Saturday, 24 September 2016

Not Enough Storage

I think I echo the entire human race (who own iPhones, anyway) that the biggest every-day ordeal that I have to put up with is the Storage Almost Full warning that keeps popping up & not letting me get some peace of mind. It's especially annoying when I'm with my good friends having a jolly time and we want to immortalise the moment and as an iPhone user I automatically assume the responsibility to execute the task and then this thing happens :

and then I lower my hand in shame and hang on to dear life as my friends tease me with a truckload of taunts. As if it's not enough that they mock the short battery life already! -_- 

But if they're not constantly poking fun at me then are they really my friends???

I was doing my routine photo deletion when I realised I haven't blogged about any of the recent happenings in my life ever since I started my third year of uni. So here we go, danger, I'll blog based on the photos I was about to delete :

My primary schoolmate came to London for a holiday with her family. I make it a point to meet up with anyone I know who's coming to London, even if their primary intention is not to visit me, but a piece of Malaysia is a piece, still, thus has to be celebrated! Dinner at Tinseltown, and then we took it to Oxford Street for an obligatory selfie with the red buses!

"Bus, smile!!"

The first two weeks of uni were dedicated to prepare us for the forthcoming clinical life by honing our clinical skills - history taking, history presenting, physical examination, and my favourite of them all, practical. I learnt how to draw blood (from a dummy je hehe), insert a cannula, flush a cannula, look into someone's ear & eye using appropriate instruments, properly wash my hands to meet the standard of hygiene practised in healthcare settings. In the midst of it all, I somehow got myself injured....

Domestic life has been a little turbulent because my housemates have only arrived in London yesterday. For the past several weeks prior to their arrival, I've been cooking quite a lot since we haven't laid down the cooking schedule, or any house schedule for that matter. But I thought I'd need to at least warm up my cooking engine before I rev it up properly once we establish our housemateship. Some days are easy - I get my work done in time and have enough time to actually cook proper food. Some other days, though, uni life gets too demanding of my time & energy, so I'll have to make do with plain rice and serunding. Thank God for serunding!! But here are some proper ones I managed to cook & take photos of (I have to admit, they don't look good, but what's important is they're edible and I didn't die ok) :

Ayam masak bali

Nasi lemak aka THE LOVE OF MY LIFE!!!

Nasi ayam. Yes I got it right this time around; salad, not cabbage haha

I went out with Umi, Tipah, and Farzana one night. I was so full from our marvellous dinner at Melur (you have to try the sambal kambing goreng!! Sedap. Gila.), so I thought of going back straight away and slipping into something comfortable, like idk a (food) coma? Anything but my jeans!! But the girls dragged me along to Tower Bridge. It was loads of fun but it was way past my bedtime, so I was yawning half of the time and ended up looking like a zombie in our photos. The girls kept calling me a baby because I sleep early (9pm usually. 10pm for me is subhanallah liarnya already)

Tipah, Umi, Farzana, and a zombie.

Speaking of zombies, have you watched Train To Busan???? I just watched it the other day! And I loved it!!! Brilliant movie, well paced, the scare points were placed at appropriate intervals, and you know what, it honestly goes beyond a horror zombie movie. Love how they portrayed the ethos of raw, naked human nature in the times when tension runs high. And how can I not mention the stunning performance of all of the actors?! Damn you Koreans stop blowing my mind.

I had a 1-hour phone conversation with Ulfah the day before she flew here (mengada tak? Padahal boleh je borak gossip once she dah sampai here but wtv), and I somehow pulled her into a dissection of Train To Busan with me. I asked her if she were to be in a similar situation as the movie, would she fight for survival till the very end? I told her I probably wouldn't, and my sentiments were crystallised when the husband of that pregnant lady got infected by the zombies. I wondered what was left for her to fight for - a foetus who will be born to no father figure, who she'll have to raise on her own, and for what? For the child to be victimised with the painful yearning for a paternal presence and blame the mother squarely for bringing him/her to life?? If I were the pregnant lady I probably would have just voluntarily thrown myself to the raging zombies and turned into one of them, wouldn't that be the easier thing to do? To follow the crowd?? But just because it's the easier alternative doesn't mean it's the right one. And the pregnant lady probably knew that she had a duty not just to the unborn child, but to ensure the continuity of human species. 1% of survival chance is still a chance, no matter how you slice it. She had to fight for that 1% chance. If a single bacterion with resistant strain can fight to survive & spread its resistance then what excuse do we humans have?!

