boss however carried on ranting about the incoming ISO audit that the hospital was about to go through. this particular audit would be much more important than the JCI ones because in her own words 'The American auditors from JCI stop work strictly at five-thirty whereas the local ISO auditors can leave the hospital at eight or nine even'. stupid hardworking Asians.
all that said, her little remark about the auditors basically encouraged her to emphasize the importance of paperwork now. this put everyone in quite a spot because frankly speaking, everyone in my ward is guilty of it. missing initials. missing signatures. missing remarks. a lack of time. illegible handwriting (but this is mainly a crime of the doctors). nobody likes to be ranted on at 7am in the morning, but that was what the boss was doing at that point of time. looking around, i could see everyone suspending their systems and going into some form of hibernating mode.
i was about to turn off mine too when the witty bits in my brain managed to come up with another lame joke. i decided to save it for diffusing the tension that had built up. it was difficult but i bit my tongue back till the boss finished with her speech. it was awkwardly quiet. but nothing ventured, nothing gained, eh?
'I agree with what sister said. after all, the ISO auditors are very strict. and just as a side note, if you say ISO very fast, you get a word that basically describes them!'
what ensued was another few seconds worth of silence and referencing the street directory before someone actually said 'Orh!!!! Asshole!!!'
(insert canned laughter)
the cringe-worthy bit was after contact time though. one of the colleagues actually came up to me and patted me on the back. 'That was a very good joke man! What a great way to start the morning!'
perhaps i should start saving my jokes for myself and enjoy a private victory.
Monday, July 09, 2007
project 355: the hills are watching
death and taxes, Benjamin Franklin once said. there's nothing more certain in this world than death and taxes. of course, he was living in an era where he was the father of electricity and technology was as advanced as the the steam works. it seems that i've got another to add to Ben's list of sureties, however: life these days changes so fast that it's difficult to find some stable ground to actually stand on.
just when you thought that you could finally settle on that lovely little plateau in life, lay out the well-deserved picnic basket and enjoy the fruits of your labor, the realities of life rear their fugly little faces once again. like irritating street buskers trying to entertain with their horrid renditions of 'The Sound of Music', they chase after you decked in random apparel made out of curtains, brandishing guitars and perhaps chainsaws. they don't give you any peace and rest at all. so much so that you are left with no choice, having to move further uphill to look for another plateau to enjoy that seemingly elusive picnic. The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music? i daresay it's more like The Hills Have Eyes with the Sound of (insert random horror movie theme).
unfortunately, this same concept spills over to involve all things career-wise. you know that moment at work, when you are finally in the comfort zone of things? you anticipate problems and are able to settle them with relative ease. paperwork is no longer a hassle once you've discovered all the various shortcuts and underhand methods to complete them. you no longer spend twenty minutes everyday asking everyone in the office where they keep the spare staple bullets. hell, you could even do all your work with your eyes closed while getting a blowjob, courtesy of Harry from Human Resources.
but that's where the bed of roses ends. the hills, you see, have never had their eyes closed. in fact, they are the ones who are constantly on the lookout, watching for their prey. before you even know it, your status of proficiency at work has been taken into consideration and you are now deemed ready to undertake more 'responsibilities'. of course, having 'responsibility' at work is never ever a reward, but more of 'delegation' on the supervisors' parts. perhaps so that they can have their own fun with that resourceful little human named Harry.
this was presumably what my supervisors at work saw in me for the past few weeks. finally being able to cope with the stress of the job, fighting back with people and handling potential patient complaints with eloquence. all the signs (with the exception of Harry) pointing towards me being up for more responsibilities. couple this with a major reshuffling of ward staff and my ward sisters start to see an incoming preceptorship stint for me. a bunch of fresh graduates from the school of nursing has just passed out from the local polytechnics you see, and all of them need preceptors to navigate them through the perils of the job. and once again, being able to speak well and participating in an annual Nursing debate has worked against me. all i wanted in this job was to finish my bond in peace and sod off.
