Sunday, July 30, 2006

Being absent

Not been a good week for me - haven't been to ward or classes for the past week (actually since the previous Thursday). Something is just keeping me from getting to classes. I feel if I can get past that first hurdle, it will be fine.

Anyway just watched bits of Liverpool playing Kaiserlautern last night. Funny that Pepe Reina was asked to play in midfield and totally missed a sitter in the second half. The result shouldn't matter (for those who want to know, they lost 3-2), just that some of their stars from the World Cup are back. What the should be worrying about is the Champion's League 3rd qualifying round 1st leg against Maccabi Tel-Aviv (and I'm not just talking about the security). Tricky fixture with a potential for an upset.

This season will be an important season for Rafa Benitez. He has shown improvement over the past two seasons in the league whilst winning trophies. Now he's got the players he wants and should be be challenging title (or at least second place, which is the new title thanks to Chelsea's dirty money). Fans will also think this and if the team disappoint, it will be difficult to justify the spending and probably the manager as well.

Positional review

GK: Pepe Reina, Jerzy Dudek, Scott Carson
I left out Chris Kirkland, who is on loan to Wigan and most likely will be making a permanent move. However all the goalkeepers bar Pepe Reina could be & should be moving. Jerzy Dudek lost his first place last season and it cost him a trip to the World Cup. Any more time on the bench and his chances of getting back into the international fold will be over for some time. Scott Carson might be staying for a while but eventually he will leave, considering how hard it will be to dislodge Reina. Being called up for the England squad for the World Cup will only whet his appetite for bigger and better things. What Benitez needs at the club is a second-choice goalkeeper who is happy in that position.

RB: Steve Finnan, Jon Kromkamp (Jamie Carragher)
Despite Benitez's effort to get a decent right back he wants, Steve Finnan is still number one. It will be disappointing if Benitez does replace Finnan, who has shown signs of massive improvement in the past few seasons. I also think Kromkamp should be given a chance and not be used as a makeweight for Dirk Kuyt's transfer. Every player needs time to adjust to a new league and I think Kromkamp is capable of playing in the Premiership.

LB: Fabio Aurelio, Steven Warnock, Djimi Traore (John Arne Riise)
With Aurelio coming in, it definitely spells the end of Traore at Liverpool. He knows action will be limited and should move on. The same could be said about Warnock. He started signs of great promise but with Aurelio & Riise most likely in front of him, he'll probably consider whether or not he will get enough action, especially with a new England manager looking at future international prospects.

CB: Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia, Daniel Agger, Gabriel Paletta (Djimi Traore)
I finally think Benitez has found the cover he needs for Carragher & Hyypia. Two very young but good prospects who will be willing to bide their time and learn from the two veterans.

RM: Jermaine Pennant, Luis Garcia (Mark Gonzalez, Steven Gerrard)
Another good prospect with Jermaine Pennant coming in. He will help bring balance to a midfield needing a good right winger and allow Gerrard to play his more natural position. Also Pennant will provide crosses for Crouch to convert or at least cause problems in the penalty box.

LM: John Arne Riise, Mark Gonzalez, Harry Kewell (Boudewijn Zenden, Luis Garcia)
Now that Mark Gonzalez has finally arrived in England, it could end the spell for Harry Kewell at Liverpool. He has never been Benitez's favourite but now this might be the final nail in the coffin.

CM: Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Momo Sissoko, Boudewijn Zenden, Salif Diao, Anthony Le Tallec
Diao and Le Tallec should surely know that their careers at the Reds are over and should be going on to newer pastures. What the more larger dilemma is at this position is who to play? Gerrard & Alonso are great but will they fit together? Bring a more defensive midfield in Sissoko will mean dropping a player. Or should they play all three? And what about Zenden?

FW: Craig Bellamy, Peter Crouch, Robbie Fowler, Neil Mellor, Florent Sinama-Pongelle
With Cisse off and Mellor plus Pongelle most likely to follow suit, this is one position that Liverpool need to strengthen in. It most likely will be Kujt but will they be willling to pay that absorbent amount (rumoured to be 14 million pounds)?

