Saturday, October 30, 2010

Serious colleagues

Parthiban sat me down and told me about how the work in histopathology lab is a form of art. It takes time to develop the skills and it takes patience for it to happen. Of course, it involves hard work. But most importantly is not to rush or try too hard for it. Because if I do, I will miss out even more things instead.

It reminded me that no matter how important the end result is, it is less important than the process to achieve it. Like how some people prefer to say they travelled to somewhere instead of they reached there, for traveling down the journey matters more than the destination.

Parthiban has told me the same thing more than once. He said we have the best team as a histopathology lab in (at least) Klang Valley area. Every time as he talks about this, he has this fondness and passion in his tone. He must have loved and appreciated this art very much. I am thankful for him to actually take his time and share this advice from his experience. You don't normally get people who bothers to sit you down and prep talk you or share their passion. You don't even normally find passionated people at work place to begin with. Especially in lab. Most of them stay to work, as a job.

He is the one who has worked here for 3 years.

Serious colleagues

Conversation 9

The difference between before and after kick-boxing session is: it aches more when I laugh at colleagues' jokes.

Rodzi: Rumah you sekarang ada berapa orang?
Me: 7 orang (actually there are 8 of us, I got it wrong previously)
Rodzi: Ada lelaki?
Me: Ya. Dua orang
Rodzi. Woiyoo! Semua Cina ka?
Me: Tak, ada seorang dari Iran. Salah seorang lelaki tu la, dari Iran. Dia student kat Taylors' College.
Rodzi: Betul?! You jangan bagitau Ramli, nanti dia akan bomb rumah you.
Me: Hahaha! Tak pe, saya akan protect dia. Sebab saya tak nak rumah saya kena bomb la.
Rodzi: You mana boleh protect dia? You kena protect Parthiban.
Me: Huh?.... Kenapa kena protect Parthiban bila Ramli nak bomb budak Iran tu?
Rodzi: Bagi you, kan, you prefer Malay ke Mamak?
Me:... Apa bezanya? Malay dengan Mamak juga manusia, ada beza ke?
Rodzi: Ada beza, jauh beza.
Me: ... Saya tak tau la. Asalkan diaorang tak hisap rokok dan tak buat bising, boleh je. Lagipun, kami memang jarang jumpa kat rumah.
Rodzi: Ok, bagi you, kan, you prefer: Malay, Mamak, or Orang Putih dari India (refer our previous conversation to know what does Orang Putih dari India means) tu?

And there I went again, laughing hard till my stomach cramped and I had to lean on a chair to massage my abdomen.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Serious colleagues

Conversation 7

Parthiban was talking about a lady friend he knew who wears make-up everyday but didn't do so yesterday. And he's shocked to see her "real face" which looked older than her actual age.

Parthiban: And you know what, the black eye circles were actually prominent and deep under her eyes!
Rodzi, Salimah and I were speechless.
When Parthiban walked off...
Rodzi: Perempuan tu hitam kat bawah mata dia je, Parthiban sendiri hitam kat.. *hand gestured from top to bottom to mean the whole body* pun nak cakap orang lain.


Conversation 8
I think racism is infectious.

Me: Hey, what is your favourite colour?
Parthiban: hmm.. *thinking*
Me: * snigger* ...... black? Hahahaahhaahahhaa...
Parthiban: *laughed with that helpless look on his face* Actually, yeah, my favourite colour is black. Seriously!

And I laughed even harder. Just to clarify, I didn't think of making fun of him when I first asked that random question. The evil thought only came to me when he was thinking for the answer :p

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I wish I can buy "gut feelings".

In case you're wondering, I'm not doing very fine. Work has been challenging as expected. Stress level has been increasing, too. What makes it worse is that my stress level is not only influenced by my own performance, but by my work environment as well.

I am glad of the fellowship time I enjoy with my new church members. And my newly signed up kick-boxing sessions. But that's beyond work. If I can achieve satisfaction at work, then only I'd call it a fruitful life. Because I am passionated to work in this field that I'm finally back in, at a prestigious hospital that awes me every time I look at the tests we run.

I have been praying for adaptation and work performance ever since before I started to work here. God has been keeping an eye on me, too. But I guess there are things in life that we just cannot rush for result, no matter how badly you wish you could. There are path we have to walk through, no matter how you've asked God if He could take that bitter cup of drink from your lips.

Then, what makes a bigger impact, is the attitude factor. The second most junior colleague in my department has been working there for 3 years. He can tell what tissue it is by looking at the paraffin block or stained slides (without looking through the microscopes yet). He can differentiate 0.8cm from 0.5cm. He knows exactly how hot 65 degree Celsius is with his finger tips. He modifies the standard staining schedule to produce better staining results, with his gut feelings. He, has the most admirable attitude that I want to follow. And of course, the other veterans have experiences beyond what a book can hold. They have the passion for what they're doing everyday, even if they've been working there for more than 14 years.

