Sunday, April 29, 2007

'Nuff said

Picture says a thousand words.
Too busy to relax, with my brother's wedding, and travelling today. Will blog about things when I get back from Tioman.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We're Off!

It's almost time.
We leave for Malaysia in 11 hours. A 21-hour journey (not including transit time). I have my sleeping pills ready, and plan to load up on wine too.
Our itinerary:
  • Depart Minnesota Wednesday 9.30 pm (all in Malaysian time)
  • Arrive Chicago 10.30 pm
  • Depart Chicago Thursday 2.00 am
  • Arrive Korea 4.30 pm
  • Depart Korea 6.00 pm
  • Arrive KLIA 11.30 pm
  • Depart KLIA 12 midnight
  • Arrive Seremban 2 Siang Malam mamak stall for satay, teh tarik and murtabak
I have Jimbo's Littman Cardiology III Stethoscope in my hand luggage, so if there are any medical issues enroute, I'll be ready! (Jimbo, I shall baptize your new stethoscope in blood!)
Blogging's gonna be irregular; more when I get back. Otherwise, feel free to drop me an email.

I'm Famous?

I always wanted to be famous.
Inventor of something. Smartest person. Richest man in Malaysia. Biggest My Little Pony collection.
Something to do with my histrionic/narcissistic personality.
Palmdoc and Xiao Zhai brought this to my attention. If you google 'Hamsap Malaysian Doctor' my blog's right up there. 2 days ago it was even funnier. If you clicked on the 'I'm feeling lucky' button on Google it would take you right to my blog.
Guess fame, good or bad, can never be a bad thing. Can it?
*For those who don't speak Malaysian, 'hamsap'=horny

Monday, April 23, 2007

Autograph signing session IMU Talk

This is a repeat, reminder notice.The humble Dr. Vagus (ahem) will be giving his 4th annual talk on posgraduate medical training in the United States. This talk will cover some of the processes in preparing and applying for training here, including the USMLE exams, searching for residency programs etc. In addition, I will be able to sign autographs for a small token.
I started this annual event after realizing how few resources there were for Malaysian medical students/doctors who wanted to learn more about the training system in North America. I cringe at my buddy who believed some rumor that you could have any friend or church pastor write you an offical letter of recommendation for residency! To think that silly boy is now a neph fellow! After finding out the hard way, I thought this would be useful for medical students and doctors curious about or comtemplating US specialty training; not meant to talk about the north American IMU-PMS.
Disclosure: This is provided as a service to students and I am not paid or reimbursed in any manner other than ego-inflation. The views expressed therein are my own and do not represent IMU’s.

Date: April 30th 2007 (possibility of 2nd talk in Seremban campus, but don’t bet on it yet. Home only for 12 days lah!)
Time: 10:30-11:30 am
Venue: International Medical University, Bkt Jalil Campus. Exact location within to be clarified.
Price: Free (or a Heineken, whichever comes first )

This year, the talk will be open to IMU students as well as outsiders. Outsiders will need to email Ms. Charmaine Khoo (no relation) of IMU to be registered to enable entry onto campus (include IC number). Parents of students are invited to attend as well. You may email me with questions about this talk as well. Please include vital statistics and colour photo :P

