Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hoarding and throwing stuff out

After I finished my HKCFP/RACGP Conjoint Examination in late October, I did something which I should have done a long time. After filling my bookshelves for years, I threw away the notes I had from medical school. I asked myself a few questions and realized the notes were no longer needed.

Q. Did I need the notes?
A. No. All the paper was just notes, timetables and bits of administration. Most of the notes were of medical knowledge which have become out of date. I still have my textbooks if I needed to refer back to any information, or I could just look on the internet for the information that I required.

Q. Will I need the notes in the future?
A. No. Apart from the aforementioned need for information, the only other purpose I could think of for my notes were of sentimental value. Those notes won't provide that. I did not enjoy my time in medical school and have no desire to return to that era. Neither am I going to show my children or grandchildren (if I have any) what I learnt in medical school. It's not like the stuff I kept from primary school, like paintings and drawings, which you can look back upon with some sweet recollection. At least from secondary school work there is a marking to show how clever I once was. My medical school notes does not fulfil any of these functions.

Before the environmentalist have a field day on my gesture, I didn't just throw the paper straight into the rubbish bin. All of the paper has gone into boxes and my domestic helper has been bringing the load to a recycling centre. I have taken things out that may serve a purpose in future, such as ring binder folders and file dividers.

The situation I have just gone through highlights something we have all encountered. At one point or another, we have stuff at home we should throw out but don't. We accumulate stuff we don't need and we don't use. The major problem is trying to get rid of it but not knowing how to. I think the circumstances maybe better in places such as the UK or US, where there are recycling centres for almost anything and there are online forums or websites where you can sell these items as second hand or give them to charity.

I have several electronic gadgets which are either broken or so out of date that I won't use them again. It's taken me a while but I will eventually send them to the local electrical recycling centre, along with power adaptors, wires, cables and a whole echelon of electrical stuff.

The same goes with CDs. I have a bunch of CDs of computer programs I don't use any more. Particularly because I use Apple OSX but also because most of the printer drivers, DVD programs and what not can be downloaded off the internet right now.

It's nice to have more space in my place now but it is most likely I will have the same problem again in a few years time after I have bought more useless stuff that I don't need.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guessing at BBC's Sports Personality of the Year shortlist

Unlike 2012 where it was really difficult to fit all the appropriate people into the shortlist after the London Olympics, I'm struggling to find ten names that can be nominated for BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award. Of course there were many highlights but getting the number of deserving people to double digits is a tall order.

To help with coming up with a list, I've analysed the situation by looking at each sport to see if they can come up with a nominee:

Football: Even though England qualified for the 2014 World Cup, hardly anybody stands out to deserve any plaudits. No British player lit up the domestic or European scene either. The only British footballer who can even merit a mention is Gareth Bale, who won both Player of the Year awards and became the world's most expensive footballer.

Motorsports: With Vettel dominating Formula 1, Button & Hamilton were left to feed off the scraps. The only world champion of British origin worth mentioning is Tom Sykes, who won the World Superbike Championship. Hopefully he will get a mention, considering the likes of Carl Fogarty and James Toseland have previously been nominated before.

Cricket: With England winning the home Ashes, it is most likely the team as a whole will be nominated in the Team of the Year award. Individually, there isn't really anybody who stands out. Stuart Broad and James Anderson might get a mentioned but I would like Ian Bell to be featured, since he was the best player in the Ashes with three centuries.

Rugby: As it was a non-World Cup year in union and none of the British Isles teams couldn't reach the rugby league World Cup final, it will be difficulty for a single player to be nominated.

Tennis: Really there is only one person who can be nominated. Andy Murray should win this year. He won Wimbledon for crying out loud! No British man has done that for 77 years. He also won three other tournaments, got to the final of the Australian Open and helped get Great Britain back into the main group for the Davis Cup. Plus he's appeared on Mock the Week again - what's not to love about him?

Golf: I honestly forgot about Justin Rose winning the US Open back in June. Everybody thought Rory McIlroy or Luke Donald would dominate the scene but Rose finally fulfilled his destiny after bursting onto the scene back at the 1998 Open Championship. Another leading contender for this year's SPOTY award.

Athletics: As it was a world championship year, there will be a number of athletes in the short list. Most prominently will be Mo Farah, who equalled his achievement from London 2012 by winning the 5000 & 10000 metres in Moscow. Another champion who should be mentioned will be
Christine Ohuruogu, who won the 400 metres with another dramatic finish, which surely will be mentioned when her nomination is discussed.

