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Friday, December 02, 2016

Birthday Prank: SMSL 2003 memory...

As I read some of my earliest blogpost entry since 2006, I have a feeling that somehow life is so interesting. What I wrote about the current issue, politics, music, medicine, were just providing fact and information for readers out there who are seeking for it. My real passion in writing is to write about those interesting experience in my life. The thing that I wanted to share. Half of me wanted to give information, half of me just want to share. 

Today, I suddenly remember regarding a story that happen 13 years ago. A story that most of the people who are involved will never forget. This story happen when I was in Form 5, at Sekolah Menengah Sains Labuan (SMSL). It happen because of one person. We call him Buyut.

So do you all know that during my time, it was 2003, there were a tradition in our boarding school where everyone will prank you during your birthday. This tradition was prohibited by the school because it cost too much 'damage'. People would just thrashed out everything during that prank - make a lot of thrash everywhere. The prank traditionally involved throwing flour to the birthday boy, then throw egg on them. The person will be covered with flour and egg. The prank did not stop there. After that, the person will be splashed by water and only God knows where the water came from, hyperbolically. It could be from the toilet, drain, or anything.

So, everyone were trying to keep their birthday a secret back in those days. There were no facebook so if you just keep quiet about it, you will be fine. Those prankster also kept their knowledge of the person birthday a secret. So the birthday boy will never know when the prank will start or will it happen or not. Day will start as usual, if you were not pranked at midnight, just like normal days, and suddenly out of nowhere, flour, egg, and water will be coming at you from no where.

The story that I wanted to tell here happen during Buyut's birthday. For your information, Buyut was a likeable character in the school. Perhaps the most likeable seniors. He was funny, he just be himself all the time. He never caused any trouble, never fight, even though my memory of him was now blurry (after 13 years), but I remember him as a nice and funny person. So, no one scared of him.

It happen at midnight. At daytime, nothing unusual happen, everyone were doing their daily routine normally. I heard about the prank, but even I myself did not really know when it will start. At midnight, out of nowhere, we heard a laughter. Initially small, then it got bigger. Starting from a small group of student, more and more student started to join that prank. It was a chain reaction. From one dorm, to another dorm, and before you know it, it become one of the biggest birthday celebration prank ever. The whole boy hostel were awake. Everyone were chasing Buyut and nobody want to miss the opportunity to prank him.

The prank did not involved only the seniors Form 5 student, it involved the whole hostel. It was big, and noisy. The funny thing was, Buyut never submitted to the prank. He fought as hard as he could. He run as fast as he can. He tried with a huge effort to avoid water being splashed on him. The more he fight the more prankster join to catch and make him submit. It was funny, up to the point where thing got out of control. At 1 am in the morning, the hostel was lively as it was 12 in the afternoon. Nobody cared about our warden anymore. Everyone just carried away.

That was including me. I do not know why, before this we were even scared to make a sound when we walk, because we do not want our hostel warden to be disturbed from his sleep. Because when he does, people are going to pay for the consequences. At that time, everyone just carried away with the prank and forgot that the warden was still there, in his room, at ground floor of our hostel.

I was just in front of the warden room, when somebody called me discreetly from a room beside that room. The room beside the warden room was called "Bilik 6 Jahanam". It was a room dedicated to the 6 most notorious senior student at that time. You know, warden like to keep them close so that they cannot do anything illegal, something like that. They were not bad, it was like 'bad' for a 16-17 years old in a boarding school. How bad can that be? So this person inside that room called me, he told me that thing are getting crazy out there and the warden will be awaken anytime soon. Better hide myself and calm down. He pulled me into the room. The room was dark, everyone was sleeping, or pretending. It was irony, the biggest prank were happening outside, and this so called 'notorious' student just stay in their room, sleeping, did not want to be involved. Turn out to be, they were smart. And I was just lucky.

The moment I step into the room, I sat on one of their bed, suddenly we heard our warden shouting from in front of his room.

"ASPURA!!!"  That was our hostel name. That shouting referred to everyone in the hostel. That was a bad sign.

Then everything stopped. Just like mannequin challenge, people stop immediately at what they were doing at that time. The warden were so angry, he shouted and ordered everyone involved to stop and start to gather downstairs, or in the middle of our nearest basketball court. Punishment was on its way. As expected, the warden first check this Notorious room, always suspecting them to be involved. He opened the door, to find out that all of us in there were sleeping. Pretending. Including me, under our blanket comfortably. He just stand at the door for 1 minute, I did not know what he was thinking about. Then he closed the door and left.