What lies ahead of me is an uphill climb. This is the right mountain I want to climb, after giving up the less challenging hill. In fact, challenge is what I was looking for as I decided to switch to this job. Lord, without strength from You, I am unable to do anything. May you grant me mercy and grace as I work hard to perform. If this is the purpose You have in me that You want me to pursue, may You bless me with favour and wisdom to glorify Your name with my humble self. Along the way, may you mold me to be a better person whom You want me to become, too.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

p/s: Please keep me in prayer. These days I've been under stress that at times makes me feel like puking for no reason. Thanks.

Serious colleagues

Conversation 4

Rodzi: Tak payah la nak bayar seribu lebih untuk kick-boxing. Parthiban kan ada?
Me: Kenapa dengan Parthiban? Tak kan nak pukul dia?
Rodzi: Tak, dia boleh ajar you martial arts. Dia kan ada black belt.
Me: Betul? Parthiban, really ah? You have black belt in what?
Parthiban: *confused*
Rodzi: Bukan, Itu Parthiban kan... *makes a hand gesture that rubs the back of his hand to mean skin*

(I did laugh for at least 2 minutes in the lab. Thank God pathologist didn't walk in.)

Conversation 5
(So we were talking about some Indian fights and gangster jokes..)

Parthiban: Have you been to Bukit Jalil?
Me: Yeah.. why?
Parthiban: Have you been to Kinrara area?
Me: Oh, that, no. I only pass by it with LRT, hee hee.
Parthiban: Do you want to go there?
Me: Ehm.. ok.. for what event? *totally can't see what is coming*
Parthiban: If you go to that area and face some problems, just say "I.know.Rodzi!" and problems will be solved. He's the head of some gang there.
Rodzi: =.='


Conversation 6
(There's a colleague of ours got wounded severely by snatch thieves around SS15 yesterday and is now lying in the hospital.)

Parthiban: You're staying in SS15 also right? There have been a lot of cases like this in that area. Luckily you learn some self defense skills.
Me: But I'm not so good in self-defense...
Rodzi: No, you're not qualified to defend yourself from the snatch thieves!
Me: Oh? *taken aback by his confidence and stern look*
Rodzi: Because you don't have black belt like Parthiban does.

Hahahahahaha (I didn't expect it to work again!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Have you improved anything today?

Many friends have suggested me to get a car and drive. When I tell them about my fear for driving, they said I must be brave and overcome the fear. Having a car spells mobility and traveling to more places, achieving more, etc, which are in line with the way I'd like to live my life. Thanks for the concerns and advices, I do consider that option once in a while.

But by traveling on foot and by public transportation system, they allow me to experince the life of many more people in this country who share the same fate. It's only by walking in their shoes we can appreciate how life is for them in this country, be it Malaysian or non-Malaysian. Recently I was walking to Menara PKNS from Asia Jaya station, for Freedom Film Festival 2010. It occurred to me that there was lacking of pedestrian crossing especially around the traffic lights. It was so difficult to cross the road that if all the cars were to follow the signal obediently, it was impossible to cross the road at all! Menara PKNS wasn't that far from the station, and I was already at a set of traffic light. It was difficult to flag down a taxi in the middle of the road either. Thus, I was trapped in a concrete jungle by just standing helplessly in the middle of cross-road junction, with the traffic controlled by traffic lights. Thank God eventually I managed to cross the road and continued my journey. But it took me a while to stand under the sun and observe the pattern of the traffic lights for opportunity to cross the road.

This wouldn't have happened if I have a car, right?

But then again, isn't it better to give more convenience for pedestrians and continue to encourage them to use public transport than frustrating them and eventually pushing them each to be a driver?

One of the reasons a place has more traffic jams is the increase in number of car on the road. More cars ahead of you at the traffic light means you need to wait for more green lights before your turn. More cars means everyone has to drive slower to avoid accident. Longer queue and slower traffic spell congestion. Not to mention the amount of green house gases we increasingly produce through this method.

But if we were to improve our public transport system, it would encourage more people to use the public transport and hence less cars on the road. If the public transport system extents to more areas, anyone going to or traveling from that direction could be benefited by it. The main reason why people say driving own car is more convenient because the public transport system is not well developed! Not to say driving own car is evil. But if more people could commute together via public transport, that will reduce our carbon footprint significantly.

And when one eventually acquire his own car, he forgets how it is like for those who still travel with train and buses, and even on foot. They don't slow down as they drive on a puddle of water after rain, splashing the water onto pedestrians; they don't stop their car right when the light turns green for the pedestrian to cross but let the pedestrians wait longer than needed simply because the latter are not the ones "in power" with the metallic protective outfit - the yellow light before red light is a sufficient signal for them to slow down and come to a halt, so not being able to stop in time is a poor excuse; getting new train for KTM is not on top of their list when it comes to national budget; efficient public transport system (bus stop location, etc) in designing a city or even the funding to improve the existing public transport system barely cross their mind when it comes to utilising national funding. Many changes need to be done, but when one has become the comfortable middle class society and beyond, one forgets the unrepresented and powerless society whom they call brother. Or used to. One forgets how difficult life is for them.