"You fikir jauh sangat doh," was Ulfah's simple response, before she jumped to a different topic afterwards -_-

Less than 24 hours after our phone call we reunited in real life!!! We went to Stratford because Ulfah had some stuff she needed to settle. After the boring adult stuff were done & over with, we randomly walked into shops, navigated by Iqin who was shopping for jumpers (Iqin can never have enough jumpers... haha). While Iqin was preoccupied with choices of clothes, Ulfah & I roamed the shops and made ridiculous remarks on clothes that caught our eyes, like this one :

"Weh jom gi swimming"

Ulfah and I also Facetimed Emma because we missed her & we missed KHouse!!! T_T

And oh my God, guys, Ji Chang Wook's new drama is out!!!!! He'll always be Healer/Park Bong Soo/Seo Jeong Hoo in my heart, but yayyy so happy that I get to see him in a Korean drama again!! :) Amie tweeted me this photo from his recent photoshoot with Yoona - his costar in the new drama - warning me to be strong upon seeing him with another woman.

Hold up, something's not quite right.....

There, fixed it

Another photo that I came across while on my phone cleaning spree was this hilarious meme for the drama that I'm currently watching, Moon Lovers : Scarlet Heart : Ryeo : why is the name so long.

You know I don't do ongoing dramas, right? You know I'm a 10-episodes-per-day kind of girl, right? Man, following a drama week after week is an absolute torment! How do you people do it?? But the torment comes with the joy of being in a very engaging community of people who share my love for deconstructing KDramas. The comment section for this drama on Dramabeans is explosive with analysis on various things - from technical issues to historical discussion. So fun!!! 

There are more photos that I want to write about but this post is monstrous already. Anyone still reading until this point?? Congratulations, well done, medium rare! :)

Sunday, 18 September 2016

22. Things People Say

Funny story. 

The night before I took off Malaysian soil, my family got together with some relatives for dinner. I had sizzling salmon, and that was good, but man my aunt's nasi kukus looked even better. Wish I'd ordered that instead. I was perpetually in a limbo between being Kakak Sheera and Sheera The Niece.

A for Ayam!

Kita baru nak masuk clinical year ni, acik.

D for Dinasour, clever girl Tia!!

Oh kita habis tahun 2019 nanti.

Aqil jangan lari-lari nanti jatuh!!! (cue panic)

Hmm tak tahulah acik, tak terfikir lagi nak specialise in apa.

The question of specialties in medicine is not uncommon to me, it keeps dancing around on people's lips each time they learn the fact that I'm a medical student. It seems to be the only thing people can think of though. That, or they proceed to a free consultation by telling me about a condition they have and asking me how to cure it. Hahah. Anyhoo, I never had a definite answer for what kind of doctor I wish to be, because, okay I'll just strip myself naked honest here, my mind has never travelled that far into the future. I'm not even halfway through medschool, you wanna ask about being a specialist ah? Aiyo.

"Plastic surgery kot," I joked. Because hello, plastic surgery = Korea!!

Me at any chance I can grab to go to South Korea :

Mama saw right through me and rolled her eyes - her default reaction whenever I do anything remotely Korean-related hahaha. My aunt, on the other hand, gave an approving nod, because she said she hates her nose. Hahahhaa. Self-deprecating jokes & playful squabbles & roaring laughters ensued. 

"Tapi acik rasa Sheera patut jadi doktor pakar kanak-kanak (paediatrician) lah,"

Fast forward a few hours later and I was having a chat with two Australian ladies seated next to me in the aircraft. They're going for a Euro trip, the two of them, for a month. That equates to a month off work. Since their jobs are very much related to healthcare, we had plenty of stuff to talk about once I divulged about my being a medical student. They went off on a tale about the Australian healthcare system. And, yes, the impending question of specialty came around.

"I don't know yet, but my family's been telling me I should go for paeds,"

"I was just gonna say that!! You look like you can do well with kids," one of them exclaimed.

Umm that's probably because I am one. Haha.

They're not the first ones to say this to me. This whole paeds talk has definitely happened too many times. My best bet was a coincidence, I used to just shrug it off, but now, I'm a little shaken by the ominosity (is that even a real word?!) of its frequency. I don't know how to feel about it. I actually would take a child's company over an adult's any day. Thomas And Friends for life ok. But surely it takes more than just playful tact to consider working with kids??

It's too early to think about this. But for now if someone asks me what kind of doctor do I want to be, I want to be a good one. InsyaAllah.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Warm Days

These past few days have been really hot in London, and when I say really hot, I mean really hot by London's standards. It was 30 degrees celcius yesterday, that's like Malaysia already!!! I thought my homesickness was so bad that it tampered with my cognitive levels, wiring my brain & body to hallucinate about still being in Malaysia (wet pits, ok, that's some 4D hallucination), but then I saw all the mat sallehs fanning their flushed faces in the tube, I figured it's really London. I actually feel sorry for the Brits. I mean, I'm not completely bothered by the heat because 30°C is nothing short of normalcy in Malaysia, but 30°C in the UK? In September?! Go figure. Hang in there you Brits!

