Friday, August 31, 2007

Advertising myself

A number of people have stated I have been quite brave about the openness of my depression. I like to thank those people for those kind words. Yet a part of me says I have ulterior motives when advertising my depression. That section of my mind wants pity and attention, and it seems the only way to obtain what I want is through saying, "I have depression." However the logic fails completely as not many of my friends or peers give me pity or attention. To be quite honest they have a much more difficult task handling someone they know with depression and rather ignore the problem. I don't really blame them for taking this approach. At least they are being honest with themselves by acknowledging they cannot handle the situation and rather step away from it - advice I have been given by my psychiatrist. There are more constructive and less damaging ways to obtain pity and attention.

The main reason why I "advertise" my depression is because I hate hiding it. I despise the fact whenever an old friend asks me how I'm doing. I don't want to lie and say I'm doing fine in a nice training post in a good hospital, which I would have been doing if I had not suffered from depression. Neither do I want to keep saying negative things about myself and ruins somebody's day. So I rather get it over with by putting it on my profile at Facebook and on this blog. Hopefully (and so far unsuccessfully) people will read this and then think about what they write to me before actually doing so.

I think the fact the stigma against psychiatric diseases, whether it is schizophrenia or depression, stops people who are suffering from these diseases from being open about them. I really want to say to people who look down on people with psychiatric conditions that we are not crazy or stupid - we are just suffering from psychosis/neurosis. Just as blood pressure and serum sodium can fluctuate and cause disease, so can psychological factors such as mood and cognition.

Thankfully the situation has improved over the years. Once homosexuality was considered a psychiatric disease but this has changed for the better. Better exposure and education about psychiatric diseases helps lay people from being ignorant. That is why I'm grateful for films such as "Philadelphia" and "A Beautiful Mind". It teaches people about situations which we don't understand.

Regretfully there is still no movie which enlightens us on depression. To my knowledge, there has only been one film that speaks openly about depression (Prozac Nation) but its lack of success stopped the message from filtering through.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Empathy and sympathy

After a two week break, I am back in class. This time I have eight weeks of psychiatry, which I have mixed feelings about. Psychiatry is one subject I have an attachment to, considering my depression, and I for one can genuinely say to a patient that I do know how it feels to have a psychiatric condition. For once I can feel sympathy rather than empathy. Also I take an genuine interest in the subject when others don't (which I will get on to later) and I am a little more devoted to the subject.

Yet this is the time when I cringe about the attitude of my fellow peers. For some reason psychiatry is the subject which is treated with the least respect by the Hong Kong population. The attitude towards psychiatry is bordering on contempt and dislike. People view symptoms such as depression and anxiety as 'normal'; they are part of normal life and should be able to be treated by yourself, without the need of medication and psychotherapy. Unfortunately my father has this attitude most of the time and I have tried explaining it to him, without much success. Psychotic patients are treated as crazy and insane, and not as people with a psychiatric condition which can be cured.

You would think doctors and medical students are better in their attitude towards psychiatry and psychiatric patients but in my view, going through eight weeks of psychiatry doesn't revert the status quo. Fellow peers keep saying that they have been through psychiatry and know what I am going through, which I find a little bit of a lie. It is the equivalent of saying that sitting in a car makes you able to drive a vehicle, which isn't true. Other doctors follow the same lines as the Hong Kong population, which is why Hong Kong is way behind other countries in terms of its attitude and treatment of people with psychiatric conditions.

The one thing that bugged me about my ex-friend Dora was the way she treated one female psychiatric patient - she "suggested" to this patient that one of her colleagues likes her, despite the fact the patient was suffering from delusions of love. That is no way to treat a psychiatric patient. It is the equivalent of introducing an infection to an AIDS patient. If Dora treated that patient like that, how was she going to treat me? To compound the situation, when I scolded her on the issue she had the look as to say, "Why are you scolding me? I did nothing wrong." She didn't feel any remorse or guilt and I don't think she would ever do so. At times I do get the feeling from friends, peers and doctors that they consider me crazy and don't believe or trust any word I say because I suffer from depression.

