Friday, November 28, 2008

Off to the land of long white clouds...


For a week from tomorrow, I will be in the land of the long white clouds, a place where I was supposed to do my four year undergraduate course, until of course when fate intervened and I found myself Down Under instead.

Will spend eight days exploring the sights of the North Island of New Zealand, spending time in places with weird names like Rotorua and Taupo and Coromandel.

Hopefully the change in scenery can give me inspiration to write more stories. ^^

Results were out yesterday. Quite a relief that did better than expected. Saw a 9 as the first number for the first time since year 1. Too bored and did an analysis of my results.


Happy to found out that my results are quite consistent over the four years, even though there was a drastic drop after the first year. Things do get tough progressively, or I got lazier as the semesters went by?

Anyway, that means only one thing left to look forward to in my Uni life: the graduation ceremony. It will be held 8.00pm 11th December 2008. Just a mere two weeks away..

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lucky Guy 8


"For this research, you are going to find out and interview people suffering from chronic illness on their experience." A stern looking Dr. Jennifer Marriott told me when I met her to discuss about my Summer Vacation Scholarship.

"Gosh," I thought then "can I really interview people with my half past six English?" But then I reasoned, it was a good skills to acquire.

Getting the Summer Vacation Scholarship was another highlight of my second year. I was quite surprised because I was only a second year student and I got my first choice project. Most probably only a few students applied that year. It was lucky in a way as now most students are aware of it and hence the competition is stiffer.

During that time I spent 4 weeks in the Pharmacy Practice department. I was supposed to do a research on chronic illness but it only lasted for two weeks as the ethics paperwork fell through. So luckily or unluckily I never knew, I never got to interview people. Hence I hopped into another one, which is health promotion. I was allocated a desk and computer In the PhD room, and it was kind of a good experience feeling like a PhD student for the very first time. I also participated in the journal club where they discuss matters of interest concerning their research.

It was then too that I met Robin, who was the friendliest and most playful PhD student in VCP. It was fortunate that I met him because between us we came up with a plan to do a survival handbook for International students. Our collaboration gave birth to STEPS, a 32 pages handbook on things an International student should know concerning living around Parkville. I'm unabashedly proud about STEPS because it was the first time I initiated something and had it published and given to other people. Hopefully they find it useful.

That year was also the year VCP celebrated it's 125th Anniversary. I felt very fortunate to be part of the campus when they celebrated such a huge milestone. They were a lot of activities on campus to commemorate it but unfortunately I guess I was still too timid to put my hands up to join in. The only activity I joined is the first ever leadership night on campus, where we got the opportunity to have an Antarctica explorer sharing her experience with us. It was also then that I discovered that Uni function has lots of good food and free alcohol.

Second semester 2006 also marked the first time I hang out with other people other than the three girls. It started with Wei Siang inviting me to join them for badminton. From there on I met other people like Woon Pang, JP, Jim etc etc. I found out that they were all very friendly and approachable people, and wondered why I didn't take the initiative to talk to them earlier. It was funny that it was through badminton I met most other people that year. I got close to Galahad also through badminton, and also other PISA members as PISA held a badminton day that year.

I realised that it was hard to make friends in lecture theatre. The best way is either thorough prac groups or club activities. It was this realisation that from my third year onwards, I tried  my best to be heavily involved in Uni life. I tried very hard this year to motivate the first years to join clubs. Having a lot of friends really does make Uni life feel like Uni life. It was this realisation that made my Uni life so memorable.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Lottery Winner Story

Eremaine woke up, brushed her teeth, changed into a spaghetti strap and shorts and proceeded to walk to the lottery shop near her house.

At the lottery shop, she pulled up a sheet of scratch paper from the neatly stacked pile on the booth. With the blue pen that is attached to the booth via a thin white string, she crossed out the six numbers: 6, 11, 13, 22, 33, 37.

She handed in the paper to the tall man with moustache behind the counter, paid him $1.10, waited a few seconds for him to process it and then got the receipt from him. She neatly folded the receipt and carefully put it into her purse.