But we've got sunshine and blue sky and lush foliage, so London has been looking gorgeous, albeit not quite feeling like it. Beauty comes with pain ok?! Everyone, stay hydrated! And don't forget to lather sunscreen all over your skin!!

A Familiar Stranger

The steward moved down the aisle, pushing a trolley & cheerily offering everyone drinks. He was smiling from ear to ear, almost too happy for a sane person who's on a 14-hour long flight thousands of feet above the ground. But his high spirits were infectious. I couldn't help but to smile.

He stopped by my row.

"Care for something to drink, ladies? Tea? Coffee?" he asked. The two Australian girls seated next to me settled for coffee.

The steward very carefully handed two cups of hot coffee to them, and then his attention shifted to me with a raised eyebrow. "And you Cik? Nak coffee?"

This man was a stranger to me, no less, but ah, that little Malaysian twist that imbued his slang just screamed Home in my face. Call me ridiculous, but when you're being flown halfway across the globe from where you'd rather be and your heart throbs with homesickness, what a world of difference the faintest hint of familiarity can make. 

"Taknak, but I was wondering if you ada fruits lagi?" I asked, referring to the fruits that were given as one of the sides for the meal earlier. I'm sure I must have had this expectant look on my face, because his expression genuinely dropped as he apologised; there weren't any fruits left.

"But got my Adam's apple! Want?" he offered some solace to cushion the impact of my falling hopes. I liked that.

I chuckled. "Don't want lah, I want edible fruits."

"Ehhh, edible what. It's just cannibalism lah."


Had I at least been a little more observant and taken notice of his nametag, you best bet I would be drafting an email to MAS right now to nominate this guy for the Employee Of The Month award instead of writing this blogpost. But whoever you are, stranger steward, thank you for your sense of humour, and thank you for your Malaysian hospitality when we were in fact continents and oceans away from Malaysia. 

Hi, London! Long time no see.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

KDrama Review : Age Of Youth

I feel like while we're all spoilt for KDrama choices, I somehow carry the responsibility to promote underrated shows in KDramaland. It's like I can't rest until I write about them and shove them in everyone's faces and make everyone watch them. I take my PR duties very seriously. I'll say You're Welcome in advance because more often than not, people will thank me for introducing them to such dramas, and at that point I'll breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that I've, yet again, done something for the communal benefit, the greater good. Fardu kifayah. Guys, I'm happy to report that I have found another gem in KDramaland. And that is Age Of Youth.

L-R : Yoo Eun Jae, Song Ji Won, Yoon Jin Myung, Jung Ye Eun, Kang Yi Na. These are the 5 tenants of a house called Belle Epoque.

I think it's not just a purely fortuitous coincidence that I chanced upon this drama while lurking on the comment section on Dramabeans, I think it's fate. But whatever. How I got to this drama is not important, what matters most is that I've (binge)watched it and I am absolutely in love with it.

Now that I've finished all 12 episodes, I have a few questions that still persist. What is it about Age Of Youth that draws me in? Why are there only 12 episodes? What about Song Ji Won's story, why isn't there an episode that centres around her? Isn't Ye Eun's kidnapping incident a little jarring and out of nowhere? Among all of them, why does Ye Eun's character not appeal to me as much as the others'?

So let's get down to it.

I think the reason I like Ye Eun's character least is because I see glimpses of myself in her, or her in me. Either way, I hate that, and I didn't want to admit it while watching the entire show, but only now in hindsight do I find the courage to surrender to the fact. I hate that she tends to think of herself above & superior to everyone else. I hate that she lacks the ability to break free from a toxic relationship, which could result from her own insecurities that she'll never find any love at all, so she settles for whatever love she can scrape off of the jerk she calls her boyfriend. I hate that even when she knows her boyfriend is in the wrong for putting forward a romantic attempt to her friend Yi Na, she still chooses to put the blame square on the promiscuous nature of Yi Na's dating habits. I hate that she's the one putting so much effort in her relationship, while her boyfriend forgets their anniversary, pulls her out of the car, plants forced kisses on her, does not reply to her texts often, and Ye Eun lets all of this slide. I hate that she has an infinite supply of second chances for her boyfriend. I hate that even when her boyfriend confesses about having a troubled childhood (which does not warrant the abusive behaviour, however way you spin it boy), Ye Eun pulls her boyfriend into an embrace, and lulls him into a false sense of It's Okay It's Not Your Fault. 

But I like how she finally finds it in herself to break up with her boyfriend, to delete every single photo of her boyfriend, to celebrate the demise of that toxic relation in the BEST way possible with the whole crew of Belle Epoque.

