Sunday, August 31, 2008


And so it was our nation's 51th year of independence. Well, if you are an East Malaysian like me, I prefer to call that just nearly the 45th year of the formation of Malaysia that we are celebrating.

The notable event happening today was the Fiesta Malaysia celebration at Federation Square right in the heart of the city.

And being a Malaysian, of course I went there to join in the fun. There was a lot of pretty good performance today, including this east Malaysian dance.


Then some Baba Nyonya belted out classic like Rasa Sayang and Burung Kakak Tua.


And of course, there will always be the Silat performance.


There was a lot of people milling around enjoying the show. Too bad it was often interrupted by the rain.


There was some traditional games to play too, like this I-forgot-called-what game and also congkak and the jump rope thing and sepak takraw.


But surprisingly for a Malaysian event, THERE WAS NO FOOD! Gosh, how could that be?!? Having a variety of food is what Malaysia is famous for. Wondered what the organising committee was thinking.  Surely someone will be willing to set up some stalls, they will make a killing!

Anyway, I bought along a Malaysian flag and took photos with friends and friends' friends. To spread the love for the country! and coz I think it is so much fun to take photos. The funny thing is, a few other unknowns take photo of us while we are posing with the flag. LOL.







Too bad there's not a lot of people I knew who were there. =( You all should've came and join in the fun!


Anyway Selamat Hari Merdeka!

P/s: Loved the last photo. Thanks Chang Yang! Btw, the more pro looking photos are by Chang Yang. The other either are by my sis or me.

Friday, August 29, 2008

New dawn

Glorious sunshine.

After 3 months of cold and chill, the sun showed itself for two straight days!

Yay! Winter is nearly over and it will be spring in 2 days!

It felt so nice to have warm sun rays brushing over my exposed skin. At last there was enough Vitamin D made today. Guess there's what happened if you study too much pharmacy.

Just had to take a stroll down to Melbourne Uni in the afternoon sun. And have some ice cold Bubble Tea. Only the Bubble Tea was not cold.

Or ran at the Carlton Garden amidst the greeneries. Felt the sweat trickling down my spine for the first time in weeks. Gosh, really need to get back to my exercise routine. Loved my pedometer. Really kept me going and going for the extra steps.

Spring always brings so much hope and energy and enthusiasm..

Oo.. and Merdeka is so near.. does it mean a new Malaysia this time? So intriguing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics Down Under

China bought an end to the 29th Summer Olympics with a symbolic and glittering ceremony last night. It was a beautiful sight.


Watching Olympics in Australia was, I daresay, a more interesting experience as there is an adopted country we can cheer for, whom by far is more powerful compared to Malaysia sporting wise. Per capita calculations indicated that for this edition, there's an Olympics medal for around 400,000 Australian to share, compared to one Olympic medal for 24,000,000 Malaysians. Australia has superstars like Stephanie Rice, who won three gold medals and broke three world records in swimming.


Of course we Malaysians here do cheer for Malaysia, especially for soon-to-be-Datuk Lee Chong Wei. Thanks to Chang Yang, who managed to get the live feed of the match online. Too bad Chong Wei got thrashed. Guess law of physics decreed that Beijing was too far for cheers of eight of the most voracious supporters to reach.


Another Olympics highlight was that I had the chance to touch a real Olympic gold medal in Uni last Wednesday. In the spirit of the games, the faculty managed to get Brooke Hanson, an Athens '04 Gold and Silver medal winning swimmer to deliver a speech in Uni.


Brooke's speech was very touching. She was the epitome of the never say die attitude, even when odds are stacked highly against her. She shared stories about her quest for Olympic qualification, how she missed a place for the '96 games by just 0.11s. Undeterred, she practiced harder for another four years, training vigorously and eating the right food - only to miss the '00 games by 0.08s.

At this stage, I presumed a lot of people who have already gave up. But not her. She stayed focus and worked hard for another four years  to reach her childhood dream. This time, she managed to qualify for '04 at the ripe old age of 26, where she went on and won gold and silver medals.

