Posts Tagged ‘ electrocardiogram ’

A Series of Unfortunate Medical Tests (Part 2)

Good day, friends, enemies, and citizens of the planet Earth! It is I, the author of this blog!

Now that the uncomfortable silence is over, yes, I am still sweating in my homeland of Singapore on my self-imposed exile for reading Twilight, the result of which scarred me for life. Coincidentally, I also have to be here for some tests and procedures in order to serve my time in Singapore’s army. Not willingly, of course. I was persuaded by my overwhelming patriotism, as I am a slave of duty (and also the threat of 3 years jail didn’t help either).

Did you get the Pirates of Penzance reference? 😛

So, when we last left off, I was in a secret location somewhere in Singapore undergoing secret medical tests. Mhmm. Secretive stuff. You can read all about the previous tests here, but suffice to say, I was midway through a medical exam that neither the patients nor the medical personnel could care less about. So, where we last left off, I just did an auditory test, and was off to the next station, which was:

Station 6: X-Rays

Now, the thing you have to understand is that this was not a ‘one-on-one’ exam. There were around 100 boys wandering around going to stations, and anytime you entered a room, there was sure to be at least 5 other boys waiting in front of you.

I gave my documents to the receptionist for the X-Ray station. He gave them a cursory glance, handed it back, pointed me through a door, and told me to take off my shirt inside. I was only mildly shocked. After all, he was a doctor, right?

So I entered. And there, in front of me, was 3 shirtless boys waiting to be called inside another room for their X-Rays. Taking off my shirt, I stood at the back of the line. Yes, nothing wrong with 4 shirtless guys hanging out to get X-Rays. The awkward was so thick, you could have cut it with a knife. It wouldn’t have felt so bad, but the others were in such better shape than I was. 😦

But soon, it was my turn. A woman with a crew cut and who looked like she enjoyed this job a little too much led me to a machine and told me to hug it, then 5 seconds later told me to get out. Either my chest was fine, or it was too traumatic for the woman to look at my exposed torso any longer. So, I hurriedly left and went to the next station:

Station 7: Eye tests

This was pretty straightforward. Stand on one spot, put a plastic paddle-thing over one eye, and read the letters. It was so ordinary, I don’t even have any jokes for this.

Station 8: Dental

Now, I just have to say, like the rest of human population, I’m not a big fan of dental tests. Put your hand up if you enjoy lying helpless on your back while a guy, features obscured with a face mask, pokes around with sharp metal objects inside your mouth. If you enjoy that, you have serious problems. But that was what happened to me. Eerily silent, the doctor did his stuff. Afterwards, I thought it was over. Silly me.

I was then sent for a dental X-Ray, which involved me biting down on a plastic protrusion and gripping a set of handles while parts of the machine revolved around me. I kid you not, I nearly thought I was going to be teleported. I was disappointed when I was not.

After this, I moved on to a huge room where there were about 70 boys waiting with numbers, and more milling around other stations. After taking off my shirt, shoes and socks and putting them in a locker, I went on to….

Station 9: ECG

Basically, this test was simple. You lie down on a bed, the guy attaches clips with wires all over you, and then both of you stare at each other in uncomfortable silence while the heart rate monitor does its thing. Simple…and weird. Anything instantly becomes weird when you don’t have a shirt. Just ask Edward Cullen in the New Moon movie. Everyone in the cinema threw up once he appeared shirtless.

Station 10: Height and Weight, and Blood Pressure

Two very disinterested nurses did these tests. First, I had to stand on a platform while they measured both height and weight, and then I had to stick my arm into a machine that squeezed it so tight, I thought it would burst. That apparently was for blood pressure, but I still think it was a torture device. Make of it what you will.

After this, I put my shirt and shoes back on and took a number. Apparently there was another stop, a doctor’s examination and final write-off. So, I took a number and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

My brother, who was slightly ahead of me, went in first.  I tried to amuse myself by watching Ellen (I must have been really bored), but I couldn’t get the screams of patients past out my my head.

So I waitied some more. And then the unthinkable happened. For those who know my brother, he’s unfazeable. He has an annoying habit of being jocular and being able to laugh through any situation, making stupid jokes and basically being awesome. So when he emerged from the room, face ashen and speechless, I knew something was wrong.

But before I could radio HQ and arrange for an immediate extraction, it was my turn to enter into:

Station 11: The Doctor’s Room

Here’s how the first minute went. Italics are my words, bold are the doctor’s.

“Hey there.”


<Awkward Silence while I give him my file>

“Go stand in the corner and take off your pants and underwear.”

I immediately replied, “Show me your credentials first, you sick quack!”

After a short scuffle, and after I explained things to Security, he asked me some further questions and told me I could leave. I dashed out of there as fast as I could and called the police.

All that aside, I dutifully went off to the last station:

Station 12: IQ Test

Let me just say here, I have a lot of respect for the Singaporean schooling system. They teach their kids to be geniuses by age 10 and superhuman by age 13. It all goes uphill from there. Thus, you can imagine the level of difficulty of the questions presented.

I spent most of my life in Australia, where freedom and creativity is emphasised rather than mindless repeating knowledge. Needless  to say, that isn’t recognised here. So, let’s see how I did, shall we?

  1. English: Awesome. Australia did at least teach me the English language, which was helpful in answering ‘Train is to Car as Plane is to?’. That was dumb, wasn’t it?
  2. Maths: Fail. I could only answer about 9 of them. But let me put this in context. I have got mostly As in Maths my whole life. Australian schools give us calculators since we were 13. I am studying law full-time, which is a non- maths subject. So, when you are only given a pencil and ONE sheet of paper, and asked to solve 1.76 x 3.34 in 1 minute, you know you’re screwed.
  3. Graphics: Okay. But this was just dumb. You were given a picture of an object in a circle, and asked what it would look like if it was rotated around 45 degrees. How the ‘eck is this relevant?
  4. Physics: Kinda okay, I think. Only in Singapore will there be a Physics section in an IQ test. But again, I’m doing law – Physics is another orbit. And let me just say, my space shuttle can’t reach there far.

The test took 2.5 hours. I was exhausted by the end, but glad that it was finally over. I could go home happy, and secure in the knowledge that the government was happy. And in Singapore, that was all that mattered.

Do you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks? Remember to leave a message and give us your feedback!