She checked the amount of money to be won on the notice board. Good. A cool $2.2 million. That should be enough to do a couple of things.

She began to think about what she can do with the money. Should she spend it on a house? A car maybe? Or a trip to Europe. Oh, who cares, there are still two more days to think about it as the result will only be announced then.

Two days later, Eremaine woke up, brushed her teeth, changed into a white T-shirt and rainbow coloured skirt and proceeded to walk to the lottery shop near her house again.

She took out her receipt from her purse and handed it to the yawning moustached man behind the booth and patiently waited for him to cross match it with the results of the draw. 6..11..13..22..33..37!

"Wow! Congratulations miss! You won the top prize!" shrieked the man, jumping up and down like an excited bunny. He waved the receipt in the air, doing a funny little dance in the process as if he won the top prize himself.

"Yes I know. Thank you." Eremaine replied calmly, while nonchalantly swatting a fly that flew too close to her. "Now can you please tell me how am I supposed to redeem the prize money?"

The man tried his best to explain it to her even though he was still on a high adrenaline rush. Eventually, Eremaine managed to extract the info from him. Since the HQ of the lottery shop is a distance away, she opted to go home and only make the journey the next day.

Back home, she was reading the newest story book by Jeffrey Archer in her bathtub when she finally decided what she will do with her newly-acquired riches. She will just put it into her bank account first until she has a clear idea what to do with it. $2.2 million sounds a lot, but she knew it can be used up relatively easily if she's not careful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Two-Men-on-a-Bench Story


Two people were seated on a wooden bench in a leafy park, a scene straight off the pages of Forrest Gump. The only difference being Forrest Gump wasn't there of course, and there was no epic story of running to tell. But nonetheless the story transpired between them were interesting enough to worth a mention.

On the left was a tall man in his seventies with wispy white hair and whose thin fragile body was decked in a homey olive coloured cardigan. We should call him John.

On the right was a young energetic cheerful guy of just twenty three. Wearing a checkered shirt and baggy shorts, he was whistling to the tune of the newest song by a band the old guy never heard of. And we should call him Ashley.

"Having a happy day 'er young man?" enquired John when Ashley paused to get his breath.

"Yes. In a matter of fact, old man, I just got engaged."

"Congratulations! Ah, this called for a celebration. Here's a toast to your happiness." with that, John raised an imaginary wine glass in his left hand and drank to the health of his young acquaintance.

"Why thank you." managed Ashley, a little taken aback.

A few moments of silence ensued, as they both enriched their senses with the chirping of magpies, the sweet smell of the morning dew and the blossoming flowers of spring.

"Aye, you bought back memories of the courtship of ma missus," John reminisced, breaking the silence. "It was such a sweet time. Got her a stalk of rose for forty nine bloody days before she said yes."

"She was a hard nut to crack, ma Gladys. Hard to please," he continued. "Spotted her on the counter of the grocery store when I was your age. Head over heels I was. Took me three days and ten candies before I mustered the courage to speak to her. And it took me another three years before she said yes."

"It must be an arduous three years."

"Far from it, ma boy, far from it. It was the best three years of ma life. I woke up each day planning and scheming how to win her over. It was exciting. I stole a kiss off her once, made her blush. Still remembered when I sneaked her off under the very nose of her dad to a dance party. Ah.."

"Anyway, I guess you have enough listening to an old man rambling. How's your love story?"

"Well, actually I only seen her in person once. We met six months ago while I was holidaying in Alaska. Got her MSN and had been chatting online ever since. Called her once or twice per week. Found out we clicked. Popped the question online last night after a couple of drinks and she said yes!"

"What?" a look of horror swept through the face of John. "You got engaged to a woman you only seen once?"

"Why not.Everyone seems to be doing that nowadays..."

"But..but...but..." John was left speechless. He picked up his newspaper resting on the bench and stood up. "Well goodbye my friend. I hope your marriage goes well."

"Stupid new generation" he muttered under his breath after being out of earshot. "Didn't know what they missed." With a resigned shake of his head, he continued his journey home to the fresh scones oven baked by his beloved Gladys.