There is a group on Facebook called "Hong Kong is NOT a third world country". This maybe true in terms of infrastructure, economy and technology but in terms of knowlege and attitude towards minority groups such as homosexuals, dog owners, Filipinos and people with psychiatric conditions, it ranks at the bottom along with the rest of the crap such as Zimbabwe and pre-war Afghanistan.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

No reply

Previously I mentioned I hate seeing people from my past because it means comparing our lives and I become disappointed since my life hasn't turned out the way I like it. One of the other things why I don't like meeting my old school friends is having to explain my depression and seeing how they react.

The situation is usually the same - it happens on Facebook most of the time. I ask them how they are doing and they are usually doing great for them. Then comes to the question I hate - "How are you doing?" I could lie and say things are going great but I hate lying. So I have to tell the truth. I try not to sound too depressing when I explain how my life hasn't turned out that well. Yet whenever I posted it on the wall, it always never comes with any nice reaction. Most people just ignore me after that and never fully address the issue. Some people are more sympathetic and I thank them for it.

I know it is difficult for people to react to people with psychiatric conditions. I don't expect them to become close friends but a better response would be nicer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


My plans to revise some orthopaedics during my two week break are sinking faster than the Titanic. I haven't been doing much studying, even though I have been provided very good pointers by a very close friend. All I have been doing is sorting out my laptop files (I'm very obsessive-compulsive when it comes to tidiness) and watching episodes of "Have I Got News For You", "8 Out of 10 Cats" and "Mock the Week". I love these kind of comedy panel shows and I have started to give up on my other shows, including "Spooks", "Doctor Who" and "House".


I hate a lot of things in life but one thing I cannot stand is distrust. Human beings have evolved, or probably devolved depending how you view the status, to a level when every sincere act of kindness has to be questioned, as though the person receiving the gift might have to give something in return. Why can we just not accept someone being kind just for the sake of it?

Naturally there has been something happening in my life that has caused me to be outraged. I have been placing wall posts on Facebook regarding my female friends. Some have taken them graciously. Others have not - one has deleted my wall post and not contacted me since. I generally thought women like to be complemented on their appearance but that doesn't seem to be apparently so. I'm not trying to hit on them or get laid and neither is it me being sarcastic - I genuinely think they are beautiful/sexy/hot/attractive. So why are my motives being questioned? Have we gotten to the stage where we cannot take a compliment anymore without having to give something in returns?

This is why I hate politics - you have to give something to achieve something and that cannot always work.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The grass always looks greener on the other side

At times I do hate the existence of Facebook. I know the website gives me an opportunity to get in contact with people I have lost touch with over the years and I am grateful for that. I'm getting into contact with people I knew in my primary school days back in England (elementary school for those using the American system) right up to my current friends in university in Hong Kong. It's a very convenient way to keep in touch and to interact with your friends on the Internet.

Facebook recently allowed me to get in contact with somebody I haven't seen in quite a number of years - five years if I'm correct. We had gone to middle school but lost contact once I left for boarding school in England. This was only the second time we had met up in the past fourteen years since I left Shatin College. We had lunch in Soho and talked about how each other is getting on with his life. This is where I hate Facebook. By meeting friends I have lost contact with, I'm now inflicting pain (in the mental sense) by comparing how well my life has gone compared to him or her. In the end I always lose.

Everybody I know has a job, whilst I'm about to go into my ninth year at university. No matter what kind of occupation they have, it is still a step up from being at university. Even if they are still in university, they are doing their doctorate or masters whilst I'm stuck still doing a bachelor degree. Everybody I seem to know is in an occupation they seem to like. They may complain about the working hours, the lack of holidays, their fellow colleagues or the workload but they are reasonably happy with where they are. At least they are earning some money whilst I'm still scrounging off my parents.

