Monday, 26 March 2007

A Special Weekend

Come Fridays, colleagues would ask me what my plans are for the weekends. I think they secretly expect me to say that I plan to conquer the world like bunch of lab mice or hang out with Paris Hilton like Britney Spears before her post-natal depression. Tough luck if they crave to uncover a closet super-hero or a super-famous celebrity. My weekdays are physically and mentally draining. My weekends, whilst meant to be reprieve from the busy weekdays, are spent doing mundane chores such as doing the laundry, cooking, sleeping, and lots more sleeping. If anyone thinks that they're fun things to do, he/she is either not in his/her right mind, or his/her idea of spending an exciting weekend isn't as exciting as he/she would like to think.
Well I managed to break the cycle this weekend. By chance really. PY's (my roommate) mother and sister came down for her graduation ceremony, and whilst she works on Saturdays and I don't, I volunteered to act as their tour guide on Saturday. It was on that day that I realised how little I knew of Sydney and its history considering that I've spent the greater part of the last 4 years in it. KT followed us to the train station before detouring to his office. He spent the whole time on the bus describing almost every building we came across, his introduction laced with historical facts. Left to my own faculties, my introduction would have been more anecdotal rather than factual, and I most probably would have talked more about the weather for lack of better things to say. I should have paid more attention when KT explained Sydney City to me on our public transport trips , rather than day-dreaming on the bus, thinking of what to cook for lunch or what would be the best time to have an afternoon nap. This just emphasises that men are of a different make to that of women.
Needless to say, PY's mother and sister were very impressed with KT's knowledge of Sydney, so much so that not only could they recognise the buldings and roads that KT pointed out to them each time we passed by them, they could even recite almost word for word of what KT told them.
As for my tour guide skills? I haphazardly tried to remember the exits to train stations, the location of the pharmacy at which PY works, the stalls which sell macadamia nuts, where the bus stops were... Basically, I was like my usual scatter-brained self, just that I had two expectant visitors in tow.
No major problems, though. We went home with heaps of chocolates, potato chips, sweets, and macadamia nuts, everything they wanted to buy, and noone or nothing left behind. Great success.
More on Saturday night and Sunday: the PY, mother, sister, and roommate adventure to be continued.


Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Watch Fish Watch You Watching Them

I don't remember where I read this line from, but I think it's true; well, for some fish at least.
I'm sitting in my room, back from work after a tiring day, and I'm itching to blog something, but the fighting fish in their glass containers next to my laptop distract me too much. I know that they are hungry, especially the skittish female I call Dot (she was tiny when I bought her). Dot in particular is eyeing me with a hungry interest (feed me! feed me!) and she knows (or I like to think that she does) that I am eyeing her, so she skits around even more crazily, waiting for me to feed her.
Yes, I know I've got nothing better to do than to blog about fish, much less spend time goggling them when I should be doing more productive things (clean up the mess that is my table perhaps???), but there's something about fish, fighting fish in particular, that I find very entertaining. I just like to fluff around, I know.
You would too after a hard day's work. I feel as if I work in a place surrounded by predators, something along the line of sharks, ready to snap at me like they've not set eyes on food for months, dogging my every move, so should I so much as yawn and miss a second in getting their medications out to them sooner, they'd complain to say that I'm sleeping on the job.
Give me my fighting fish anytime. They may be territorial, but at least they're not out to stake a claim on my blood.


Sunday, 18 March 2007

Two Friends

I met up with an old friend (CH) today. We've only known each other for a little less than a year, the same year I started the Sydney / Australia chapter, but in that short span of a year, she became the older sister I never had. She went home to Vietnam after completing her degree, with the hope to come back to Sydney. We sealed our friendship with promises of keeping in touch and a visit to Vietnam to 'do' her hair for her wedding.
4 years passed by with e-mails, long-distant calls, and MSN messaging. I admit to being a horrible correspondent, and she didn't have a habit of checking e-mails, so one year easily passed by with no news from either of us. Until recently that is...
Fate works in mysterious ways, and it has never ceased to amaze me with its ingenuity. I was walking along King Street, Newtown with my roommate that night, deciding on what to eat. We passed by this up-market Vietnamese restaurant, and I thought of CH. I thought of the many years that I walked passed this same restaurant, never once going in. My roommate, KT and I dined there that, and thought it was quite expensive, the food was good (although the scallops tasted of something I would rather not eat).
That night, I received an e-mail from CH telling me that she's back in Sydney doing a one-year major course.
We met over lunch, and walked along King Street just like the good old days. She told me about her life and work in Hanoi, her family, and I told her about my work as a graduate pharmacist, living at college (still), family. Comparing stories and experiences, she's had an illustrious 4 years... trying different jobs, dabbling into business, managing community-based projects, pursuing majors, taking up meditation in a Wat in Chiangmai... and I think back to my 4 years of slogging away to complete a pharmacy degree, slaving away in a pharmacy dealing with difficult customers, and being so tired on most nights that I can't think about doing anything else but sleep.
Perhaps the things I admire most about CH is that she's willing to give things a chance, willing to take a leap into the unknown, and above all, I admire her passion for wanting to make her country a better place.
I admire her for the things that I'd like to see in myself.