The Korean Doll Story


He first saw it when he was at the impressionable age of ten.

There it was, in the torn page of the smudgy magazine, the picture of the Korean doll under the heading Nijaye Collectibles.

He was so fascinated by it, the doll decked in the colourful Korean hanbok costume.

Not to mention the curly tresses, small squinty eyes and pouty lips of the doll.

For that day onwards, he decided he will go and find the Korean doll.

Unfortunately, collecting money to buy the expensive doll proved to be a difficult task. Little by little he saved and scrimped. It was not until he was 21 before he got enough money to buy one.

And then there was the problem of finding out how to get the doll. It was virtually impossible to find a doll of any kind in the backwater county he came from, and so off he go to the big city.

In the first city he looked, he found a Nijaye doll in a downtrodden hobby shop. It was lucky he found the shop at all, tucked in an obscure back alley it was. The Chinese Nijaye doll is still in mint condition, its white cheongsam with red cherry blossom print still spotless. The straight fringe, the round eyes, the ruby red cheeks – it was breathtaking.

He was tempted, but remembering the Korean doll is the ultimate quest, he decided to let the beautiful Chinese doll go.

In the second city he looked, he found a Japanese Nijaye doll dressed in a blue silk kimono. Sweet dimples, cat like eyes and dark eyelashes. This time it was in the house of an old couple who were desperate to sell it for some cash.

Even though sympathetic he was to the plight of the couple, he had his sight firmly set on a Korean doll, and with a heavy heart, he turned them down.

He continued to hop from city to city, from a shop to another, a house to another. He found a Malaysian doll in a Baju Kebaya, an Indonesian doll in Sarong, an Australian doll in a Lifesaver costume. There were all beautiful and perfect, and every time, he was tempted to buy.

But every time without fail, the alluring picture of the Korean doll he saw in the magazine more than ten years ago will surface in his mind, and off he went to another city, another shop, another house.

After two years of painful searching, he at last found the Korean doll at a rundown, ready to be auctioned off shop. But unfortunately it was not perfect. The pink hanbok was torn in two places, the tresses full of dirt. The nose was chipped off in a corner, the left arm scratched. He was disappointed, but then it was a true Nijaye Collectible Korean doll, he reasoned. And he wanted it for so long. And he had searched for it for so long.

So he decided to pay the owner the money. Even though deep down he knew that he can use the same amount of money to buy a perfect Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian or Australian Nijaye Collectible doll.

But at least he got his Korean doll.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The balloon story

Kendemeyer glanced at his watch, tapping his left foot on the plush carpet impatiently.

Damn” he mutters under his breath. “Why does a woman always has to be late?

His mobile rang as he snuffed out his fifth cigarette of the hour.

Sorry sweetie I will be 10 minutes late.

That’s okay love, you are always worth waiting for.

He hated himself for saying that.

Oh, I know you are bored waiting for me sweetie. Why don’t I give you a little challenge to keep you awake?

Okie love. Your wish is my command.

Damn. Why he has to be so weak.

“I expect to have a helium balloon waiting for me when I see you. Don’t disappoint me!”

Kendemeyer looked frantically around the shopping strip. Gosh where can he find a helium balloon at this place at this hour? He paced around the corner. Turned left. Turned right. Turned circles. No balloon as the clock continuously ticked down.


Lynette got the balloon as she passed by the pharmacy to admire the make up kit she wished she owned. Apparently they were promoting their newest weight loss program, as the smiling sales assistant gave her a pink balloon with “Fight the fat” emblazoned on it.

Her little girl will be so happy to see the balloon. It was a few months back since she had bought home anything fun for her daughter. Life had been so hard since her husband left them to fend for themselves one year ago.

She was bouncing down the street, happily carrying the pink balloon on a string when he spotted her.


Kendemeyer can felt his heart beating faster as the time ticked away. He had broke into a sweat but still no balloon. There was now only two minutes before Vixenne arrived. Last time he failed her task, she didn’t speak to him for one week.