I like how the drama tackles the stages she goes through post-breakup - keeping herself fully occupied with activities so that she has no time to dwell about the boy. Yes she obviously tries too hard to not fall into the dark abyss of Post Break Up Depression, and I like how her housemates notice this hahaha, but hey, at least Ye Eun is trying!! Though she puts up a facade of all smiles & laughter in front of her boyfriend, I can see how much energy that takes out of her when she immediately falls to her knees the moment her boyfriend is out of sight.

The mask she holds up clearly backfires her when the ex-boyfriend kidnaps her (because he feels like she's taunting him?? Boy you are so full of yourself, get out of my face). Yes, that abduction seems like it comes out of left field. I'm a little disturbed by how unexpected it is, it feels like the drama is suddenly veering into a darker direction, but I think that is in fact the whole point of it. Dating violence does happen and it happens when one does not expect it. Dating violence does come out of nowhere. Dating violence does happen, even if the perpetrator sports a handsome face and good sense of style and an undeniable charm, the perpetrator doesn't necessarily have a telltale sign like evil-looking face or whatever. If anything, I'm actually glad this drama goes in that direction and addresses this issue, and even manages to shed a comical light on it. I laughed out loud when the 4 girls are asked to get out of the ambulance, and still sobbing when they realise that Eun Jae just has a tiny injury on her palm, and then panicking that Ye Eun, the actual victim, is not even getting proper treatment hahahah.

Another thing that I like about Ye Eun's arc is that, the final episode shows no signs of happy ending for her as she freezes in the middle of a sea of people in the wake of possible PTSD, but I can only hope for better days ahead of her. This is some deft writing, because the writer convinces me that Ye Eun's life is a real life that is being lived out beyond the rectangular screen, beyond the drama. Someone else out there is in a similar situation as Ye Eun. Even though Episode 12 is the end of the drama, I know it isn't the end to Ye Eun's story. She'll get back up from the rock bottom, so will everyone else in real life, hopefully. 

Contrary to Ye Eun, Song Ji Won's character is my faaaavourite!!! She's lively and funny and spunky and she acts like the glue that keeps Belle Epoque together. And she reminds me of Gabie Kook that I wrote about before. She's just a sweet lil angel who lights up every place she leaves her footsteps in, I'm sad that there isn't enough about her story I'm made privy of. But perhaps her character is so very endearing and likeable, because I don't get enough of her, so I crave for her screentime more. She remains a mystery, and that's why I like her. Sure I'm disappointed that Ji Won doesn't have an episode as a spotlight on her back story, but it gets me thinking that maybe she doesn't have a story to tell. Maybe her life has always been a mediocre story with paucity of drama or tension (like my life lols) but still, that doesn't stop her from being such a lovable character. Or maybe her story is just too long that it'll only do to have an entire different drama just for her hahaha. So now that I think about it, I would really love to have a Ji Won-centric episode, but I'm okay about Song Ji Won not getting her own episode either, because she shines in all the other episodes anyway, like the bright star that she is. I especially love the part where she makes up a story of Ye Eun having a twin sister who has everything better than Ye Eun herself so Ye Eun considers having a boyfriend something that she can actually be proud of so she can't break up, because just like Eun Jae, I almost fell for that story. And just like Eun Jae, the lesson behind that fabricated story leaves an indelible impact in me. Damn it Song Ji Won how can you be funny and witty and full of wisdom, how is it possible for one person to carry all these enviable traits?!

On to the next question, WHY ARE THERE ONLY 12 EPISODES?! I don't know. If there's any drama that deserves an extension, it's this one. Jebal I really would love to see just oneeee moreeee episodeeee of these girls! Possibly their reunion after 10 years? Please.

The final question, why do I like Age Of Youth? What is it about this drama, what's the key ingredient or star chemical compound behind its addictiveness? Maybe because it's incredibly funny without even trying too hard, just the right dose of hilarity. That scene where Ji Won goofily makes a mistake during Jin Myung's brother's funeral, and they all stifle a laugh that they sound like they're crying. And when Yi Na suddenly kisses Ye Eun on the lips because Ye Eun thinks she's infected with some kind of STD. Hahahaha man I love how these girls can still laugh in the face of adversity :') Or maybe it's the set of perfectly chosen OSTs that are inserted on the right cues, with gorgeous colour grading and pretty, simplistic cinematography? Or the fact that it's so well written, making it very easy to relate to & immerse into? Or because the final episode tells me that it's possible to start over, and that hope is a wonderful thing? Or perhaps because the girls of Belle Epoque remind me about the joy of cohabitation with people of unique identities, making me miss KHouse terribly. I'm not too sure, maybe all of the above and more. 

Age Of Youth will have a special place in my heart, it's going to be my go-to drama for whenever I need a light lift me up sort of thing. If you need that now, I cannot recommend this drama enough!! :)