Friday, April 20, 2007

Gahh. 5 more days.
So much to do, so little time. Though I'm looking forward to going home again, and to have my better half visit Malaysia for the first time, the last few days I've felt like a chicken with its head cut off, running around trying to get stuff done. Not that I'm complaining; things are going well, but awfully busy. With the recent conference in Seattle, and then some exciting preliminary findings from my experiments in the lab with preadipocytes (won't/can't elaborate more, but you're free to guess from the picture), and then having to rush off my abstract for the American Thyroid Association meeting in NYC. Also heard back from a journal to which I submitted my manuscript; they had some 'minor revisions' they wanted me to make- usually a very good sign that they'll publish my paper. And I'm trying to submit another manuscript before I leave Wednesday (but can't yet, since I'm still waiting for the 7 other co-authors to sign the disclosure papers). AND, I need to come up with a speech for my brother's wedding. Things likely aren't gonna slow down when we get to Malaysia, either. As it stands:
  • April 26th- Arrive in KL
  • April 28th- Kid brother's wedding (and I'm the MC)
  • April 30th- IMU talk, then hopefully meet up with KL buddies/bloggers
  • May 1st- Travel to Singapore, hopefully meet up with buddies and to visit the SingHealth (Singapore GH) group
  • May 3rd- Flying from Singapore to Tioman
  • May 5th- Tioman back to KL, then Seremban
  • May 9th- Leave for the USA.
Phew. And somewhere in there, I'm going to fit in a shitload of meals. My girlfriend doesn't quite believe me when I tell her we have 6 meals a day in Malaysia (breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper). Indeed, we arrive at KLIA at 11pm; I know for a fact I'm going to hijack the car and detour to the local mamak for some satay and roti goreng even before we head home. Roti Goreng, by the way, is Seremban's greatest invention. You chop up roti canai and fry it like kuey teow. Between that and expensive filet mignon, I'd pick the roti any time. That probably deserves, at the very least, a Nobel nomination. After all, if the guys who thought up RNA interference could win the prize last year, why not the inventors of Roti Goreng?

Monday, April 16, 2007


So I'm back. It was a good conference. Great presentations by expert speakers. Some totally captivating, some in that monotonous voice that would put a manic person on LSD to sleep. 9 fellows went from my hospital. My presentation on the medical therapy of Cushing's disease went well.
Seattle's a beautiful city. Just south of Vancouver, in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. The lush greenery surrounded by water, with snow-capped mountains not too far away. Kinda made me realize what one's missing, being in the midwest. And I'm not even talking about the overwhelming number of Asian girls in Seattle, or the paucity of them here. Had major case of nosebleeding.
Gahh, sorry honey, I wasn't looking. Ouch ouch. My eye... Okay okay, change subject.
And the food. Omigosh, the food. As usual, we were stuffing ourselves silly, eating over $60/person/day. Sushi. Portugese food. Seafood. And then, there was this swanky Indonesian restaurant with an amazing menu. Though I enjoyed the food, I thought paying US$6.50 for 2 sticks of satay was ridiculous. Much more so when the satay, though a good meal, 1) tasted nothing like satay, 2) was not served with peanut sauce. I gained 1.5 kgs in that one week.
In my usual busybody fashion, I sniffed out a physician from Singapore attending this conference. In a hall of 300 people, my ears picked up a Malaysian/Singaporean accent, and so I went up to him after that talk to introduce myself. Turns out he knows Vince, a friend of mine who did a fellowship here. It's always nice to meet people from home. Easy to talk to (especially after you've had 7 glasses of chardonnay. Free alcohol at the reception mar! So drink lor- Kiasu ahbeng speaking).

World's very first Starbucks, Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Home to Dr Grey. Nope, didn't run into her. Bahh

Neways. I'm back to work proper. Never mind that I had a ton of patient messages to get back to. I leave for Malaysia in 8 short days!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gone to AACE '07!

Though Kris and I leave for Malaysia in 14 days, it feels so far away right now. Surreal. Work has been so busy, and I leave for a conference in Seattle in a few hours, so going home hasn't quite hit me yet.
Yup, will be in Seattle for 5 glorious days. Expect to attend most of the conference (most, because one needs to relax too, no? Especially when 8 other endo fellows are going too), though one day will have to be set aside for my presentation.
So, folks, more when I get back.
Seattle, here I come....
(if you're there, look me up!)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Girl's Best Friend

No, not talking about a gadget that runs on D batteries.
The boys had beer/movie night over the weekend. We rented Blood Diamond. Pretty good show about civil war and conflict diamonds from Africa (and I'm not even talking about Jennifer Connelly yet, rawl), albeit somewhat graphic and disturbing, how cutthroat the diamond trade is.
Kinda makes you wonder what the big deal is about diamonds.
I mean, why are some women drawn towards or even lust for them? I kinda wish that women wore coal on their rings instead of diamonds. I mean, carbon is carbon, right? So why must it be bling-bling?
Anyways. After watching the show, I'm deciding that my future wife will get a pearl or cubic zirconia instead. I don't want to be perpetuating the conflict diamond trade. Now I'll just have to try to sell her that idea.
Now, the real million dollar question is, can a woman tell apart a real diamond from those $19.99 cubic zirconia?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Celebrity Lookalikes

So I decided to take it easy this weekend. And got this from my sis' blog. You upload your pictures and the website and it tells you who you resemble.