Another area where I always compare to with friends is relationships. Whilst I haven't even gone to bat, everybody I know has gone the whole nine innings having scored a grand slam in each one. How many of my friends have gotten married? I've lost count but if I really try to count it is probably between five to ten, with more coming. How many have I been to? One but I don't really blame anybody for not inviting me since I'm not close to anybody. And why does everybody in my Facebook friend list look so attractive whilst every passing day I seem to resemble more like the Michelin tyre man? Life is unfair and I have to deal with it.

I know I shouldn't be comparing my life to my friends and if I do it really doesn't matter so long as I am happy but I'm not. I still feel the world is going by whilst I seem to be standing still. Now I found out that one of my best friends in boarding school is not only married but has a kid.

I've got to stop looking at Facebook too much.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Selling out the Olympics

For those who don't know, Hong Kong will be holding the equestrian sports for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Due to the logistics of bringing horses into China, they required somewhere else to hold the dressage, showjumping and cross country events. Since Hong Kong has better facilities in handling these affairs, it was chosen to hold the equestrian sports. A few of the Hong Kong sports facilities have been converted to host these events. The Beas River Country Club doesn't require conversion but Penfold Park and the Hong Kong Sports Institute required fixing up.

Last weekend a trial competition was held to try out the facilities. Naturally there were good and bad things. Thankfully the cooling facilities for the horses and the stables were good but the weather didn't help since we just had a typhoon pass by the day before. Also the event was not sold out with about 50-75% attendance but that could be just due to the weather and the status of the event itself. Hopefully when the Olympics come round it will be full.

One thing I found strange was the ban on umbrellas. For some reason these will spook the horses if they are opened...


What I find strange about the Olympics is the sponsorship. Some I find OK, like Visa, Rolex or Samsung. Others I find disturbing - mainly the food sponsors. How can you promote going faster, higher and stronger if you are feeding everybody burgers from McDonalds and soft drinks from Coca Cola? Couldn't they find better companies, such as Gatorade/Lucoz for soft drinks and something else for the food. Otherwise it is ironic sponsoring sports events with junk food.


The Hong Kong media rights for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics have been given to Cable TV, a pay-cable TV company. This fact I find very disturbing, more disturbing than junk food makers sponsoring the Olympics. In the Olympic charter the Olympics is supposed to be broadcasted to as many people as possible. Giving the broadcast rights to a pay TV company is just the worst thing to do. The Olympics is probably the only event which brings people of the world together. Now most of Hong Kong won't be able to see it.


I'll probably harp on about this when the Olympics come around but I find the Olympics going away from its ideals. The Olympics are no longer about being the best you can and bring the world together. It is just about countries trying to bash each other to smithereens, now that we don't have wars anymore.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bored, bored & bored

Right now I'm having two weeks off from studying until my next rotating starts but having two weeks off is not necessarily a good thing. Usually the time is not used productively, if you don't have anything planned which applies to me. Naturally I don't want to studying or work too much and your mind is not necessarily focussed - you're in 'holiday' mood. I'll probably reorganize my notes or something similar.

So what have I been doing since I finished my paediatrics rotation last Friday. I've seen three movies but funnily enough not the one I want. I've watched "The Simpsons Movie" (very funny but not that great), "The Bourne Ultimatum" (good but I preferred "The Bourne Supremacy") and "Ratatouille" (Brad Bird is a genius) but I still haven't seen the movie I wanted - "Transformers". Still get a tingle down my spine when Optimus Prime transforms in the movie trailer. Yet there is a certain amount of movie watching one can take before I start to think every rodent is Gordon Ramsay.

I've reformatted my hard drive for the third time in recent months but this should be the last time. I think everybody is a masochoist, since ninety percent buy computers with Windows, despite knowing that the system will, out computers will be eternally bugged and we need loads of antivirus software. I've kept the programs and documents at a minimal so if I have to back up my laptop, it won't take me two days to perform.

