Posts Tagged ‘ english ’

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.”

“Hi.”

<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!

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My Thoughts on a Blonde Movie

NOTE: This is NOT a review, partly because I have not seen the full movie, and partly because I’m too lazy. This will, however, give my thoughts and impressions on the first part of Legally Blonde.

Legally Blonde certainly is a movie that has taken the world by storm, involving the ditzy Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) who, after getting dumped by her boyfriend for being too…err…ditzy, she joins Harvard Law School to prove him wrong. She goes through many ups, downs, and sideways motions, making new friends and enemies, and also finds the time to get an innocent defendant freed. In the end, she rejects her ex-boyfriend, watches him crash and burn out of law school, and gets engaged to some other guy. (Alright, the ending isn’t EXACTLY like that, but hey, give me some creative licence).

Now, I only got to watch the first half hour or so, until the part where she got her manicurist her dog back through legal jargon. I watched this today, in my Law Lecture, so that we all got to laugh at the legal inconsistencies. No, not really, we were supposed to critically analyse it (a la Grade 12 English), but there were some funny bits inside.

My thoughts?

  1. Elle said at one point, “He’s [the ex-boyfriend] the one. I love him.”. And then in the end, she marries some other guy friend. Come on. I know lawyers aren’t supposed to be people of their word, but it’s too obvious; the whole “I-love-him-oh-no-wait-he’s-a-jerk” thing is kinda predictable now. Like I said, relationships never work. Too much commitment.
  2. The lecturers can be really mean! Elle got kicked out from the lecture room for not preparing her reading for that week, and she gets interrogated for answers in other sessions (They call it the Socratic Method). I wonder what horrible teaching institution still utilises that today? (Hint: It starts with “The”, and ends with “Singapore Schooling System”….
  3. Manicures are good stress relievers. Oh, come on. When Elle got flustered, she dashed to a manicurist, and she was all better. Really? Really? Manicures make the world better? Quick, get to the UN immediately! We’ve got a solution for World Peace! Either she really IS that shallow, or the manicurist must have put a little extra….something….in that nail polish. But then again, who knows with girls these days?
  4. Who puts first year law students as defence counsel in a murder case? Would YOU trust some nervous, inexperienced, first year student as your barrister? Though it would be a hoot to see them, after the trial, walk up to the judge and ask them to grade their closing arguments…..

But, all in all, it was a hilarious movie. As English teachers constantly drill into our impressionable young minds, every piece of media has things to teach us. So kids, here’s some things to remember:

  1. Procrastinate all term, and just be overly cheerful in cramming in the last week. When Elle had her final exam to get into Harvard, she studied really hard and became even more perky, reaching levels that would have shamed the excitable Sesame Street puppets. So, all you have to do is procrastinate, then study and be almost-insanely excitable. You’ll ace it for sure.
  2. Harvard has very lax admission screening procedures. If the previous step fails, then don’t worry. All you have to do is make a video essay of yourself in a swimsuit, talking absolute crap, and the Harvard Board will let you in. That’s what Elle did. Though this will probably work better if you’re a girl than a guy.
  3. And finally, my favourite: No matter how ditzy and air-headed you are, you will still manage to become a great lawyer. Believe in that, all you platinum blondes! -.-

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great movie. It does have some good points about it, which is more than I can say for its sequel, which belongs solely in the trash. And you know which movie is joining it…..

What did YOU think of  “Legally Blonde”? Leave a comment and give us your view!

Blast From the Past: In Remembrance of a Scottish Play

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Blast from my Past. Last year, when I was still in school (ah, such “great” memories) and as part of our English Class, we studied the classic Shakespearean play Macbeth. After going through a long, long term (I still don’t get every line of the play), our coffee-addicted teacher gave us an assignment: To eulogise Macbeth. Or rather, pretend to be a character from Macbeth making a eulogy for Macbeth.

Writing as King Malcolm III, I attempted to make Macbeth the innocent victim and tried to rouse the patriotic Scottish spirit. My teacher, who was Australian, wasn’t affected. I have NO idea why my he didn’t laugh and throw it out. I mean, he should have stopped the speech. An asian King Malcolm? Yeah right.

Anyway, I’m putting it up here for you guys to read – have a look and laugh, as you imagine me having to say this while quivering under my teacher’s caffiene-laden eyes.

******

Honourable thanes, lords of the kingdom, worthy nobles, and the king of England’s representative, brave Siward, we are gathered here today to pay our respects to the man who was the late Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King of Scotland, Macbeth. Many of you might remember him as the man who murdered my father, or as a man who was deeply disturbed, but Macbeth, while all of these things, was also a worthy, honourable man who defended Scotland to within an inch of his life, and brought Scotland to a whole new level of modernism. Macbeth was a good man, led astray by several dishonourable people and a series of unfortunate events.