but as the saying goes, 'Man Proposes, But God Disposes'. and sure enough, the fates have disposed a relatively irritating preceptee in my hands: a chubby guy three years younger than me with the PR skills of a stainless steel tea kettle. EVERYBODY in the ward knows this guy because his girlfriend happens to work here as well. behind the backs of the somewhat loving couple, everyone has only politically-correct things to say about them. one fine example: 'Wah, (insert name of colleague)'s boyfriend is so caring. he always stays back after his morning shift to help her with her afternoon shift.' if you read between the lines though, you can see the words 'clingy', 'dependent', 'possessive', 'overly-caring' and 'inferiority complex' hidden behind the bushes complete with camo face paints. i mean, a boyfriend that stays beyond his morning shift to help with the girlfriend's work during the afternoon shift, not just once, but at least two days in a week. i think 'no life' is the word that you're looking for.
that's not all however. because just a week after i have been declared his preceptor, i start hearing loads of bad feedback from all my colleagues. i only got to see him once during the past week because of two days of sick leave and clashing shifts. returning back to work on saturday, the first thing my colleagues started muttering were 'your preceptee ah.... tsk'. apparently, it seems that he has offended a lot of people in the ward with his bad work attitude and obstinate ways. i'm still trying to get the full story of what really happened because it's prolly not fair to my preceptee as well to just listen to their side of the story. still i know my colleagues and they are nurses. it really takes quite a lot of effort to make their blood boil. then again, my preceptee has all the eloquence of a stainless steel tea kettle. boiling blood shouldn't be a problem for him, no?
on top of having to take care of twelve patients per shift, i now have to render assistance to my preceptee. and he's not exactly the most easiest of people to work with. responsibilities... it makes being an adult rather irritating, don't you agree?
Sunday, July 08, 2007
project 355: the art of grace chua
the Chua children of the paternal family never seize to surprise me every sunday. i mean, John Chua is a queen in the making (he's reading the entire 'Hardy Boys' series now) and the parents are supposedly armed with child psychology degrees. and now Grace Chua is venturing into the arts scene by selling her little impressions of the world to raise funds for her church. i bet that's the child psychology thing working their magic in her as well.
so it was while over dinner in some random Peranakan restaurant that Grace Chua started hawking her wares to all the adults. normally at these paternal family dinners, the adults would sit at their own table while the children will all take up their own. John and Grace Chua were with the children's table. for some reason, Grace Chua kept heading over to the adult's table to pester them into buying her random pieces of art. she would plonk her transparent A4 folder of art and a coin box in front of them, let them browse through the art while she went back to the children's table to finish up her dinner.
it kinda reminds me of those illegal, deaf and mute hawkers of trinkets and tissue packets at the food centers. they would dump a key chain of a furry animal on your table together with a plaque card stating their disabilities and expecting you to buy something out of compassion. i saw someone shelling out six dollars for these things before. Grace Chua did a horrid job out of milking everyone's compassions. she didn't even interact with her patrons and was in fact screaming at one of the cousins to help her shell her prawns. what a haughty little... well, thing.
and if the artist doesn't want to speak, at least the art should say something. but out of the ten pieces that she was trying to sell, seven of them were really amateurish and done for the sake of completing them. randomly drawn STICK figures of her family members which actually looked fat. and there was no coloring done at all. just two fat stick figures depicting her parents (and both parents are actually rather skinny). the only three that i could see some effort being put in were the colored ones. one fine example which i bought was shown above. i asked Grace Chua what the picture represented, she simply shrugged her shoulders and gave a nonchalant look. i'm assuming it was some carnage she must have seen after she watched some violent flick on the telly. and the truly intriguing bit was the back of the picture which had the words 'blank page' printed on them. ooooh... artaay!
i poured out all my coins and separated them into their various denominations: the fifty-cents to one side, the twenty to another and a single one dollar coin. then i asked her, so which bunch of coins do you want: three fifty-cent coins, six twenty-cent coins or a single dollar coin. she picked the dollar coin. kids... how to not love them and hate them at the same time? i made up the difference by giving her another fifty-cent coin. to which she pocketed without even a word of thanks. once again, what a snotty little... oh well, thing.
i decided to then help her sell her wares by being her charming e-bay auctioneer. so i sat her down in front of all the cousins, instructing her to describe each and every drawing in detail, starting with her shittiest one first. so for a few minutes, the various relatives were entertained with her varied answers when asked to describe who she was drawing in the pictures, from 'my parents' to 'this is me when i get married next time'. who knew that such a wee young lass had such depth to her thinking. her two best pictures which looked really impressionist at best and just splotches of paint at worst were really charming. she claimed that they were fireworks when i thought that they actually looked like a brutal crime scene of a murdered Hawaiian pizza. we managed to sell those paintings for nearly $1.50 per piece.