Boxing: The most likely man to get mentioned will be Carl Froch, having won the WBA super-middleweight title against Mikkel Kessler in May and retaining his titles (in much controversy) again George Groves in November. 

Cycling: Chris Froome will surely push Andy Murray for BBC SPOTY this year. He followed up Brad Wiggin's Tour de France win last year by keeping the title on British soil. He will definitely be nominated but may not win since Wiggins just won last year. Plus the black cloud overhanging the world of cycling thanks to Lance Armstrong's drug confessions may not help his sport's image.

Others: It would be nice to see Ronnie O'Sullivan being nominated, to recognise his status as the finest snooker player since Stephen Hendry. Whether or not he will play ball is another matter. I'm sure AP McCoy and Phil Taylor might get mentions.

As you can see, there is a lack of female & disabled sports people in my list. I'm sure there are many champions who can fit those criteria, for example Hannah Cockcroft and Richard Whitehead, but they need more media coverage - surely a nomination for SPOTY can help?

Monday, November 04, 2013

Just a minor medical ailment

Up until now, I have been relatively healthy physically. Like everybody else, I have had the odd share of the sniffles and the runs. Yet nothing too drastic warranting a major intervention. The only major medical ailment I had was as a child, when I was hospitalized for five days for a fever. The doctors had difficulty finding out what was the cause. In the end my predicament was due to an urinary tract infection and there was no permanent damage. Since then I have been relatively lucky

(I'm glossing over the factor I have major depression, since I'm talking about physical complaints and most people have difficulty comprehending psychiatric illnesses as being major conditions.)

So some part of me was glad when I got injured in September. I know that last sentence sounds weird but something inside wants to boast I had a scar or a major surgery performed. I haven't even had appendicitis before and most people seemed to suffer that.

I was volunteering for Hong Kong Dog Rescue, a dog charity I frequently help out. I was about to finish up, when one of the dogs (I cannot remember which mutt was responsible now) had escaped from his pen. I was trying to retrieve the dog and I thought I had him cornered. He suddenly rushed passed me and, in an attempt to stop the canine, I reached out with my left hand. He banged quite hard on my hand and he was eventually caught.

The dog was guided back to his pen eventually but there was a problem with me. My left ring finger was twisted and was pointing towards my left little finger. I knew I had either dislocated or fractured my finger. If the digit continued to be in that position, I was worried that was going to be permanent damage.

So I twisted the finger back into place.

There was a large crunching feeling to accompany it. I really don't know if that movement caused my finger to become even more broken but I wasn't going to risk it. Whenever I tell people I set my finger back into it's original position, there is always that reaction associated with being kicked in the genitals. People wince at when I say I twisted my finger back into place, thinking there was a large amount of pain. To be frankly honest, there was so much adrenaline pumping through my body, it was less painful than I anticipated.

After making sure my finger was as straight as possible, I drove myself back home so my dad could drive me to the hospital. The drive home was just full of constant swearing and making sure I didn't crash, causing further injury. My father thought it was just a simple finger sprain but I knew something was wrong when I started to feel numbness in that finger. Never argue with a doctor regarding medical conditions!

I waited for about 45 minutes in the Accident and Emergency department before I was eventually seen. Before people harp on about the long waiting times at Casualty, I accepted I would be seen a little later than expected. I was in pain but I wasn't dying. There are more pressing patients requiring attention. Sometimes you just have to accept the situations that arise.

I was eventually seen by a doctor who let's just say his bedside manner wasn't the greatest. He was surprised, bordering on impoliteness and rudeness, that I knew I had to explain my condition in medical terms and that I was a doctor. He didn't even examine me at all. All he did was give me a provisional diagnosis of a sprained finger, order an X-ray (the first thing he did right) and said if there was nothing wrong with the X-ray he would just give me some painkillers and a few days sick leave.

You know there is something wrong if the radiographer who takes your X-ray says, "Your finger is completely shattered!" The Accident and Emergency doctor, after seeing my X-ray, finally physically touched me and admitted me into hospital - the second thing he did right.

I got to see the doctor on-call, who didn't recognize me but I did recognize him as an old medical school classmate. Probably I've gained so much weight since we last met he didn't notice the change in appearance. When he told me I might not need surgery, I would be put in a slab and will be seen by the specialist on Monday morning, some part of me was a bit disappointed. I wanted to have surgery to show I had something physical wrong with me. I know I'm weird thinking these thoughts.