It made me realised what we saw in the Olympics was the culmination of all the athletes hard work, determination and sacrifices. Those athletics made winning looked so easy, but in fact it was pay-off for all those years of hard work. Imagine how many hours Usain Bolt had to run just for that less than 10 seconds sprint into immortality. They are to be saluted and respected.

On a side note, I had now managed to touch the medals awarded to the top brain and brawn in the world: the Nobel prize medal and Olympics gold medal. Perhaps that's what an overseas education is about: to get inspired on how to achieve greatness in life.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pharmacy Ball


Friday night was the night of the Pharmacy Ball. And you know it is the day of the ball when only around 30 people turn out for lectures even though there are some free food offered in Uni during the ball.

This was the first time I am attending a ball here (because it costs $100 per ticket), and figuring out what to wear was a bit of a headache. In the end, decided to spurge $75 for a vest to complement my white $59 shirt (Don't try convert that to RM..).


This is how I ended up looking that night:


The ball was held at The Atrium of Flemington Racecourse. This was our table with our entree of smoked chicken. The entree was the best, the main and dessert only okay-ish. The table settings looked nice though.


Since its Las Vegas themed, can't resist having a game of Black Jack. Won $6000 that nite. Too bad no real money involved =(.


This is the money we used to play all the casino games. The photo is of Louis Roller, the oldest lecturer in Uni who is going to retire end of this year.


Oh, there must be a special mention about the waiter at our table, as he was the most fashionable of them all, and


who served us the biggest, bluest cocktail.


There was a lot of dancing too. But well, not enough alcohol to really get me going. Took a lot of photos that nite, including this one with this guy who just turned as young as me ^^


And of course all the stylish JPA gals. (I tried to look taller).


It  was a memorable nite, especially since we were now all fourth years and nearly reaching the diverging part of the road. Its fun to play dressed up too. At least there are some more memories to cherish. I can now also put a tick next to the box on "been to a a ball in Australia". And I am signing off with a suave pose. Cheers!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

End of an era

From the Friday onwards, the Victorian College of Pharmacy will be a footnote in history.


R.I.P. VCP (1921-2008)

It will now be rebranded as Monash University Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


And they will celebrate it with a BBQ and a talk to discuss the future of the Faculty.

Like any change being instigated, the change in name is resisted by the majority of the students. Technologically advanced we now are, we demonstrated on Facebook instead of taking the streets.

But after this initial burst of passion, a salient question arises: What's in a name anyway?

I admire passionate people, because everything we have today are their fruits of labour. But to really have passion for something, I felt that there is a need to know the history of it. A lot of students entered VCP nowadays without knowing VCP's history in depth, except perhaps its history of excellence.

Once in VCP, most of them just ride on the coattails of past successes without bothering to find out what makes the Faculty so famous or even how to leave their mark on it. They just treat VCP as a stepping stone for the future, never bothering to find out how the stone got there and the story it can tell.

For  instance, I think only a mere handful of students who realised that the faculty was initially known as Fitzroy School of Chemistry and Pharmacy and subsequently Melbourne School of Pharmacy before taking the name Victorian College of Pharmacy in 1921.

That in part, the Faculty had to be blamed for not inculcating that knowledge into the students.  Knowing the history of a faculty is important because it can serve as a source of pride for the student. By knowing the history, students will be more able to cherish their opportunity  to study here. 

Without knowing the history, students will be the antithesis of JFK's "ask not what your country can do for you; but what you can do for the country". They will be forever tuned to WII - FM (What's in it for me) instead of acknowledging that VCP is what VCP is today due to the vision and generous contributions of hundreds of passionate people. A knowledge of this certainly did spurred me to try contribute as much as possible for the faculty.

Perhaps that's something to think about for the future.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Love the environment

Arron Wood, 2007 Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year, was in Uni today to deliver the keynote leadership speech at the Student Leaders' Function.

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There's always so much to get out from these events.

Even though I am not much of an environmental faddist (even though I do ensure all the taps in my house are closed tightly and put some effort in recycling rubbish), Arron's speech do somehow strike a chord in me. Perhaps caring about the environment is something we do seriously have to ponder about.

There was also a leadership panel consisting of the who's who in pharmacy, who answered questions and shared their experiences with the students. Besides that, there were a lot of other members of the industry milling around to interact with interested students.

