Friday, April 28, 2006

Does violence breed violence?

Today was a really strange day.

Today was the first time I went back to PBL since coming back from holidays. It seemed that even though I missed more lectures and the actual PBL than my fellow colleagues, I was pretty much on the ball (if only I had more days like that!), apart from getting all the pathophysiological mechanisms down, which I'm hoping that by the end of the weekend I will have.

After PBL was finished, I walked down towards the bus stop in front of the Princess Alexandra Hospital. At the bus stop, this woman, who was quite dishevelled, smoking and seemed to have been drinking, asked me whether I could give her two dollars for the bus. I asked he what bus she was getting on and it turned out that her and I were catching the same bus. I told her that I wouldn't mind paying for her fare into the city. She refused and she wanted the cash. I told her again that I will pay for her fare once we got on the bus. I had my left hand outstretched, which is also the hand that I wear this multi-ringed thumb ring. She snatched and pulled off the ring and put it on. I was quite shocked and asked her to give it back. She said that it was hers and started shouting at me. I asked her again in a firm voice to give it back and she started swearing at me and saying that it was her ring. Mind you were there were a number of other people at the bus station that just stood there. I grabbed her hand and tried to pry my ring off of her finger. I realised at that point that she had a cigarette in the other hand. The thought of her burning me with her cigarette crossed my mind. At this point, the bus that I needed to catch already came and left. She started to walk off in the opposite direction of traffic. I grabbed her hand harder this time, and forced my ring off of her finger whilst she was cussed me out. I put my ring on my finger and started walking in the other direction. SMACK! This lady had all of a sudden smack me across my face, so hard in fact that I almost lost my balance and my sunnies flew off my face! I was shocked! I couldn't believe that someone would have resorted to violence over something like that; then again, to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs could have easily put someone in that mindset. After that moment, I walked away thinking that should I have retaliated in some way. No. Violence should not breed violence. It should stop at the very first instance; in fact, there should be none at all. I walked and sat at the bus stop. Meanwhile, the people that were around me were avoiding me. Finally a couple of people came up and asked whether I knew her. It seemed as if they were looking at me as if I were a trouble maker as well. The couple had asked me again whether I knew her and I told them no. They also asked whether I was coming from the hospital. I told them yes and that I was a medical student, in the hopes of clearing up any misconceptions they had about me. And apparently they did, because they were quite surprised, "OH! You are a medical student. I'm very sorry that that had to happen to you. You can never trust those sort of people." I felt dejected, I felt as if all the work done in the fight against stereotyping and prejudice went down the drain. I felt powerless because no matter what I could have said, it would have been all in vain. Do I want sympathy from people when they hear about things like this? No. Do I hope that these sort of things make people question their interactions with other? Yes. You know what...fuck it. I'm too tired to be thinking about this at the moment. Not only that but I'm sick and tired of knowing that the difference one person tries to make ends up being a drop in the ocean. I know that I won't stop doing what I do...but at times it's hard to keep it up.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A whirlwind of thoughts

Wow…it has been too long. I don’t have the words to express how sorry I am for all of you that read this blog to keep up with my so-called life.

Since the last entry, a few things have materialised that I thought that I should metion. Firstly, 2nd year medical school is a bitch. Yes. Done and done. As I said last year, learning medicine is like learning how to drink water from a fire hydrant. The volume of information that MBBS II students need to know is insurmountable. I’ve been doing the bare minimum – knowing what the basic pathophysiological mechanisms for the cases that we have had thus far. However, unlike some of close friends, I’m having some issues with knowing the bare minimum. I reckon that that amount of knowledge will be enough to pass the year; but more importantly, do I want to know enough to pass? Currently, a dichotomy has surfaced, and that is either to play the School of Medicine’s game of knowing the answers for the exams versus knowing and synthesising information for the sake of your future patient’s health. In reality, it should be the latter; however, in practice (at least at this stage of the year), it is the former. How does one make that transition from learning the basic stuff to learning things that will actually saves someone’s life. I’ve been told my a number of the upper years that the fine details will be learnt during the clerkship years (MBBS III and IV) and that at the moment, knowing Kumar & Clark’s Clinical Medicine (one of the best clinical medicine books around) and the basic pathology from Robbins (one of the best pathology books that medical students have access to) is key for making sure that you can go onto 3rd year. It feels as if I’m in first year all over again in that I’m getting a bit worried about whether I will know enough to pass the midyear and (more importantly) the finals.

Also, I recently came back from an NMUN conference in New York. I’ve been going back to this conference for a number of years now, and this time was the last one. I had a hellish time getting there (plane was on the tarmac for 3 hours, luggage was lost for 4 days, had some visa issues with respect to getting back to Australia, to name a few) and back. However, spending time with those that I love was priceless. It was a bit of a swan’s song really. I know that the majority of people that I have become friends with from the conference, I will ‘never’ see again. However, there are a select few (and you know who you are) that our paths are destined to cross again. Here are some photos from the trip (for those of you that are in the photo and you don’t want to be…then let me know I can take the photo down):

This is a photo of me wearing an ECOSOCool shirt that Christine bought for the department. A friend of mine has it and hopefully it is making its way back to my closet. :) And I'm a bit scared to see the resemblance I've to my older brother in this photo. That reminds me, I've to call QANTAS to get my glasses back.