So I was put on a slab, attended my "Diploma for Advances in Internal Medicine" lectures the next day before returning to the hospital on Monday. After I was assessed by the specialist, they said performing an operation wasn't going to help much, so they decided to let the finger heal by itself and I was put on a splint for the next ten days.

Woohoo! Time off work! Not that I spent the free time lounging around. My professional examinations were just around the corner and I used the extra time studying. Yes, doctors are boring since they used their spare time in books. I had already planned to take a few days off to study anyway, so I was thankful towards my department secretary in cancelling that scheduled leave.

The specialist followed me up ten days later, saw that I was healing nicely with minimal displacement of the fracture and very little rotation of the finger. She thought I could go back to work. At first, I was a little shocked I was going back to work so early. It usually requires four weeks for the fracture to start properly healing. I was still in some considerable pain. On second reflection, it was better that I returned to work as soon as possible. I still had nine other digits which still functioned normally. All I had to do was adapt my routine, take regular painkillers and ask my supervisor to cut the amount of patients I needed to see.

I'm grateful I have a sympathetic supervisor, who cut my patient quota more than the recommended amount that was set by the occupational medicine doctor for the first few days I was back at work. The main worry was typing, which most doctors in the general outpatient clinics do. Initially there was a great deal of pain, having rested that hand for ten days and having to move the left hand around the keyboard to compensate for the lack of use by the ring finger. I forget my painkillers on the first day back to work. After just half hour of typing, there was considerable amount of pain warranting an immediate prescription of ibuprofen from the clinic.

There was a lot I couldn't do apart from typing. Whenever I had to examine someone's throat, I had to switch the torch and the tongue depressor around, since I could press the tongue down with my left hand. Examining major joints was a bit of hassle, since I couldn't grip the limbs properly without wincing. Driving was mildly hampered since I couldn't pull the handbrake. So I had to keep my foot on the brake when waiting at the traffic lights. Cutting anything was a knife and fork resulted in an ouch, since I couldn't properly grip the fork in that position. It resulted in me having to ask my mum to cut my bacon - not the proudest moment of my life.

Eventually life has returned to normal. I took my professional examinations without too much of a problem. I don't need to see the orthopaedic surgeon anymore, since I'm no longer in pain and there is nothing they can really do. There is a mild bending in the finger, since the affected area has been shortened, and a minimal of rotation of the finger. Otherwise most functions I can do normal. I'm still on a reduced patient quota, which means I don't have to be as frantic seeing patients.

Being ill can be a disturbing experience. Yet sometimes is not as dramatic as you think.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Showing my support for 'Fighting Talk'

To the BBC

I am writing, not to complain, but to show my support for the radio programme “Fighting Talk” and for all those involved in the making of the show. This show of support is in reference to the criticism the programme received by various media outlets about the episode on the evening of Saturday 1st June 2013 during BBC 5 Live’s Big Day Out.

On the show, Fighting Talk panellist Bob Mills was asked in the final round ‘Defending the Indefensible’ to defend the statement, “Give me 20 minutes with her and I’m pretty sure I could turn round Claire Balding.” What Bob Mills said was, “She’s a horse women. The one thing Claire appreciates is a bit of power between her thighs. All I’m saying, there is not a woman in the world who cannot be cured.”

To the uninformed person who listened to those remarks or who heard those remarks out of context, of course those words would cause offense. Homosexuality is not a disease that can be cured but a sexual orientation that civilized people respect. Yet the statement Bob Mills made is not representative of the man himself, Fighting Talk or BBC 5 Live in general. The statement cannot be analyzed on its own. Analyzing the comment without any context is akin to believing what an actor or actress says in a film or what a musician sings in song is reflective of what he or she believes in real life.

If anybody who heard the whole programme, they would have listened to the host Colin Murray describe the final round ‘Defending the Indefensible’:

 “No matter what I say, you have to defend it for twenty seconds. For people in this arena, a little bit like when we did the booing (in reference to an earlier round), when we really didn’t mean what we were saying. This is like that round. We don’t mean what we are saying. The whole point is you have to defend the indefensible. I’m going to get it tattooed across my forehead because every week someone complains.”