I was saved that night by my friend inside the room.. Save by the 'notorious'. They were not bad student actually. I do not know why they were always labeled as bad during those days. All of them now grew up becoming a good citizen, have their great career, some became teacher, and I am pretty sure one of them became a doctor. I work with him before in Queen Elizabeth Hospital during housemen ship.

The consequences.... everyone involved including Buyut got punished. By rotan obviously. Those days were still the days where teacher can actually hit student with this Rotan. It was spelled rattan in english, I believed. When you were hit by this rotan, it feels like a huge bee stung the palm of your hand. It leaves a mark. Sometimes, your skin exfoliate. It was painful. I am not pro on this kind of physical punishment nowadays. I am against it. This kind of punishment brings fear, but not lesson learn. We will not do the thing that will get us into having that punishment, but do we learn why we should not do the thing in the first place? Some people will disagree with me. It's my opinion. A better punishment for a school children can be done, like running around school, duck walking, holding bag on top of their head, ketuk ketampi, a lot of this creative beneficial punishment (some of our teacher did this to us). Not hitting, no. I am against physical contact kind of punishment.

This memory I believed was still remembered by all of us who were in SMSL on the year 2003. And maybe, our teacher will read this and found out that not all involved that night were included in the punishment. I am one of them. I am not sure whether everyone learn their lesson that early morning..One thing that I am sure was everyone will never forget the fun and the kind of friendship that we were having that night. It was worth a memory of a lifetime.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Master in Pathology: Which University to choose?

Once you have decided to do master in pathology,  one thing will comes into your mind before anything else.  Before you even bother to choose which specialty you want to do,  or which book you want to buy, you will have to decide which university you would like to enroll to. 

It seems like an easy task, it was not.  Your choice will affect your life for the next 4 years.  You should remember that you cannot change it after you have accepted to that university.  It was the same like how you choose your university during your undergraduate time.  Only now,  there were only a few universities which offer postgraduate study in pathology.  Leave the overseas universities behind(Government won't sponsor you to go oversea nowadays in this economy).  Local universities are not that bad.  We are actually pretty good in producing a competent pathologist. 

In Malaysia,  there are only 5 universities that offer pathology for postgraduate study.  Here are the list

  • UM
  • UKM
  • UPM
  • UITM
  • USM

If you were offered by other than this university,  means that their computer system is making a mistake,  which happen to us year 2016 batches as we are all offered to UNIMAS.  It was a funny story better kept to be told at other time.  

Here I will not talk on which University is the best,  I do not know (even though I heard rumor and people talking in discretion).  I will not talk on which one is the best. Because in the end, its not because which one is the best, it's all about logistic issue. How you want your life to be in the next 4 years of study. 

Let's go one by one. As you can see, all of those Universities, only USM located in Kelantan. The rest would be around KL and Selangor. For those who want to choose UM, it's good. Located in KL Near to midvalley. Your place of study would be UMMC. Don't expect you would be studying in the university like undergrads. No. For post graduate study, all of your time will be spend in Hospital. So UM means UMMC. If you choose UM, most of us unofficially will labeled you as an elite. it's funny but those who came from UM deserves to be call an elite. Trust me, from the story I heard from our colleague there, stress is their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, the programmed structured a little bit like "do whatever you want, you fail not my problem". All this factor make UM master need to put a little more effort. Respect them. What to say, you are studying in one the best University in this country. What do you expect? Apply UM if you want to be in KL, and you want to be the best of the best among all. Don't apply if you are the one who need a proper guidance in your study. 

Let's go to UKM. My place. I do not know how to compare UKM  to other, but I enjoyed here. They said that UKM is a little bit like UM and a little bit like USM. On a pain scale, UM would be 10, USM would be 1, UKM would be 5 then. The programmed in UKM is well structured but as a postgraduate student, you do not expect to be guided everywhere. UKM postgraduate student still would be throw away into the jungle of knowledge, and if you fail to find your way outside, you will die inside. In UM, they just throw you out, didn't gave you anything. In UKM, they throw you out there but they give you a knife, a lighter, and a compass...metaphorically. Go for UKM if you want to be in KL but you do not want to be in UM. Do not apply UKM if you want to be in UM. Simple. UKM hospital would be HUKM or Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhkriz.... HUKM much easier. This hospital located in Cheras. Near to Bandar Sri Permaisuri. Do not expect to be in UKM bangi. You won't be in UKM main campus at all. 