Thursday, 15 March 2007

Sick and Sleepless in Sydney

It's not even a weekend, and yet I'm awake at 4:28am. My slumber was rudely interrupted by a blocked nose and a raspy throat. No, this is not an advertisement for some new cold and flu product. If it was, I'd demand that I get well instantly, as all advertisements for cold and flu products would have me believe. In the past 2 days, I've been reliant on - almost to the point of being addicted to - pseudoephedrine + sedating antihistamines just to try to get over the cold. I've grown so attached to them that I now know how long it takes for my nose to magically unblock itself after taking a tablet (approximately 30 minutes - oh yes I count those measly minutes). I also know how long it takes before the effect wears off (approximately 4 hours), and my nose reduces itself to the congestion almost worthy of all the major roads in KL city centre. Or Paramatta Road during peak (after all, I am in Sydney).
I've taken two tablets of SUDAFED nighttime relief, each tablet containing 500mg paracetamol, 30mg pseudoephedrine HCl and 1.25mg triprolidine HCl, at about 4:15am. I'm still waiting for some sort of sign. Until the congestion clears, I miserably type away on the laptop keyboard, watching the fighting fish dance about in their small space of water (I wonder if fish get a cold, but I suppose it's ridiculous to think that they'd get drenched in an autumn rain when they live in water regardless of the seasonal variation in rainfall).
I have a sneaky feeling that I've been conned by the makers of SUDAFED. Oh how I wished that I've taken an ACTIFED. Oh wait. Both are made by the same company. Then how is it so, that I feel that I get faster relief from taking one tablet of ACTIFED (containing 60mg pseudoephedrine HCl and 2.5 triprolidine HCl) than I would taking 2 tablets of SUDAFED nighttime relief??? The logic eludes me. As does sleep for this morning I fear. Perhaps I would be more empathic the next time a customer comes around to the dispensary asking for one brand of cold and flu product over the other, even after I've told him/her that both products contain exactly the same active ingredients. The customer's reasoning? "Oh, brand XXX seems to do the trick for me. Brand YYY doesn't work, and I've tried both before, thank you very much. So I'd like to stick with brand XXX."
I should have just stuck with ACTIFED.
Disclaimer: The above posting is not intended for advertising purposes of any product by any company.


Thursday, 8 March 2007

Why I Have a Blog When I Don't Even Write

This is not my first blog. I had my own space at Windows Live Spaces(TM) until I got evicted, or something to that effect. It's still there, so if anyone would like to have a view of my earlier postings, please do so at
I admit, blogging is not my work by night. I get too tired from masquerading as a pharmacy graduate by day to think about what to type on most nights... so I can appreciate why after months of not posting anything in my space, when I'm suddenly overcome by a bout of blogger's diarrhoea and decide to type out an entire posting, I'm rudely interrupted from publishing my posting by this annoying message that reads something to the effect of "This space is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later" (you have no idea how many times I have tried again later), but that DOES NOT mean that I am absolutely accepting of the fact that when I need to write, I'm not allowed to. I also do not like the fact that I have to start from scratch.
So here I am, rankled with not being able to showcase my literary masterpiece on Windows Live Spaces(TM), and seeking refuge in instead. Bloggers (even a pseudo-blogger such as myself) should not be refused the right to express and impress - this should be made the first commandment in the 10 Commandments of Blogging.
By the way, this sudden spur to continue blogging has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that KT (you know who you are) has been reading blogs written by a few friends. It also has nothing to do with the fact that he casually mentioned that I don't even update my blog, even when I told him that I have one, and that he should read it! I would prefer to think that I am indeed overcome by blogger's diarrhoea, regardless on how I came to this conclusive diagnosis.
KT, now that I have renewed my passion, and have the distinction to mention you in my first posting here, you had better start reading this blog!
So why do I have a blog indeed??? I love to read, and I love to write. I've tried to write several short stories in buku latihan in my secondary school days. My mother lectured me on wasting paper - I've never finished any of my work, and they're still safely ensconced in the cupboards, gathering dust. Blogging is therefore an extension of my youthful ambition to become a successful author, to write of things so intelligent, wonderful, and fanciful that people would marvel at my creativity, my wit, my charm, my sophistication.
Even more so, I blog to share some of my experience, to rant and rave like a lunatic who's just been granted a day out into the park, and perhaps the errant reader would think to him/herself: "I know what you mean, I feel the same way too!". After all, everyone would like to be understood once in a while.
I welcome you to my world of thoughts.

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