Colin Murray has repeated the description about ‘Defending the Indefensible’ on every episode. People, whether they are listening for the first time or have been following the programme for several years, have been prepared these statements are not representative of the host, the production team or the Fighting Talk panellists. That is why the round is called ‘Defending the Indefensible’.

Fighting Talk has been broadcasting for nearly ten years, to an audience I am estimating to be a few hundred thousands, not just in the United Kingdom but all over the world and here in Hong Kong where I have been listening for the past five years. The show have had guests, ranging from prominent comedians such as John Bishop to established sportspeople such as Peter Reid who was a panellist on the episode that has received wide coverage. The programme has received two gold Sony Radio Academy Award in the sports programme category. There have been “Defending the Indefensible” statements in the past that have been in poor taste, racists, sexist and fascist which have not received any complaints or not received any coverage. The recent events have only come to light when the show has received a wider audience on a more prominent stage. It is of my own opinion that the programme primarily received criticism for this reason and not because of the actual statement.

From my own personal experience, the production team of Simon Crosse, Mike Holt, Charlie Copsey and Nadia Haif have been an exemplary group of people who are dedicated to their craft and appreciative of the listeners of the show. Thanks to successfully winning a ‘Children in Need’ auction, I was allowed a behind-the-scenes tour of an episode of Fighting Talk. The production team warmly received me as one of their own, going beyond the call of duty to accommodate me.

One statement that was put out of context and for the handful of listeners who complained is not representative of the thousands of people who support the show. I hope this comes into consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Kenneth Leung
Dedicated Fighting Talk listener

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sex and what I keep thinking about it

Warning: the following blog entry will be about sex, with my thoughts and opinions about the subject. There will be many graphic descriptions about the topic. It may change the way you think about me, for better but most likely for worse. If you are easily offended or find reading about sex disturbing, please do not continue. Please note these are my opinions as a normal person and has nothing to do with my job as a doctor.

I seem to think more about sex than the average person. It is said guys tend to think about sex for most of the day. It seems to be linked to the male genetic make-up, that men have to "sow their seed in every furrow" so that the human race can continue. Well that's the excuse men will give to justify being so horny all the time.

(Before I go on, I would like to state implicitly that I'm not a pervert. My thoughts about sex does not have any influence on my professional life as a doctor. I have not nor will I grope or fondle patients, female or male. I am always professional and courteous when performing physical examinations. When I need to examine a sensitive area, I always have a female chaperone to accompany me. Anyway I'm more afraid of being sued by any patient of sexual assault. I want to make that abundantly clear to anybody who reads this, whether it is a previous / potential patient, a concerned citizen or anybody who cannot accept doctors are not robots but human beings with their own fallibilities and their own opinions about everyday topics. 

Right I think I've covered myself legally, morally and professionally. Now where was I? Oh yes, sex...)

I think my obsession about sex can be boiled down to I have yet to lose my virginity at the relatively elderly age of 32 years old. I don't know why I should be ashamed of this status. If I grew up in Hong Kong, my virginal position would be in line with other natives. The conservative society I currently live in has the predominant thought sex should be for after marriage only and only for producing babies. Being in your mid thirties and still a virgin in Hong Kong is not uncommon. Yet I grew up in a different culture overseas and their views of sex are much different. Cherries are popped at a very young age and nobody bats an eyelid at this. Having sex with more than one person in your lifetime does not immediately label somebody as a slag or a man-whore.

Is my fascination with sex a by-product of the frustration of not having a girlfriend? If I was happy being single and using my right hand or the bed, then I wouldn't give this too much thought and be content. Yet I'm frustrated about the single status I occupy.

A combination of personal factors does not make my sexual frustration any better. I'm short, round, wear glasses and not very athletic. In summary, I'm not very attractive to the opposite gender. People tend to hook up with people who are handsome or beautiful, as I have noted when I go to nightclubs. People would rather have sex with good lucking people. I can only imaging fat, ugly people like me must be some of the horniest people around.

It doesn't help that I am introvert and shy. I don't usually go out in the evenings, preferring to stay at home and browse the internet for its primary purpose - porn. I don't go out to pursue women and I know that doesn't help if I want a chance of losing my virginity. Yet I know if I go out and meet women, I might come across as desperate and perverted, as I know these are big turn-offs for women. I'm also afraid of how I react to rejection. The last time a lady turned me down, way back in the university days, I cried for half hour and wanted to kill myself. I now know that was my depression talking but I'm still afraid of rejection. My attempts to attract the opposite sex has been limited since then. When I actively try to chat up women, it never ends with me seeing them again and that leaves me despondent about my single & virginal status.