Grace Chua even had the guts to ask for an extra bit of donation after seeing the puny amount of coins she was receiving from one of the cousins. she milked him for another fifty-cents. this little girl eh... what a greedy little... oh well, thing.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
project 355: up yours
it was with a buzz of excitement in the air that i fetched back one of my patients from the operating theaters a few days ago. of course, we must not neglect to mention the wafts of fecal scents lingering in a fifty centimeter radius around my patient. this, was no ordinary patient. this particular one, came fresh from the Accident & Emergency department with the crowning diagnosis of 'Foreign Body In Rectum'. and before you start thinking that it's a case of an ang moh who attempted to fist an Asian ass and got stuck in the process, let me reassure you that the whole matter involved only one patient and a mysterious 'foreign' object which i'll reveal at the end of this post.
in my entire history of working with the General Surgery department, it's quite often that we receive colorectal cases. most of them are the usual stuff like constipation and bleeding per rectum. nothing really out of the ordinary. this one was an overflow, meaning that the original colorectal ward that was supposed to admit him was full and didn't have any beds to spare. and so he was lodged in our general surgery ward temporarily till a bed was available again in the original ward. but given that this was a pretty simple case of having to extract the mystery object from the patient's ass via surgery, i was thinking that this chap was going to be discharged without having to even transfer him over to the original colorectal ward. which was all good, because this gave my colleague and i the perfect chance to answer the burning questions in our heads.
of course, whenever anybody comes across a 'FB in Rectum' patient, the first question they would want to ask is 'What?' or maybe it's more of an exclamation instead. nonetheless, we already knew the answer to that from the patient's case notes. a few seconds later of envisioning how the object in question could possibly fit into one's rectum, the 'Why?' comes along like the accessory of murder that killed the cat. that very important details wasn't written in the case notes and this led to a lot of questions that we asked ourselves: what could possibly motivate someone to insert something up his ass? boredom? a role-playing act of sodomy? was it his wife who did it for him (yes, he's married, for crying out loud!)? maybe he's gay? or maybe bisexual? and why was he so silly to use a cylindrical object which comes with a detachable spare part that was sure to get stuck in the ass?
well, curiosity killed the cat and also got the better of the colleague and me. it was thus, that we decided to make it our objective and bet of the day: whoever can discover the WHY, will receive a stick of menthol lights from the other party. and bonus points of two more extra sticks to the one who can find out HOW he did it.
i didn't bother trying to play the part of Adrian Monk because i was swamped with work and my colleague is a very jovial and persuasive person by nature. she's the type that after just one drink, you would feel that you could trust her and you would start pouring out you darkest secrets to her. i haven't poured out my little 'don't ask, don't tell' secret to her because feminine charms don't really work on me in the first place. i knew that she would definitely beat me to the answer by a far shot. thus i simply carried on with my work and reserved one stick from my rapidly diminishing pack of cigarettes for her. i was betting on the fact that she couldn't answer the 'HOW' part though. there are some questions in life that are just totally inappropriate to ask at all. well, not until you sleep with them, that is.
so it was while we were passing the morning reports over to the afternoon shift that the truth was unveiled before our eyes. both the morning shift and the afternoon shift were there and my supervisor who was in the vicinity doing some random paperwork.
'Bed 5 is Mr. Boh Pang Sai and he's a colorectal overflow with Dr. Ka Na Sai,' i said. it was at that point that i decided to milk it for all it's worth, after all it's not everyday that you get someone admitted into the hospital for a little assplay. 'So, would you like to guess the patient's diagnosis?' my afternoon colleague who was a very clever Indian national straightaway thought of constipation. it wasn't until i held up the mystery object in my hand that everyone's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. a plastic cap from an aerosol spray bottle with a deceiving heart-shaped logo imprinted on it.
even though it was sealed in a plastic bag, there was still this nauseating smell to it. if science and technology invented goggles which allowed us to SEE all things olfactory, this one would have a certain green gas emanating from it. evidently, leaving stuff in your ass for an extensive period of time tends to ferment it. 'it's apparently the bottle cap of a perfume bottle. i took the liberty of measuring it and it's about eight centimeters in length and has a radius of three.' fun facts never fail to impress a crowd.