Some very insightful and inspiring message I got from tonight:

Passion. That's the great big thing that underlies all greatness and drives people to be successful in their field. Passion gives you energy.

People. Teamwork is important, and being a leader is to find a group of people who have a common goal to work together.

Confidence. You need to believe in what you have done and what you need to do. Confident people leave a very good first impression.

And that there's a different between fame and success. Success is personal. It is about setting your own goals and standards and fulfilling them. Hence it is more important.

Enlightening. Just like last year's event, it makes me very motivated to finish my Uni years on an absolute high.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The impossible quiz

Was surfing the net aimlessly when I chanced uopn this site. It was broadly declared at the front page of that website that "Nobody has ever gotten all 20 questions correct (without help)"

Since I haven't worked my brain for a while, and the fact that I can't resist a challenge, I decided to do it - and now I can proudly put my score out for people to see. =) - Fun Quiz

It was quite a challenging test, compounded by the fact that it had America centric questions. I got 16/20 correct in 17 mins 40 secs! Yippee!Nice to know that my brain and memory still work all right. Dare you all to try it. ~

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Last placement

Yesterday was the last day of my last ever pharmacy placement. At last, after four 3 weeks placements that span 3 semesters, its all over. Goodbye to the 8 hours day and 7am wake up alarm!


My this last placement was at St Vincent's Hospital, which was just a brisk 20 minutes walk from home. It was by far the most relaxing placement ever. There's so much nothingness to do that I felt tired at night doing nothingness. The tea breaks were long, lunch longer and we even had time to squeeze in watching The Bachelor on TV.

Okay I'm exaggerating. Nonetheless this placement was really way less hectic compared to the one in The Austin Hospital. Despite this, I did manage to learn quite a lot in this placement. At least by now most of the brand names sound familiar and I can even remember the dose they came in. I also had a rough grasp of how the pharmacy system works, which probably was what JPA sent me over to study about. Hopefully the hospital pharmacy in Malaysia is up to scratch.


I was attached to the gastro (all about the stomach and intestine) and cardio (heart) wards during the placement. They are a lot of unfamiliar terms like angiogram or stent or ileosectomy etc etc. But medication wise, it is all the standard kind of drugs. Which made life a little bit repetitive.


This was the card we gave to the pharmacists at the end of day yesterday. Basically the drawings denotes all the students and also the pharmacists at their respective levels in the hospital. Found it very creative.


Took photos with some of the other students there. I like this photo a lot because for the first time, I felt very tall. =)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Home Medicines Review


As part of the hospital placement, I went on for a Home Medicines Review (HMR) today and found it to be very inspiring.

HMR is basically a service where a pharmacist will go to the home of a discharged patient and assess all the meds he/she is taking and also his/her competency in taking them.

I was often taught in Uni that patient's adherence in taking medications is often the biggest problem in a successful treatment. I was blissfully unaware of the magnitude of the problem until I saw it first hand today.

Today we went to visit an elderly patient who had congestive heart failure and diabetes. He had 10 medications on his list. It was assumed that all these while, he was compliant with his medication and understands what they are for.

During the course of the interview, it was then found out that he only took the meds when he remembered about them, which is around 3-4 times per week. What's more, he selects which medication to take, and stops them if he felt better. He had no idea what some of the medications are for, and there are even medications which expired 6 years ago!

I found the role of the pharmacist in this case very meaningful. Like a detective, he made the patient felt comfortable and slowly plodded and prodded to gain information about the medications the patient is taking and also his knowledge of the drugs. He then patiently inform the patient about the importance of taking each medication and how they can help him. He also thought about ways to make the patient remember how and when to take the medication.

After that, the pharmacist liaised with the patient's doctor to figure out exactly what medications the patient is on. He even helped in negotiating with the patient's local pharmacy to do a Dosett box (pic below) for the patient and deliver it to him free of charge!


It was a great feeling to see the patient so relieved that his problems are being sorted out and that this intervention is likely to prolong his life for a few more years. I was glad to find out that there's so much a pharmacist can do to make others feel better. This really inspired me to be a pharmacist who can make a difference in the lives of others in the near future.