If Liverpool can get another striker in, I think they will be there challenging for the title.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Something I expected has happened...

After repeating years some many times during my university studies, it was inevitable that I would see one of my former class peers (I can never get rount to calling them "mates") treating me as a patient. It has already happened once before in April, when the house officer in the psychiatric ward was a former class peer who I was in a group once (for those who are curious, it was Stephen Ho). Now Lydia Wong (a resident) was seeing me today in the Out-Patient clinic.

Thankfully I am not that close to her, otherwise it would have been awkward for both of us. I don't even know if she recognized me at all. Well I only get to see her again once more in September and that will be it. If it had been one of my closer friends, let say Vanessa Wong, that would have been very awkward... or maybe hilarious in the case of Vanessa.

For my second English Premier League preview, I am going on to Newcastle United. After getting into the 2nd qualifying round for the UEFA cup and signing a quality playe in the form of Damien Duff for only 5 million pounds, I think things are looking up for the Geordies.

However I didn't agree with the appointment of Glenn Roeder as manager. Firstly he didn't have the coaching qualifications for the job. I know he would have obtained those qualifications if he hadn't had the brain tumour but it is still the rules, which were established to stop any old former player just walking in and taking the job without any experience. Secondly his record as manager (formerly at Gillingham and West Ham United) is questionable. For both clubs he took them to seventh in his first season in charge (the same with Newcastle United last season). The second season, both teams were relegated. Maybe we'll see a trend here?

Frankly what Newcastle need right now are a couple of good strikers, thanks to Alan Shearer retiring and Michael Owen crocking himself at the World Cup. More of that in my positional review

Postional review

GK: Shay Given, Steve Harper, Tony Krul
Frankly, with Shay Given an automatic first choice, I don't see why Steve Harper should leave. It's going to take him years to get some games, see the form and fitness of Given.

RB: Stephen Carr (Peter Ramage, Steven Taylor)
An area which Newcastle might want to strengthen up in. Stephen Carr is good but he is on the wrong side of thirty. May need a younger understudy (I though Glen Johnson could have been attracted up north). However Steven Taylor and Peter Ramage have deputised in that position without any trouble and Newcastle's priorities lie elsewhere.

LB: Robbie Elliott, Celestine Babayaro
According to my sources, Elliott should have been released by now as he is out of contract. This should be a good thing, since the Magpies do need a better and younger left back. Matthew Taylor of Portsmouth and Gareth Barry of Aston Villa have been mentioned.

CB: Steven Taylor, Titus Bramble, Craig Moore, Jean Alain Boumsong, Peter Ramage
The defence was very rickety last season, with Bramble and Boumsong the main culprits. However Bramble has been given a show of faith by Roeder and seems to be staying. The future of Boumsong is less clear, with various French clubs (such as Marseille) wanting to sign him. Craig Moore might go but he had quite a good World Cup and with just a year on his contract maybe harder to shift. Newcastle would only bring in new centre backs only if others leave.

RM: Nolberto Solano, James Milner (Kieron Dyer)
Another good solid area for Newcastle. Solano is a great crosser of the ball and finally the board has seen the potential of Milner not to sell him to Aston Villa. Since Solano is getting on a bit, Milner will get chances plus he is versatile enough to play on both wings and up front.

LM: Charles N'Zogbia, Albert Luque, Damien Duff
People have questioned why bring in Duff when N'Zogbia had a fantastic season whilst Luque is still at the club. Well like Milner, Duff is versatile enough to play on both wings and up front, which he has done for Chelsea and Ireland. Plus Luque's future is far from certain at the Magpies.

CM: Scott Parker, Emre, Kieron Dyer, Lee Clark, Amdy Faye, Nicky Butt
A bit of congestion here - don't be surprised to see some players going. The only guarantees I see here are the first three. Clark should have been released by now whilst the futures of Faye and Butt are questionable.