He was on the verge of giving up when he saw the sweet girl with the red hair-band across the street with a pink balloon on her hands. Without thinking twice, he beat a path to her.

“Hi excuse me miss, I was wondering… can you give me the balloon please?”

Lynette was startled by the request. “Err, but I want to give the balloon to my daughter..”

“I know this is a big ask, but my daughter was hit by a car this morning. She is now at the hospital. She asked me to give her a balloon but I can’t find one..” Kendemeyer ended the sentence in a sigh, while putting on his most pitiful expression. Desperation always brings up the best actor in him.

Lynette was skeptical but her heart of gold got better of her. “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope your daughter get well soon. Here you can have this balloon.”

“Thank you so much! Oh I will always be indebted to you.” Kendemeyer managed to get a tear trickling down his left cheek as he said this.


“Hi sweetie, here’s your balloon.”

Oh muaks” she pecked him on the cheek “you never disappoint me.

As they walked down the busy street hand in hand, Kendemeyer felt so lucky because he has a stunning beauty strutting next to him. He loved seeing all those envious glances from other men.

“Aw this balloon says ‘Fight the fat’. Eww. Gross. I hate that word.”

With that Vixenne released the balloon and it flew up into the sky.

At that moment, Lynette was turning the knob of the door into her small room. She heaved a sigh of dejection. Her daughter will have another plain boring day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lucky Guy 7

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"Where's the rest? There were supposed to be 12 right?"

"I don't know... a few fell down"

Second year started off with a trip to Great Ocean Road with the first year International students to visit the 12 Apostles. I got to go as a PISA rep. 

I think the highlight of my second year is being PISA's Publications Officer. My job was to maintain the club's web site, churning out all the event posters and writing articles reporting the club's activities. It was a job I like a lot as journalism is something that I have interest in since secondary school.

It was the year when I found out that I loved to be in a position where I can contribute to the well being of fellow students. It was fun being involved. Participating in the great next PISA is the thing I constantly looked forward to that year.

I remembered it took me a while to get used to the people in PISA. I don't talk much in team meeting until much much later. Come to think of it, I was still extremely shy during second year.

The notable activities I took part in PISA is the Hip-hop dance class. It was the very first time I learn to dance and it thought me one thing - I'm helpless at dancing. Nevertheless it was fun. I also played in a soccer game with the med guys. It was memorable because as the goalie I let in 8 goals. I remembered the girls manning the score board was frantically hoping I didn't ship in another because the manual score board only had zero to eight.

On Uni, it started earlier due to the Commonwealth Games being held in Melbourne. As our campus was near the Games village, Uni was halted for 2 weeks for security reasons.

2nd year is more of a transition year. The year in the middle where nothing much happens.It was characterised by long practicals. I used to dread Thursdays and Fridays where we got 6 hours of prac in a day with only 30 mins break in between. Half of them are chemistry based and we spend a dreadful lot of time mixing things in test tubes, purifying our products and do a melting point test to make sure we did it correctly.

We had role plays in Pharmacy Practice. During the time, we got to be either pharmacist or patient in a mock pharmacy. We learnt how to ask the right questions and how to tackle awkward situations. It was the first time I got to experience counselling people and I found it really hard. The first case I ever got was about Morning After Pill. Heck, I don't even know what it was then!

to be continued...

Swish 08

Swish was the graduation farewell party for fourth year pharmacy students.


This year's theme was Arabian Nights - A magic carpet ride.


It was magical. Everyone going into the venue was showered by rose petals.


The event was held at Cossar Hall, which is Uni. However, it was greatly transformed for the night. For instance, there were two tall minarets adorning the stage.


A belly dancer also made an appearance.


There was also a camel resting at the back of the hall. I figured that it was thirsty, so fed it some wine.


It was a great night where we got to mingle and take photos with lecturers and other students.


During Swish they also gave out the Student Community Achievement Award for students who had somewhat made contributions to students life in Uni.

Surprisingly I got one of the award! It was peer nominated and I didn't really thought that anyone will nominate me as the process is very complicated.