I am King Malcolm the Third, and while I am well known around the shires of Scotland, Macbeth’s name was just as well known as mine. In his early life, Macbeth was many things, and none of them evil. He was a fearsome warrior, tactician, and swordsman, trained at my father’s most famous military camp at Inverness and excelling overall. Surely all of you would have heard of his famous exploits at Fife, where he, with the late Banquo, defeated the King of Norway, along with the previous Thane of Cawdor and the rebel leader Macdonwald. In that very battle, he was described as: ‘…brave Macbeth, – well he deserves the name, – disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, which smok’d with bloody execution, Like valour’s minion carv’d out his passage till he fac’d the slave; which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps, and fix’d his head upon our battlements.’ Brave in battle, slaughtering the King’s enemies, he was a truly great man indeed.

He was also a caring, loving family man, spending a considerable amount of time at his wife’s side. Together, they were a formidable couple, and their love and ambition for each other knew no bounds. When appointed Thane of Cawdor, his letter to his wife told her of the great news, calling her his ‘partner in greatness’. What other man would immediately write to his wife on receiving such news? Macbeth was definitely, sincerely, a man with vast courage and endless love.

Therefore, if such a man was so patriotic and loving, willing to risk life and limb for Scotland and family, why did he kill my father? The answer, I feel, is that he was led astray by a combination of witchcraft and his selfish, power-hungry wife. There have been rumours of a meeting between Macbeth and several witches, or the “weird sisters”. They caused Macbeth to believe that he would become king. They orchestrated the ensuing fiasco, poisoned his mind and ultimately pressured him into wickedness.

The very evil of sorcery and witchcraft cannot even begin to be contemplated, but its effects could be seen in Macbeth and his actions. Previously a virtuous, loyal servant, he now began to consider the possibility of becoming king. We can only hope and pray to the good Lord that we would never be exposed to such a temptation. But this would have remained only as a temptation, if not for his power-hungry wife and her actions, which ultimately decided Macbeth’s fate.

While Macbeth cared deeply for his wife, the late Lady Macbeth may have felt the same way, but loved nothing else. Hearsay seems to paint a picture of an ambitious wife, willing to destroy everyone in the way in order to instil Macbeth on the throne and to make herself the Queen of Scotland. How true this assessment is we shall never know, but what is known is that her urging convinced Macbeth to give himself over to evil. My father died because of that decision.

Of course evil will never go unpunished forever. Over the past few months, Lady Macbeth had not slept without light; she continually sleepwalked and talked in her sleep, and was seen to constantly wash her hands, in order to remove an imaginary spot of blood. Mark that: Blood on her hands. These were all signs of “…..a great perturbation in nature”, which is a fitting punishment for her crimes. Lady Macbeth perished by killing herself, throwing herself out of a window. And as we all know, a suicide victim will never find rest. God’s retribution for her actions.

From this, is it not evident that Macbeth was led astray? While people will rightfully remember his evil actions, pray recall to mind the good he also performed. He improved Scotland’s economy and legal system, as well as providing mandatory education and military training throughout the country. Macbeth was therefore a good king and leader of Scotland, making many decisions to forward Scotland in the world. Had murder and treason never happened, Macbeth would be remembered as one of the greatest kings in Scottish history.

However, the evil and atrocities that Macbeth performed have left a blight on our fair Scotland, and while he may not have been fully responsible for his actions, the wrongs must be set right. I, Malcolm, as the king of Scotland, pledge to make witchcraft illegal, as well as rectify our diplomatic relations with both England and Norway. Compensation will be made to all parties affected, including Macduff in remembrance of his “wife and babes savagely slaughter’d”. As God’s chosen leader, I can honestly say that while I will be a good leader, unlike Macbeth, I will base my rule on wise decisions and military genius, and not Macbeth’s conflicted reign of terror.

One thing everyone can learn from Macbeth is that, while he was a moral and honourable man, the evil around him finally influenced him into destruction. He, like every one of us, was a human being, with human faults and desires. Judge his life not by its end, but by the good he left behind. Macbeth was a good man who made wrong choices. Let us always live honestly by the Word of God, and pray for the Lord God to “…deliver us from evil”. Hark, the future is bright, and a new dawn breaks! Let us always remember the hero of Scotland and the good, not the evil, that he did. Let us always remember Macbeth, as we strive for a better Scotland.

***END***

Do YOU think that the speech was a timely reminder of inherent evil, or the reason why censorship cuts boring material? Leave a comment and tell us!

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