FW: Michael Owen, Shola Ameobi (Damien Duff, Albert Luque, James Milner)
The most important area Newcastle have to bulk up on. With Owen out until Christmas at least one striker, but preferably two, will be needed. Dirk Kuyt, Miroslav Klose and other have been mentioned by the lack of Champion's League football may prove a dampener for Newcastle.

If Newcastle can get a top quality striker, I think they can challenge for a top six place.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It had to happen - O'Leary is out!

Good day today - actually went to ward rounds (not that I was missed by the ward physician, Prof TM Chan) and tutorial. Must say, my fellow group peers are rather quiet. Despite the fact that it is the students who have to present what they have found out about the objectives, it was mainly the professer (this time Prof CK Chan) who was mainly doing the talking. The professor made it a point to get people talking.

On another note, people who know me best know that I love football, or more specifically Arsenal Football Club. Because of this, I'm quite knowledgable about the English Premier League. In preparation for the upcoming season, starting on Saturday 19th August, I'm going to give my own opinion about the twenty clubs occupying the upper echelon of English football. I'm going to leave my team last, so I'll start off with Aston Villa. This is appropriate, since David O'Leary has just left "by mutual consent" from the club.

Aston Villa are a club in isolation. Thanks to the relegation of Birmingham City and West Bromich Albion, the Villans are the only team left in the Midlands. The fans are isolated from the club thanks to the chairman Doug Ellis, a.k.a Deadly Doug (known for "firing" managers at machine-gun rate). The now former manager David O'Leary isolated himself from the players and from the fans.

Getting rid of David O'Leary is only a short-term solution to appease the board, the players and the fans. Whoever comes in to replace O'Leary knows he has to work with the current players and with a tight shoestring budget of zero pounds. Yet I cannot see anybody wanting that job if Doug Ellis remains. It should be Doug Ellis who has to go. He shows no ambition as a chairman, wanting the club to challenging for trophies but managing them like they're lower league side. At times, a football club has to risk some of its financial capital to sign players and to improve the club.

At least the players should be happy. Even though the caretaker manager was under David O'Leary, everbody goes in with a clean slate. This means isolated players such as Juan Pablo Angel, Eric Djemba-Djemba and Jlloyd Samuel may have a future at the club. A new manager might convince a lot of the stars to stay.

Positional review

Goalkeeper: Thomas Sorenson, Stuart Taylor

Sorenson is a relieable goalkeeper but his main weakness is his inability to communicate with his defenders. Taylor himself will be occupying the bench most of the time.

Right back: Mark Delaney, Ulises de la Cruz, Aaron Hughes

Villa really need a young right back. They used Aaron Hughes most of last season but he's centre back by trade and doesn't appear to get down the touchline that often. Mark Delaney appears he wants to leave with a year remaining on his contract and de la Cruz is supposed to be out of contract.

Left back: Wilfred Bouma, Jlloyd Samuel (Gareth Barry)

They should really put Gareth Barry at this position whilst selling Wilfred Bouma. He's crap and I can't believe he was bought for 3.5 million pounds. Jlloyd Samuel was impressive a few seasons back and under the right manager could be again.

Centre back: Olof Mellberg, Liam Ridgewell, Martin Laursen, Gary Cahill

If they can get Martin Laursen fit again and Olof Mellberg to stay, this might be one of Villa's strongest positions. Liam Ridgewell had his critics at Christmas but he and Gary Cahill impressed during the 2nd half of the season.

Right midfield: Lee Hendrie (Ulises de la Cruz)

One position that Villa needs to improve upon. They were going to buy James Milner but Newcastle have decided they want to keep him. Lee Hendrie wants to go but I think Villa should keep him and try to get some competition in this position.

Left midfield: Gareth Barry, Patrick Berger, Peter Whittingham

With Gareth Barry & Patrick Berger cementing this position, I believe Whittingham should leave now to get regular starting time, even if it means dropping down a league. But Villa really should buy a new left winger. Gareth Barry is more ideally suited as a left back whilst Berger is past his prime.