To that person, thank you very much for nominating me. I hoped I really did made a difference to students life in Uni. This award really meant a lot.

And here's me posing with the award surrounded by two stunning models.


Now there's only two things left in my Uni life to look forward to: the day the results are released (Nov 28) and graduation (Dec 11).

Till then, it will be continuous partying. ^^

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Post exam

Gosh. Time sped by like a stealthy thief making a run for his life. Didn't realised that I sat for my last ever paper exactly one week ago today.

And so it is all over. A sense of happiness and relief spread through my whole body when I hear the examiner say "stop writing and put your pen down," for the very last time. The 3 hour Drug Development paper was thankfully not as hard as anticipated.

I looked around the examinations room as I waited for my exams paper to be picked up. Those are faces whom I had spent four years with studying pharmacy, with many of them I don't know their names, and probably will never see again.

It was funny how you don't get to know everyone in your graduating class when there's less than 200 of you and all studied in the same lecture theatre for 8 semesters. Upon reflection, most of my friends I got to know because we were slotted into the same prac groups or assignment groups. If not because of this, I probably would have less friends than now.

I was a bit dazed a few hours post exam after the initial euphoria had subsided. The classic syndrome of post exam depression set in again. There's just this emptiness that render everything that is so fun during exam time being so...un-fun. Watching drama then was so exciting. Now, there's no inclination to watch them.

It is also the time to meet up with friends and say the long last goodbye. This year in particular had been fast, and it was just like yesterday when I started my year as an O-week mentor. Maybe it was because of the 9 weeks placement I had. Everyday now just had to be filled with plans to meet up with someone. Because I will never know when will we meet again.

Going to start working in a couple of months. That seems like another world far far away, or a dream. I need something to knock me back to reality.

Tomorrow will be the Swish graduation class farewell party. Ah, will it be the last ever time I sat foot on the place I called my second home for the past four years? Hopefully not..

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Far-far away land


Once upon a time there was a commoner who wanted to be prince.

In order to do that he needs to marry the princess of far-far-away-land.

So off he go to far-far-away-land. Along the way, battles were fought with dragons and trolls. Wits and brute strengths were employed endless times to conquer kings and knights.

Each time he prevailed, armed with his strong perseverance and one-mindedness. With that, his aim to become prince became closer and closer to reality.

Nearly four years and 36 arduous task later, he at last reached the castle in which the princess reside.

The king was at the doorstep to receive him.

"Congratulations for getting this far, young man. But before I hand my daughter to you, there's this last test for you to conquer. ... ..."

Right behind the king suddenly the princess appears, in a breathless dress of diamonds and pearls. The commoner was awe-struck by her peerless beauty.

His mind began to drift to the endless possibilities of fun and happiness he can have with the princess in the years to come. He fantasize about going on trips with the princess and whispering sweet nothings to her. He imagined all the beautiful kids they would have, and how green  the faces of his friends would look like when brings the princess home. As the happy thoughts circled in his mind, a smile began to spread across his face.

"..and so good luck, my dear boy, I see this task is very easy to you. Ah, confidence! That's the spirit I like! Hope you pass it with flying colours."

With that he escorted the commoner though a door into a dark room and slammed it shut.

The commoner readied himself for what-ever thing will happen.

Then he realised something important.

Gosh, what was the task again??

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Early morning blues

Adrenaline kicked in early today. Been up since 7am. Last two days to saviour the life of being a student.

Woke up. Brush teeth. Looked into mirrors and counted my pimples. Ah, great, no new ones.

Coffee with froth. Breakfast with eggs.

Online checked news. Nothing much happened. Except Newcastle won! Yeah now we are not at the bottom of the table.

Notes up. High lighter in hand. Pen on paper. Read. Write. Read. Write.

Read. Memorise. Agonise.

Re-read. Re-memorise. Why that darn info never wanted to get in?

Youtube. Facebook. My sis superpoked me again. Too free izzit?

Back to notes.

Last chance to score a 9 in exams. I must persevere!

Oo its November. Tree right in front of my room full of leaves. Last time I noticed it was still bare.

63 days before going home..