UPM... as usual, I do not know about UPM much. I have a few friends there. From their saying, the only downside about UPM is, it does not have its own hospital. They will be using Hospital Serdang as their teaching hospital. Hospital Serdang is under MOH. Well, even though this could be unreal, but MOH and MOE does not really go along well. It's better to have your own hospital. Maybe it does not matter if you are applying for out campus program. Still, your first year and 4th year of study would be strictly in campus. So having own teaching hospital would be nicer. Otherwise, UPM is good. Apply UPM if you are living near hospital Serdang or UPM. Do not apply if you are not from that area. 

UITM. New..idiopathic. I really do not know much about this one. I think they just started their master program in pathology there... apply perhaps if you are living near that place. I do not know which hospital they use for teaching. I believe it will be the same like UPM, they will use other hospital under MOH. 

USM. This is a legendary University for pathology master. Why? You enter the program first then you will know. Haha. Some people say, without USM, they will be no pathologist in Malaysia. Haha. Too much I think but you got the idea. This is the most popular place for pathology. They offer Genetic pathology too. That field are not offered at other University at the time of this writing. They also have Transfusion medicine master program, which is not under pathology. But as you know, in pathology, you will also learn about transfusion medicine. So, you will learn much better in USM because they have perhaps the best Transfusion Medicine teacher there. USM also good for those who want to go out from the city like KL, live a simple life and study. Its located in Kelantan, I am not saying Kelantan is a bit left behind, got the idea. If you still did not get my point, count how many cinemas and shopping malls are there in KL, compare the number to Kelantan. Less number of that would mean more reading and more study. I guess. 
Apply USM if you do not want the city life of KL, or you are from Kelantan. Do not apply if you want to have a city life. One thing though, if you are from Sabah or Sarawak, if you apply USM, you will then have to be committed to not go back to Sabah and Sarawak for a very long time. If you apply the other 5 University, you can pretty much go back home at least once in a month because the air ticket is cheaper from KL. It's up to you. For people like me who need to visit my wife and daughters quite frequently, I need to be near KLIA. I need the cheap airline ticket.

One of my friend who study in USM and  has a wife and daughter in Sabah, only went back to Sabah once every 5-6 months. Ticket price would be normally around Rm600+ return trip from Kelantan. Choose wisely. If you do not need to go back to Sabah or Sarawak that frequent (single), USM should be fine. 

That's about it. If you ask me which University offer the best in term of teaching, all of them are good. This is not about undergraduate study. This is postgraduate study. Even if you are put in an island with no one around, no electricity or anything else other than you, you will still be a master if you study there. It's all up to you and not the University anymore. So, it does not matter which University you choose, if you pass the 4 years program, you will still be a master no matter what. 

The criteria to choose which one now will depend on the logistic issue and a few factor that I mentioned above. Please choose with cautions. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Metallica: Shining or rusted metal?

        I've listen to Metallica for almost 12 years now. Am I a little late? Of course, I am not that old to be listening to Metallica that early. Started to listen to them when I was 16 years old, all of their songs.  I can say that Metallica is the motivation for me to pick up a guitar and play music. Not professionally but at least I know how to pull up a chord. I was lucky when they released their new album entitled St.Anger that I thought would be another great album to which I disappointed in the end.

          After that, Death Magnetic, good but so-so. Just like that, I started to listen to the other music. Metallica seem to be rusted as what other metal usually do. Once in a while, I will listen to a few of their old track in Spotify, and as Metallica does not seem to release all their old song in Spotify, I feel that they will eventually be forgotten.

          Then they released a new one, Hardwire To Self Destruct. When I first saw that title, I was like " That's pretty accurate ", They would eventually self destruct with the way their music was heading. One by one of their song from that album was released on Youtube. I guess Metallica did accept technology somehow after their history on turning down Napster.

          Open up Spotify, then I started to listen to the entire album. It was a surprise that they released this album on Spotify. I thought they will go Swift-Adele Mode. They don't. You can listen to all of their song in Spotify, and it was not that bad. This album is listenable from the first track until the end. I am no metal head but I can say that the guitar riff inside the entire album was awesome. The guitar solo maybe not as good as before but at least Kirk Hammet did not neglect his solo part.  You cannot expect a half good metal music if it is done by Metallica right? If it is a steak, it will be a perfect medium rare steak. No doubt, they can play music very well.

           Comparing to their classic album, this may not top that, but at least they still have that kind of energy to bring such a heavy music back to life. Metal eventually will be rusted, in the end it will be a scrap metal. However, I can assure you that Metallica are still a shiny piece of metal. Someone may thought you were that old when you listen to their new album, they may be old, the music is not. It was a good Metal album, and perhaps one the best nowadays.