While I was flattered that the website thinks I resemble Jet Li (my friends would beg to differ; I can hear them throwing up outside now), I'm miffed that this stupid site thinks I look like Ho Chi Minh and Chiang Kai Shek (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Capt. Jean Luc Picard). My girfriend made the interesting comment the other day.
"Hmm, there are some very old men in your list"

I had to lock her up in the bathroom. But alas, a few days was all I could take, for how could you torture someone who looks like Amanda Peet?

For a lark, go check out this site.
Now excuse me while I go practise my 'no-shadow kick'...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Phew. The last week has been a long one. Work has kept me busy, to say the least. For one, saw a couple of hypoglycemi@ patients, all real ones. That brings my total to 18 thus far. Considering these things happen less than 5/1,000,000 patients and most physicians never see a case in their lifetimes, I consider myself lucky. But extracting the history, and working these patients up, take an unbelievable amount of time.
And then, my patient with the high-risk thyroid cancer patient checked out okay on his whole-body scan. My sigh of relief was probably as loud as his, as his case greatly concerned me (one of the side effects of getting to know your patients and becoming attached). So for now, he's in the clear until we re-ultrasound him in 6 months. My girlfriend Kris made an interesting albeit striking comment the other day. It must be tough, living life 6 months at a time, until your doc gives you the 'all clear, no sign of cancer', for another 6 months.
And the cherry on the icing, my Cushing's disease patient who had failed a transphenoidal surgery who subsequently had laparascopic bilateral adrenalectomy, came back to see me today. He looked and felt like a new man. Despite initially having a rocky course immediately post-op. I told him seeing him made my day. It really did, for I remember how he looked 6 months ago.
Have also been busy scrambling to complete my chart review in an attempt to salvage my thyroid research project that was left dead in the water. Thankfully I was able to formulate a plan acceptable to the other authors that would validate my data. But that would entail reviewing another 400 charts to make up a new control group. I have been coming home the last couple of days with bloodshot eyes from reviewing patient charts, but 330 charts later, I'm almost done and will be ready for data analysis soon. And I'll be damned if that does not get published someday.
Anyhoo. Just another boring week in the boring life of a boring Malaysian doctor in Boringsville. Sometimes I wonder why on Earth people think doctors lead exciting lives.
Have a good Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Flu vs Cold

One interesting thing I've noticed. We Malaysians (Singaporeans too, actually) so freely use the words 'flu' and 'cold' interchangeably. This came up when this Malaysian medical student on elective here casually told me he was feeling unwell and had the flu (kinda ironic, considering he's doing a pulmonary rotation)(sorry buddy! )
But it's true. A cold is a nonspecific upper respiratory tract infection. Usually viral. Flu on the other hand, implies influenza. Something with a mortality rate of up to 10% in the elderly. Not something you wanna fool around with.
I realized this years ago when I callously used the word 'flu' when I meant 'cold'. My consultant almost sent me home. And when dad was visiting 2 years ago and he told a pregnant friend of mine that he had the flu, she literally jumped 2 feet back.
We all do it. Even doctors, freely interchanging these words. But something to think about the next time you're telling someone about your illness.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Free, Free!

Simply amazing. A couple of college grads, now multimillionaires from their success in Google. I hear the Google office is the most amazing in the world, with excellent employee benefits, unbelievable offices, then it was 1 Gb free email, and then Google Adsense. And now, free broadband internet access. Yes, you heard me. Free.
TiSP. So far, I've been pretty impressed by the download speeds.
So, if you want freebies, check out their site. Or go to Don't say I didn't tell you.