Peter is one of my closest friends, and I met him at the 2003 conference. We got along like houses on fire. In the summer of 2003, I went to Germany and celebrated my birthday in Cologne (where he was living at the time) and Christine flew out to be with us as well. That trip was chock full of memories. Ahh... Now, Peter lives in Berlin and has recenlty finished his PhD in law. Yeah, he's one of those. :) However, I still don't know what happened to him on the Monday morning...

Amierah and I met in 1999 and we have been great friends ever since. Even though we live an ocean apart (and sometimes the ocean changes as she will often tell me "Hi, I'm in Egypt!"). She is extremely honest (which is a rare quality for people to have) and truly genuine. Amierah, I wish you all the best of luck for SG for NMUN 2007!

This is Jill. She is originally from Georgia, USA and now is living in Luxembourg. Jill is a lawyer and is very interested in the non-profit sector. She is consultant for Human Rights Watch and is working for the European Court of Justice and will soon be moving back to New York to work for quite a prestigous law firm. She was my cuddle buddy for the week. :) Lordy...I'm sooooo drunk!

This is a photo of me, Colleen, Rabia, and Sara. Each of us born in a different country (and having different passports) but bonded by 1-2-3 STRIKE-A-POSE! My pose is one that I used in an Indian folk dance that I was in a few years ago. [For those that are curious: Veevek - Canada, Colleen - USA, Rabia - UK, and Sara - Iran] Seriously though, all of us are intelligent (apart from when we get together). Colleen is doing her PhD in international relations, Rabia is a doing a MA in international economics and Sara just got accepted to do her MA in international security and disarmament and political economy.

No trip to New York could ever be complete without seeing my best friend, Christine, again. Seeing her makes my reality a better place. She has started her PhD programme in economics at the Univeristy of California, Los Angeles (she's the smart one). This was our last conference together; even though we won't be seeing each other next year around this time, I know that she is one of the few people that will be in my life irrespective of where we are. Heck, she's going to be the future godmother of my kids (hmm...perhaps I should talk to my spouse about this one. Better yet, perhaps I should get myself a girlfriend before that even happens...argh...too many things to do!).

This is a photo of Andres, myself and Peter (the location...I don't remember). I had to put this photo in because many of the NMUN girls have told me that this photo is "hot". I don't know why...but I'm just doing them a service. :) Andres recently moved to Quito, Ecuador (he used to live in Germany for the past 12 years). He goes by the name of Dr. G, as he recently got his PhD with his thesis being on corruption in Latin America. So, in about two years time...this photo will have Dr. G, Dr. T and Dr. G. :)

Rabia and I met in 2004 and ever since we've been laughing it up over things such as music, pop culture, fashion, politics, food and of course, South Asian folk dance. She had sent me a little sound byte (Itsy Bitsy Spider) by the Wolvesbrothers. When her and I got to NYC, we choreographed a little dance to the song and promised ourselves that we would perform this dance in the middle of Time Square. One day, we did a little practice run outside the lobby of the hotel and one of the hotel staff told us that if we put a hat on the ground beside us, the we would probably get some money! HAHAHAHA. On our last day in NYC, around 1pm, Rabia and I danced to the song in the middle of Time Square, not bearning any attention to the heaps of tourists walking around, the Naked Cowboy, and vehicles filled with people looking and taking photos.

Okay...enough of the walking down memory lane...back to reality, back to life...

Now that I’m back in Brisbane, I know that I need to crank up the volume in terms of sitting my ass down and revising for the midyear exam. Also, I need to get enough work done so that when my friend Stephanie (from Toronto) comes down to visit in May, I can devote some of my time to her and be a good host.

So, what's next on the V-man's agenda? Well, for the next 6 weeks I've gotta bustamove and get enough stuff into my head to pass my midyear exam. Apart from that, I'm going to be buying my ticket to Europe this week! My brother is getting married in August in Sweden (as his fiancee, who is the bestest future sister-in-law in the world, is from there). There is also going to be an Indian reception, which will be held a week later in Leicester, UK, as the majority of my dad's side of the family lives Europe-side. So, booking this ticket, who would have thought that flying into London Heathrow would be more expensive than, let's say, flying to Paris. So, what does Veevek do? He is going to be flying into Paris! This will be awesome, as I've never been and I have a few friends that are living there. Also, my friend Paramjot from Brisbane will be coming with me. After the wedding stuff is over, Paramjot and I are heading over to Helsinki (if you haven't seen the show "Little Britain" you are missing out) for the World Congress of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. YAYAYAYAYAYA...another trip! I can't wait. :)

But before I can get all happy about that, I need to get through the next 6 weeks. Alright, enough bitching about what is to come. I reckon that I should just get to it. On that note, I should revise last year's stuff on cystic fibrosis, as Leanne and I are tutoring that subject to our group of first year medical students that we tutor every Monday arvo. I've some news about the tutoring programme but I want to make sure that some key elements are in place before telling the world about it. Yes, I'm being cruel and making you all wait. Suck it up, buttercup.