It doesn't help that women in Hong Kong don't take the initiative and pursue men. Please remember that Hong Kong is still very much a conservative society. They expect to be wined and dined like a princess. If the lady was like me, she would sometimes want to do the chasing other than always being chased. Sometimes I want the lady to show her independence and she doesn't always conform to what society expects of her. It would also mean she'll be open to other ideas.

At the moment I don't want a romantic relationship with feelings. My life is a bit too complicated for that. Unfortunately 99% of women in the world think that the only way to have a relationship with a man is with emotions and especially in Hong Kong. The concepts of casual sex, swingers, fuck buddies, friends with benefits and one night stands are foreign to most people in Hong Kong. I've been trying to find ways to follow this avenue but with not much luck. I have found certain websites but they have certain drawbacks. There is Adult Friend Finder, a website to hook people up but that requires you to put money into that venture, with no guarantee that you will get laid. Also the website attracts women who still want a romantic relationship rather than the casual sex relationship that the group emphasizes on. There must be websites that are written in Chinese which links like minded individuals in this way but I hate myself for not being able to read Chinese. Facebook doesn't seem to have Hong Kong groups like this either.

I seriously thought about hiring a hooker. There are more websites catering for this than there are fuck buddy websites in Hong Kong. There were many things that stopped me from doing this...
  1. Price. I really don't want to be paying for something I don't what I'm getting. The prices range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. I really don't know what quality I'm getting and the whole experience could be over in 5 minutes. 
  2. Location. I'm still living with my parents, so I can't bring the lady back to my place. I'm reluctant to go to a prostitute's boudoir or a hotel room for many reasons, include filthiness and money, which rules out those options.
  3. Disease. As a doctor, I've come across some people who have had sexually transmitted diseases from visiting sex workers and I want to avoid that. I could use a condom but that's not 100% foolproof. Wearing a condom would mean I would not be able to ride bareback and I would like to experience that at least once.
  4. Embarrassment. I don't want the other person to know I am desperate and paying for my first time. I am also embarrassed about being a Chinese person who speaks limited Cantonese. I know I would never see the lady again or I could hire somebody who doesn't speak Cantonese but I still couldn't bear it.
I could go out more to nightclubs and bars to try hook up in a more traditional sense. This comes with yet more excuses. I have never really liked nightclubs. I don't mind going to nightclubs for drinking and dancing. But for chatting up ladies it is not the most ideal venue due to the slight distraction of dance music deafening your ears and the inability to see who you are chatting up due to the extreme energy saving settings in the lighting.

I'm also applying the wrong type of criteria in trying to get sex. I should lower my standards and just pick up some random bird, go back to her place and just be done with it. Instead I'm still want the same features for my sexual partner as I want from my future partner. I want her to have a Western background, speak fluent English and to be drop dead gorgeous.

I feel I have been spoiled by Western porn and Playboy models. I want the ideal lady to be slim, busty, with a nice booty and beautiful. Sadly not many Hong Kong girls are like that. They have pretty faces, when they eventually get round to putting on some make up, but not much sex appeal. They are slim but perhaps a bit too slim. As I remember from one movie, "you have got to have meat if you want to feel the heat". Getting ladies in Hong Kong to have plastic surgery is nearly nigh impossible. Women in other countries around the world, especially South Korea and USA, are willing to go under the knife to make themselves look more beautiful for many reasons, including getting ahead in their career area, attracting a rich husband or just to boost their self esteem. I just don't think ladies in Hong Kong are willing to go through the pain of plastic surgery to look beautiful.

Hong Kong ladies don't even wear high heels that often. Everybody knows high heels, although painful, instantly make a lady sexy. I don't mind if you don't wear them to work or going on a country walk, but if you are going to a night club and are not willing to wear some stilettos, just be prepared that you might not attract so much attention than the ladies who do wear f*ck me boots.

The same goes with sexy clothing. Hong Kong ladies never wear anything alluring. They wrap up like it's winter, despite it's nearly over twenty degrees Centigrade all year round. No short skirts, no revealing cleavage, absolutely no skin at all. I think I've seen more flesh from a nun than a Hong Kong woman. For once I would like to see a lady in a dress or something figure hugging. 