There is a list of chores I want to get done - fix my mp3 player, update my files and documents (I'm obsessive compulsive - organization is my life) - but I was considering going to Singapore for a few days... probably I should now.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Typhoons + the last of the Premier League club season previews

At 14:30 local time, the typhoon signal no. 8 was hoisted in Hong Kong for the first time in three years. For those who don't know, it means people are advised to go home with school and most office work being cancelled. In essence, it is treated like a holiday by most Hong Kong people. It is rare for an actual typhoon to hit Hong Kong (that would be a typhoon signal no. 10), so there is not threat of imminent danger. That is how most people in Hong Kong consider typhoons - a day off work and surfers can go to the beach for some killer waves. Us Hong Kong people probably don't treat this force of nature with the proper respect, unlike the tornados in USA, the hurricanes in the Caribbean or the monsoons in South Asia.

That said (or is it wrote?), I am rather glad I was going home before the rush happened. It was chaotic scene in the underground and the bus stops, with everybody in Hong Kong trying to get home. Think rush hour times ten. The arrangements were very poor by some transportation companies and in future, the government, the general public and the transportation companies may have better arrangements next time around. They need to have more frequent services just after the announcement has been made, especially for areas which are difficult to reach like the Outlying Islands of Hong Kong (Lantau Island, Lamma Island and Cheung Chau), while it may be better to leave later to avoid the rush. Just a thought.


Since the Barclays Premier League is starting tomorrow, I better finish off my club season previews with West Ham United and Wigan Athletic.

The Hammer were fortunate to remain in the Premier League, both on and off the pitch. Now that the Carlos Tevez saga has been put behind us, it remains to be seen what Alan Curbishley can really do with this team. Virtually handed a free checkbook by the owners (I really cannot spell his name) he has brought in the likes of Ljungberg, Parker and Bellamy. Whether or not they will achieve success is another matter. It will take time for the team to gel and for Curbishley to have his first eleven sorted out. There are still some issues, such as too many defenders at the club. That said, I don't believe they will be in the relegation dogfight like last season but I think it is too early for them to challenge for the top six.


Wigan Athletic on the other hand seem doomed for the drop. I just cannot see them staying in the league. They don't have the quality in terms of manager or players. Chris Hutchings previous job after taking over from Paul Jewell was at Bradford City (in similar circumstances), which lead to Bradford being relegated, later going into administration and suffering a further relegation. Could the same happen for the Latics?

They lost a great deal of good players. Baines, McCulloch and De Zeeuw have left and in have come the likes of Melchiot and Bramble - not really setting the pulses racing. The only players of good quality who could keep them up are Koumas (who has yet to be prove that he is capable of playing at this level) and Camara (who could be going anyway). Two players are not enough to keep the team in this league. The only way they are going to stay in this league is sheer hard work and some luck... even a miracle.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Movie bonanza plus the scummiest football team on the face of the planet

Adults who go to children's films which have been dubbed into the adult's native language are just advertising to the world they are just stupid and cannot comprehend subtitles or other peoples languages. I would never go to watch a film that has been dubbed into my own language. Part of film appreciation is that film is a universal language and to appreciate the film you have to appreciate the entirety. In other words, I think watch a dubbed film is equivalent to masturbation - it feels good but in the end you are just f*cking yourself.


Lauren Graham is delicious - period. I just saw her in the trailer of "Evan Almighty" and I still think she's hotter than most twentysomethings in Hollywood. She's wholesome and decent. I first noticed her in "The Pacifier" and I still think now she's sexy. I would have no problems going out with her.


When I saw the title for the film "Ratatouille", I could not believe my eyes that Disney put the pronounciation below the title. It just proves to me that Americans have no concept of other languages outside their border. I wouldn't be surprised to learn if any American knows what Ratatouille actually means (a French vegetable dish).


