Sunday, May 06, 2007


Today was one of those days when I think, "Yep, God must really despise my existence."

So why do I think that? You probably guessed that I had a bad day. You're wrong... I had a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad day.

You're probably think that the day cannot be so bad. Maybe. You can decide for yourself as I'm going to bore you with the details and you won't probably read them.

The group I have been allocated to has been "volunteered" to act as helpers for a surgical congress jointly held by the Hong Kong College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Basically we are slave labour and seat fillers. Now I don't really have a problem with this kind of thing. It has been occuring since my school days, acting as guides around schools or being 'encouraged' to listen to talks. At least at school we volunteered to do this whilst our Faculty "volunteered" us. That's a big difference.

So up I got on 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Yes, there is such a thing as a 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday. It doesn't exist in your dreams, although that what it feels like in bed. So off I went to the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine building, set in the most extreme of places. The obviously built this setting for doctors with their cars, since they didn't think about the minions who work there having to change buses twice to get to work. My task for today was nothing really special - just to check if the presenter's PowerPoints were OK and check for any potential problems, such as videos and hyperlinks not working. I didn't have to attend any lectures that have no relevance to me. At least there were some perks of the job. I could have time to catch up on my studying, I could browse the Internet and there were plenty (and I do mean plenty) of sandwiches, which were at least edible and decent.

This was the false sense of security that God led me into, just like the calm before the storm. He provided the sense that all was good in the world before hitting you on both knees. I was there in the room, just helping, checking the slides were alright before the next doctor walked in. Someone I knew. Someone who had been class peers with (I still cannot stand the word classmates). Someone who was going to present. Not just some free paper session where nobody really listens. He was going in the session where he was going to be awarded a prize, sort of like the Cannes Film Festival. That started to set off the wheels in my head, particularly the waterwheels...

What makes it doubly worse is that I don't really like this guy. He's the sort of guy who is a bit of a lad or jock. Snobby, uncaring, condescending. Thinks his English is great when actually he wouldn't pass border control in England. I think you get the general gist of who he is. For those in the know, this is the medical student who went to the Macau casinos a few years ago, gambled and lost most of his money, borrowed money from a loan shark and lost that money as well. Before the loan shark could gain back this collateral by chopping this guy's hands off, the police arrested the loan shark and the guy was pictured in the newspaper crying. The guy got away from being arrested and not paying the loan shark back. That's the guy who becomes a top surgeon.

At this point I'm thinking, "Here I am, being roped in to help with this congress and having fritted away four years of my life thanks this depression. And this guy, this unsavoury man who I wouldn't let him perform surgery on anybody, not even the enemies I hate, is now so important enough to be presenting a paper. What did I do wrong? Is this God punishing me?" And the only conclusion I give rise to these questions is that I don't know what I did wrong but God is indeed punishing me. I don't think God is testing me, as some of my religiously fanatical (and delusional) friends have been saying. I failed that test years ago. If this was a test, it's a bit like somebody testing a bulletproof vest by asking your to don the vest and shooting at you with a machine gun. Or asking you to swallow an unknown specimen which may contain the Ebola virus just to see if the sample really did contain a tropical disease. Severe but with alternatives.
Is this fate? I know there are elements out of control but I don't feel in fate or destiny. If God gave us free will (and I do believe he did), then there is no fate or destiny. If this is really my fate, then I rather be dead. I actually considered this for a nanosecond but it disappeared.

I could have just handled that incident. But God decided that hitting me on both knees wasn't enough and decided on all the other joints in my body. I saw four other doctors who I happened to be class peers with at some point, spread over three years. That's when the waterworks started to happen. I was pre-first stage of crying (see my entry nine days ago about the stages of crying). I should have left the congress at that point, saying I was not well and need to return back to my flat. But I thought I could handle it. I thought it was best to face this predicament. How wrong I was. God was going to smash my nether regions to smithereens and serve them with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

When I thought I was feeling better, I saw another person who used to be a classmate of mine; friend called Yuh-Meei who I happened to like a lot. That really tipped the balance. I had gone from pre-first stage of crying to full blown second stage of crying. I was desperately trying to hold it in but it took so much willpower to do so and was incredibly difficult to do so. If you want to imagine what it feels like for a depressive not to cry when he/she is on the verge of crying, think of this - imagine you have acute infectious diarrhoea and all of a sudden you abdominal cramps plus the urge to defecate. Now imagine you trying to hold it in. Multiple that feeling by about hundred and you start to get the idea what I'm feeling.

At this stage, I had to rush off somewhere secluded to release the tears. I had to rush pass by several prominent surgeons and my current class peers to the toilet. Then, after making sure nobody was there and nobody was going to interrupt me, I let it out a little. Not full blown third stage crying but enough just to get me through the rest of the day.

The cherry on top from God was being asked to wear a suit the next day by one of the staff, since I was helping with the opening ceremony on Monday. That would be fine, with only two exceptions:

1. I only got the notice as I was leaving the congress.
2. I didn't have suit in at my flat and nobody could bring one from home.

Thankfully I sorted the situation out and hopefully that's the end of that. Hopefully I can say this episode is over. But in the back of my mind those thoughts are still there. God IS punishing me, what for I cannot say. This is the second time I had started to cry in front of people in nine days. And the worst thing is...

I got to do it again tomorrow.


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