Central midfield: Gavin McCann, Steven Davis, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Mathieu Berson

Whilst Gavin McCann and Steven Davis are automatic choices, Djemba-Djemba should be sold (he clearly cannot play in the Premiership) whilst Berson should be given a chance. What I've seen from Berson has impressed me to believe he can play in the Premiership. Another midfield, most ideally a playmaker, is what Villa need in this position.

Forward: Luke Moore, Milan Baros, Kevin Phillips, Juan Pablo Angel

Villa's strongest position by a long mile. With Luke Moore showing improvements and Milan Baros scoring goals when he's fit, Villa should be challenging further up the table (but they not). Kevin Phillips can play deeper, due to his age, whilst Angel should provide height in the penalty box. However the Columbian is far from happy and might move.

Right now about ten players could come and go from Villa, depending who's the manager. I don't think Villa would be challenging for trophies this season. Staving off relegation would be the best trophy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hong Kong Book Fair

Today was the opening day of the Hong Kong Book Fair, which I went to today. I have meant to go in the past few years (the event is held annually around this time at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre) but I kept missing it because of my schedule and forgetting to put it on my calendar.

I'm really quite surprised by the number of people who go. I never think today's people, especially in Hong Kong, would be interested in reading. With today's media, such as TV, DVDs and the Internet, I would hasten to think that reading a book would be looked upon as an eerie hobby, only done by people whom would be considered weird. Yet I think it is important to read, especially fiction. Reading is supposed to stimulate the mind and improve the imagination, as well as broaden horizons. Maybe everybody was there just the books were cheap?

In an effort to get my cousins to read (and to improve their English skills) I bought them a book, a children's classic which should appeal to them and shouldn't be too difficult for them. I was going to go for 'The BFG' but decided that 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' would be much better, considering they knew what it was from the movie.

For myself, I got "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and "1984" by George Orwell. I've been hoping to read these two during my two week vacation in Phuket. Apart from my favourite author Nick Hornby, I like my books to be thought provoking, such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" for its racial issues and "1984" for its look on the government's role in control the population.

So if you have time, please go and buy book at the fair. Last day is Monday and I believe the hours are extended to 2 am on weekends (but you better check yourself).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Men and women

It's been a while since I posted. A lot has happened since my last post. I haven't been to many classes but my clinical psychologist has been helping me with some practical solutions to my depression. Hopefully it will work out. The same applies with my tutor during this clerkship - Prof. Mary Ip. She's been a great help and just been offering another opinion, which I need at this moment.

Another thing that has happened is that I finally got the guts to send an email to Dora and tell her what is wrong with her. The reply was a little thought provoking. She had some valid points, like I'm not active in seeking out friends if I have trouble. But she came across as somebody who has no conscience, with no regret of what she does and no guilt that she could have done something wrong. Time will tell how this person will turn out.

Whilst I was surfing, I came across two titles - what women need to know about men and what men need to know about women. Here they are for your enjoyment.

100 Things You Need to Know About Women from Maxim US
What Women Should Know About Men from Barstool Sports

Sunday, July 02, 2006

So little space, so little attention.

There is a lot I want to write about in this blog. I want to write about how anybody can think Hong Kong is the best place in the world when it clearly isn't and the people that live here are the worst people in the world. I want to write about how Dora Tai should never have friends and never should be trusted again. I want to write about my depression and how it feels when people lie to me when they say, "I know how it feels," because I know they fucking don't.

But I have to keep a lid on it.

Mainly because there is so little space but mainly anybody reading this (if anybody has read it) would just fall asleep after the first sentence. Nobody has an attention span longer than a goldfish anymore and I blame message texting and MTV for that problem.

I also know if I rant everything at once, I won't have anything to rant about afterwards and I will constantly repeat some of the things I have wrote about, which I hate. I don't want to repeat anything said here and I only want to add to the discussion if it is something new or a different opinion.

So I have to keep a lid on it. For the time being.