and this was when my colleague with a feminine wiles took over. the official version of the story that she gathered from the patient's wife was that he was having quite an extensive bout of constipation. and feeling very stuffed in the ass, he decided to 'un-stuff' his ass by stuffing it with one of the wife's perfume bottles. not only was the perfume ruined (Eau De Toilette is not supposed to smell like the Toilette) but part of the bottle was left behind as well. the bottle cap, to be precise. manual evacuation did nothing more than push the bottle cap way up the ass, so much so that they had no choice but to go to the hospital to seek treatment.
my fifty-nine years old supervisor, who was listening intently to the whole conversation suddenly looked up from her set of case notes and popped a question in her really warbly granny voice:
'I think the official story is a bluff. He gay is it?'
'Sister (that's what the local nurses call their female nurse managers), he's married leh!' i replied, flabbergasted.
'Huh? Really! Then maybe he's a bilateral lah!'
'Sister, i think you mean bisexual...'
'Oh yah. You see lah, so smelly until i cannot think straight'
'Yah, i haven't been thinking straight for quite some time already, sister'
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
project 355: cornflake
actually that's the only funny bit.
and in case you're wondering why i'm going all 80's with Chicago today, it's the only decent song i could find on imeem that reflects today being Independence Day. falling short, i could always pick another boring rendition of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' by some random American Idol contestant. but i dislike American Idol. so there.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
project 355: a mockery of the mock audit
anyone and practically everyone who has worked in an organization will be able to understand the dread of an incoming audit. well, practically everyone... except the head honchos who invited the auditors in in the first place. suddenly, everyone (especially one's supervisors) are striving to keep the workplace environment neat and tidy. everyone is practicing the proper techniques of doing things. paperwork seems to be more elaborate. and the dress codes are so much more appropriate. of course, dress code is very dependent on the workplace. i know of a gay pal whos workplace encourages a shortened and tightened dress code during the period of audits. yeah, i know. the things we do for our organizations...
it's a juxtaposition then, that an organization can push its workers for increased productivity and quality work, but at the same time wants them to conform to the time-consuming international standards regulated by a governing board. once again, we're back at the good ol' debate of quality versus quantity. a matter of practicality against standards. all this really makes me frustrated about being a cogwheel (or if you're demanding for this post to be gay-related: a cockwheel) in the machine. i mean, it's not like any single employee of an organization is clamoring for an audit in the first place, no? so what's a blue-collared gay person to do when faced with the impending trial of an audit?
that was what i was put up to during the previous fortnights when my supervisor picked a few of my colleagues and me to be the representatives of the ward for fielding questions from a bunch of JCI (Joint Commission International) auditors. we were officially labeled by everyone as the 'Champions'. of course, 'Champions' is a very loosely used term here. i never wanted to participate in the great hypocrisy, but i think i was selected because i was perceived to be eloquent enough after the supervisors heard me yak in the Inter-hospital Nurses' Clinical Research Debates. and thus began the training.
we were grilled about hospital policies. we were infused with protocols. we were even trained to reply with the 'appropriate' answer (NB: appropriate, not correct and very far from being practical). there was a free-flow of food and air-conditioned settings and very comfy sofas while we sat around and went through a list of 101 common questions that the JCI auditors would ask. i fell asleep most of the time though. come to think of it, i felt a bit like a medieval damsel, all of a sudden treated like teenage royalty. but unbeknownst to this little lady, she's actually a virgin sacrifice meant to appease the Goddess of Farm & Crop Growth. ironically, the Goddess is up in the celestial palaces laying waste to what's left of her virginity.
i think the only good thing i've gained from this whole fiasco is a clearer understanding of quite a few of my patients. normally, the registered nurses in Singapore don't really have a clear picture of what's going on with their patients. they glance through the case notes, picking out the important bits of information and basically neglecting the minute details. not only do we have to do this for one patient, but for all twelve other patients that we are taking care of. for this period of audit, the supervisors reminded us to go through all our patient's past medical histories because the auditors (i think she was trying to scare us here) would 'pick up any patient's file and just ask you what operation he went for 20 years ago'.
well, here's the ironic bit. the auditors went around the whole hospital ransacking everywhere for bits of non-compliance. they selected random wards to audit and thankfully, they decided to neglect us this once. thus was i spared from the impending wrath of my supervisors if i unexpectedly garbled in my speech while i answered the auditors. a few days later however, this cheap and very cheesy shot at publicity appeared at the hospital intranet's mainpage:
frankly speaking, it's quite a cheesy comment, what with eating off the floor in the hospital. but it's prolly one of those jokes that one of the auditors thought was funny and decided to share it with everyone. and of course, the hospital administrators and the staff gave big hearty laughs over clipboards, jovial smacks on the back and a momentarily relaxed atmosphere. it was truly, a conditioned response, coming from the auditees.
ball-carrying, i say. ball-carrying.