This has been the moment I have been dreading my whole Arsenal-supporting life. This season could be the season that the Scum (i.e. Tottenham Hotspurs) could overtake Arsenal. They have quietly investing in young talent over the years and with the strikeforce of Dmitri Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Darren Bent, this could be the season. After two successive seasons finishing fifth place, it could be the time that us Arsenal fans have to face. Hopefully it won't happen but it could and I'm embracing myself for it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Upcoming exams and storms plus Sunderland AFC

Sometimes study leave is not that great, as I am finding out. You have a lot of time on your hands but I am one of these people who cannot sit down to study. I have to get up every fifteen minutes, which means I really cannot study in the library without disturbing other people. I also have a small attention & concentration span thanks to my depression, meaning I will switch over to do something else such as surfing the Internet or watching the numerous videos I have on my laptop. I honestly think I do have ADD (attention deficit disorder) sometimes or is it me being paranoid after being in paediatrics for so long, listening to Prof. Virginia Wong going on about child neurology?

It may all be in vain though. Right now there is typhoon signal number one being hoisted in Hong Kong. For those who don't know, typhoons are like hurricanes that regularly hit Hong Kong during the summer. The local weather observatory issues typhoon signals based on proximity. For some reason the signals are one, three, eight and ten. Don't ask me why they are missing out on the other numbers. If a signal number eight is issued, it is like a holiday with people told to leave work and school being cancelled. At this moment the typhoon will strike Hong Kong tomorrow, when my exam is scheduled to take place. You might think I would want the exam to be cancelled but in all honesty I rather get it done with and have my two week vacation as soon as possible. I just hope the typhoon will rapidly veer off course and hit something else.


I don't know much about the Sunderland team. Most of the team that went down the season before was quickly swept out by the new manager, Roy Keane. If you hated him as a player you had to admire him for his success and his determination, which has carried on into his managerial career. You have to have respect for him after he won the League Championship in his debut season as manager, after the Black Cats started the campaign with five consecutive defeats.

Now he has a much more difficult task - keeping Sunderland in the Premier League. He has invested wisely, sweeping out some dead wood and bringing in the likes of Greg Halford, Paul McShane, Russell Anderson, Kieran Richardson and Michael Chopra. Probably the biggest eyebrow to be raised will be for Craig Gordon, who could become Britain's mosst expensive goalkeeper if his transfer of £9 million goes through. They still look a bit lightweight in the midfield department (probably Keane would consider a comeback?) but it is difficult to gauge how Sunderland will this time around. Will they flop or will the Roy Keane revolution continue? It is more likely that fans should expect to stay up and I concur. With that level of investment, Keane will know what pressure is really like now.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reading FC

Since I've woken up early and I can't be bothered to go back to sleep or revise for my upcoming exam, I decided to try to get a load off my back by writing about Reading FC.

Last season they caused a ruckus by nearly qualifying for European competition. Thankfully for their sake it didn't happen, otherwise they would have too much on their plate for their second season. All the pundits are harking on about the second season syndrome and there is a lot of evidence it could happen this time around. Both Wigan and Ipswich performed phenomenonally in the first season in the top flight but their second season was catastrophic. Steve Coppell will know that other teams will know what they are capable of this time around.

Yet they haven't rectify anything with new players. They have lost one of their best players in the mould of Steven Sidwell. They have added a few players but essentially it is as you were. Is that such a bad thing? If things go well, it is not but if they start to slide it will mean Coppell has less variety to play with.

Although I don't think they will be relegated, they won't repeat what they achieved last season. Fans should be happy with a mid-table finish. After that the third season should be when they take off.

Monday, August 06, 2007


I really don't like Harry Redknapp. Whenever I look at him I always think of a shady dirty second-hand car dealer. Most of the players he has bought into the club are usually a miss. Think of the likes of Hayden Foxe, Gianluca Festa, Vincent Pericard, Sebastien Schemmel, Ivica Mornar, John Curtis, Andy Griffin, Aliou Cisse and Ricardo Fuller. Christ, he let go Peter Crouch, who is pretty decent (you have to be to play for Liverpool and England). He buys players like throwing spaghetti against a wall - eventually some of it will stick. Plus he doesn't play any good young players. Only Gary O'Neil is a regular, with Richard Duffy and Richard Hughes consigned to the touchline. Even then O'Neil required a loan spell at Cardiff City to prove his worth.