For the sex, she has to be shaved. Not just her legs and armpits, but also down there. If she wants me to perform oral sex, she has to shave because I don't want to be going through a forest if I have to perform fellatio. If anybody thinks I'm being hypocritical in this situation because I'm maintain my own bush, let me just say I am willing to shave it off in a heartbeat.

And that's the other thing - will my potential partner / fuck buddy be interested in the type of sex I want. I don't just want normal missionary position. I want to try something else - other positions, anal, oral, threesomes with another girl. I draw the line at BDSM, golden showers and getting another guy into the mix though. I do have some limits.

And everybody is going to say, "What have you done to make yourself attractive to ladies? Have you worked out? Have you even lost any weight?" They be right to ask those questions and in truth, I don't have good answers. It goes back to the point I always have when I start pondering about my single status - I'm angry at myself for being so pathetic.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Back in UK

For those who don't know and I haven't been boring with the details for the past three months, I am back in the UK for the first time in nearly 10 years. Not since I did an attachment in psychiatry at Ealing Hospital just after SARS died down in the summer of 2003, have I stepped back on to British turf. It's been a long time coming. I have been in contact with everything British since I went back to Hong Kong, from the news, entertainment programmes and sports. However having physical contact with anything to do with Great Britain has been quite a while.

There are few things that I have observed since stepping off the plane just a few hours ago.
  • Online check-ins are great. It saves time, you can pick your seat and print your own boarding pass. However check in early to find the seat that you want. I ended checking in just a few hours before I left for the airport and ended up with limited seating options.
  • The limited seating options wasn't too bad. As the flight wasn't full, the two seats next to me were empty. For the whole flight, I could sleep straight!
  • Having vacant places next to me meant I couldn't chat up any sexy passengers. Flight attendants, as always, look really nice (even the male ones). This augmented expectation of reality should mean I have got to stop reading erotic fiction and watch porn so much.
  • Children less than two years old shouldn't fly, especially on intercontinental flights which last 10+ hours.
I will be boring you with details of my trip later.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Being depressed again (21/02/2013)

The following blog entry will be very depressing, primarily as I will be whining and bitching about my life. If this kind of material is not your appetite, do not continue reading. If you don't mind this sort of saddening set of events, then carry on. After looking through this diatribe if you have nothing constructive or pleasant to say, keep your opinions to yourself. I don't want pity, even though the depressed part of me likes wallowing in the self misery I bring upon myself. I also want to apologise if I hurt or offend anyone, which is not my intent. The purpose of writing my thoughts down is therapy for my depression, since I cannot ventilate to anybody right now. I would like to use my friends for this purpose but most of them will be sick and tired of hearing this drivel again, and most of them are busy with their own problems.

Let's begin at the time when I started to become depressed. I recently turned 32 years old at the end of January.

I'm not giving away when my birthday is. This is not for privacy reasons, although that is a secondary factor. I just don't celebrate my birthday any more and I don't want anybody else to celebrate the day either. I haven't celebrated my birthday for about twenty years. I have reasoned it is an arbitrary date, only to celebrate one Earth orbit around the sun. You might call me a miser and you be right to do so.

I'll get back to my point. About twenty years ago, I was asked to write what I had planned for my future. I can distinctly remember what I wrote down:

1. To take 16 GCSEs and get A*'s in most of them (actually all of them).
2. To take 6 A Levels and get A's in most of them (OK, all of them).
3. To study medicine at the University of Cambridge.
4. To be married by 28 years old.
5. To have children by 32 years old.
6. To be awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.

As you can see I was an ambitious person or very deluded when I was young. To no one's surprise I haven't achieved even one of those goals. I haven't been totally disheartened about not reaching these expectations. When I finally understood how GCSEs and A Levels worked, I was not so disappointed about the results I got. I wasn't so down-heartened about not going to Cambridge. Some part of me, looking back, is somewhat relieved about not attending an elitist university (disclaimer: I don't think people from Cambridge University are snobbish, just the institution and culture behind the facade). At least I got to study medicine and graduate (finally). A long time ago I gave up on ambition number 6, since I know that was an unrealistic aim.

Which leaves ambitions number 3 and 4: getting married and having little munchkins. Out of all the ambitions I haveset myself, these you would think be the most achievable. I never thought I would be at 32 years old, still single, never had a girlfriend or even had sex Yes, I'm going to keeping harping on that I'm still a virgin like it is a badge of disgrace.