Monday, July 02, 2007
project 355: an update about updates
there are many things that i'm absolutely horrendous at and i can name a few of them off the top of my head right now. sport is the first that comes to mind. i can't throw, i can't catch, i can't swing a bat to save my life and i have problems coordinating with oars and dragon boaters (though i think the latter is more of a case of being distracted rather than sucking at it). of course, all the above is negligible because i'm gay and the general public will just assume that it's a shortcoming to being a homosexual. another disadvantage that i can think of would be being a very bad aim in general. at work, ninety percent of crushed paper balls i throw into the dustbin land anywhere else except inside the dustbin. i can assure you that it's no better at the rifle range of the army days or even in bed as well.
thank the heavens though, because all that's bad is apparently not all that bad. the most fortunate thing is that for most of these challenged attributes that i have, it's very easily negligible. i can brush off most of these quality lacks by charming my way through them. be it a head shot or money shot, there's nothing that a bit of ball-carrying or kleenex or a chummy 'one-arm-on-the-other's-shoulder' can't resolve. alas, these days i'm beginning to realize that an average mug and a somewhat charming personality can't exactly get you everywhere in life. this is especially poignant with this one attribute which i possess. not only does it affect my work, but it has even somewhat penetrated into my life. and definitely not in a good way at all. what am i talking about?
a constant inability to follow-up with most things.
work is in fact, the best example of this. there's just so many things to do in the hospital as a staff nurse that one is left with no choice but to prioritize. and prioritizing means having to know all the things that you have to do, and picking the most important one to do first. sometimes i have to promise a patient that i will do something trivial for them like making a cup of milo or brewing them some tea. and en route to the pantry, i get so side-tracked that i only remember the overdue beverage when i'm already on my way home in the train. perhaps this is why i have always wished that video gaming and reality could be merged together. i'm rather used to having a quest log in my RPGs to keep track of my outstanding quests, to the extent that it's with some difficulty i have, coping in real life.
of course, instead of calling up an in-game quest log with a green triangle button, i could simply memorize what i have to do with mnemonics and rote memory. it's something that Asians are absolutely inclined at. surprisingly, i do recall having a distinct inability to remember things and coupled with a very short attention span, it's all really not helping. i've lamented about this to a colleague before and she being quite the holistic health nut encouraged me to try a daily diet of Ginko Biloba and Brand's Chicken Essence. i told her that my current spending habits don't permit me the luxury of nutritional supplements other than the standard multi-vitamins. so she suggested that i revert back to the ol' skool method of the pen and paper. which i know, would work for me if not for the fact that i'm normally too busy to even sit down and do so. like i always tell people to make myself look really witty and profound, 'Time is of the Essence, not the Chicken'. yeah, you have to agree it's actually makes me look as bad as a chicken, if not worse.
and that's not all, it's even worse in real life. countless are the times when i have promised someone something and i don't follow through with it. it could be a simple request from someone to go out together, and me saying that i would check my schedule to see the next available day that i would be free to head out. before you know it, i would totally forget all about it and thus end up not following through with the outing. or it could be a promised birthday present every year for more than three years in a row. but i always get so broke at the end of (insert random person's birthday) month that i have no choice but to totally skip the present and conserve money. either that or be cheapskate and practice the good ol' concept of re-gifting. i'm thinking that the more you read, the more you find out how fucked up i really am.
thus it is with this sentiment and a lot of pissed off people and dehydrated patients whom i haven't followed-up with this year, that i've made up my mind about one thing. like Earl J. Hickey, i just wanna try to be a better person. perhaps it's the moderate amount of mid-year corporate bonus money that has given me a new lease of life (money does wonderful things for your soul, no?). or perhaps it's just me feeling really sick of letting down so many people time and again. well, either way, i'm resolved in trying to improve myself. and what better way to start therefore, than to do it in my blog. after all, i think it's because of my blog too, that i've been straying away from having a decent social life. that, and the sex and my Xbox360 and plenty of work. me, me, me, me, meme. selfish, ain't i? perhaps it's time to spare a thought for others.