Now that Redknapp has gotten the money he needs to buy the players he wants after years of wheeling and dealing, he almost qualified for Europe last season. This season the chairman and the supporters will require more from him. They will demand success, especially after buying the likes of Muntari and Nugent. Yet with other teams such as Newcastle, Tottenham, Everton, Aston Villa and Manchester City buying up players like it was a discount sale, Redknapp might want to focus on the cup competitions for his avenue into Europe.

If Portsmouth fails disastrously this season, don't expect Redknapp to be in his job for long.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Being left out again plus Middlesborough and Newcastle United

I still feel like I'm left out by my group. Whenever they are discussing about the exams or how to do the counselling part, they generally leave me out. I would like to jump in and say something but at times I get the blank stare that I am imposing on their lives or the vague silence when nobody responds to what I have just said. I know they are not suppose to be my friends but it generally leaves me thinking that Hong Kong people are not usually the nicest people to make friends with.


Since the Premier League will start in one weeks time and I'm only over halfway through my previews and that my exams are coming up, I feel I should speed out my analysis. Since Middlesborough and Newcastle United are next to each other in terms of alphabetical status and geography, I felt it was right to write about them together.

Boro fans had to reasonably expect that Southgate and Middlesborough would struggle last season. It was a young side with an inexperienced manager but they managed to get by. This season should see a slight improvement but not much. Southgate is still learning the ropes and imposing his character on the team.

Thankfully he is starting to address some problems. Forwards were drafted in in the likes of Tuncay and Aliadere, with Viduka. He started to rebuild the right side of the team with Luke Young but still requires a right winger to bring balance. Probably his worst problem is not a problem - he has too many young centre backs. Don't be surprised to see some going before the transfer window closes.

If Boro can maintain a mid-table position and a good cup run, that would be a reasonable feat. Clubs are built slowly and fans should expect reality instead of fantasy.


Sam Allardyce has a massive job on his hands. He needs to bring instant success to Geordie fans who expect it after seeing the miracles he produced at Bolton. The state of the current team might not be able to produce that yet. He has bought wisely, bringing in the likes of Rozenhal, Barton, Viduka and Smith. Yet the main problem has still not been addressed - a leaky defence. He still needs to boost the numbers and if he doesn't soon, he might be struggling in the beginning.

Also he needs to change his tactics. He cannot use the same stifling tactics that he uses at the Reebok stadium - not with the depth of attacking talent at his disposal. The fans will expect exciting and winning football. I remember that one pundit said that Allardyce should consider sacrificing a good league position if it meant guaranteeing a cup win. I would concur, since it will bring time for Allardyce to gradually bring his team together.

Whether or not Big Sam can weave his magic wand at the Magpies remains to be seen. He might go in the way of Kevin Keegan or Sir Bobby Robson OR could go in the way of Ruud Gullit or Graeme Souness.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Update on hating kids...

I am halfway through my two week residency period in paediatrics and I'm finding it has its ups and downs. The medical officers and house officers are nice but the nurses seem permanently in PMS and menopausal status mode, with very labile mood and a high irritability status. Most of the time the kids are nice but when they are bad, they are bad. Crying is the thing I cannot stand. My nerves shatter quite easily and at times I just want to shout at the kid, "Stop crying! It is no use crying! Just learn to grow up!"

I am also not a great fan of bodily fluids. I can handle blood - that's not a problem for me - but anything with a distinct smell is where I draw the line. Two instances come to mind. The first was when I entered the ward in the morning a few days ago and I was hit by the stench of crap that was filling the ward. Turns out that one of the kids who was mentally retarded had shat himself. If I thought it was bad, think about the other kids who had to live in the ward. The second instance was today in Neurology OPD. We had a kid who kept drooling and it smelled big time. I was constantly having to wipe the kid's mouth but it had a really bad smell, which is difficult to describe.

Anyway I should be revising but I'm just too tired. For the past week I have been finishing off my case report and discharge summary which has kept me up until 2 am at times. Also I have been on duty, clerking cases and following ward rounds, which leaves me little time to revise.

I really need to get back to looking at my notes and practising for my counselling test...