I have reasonably achieved all the other goals. I'm a general practitioner in training with a good job. I'm debt free and don't have much financial worries or burdens at the moment. So why should I depressed?

This is when the negative side of my psyche kicks in. For every shining light, there is a darkness that is waiting to engulf the brightness and warmth.

I wanted to be a psychiatrist in the first place after I was diagnosed with depression. I felt I could connect with psychiatric patients in that way, knowing what they were going through. Yet I knew I couldn't be a psychiatrist, not in Hong Kong with low proficiency of my spoken Cantonese. I fell into family medicine as I couldn't think of anything else to do. I'm thankful for this, since I have good working hours, reasonable holiday time and don't have to be on-call in a hospital. I'm also relieved since I realized I don't have the patience to be a psychiatrist. My attention level is just right for short consultations such as those in family medicine or accident and emergency.

I'm still in training to be a specialist because my depressive disorder cost me four years of my life. It took me nine years to graduate in medicine, instead of the five years it normal takes at my
university. Surely that is some kind of record, nine years to get a single degree. If I had actually graduated from university on time, I would have been a specialist resident by now. I would have been on par with my friends in university. Instead I lag behind most of them now. I see friends going on passing their examinations, become specialists, getting married and having a kid or two. People have mentioned I shouldn't compare but it is hard not to when every time I go on Facebook, there is my best friend's husband constantly posting pictures of his son every single day. Thank goodness Facebook had the foresight to put an "Acquaintance mode" for this sort of situation.

Because of my depression, I have difficulty relating to people. If the depressed part of me takes over, I don't want to go out, meet friends or attend social engagements. If I finally venture to the outside world, I have difficulty making small talk. I try to engage in chit-chat but every time I seem to do, I get this vibe that I'm despicable, retarded or any other negative trait you can think of. Maybe I'm just paranoid or self consciousness, which are just as bad.

All of these thoughts were lingering in the back of my mind since my birthday. They've been festering in a liquid of hatred and self-loathing. Having the Lunar New Year didn't help either. Too much free time on one's hands leads to a wandering mind. There are constant reminders of your loneliness. In Chinese tradition, only married couples are to give Lai See packets of money to people who have yet to get married. It's great to receive money from your family, friends and colleagues. However I would gladly trade that money for having some companionship by my side.

What was going to make my situation much worse was on the horizons - Valentine's Day.

Normally I super hate Valentine's Day. It is just a business day to pump money out of gullible people who should be sharing their love 365 days a year instead of storing it up for one day when anything romantic will be expensive. Also it is prejudice against single people.

However this year could be different. One of my good friends from England was getting married. Instead of holding the wedding in England, the bride and groom decided to come to Hong Kong, bringing friends and family over to celebrate. This would mean I would meet my friend's other friends. Now in the back of my mind, I was keeping my fingers cross the wedding would be like the ones shown in films such as "Four Weddings and a Funeral" or "Wedding Crashers". I pictured the scene at the wedding banquet: single women in search of an one-night stand. and I was available.

Was I disappointed? Ultimately yes, if the motive was going to get laid. That's how desperate I am. My thinking is always dominated about having sex because it is inextricably linked to my single status. My mind always thinks if my virginity goes, so does my single status. 

However I did meet two very nice ladies. Both were very different in personalities but both were very likeable. I hope both ladies keep in contact in the future. Yet I always have this low self esteem issue with women. I always think I came across as a buffoon towards other people. I know I didn't come across as endearing, regaling very unappetizing stories of medical predicaments whilst people are tucking into their dinner. This is something I've got stop doing at social engagements.

I did have an enjoyable time at my friend's wedding. I got to meet new people, dance and get drunk, which I have been missing. Yet that negative side of me is always there as a shadow, reminding me of my single status. I thought I would accept that I would remain single, with my unique status as a third culture person, somebody who has depression and a guy with an introvert nature making me believe that this would be so. Yet there is some part of me which seems to say I'm entitled to the opposite sex. "You're a doctor with a good income, well-organized, intelligent and considerate. Why shouldn't girls be looking for somebody like you?" That is all true but there are other considerations. I'm not the best looking or most healthiest of male specimens. I'm always trying to make excuses for my single status, not pointing out that I hardly go out to make friends or engage in social activities.

I've been told that my depression will be a part of me for the rest of my life. Since I've been suffering from the condition from a young age, it will be hard to shake off. I have long accepted that. What I want is resolution of my single status and it doesn't seem to be coming any time soon.