so to start with, i've decided to go with the easiest and most personal one first: my blog. looking back at the recent weeks' posts, i realized that there's quite a number of follow-ups to be done there. take for example, do you remember Tiger Woods? the mad man with the red boy scout scarf who happened to be 'brandishing' a 4-iron? i said that i would tell you what happened to him the next day. and well, i didn't. and what about my favorite cigarette smoking sex partner whom i cut contact with because i was having a relationship with the fourth ex-boyfriend? apparently, i've conveniently forgotten to tell you that i've met up with him once again, for a series of sex sessions, albeit really bad ones. aiyah, you read on then you'll know lah!
TIGER WOODS AND THE GREAT ABSCOND
it seems that the day after i wrote a post about him, Tiger Woods ran away from the hospital. well, technically he ran away during my morning shift. but it was only discovered during the afternoon. so my poor colleague had to key in an extensive official statement into the hospital's computerized system of reporting about 'patients gone wild'. that, and having to get the doctors and supervisors to settle all the inconvenient paperwork. plus, there was a police report to be made as well. and to call the hospital security to look out for a mad man. you see, there's so much work to be done when patients who refuse treatment decide to take things into their own hands. so here's a bit of advice: the nurses and doctors are doing their best to take care of you. and if you intend to refuse any medical treatment and just go home, it's your absolute right. just inform any of the staff and we'll be more than happy to let you sign the appropriate papers for you to sod off. just don't run away. it's inconsiderate and the number one escape plan of losers.
all that said, Tiger Woods ironically was brought back by the police in the afternoon. he was found wandering the streets of a nearby MRT station. by then, the paperwork had been settled and he had to be readmitted and thank goodness, put in a different ward for management. since them, i haven't heard anything more about him again.
CIGARETTE SMOKE AND BAD SEX
i've managed to pluck up some courage and approach cigarette-smoking dancer, the week afrer i posted about him. as usual, he left a message via MSN and i simply replied this time. and surprisingly, he was still very keen. thus, it was with some anticipation for rollin' good times, that we met at a local branch of Hotel 81 that resided in the city area. Hotel 81 is a local chain of budget hotels with a very suspicious concept of 'transit rates' of two hours for thirty dollar. each extra hour after that is another fifteen dollars.
i was initially worried that two hours wouldn't be enough for proper sex, which i suddenly recalled at that point of time, that he doesn't really do proper sex anyways. in fact, his idea of sex doesn't involve anything more thank kissing, a few licks, and even fewer blowjobs. and there was definitely no penetration involved. which basically translates into a very watered-down version of what sex should really be. well, my worry about a lack of time was rather in vain. cigarette sex-partner arrived about a half-hour late. and we still could finish our session with the stipulated two hours, with a spare twenty minutes to boot. he licked, he sucked, i licked, i sucked, i wanked for him a bit, he wanked mine even more, and before you knew it, he popped the official statement that supposedly meant 'we're-nearing-the-end-of-the-session-dude'.
'you want to come first?'
i was already rather turned off, so to try and prolong the whole session, i asked him 'i can go a second round, do you want to try again?' to which he gave a sheepish reply of 'i can only come once'. wrong answer!!!! before i could even give my answer, he had already shot his wad all over me. feeling rather cheated by the short-lived session, i made full use of my disadvantage of being a bad aim and tried shooting my equally bad load at him. the embarrassing bit was that instead of hitting cigarette-smoking partner, it literally backfired and hit the bedpost and me. i was covered in spunk as i smoked an after-sex cigarette, another of those weird things which i've always wanted to do in life. frankly speaking though, the only reason why i would meet up with him again would be because of the smokes and his relatively impressive girth. he really does have quite the endowment.
well, that's gonna be all for now. i'm trying to follow-up on making project 355 an everyday thing. that is if the work schedule permits. but i can assure you that i will be trying my best to ensure that there won't be anymore days of me going missing from the blog scene. i'll always be here, well, trying to change lah.
baby steps eh? baby steps.
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