This same idea is applicable to reflect how we are treating the OKU groups in our community. Have you ever wonder how to travel around if you're wheel-chair bound? Will you be frustrated of not having enough steep elevation in replacement of staircases? Will you notice which shopping malls provide special toilets for them? Is there any special school in your neighbourhood?

Do you hear the need to establish one?

What we need to do for OKU groups among us is not just monetary donation, but TO MAKE WAYS for them to live their life, be as independent and dignified as possible, as an equally important person in the society. Kurang Upaya is not Tak Berupaya. We could be more considerate and get to know their sufferings better, to appreciate them being strong survivals and provide appropriate support to them, as responsible and caring members in the community.

This is the kind of society I want to live in. Not one-solution-solve-all-problems method. It is troublesome to look into problems faced by all levels of society. But no one ever says running a country is easy, either. In fact, to see if a country is a good country, look at how they treat those marginalised or with lesser privileges. If you want to know the value of a person, look at the way they treat those who serve him.

Can you do something to make a difference?

Would you?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fresh Air

Just went out to meet up with Jim, Mar-Jie and Wye Li at Empire Shopping Gallery. I've always wanted to go there ever since the first time I heard this new shopping mall has opened.

Today I've got my chance but well, it's disappointing because it isn't very impressive. It's slightly better than Farenheit in Bukit Bintang area with more eating outlets. You know how a mall has failed when it doesn't even bring the excitement to first time visitors. The only book store Empire has is Popular. It's pathetic. I'm sorry but if Popular bookstore were to make me love them a bit more, maybe they should reduce the price of books lower than market price.

Anyway, the meet up was just what I needed at this kind of time. Now that I'm starting to taste how it is like to work half day on every Saturdays, I treasure my remaining weekends and social life even more. I don't even look forward to Friday anymore and that alone is horrifying.

But maybe the change is good. I always like when I am obsess about my work - be it during my thesis, crunching time during year end in previous company, and now, peak hours in lab everyday. Work takes up a big chunk of my life and I'd better love it than otherwise.

Next, I've just transferred my gym membership from Lot 10 to Subang Parade. They have kick-boxing trainer here, too! I am very excited about it. I am going for a trial tomorrow evening before I decide if I will be taking up sessions with this trainer. Note, it is still not cheap and I really need to consider if it worths to continue to satisfy my addiction with this work out. Seriously, I was missing kick-boxing when I was in lab, worrying about not having time and energy to go work out after work.

Serious colleagues

Conversation 3

Rodzi: What kind of pant is this?
Salimah: Ini seluar pant-dek (pendek)


Friday, October 22, 2010

Serious colleagues

Conversation 1
Rodzi: Itu orang putih hari ini tak masuk!
Me: Orang putih? Lab kita ada orang putih ke?
Rodzi: Itu John la, John Raj, dia kan putih sikit untuk Indian, so orang putih dari India la. You tengok itu Parthiban (an Indian colleague with the darkest skin colour among us, who's sitting right next to us at that moment), jelas nampak dia Indian dari Malaysia lah!


Conversation 2, we were talking about some mamak restaurant.
Me: Ape, Rodzi nak belanja ke? JOM!
Rodzi: Bukan saya belanja, boss saya belanja.
Me: Boss you? Boss mana?
Rodzi: My wife (said with that amused face).


Parthiban went to tell others I laughed till my face turned red. Thank God it was after peak hour.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Warmth of an apple pie

I must tell you about Michelle, one of my 7 housemates in SS15.

But she has too many good things to tell about. In general, she's a sweet, caring girl:

She's on her way out for mamak with her boyfriend, and asked if I wanted to join. It's already 11:30pm, so of course I'm not joining for the obvious reasons: I need to rest as much as I can at night for next day's work and I don't want to be a lamp post.

But I told her I felt like McD apple pie (sometimes we do crave for something random for no apparent reason). We agreed that if I wanted to sleep before she comes back, I'd text her and she'd text me before she buys it on her way back.

Minutes after they've left, A car stopped in front of our house and Michelle was at the gate, holding out the warm apple pie. She decided to bought it back for me first before she went for her mamak.

This is not the first time I feel like want to hug this sweet girl :)

I use rubber for protection.

I'm back to the days I wrap myself in the white lab coat, pull rubber gloves over my hands, hair tied into pony tail, and smell of chemicals all over my clothes, hair, skin.

And working with a bunch of fun lab people!

Or do Indians usually joke more than other races? I always thought "Hey bro" were first used by/ more natural to Indians in Malaysia culture. Of course they know when to be serious and all. But if you've worked in a lab for 14 years already and still surviving the routine, you must've found a good way to stay amused.

One of the things I like about them:

I am the only Chinese in my lab. There are another two Malay colleagues, and five Indian colleagues. The radio was tuned in to a Tamil station. I didn't really mind because I wasn't even listening to it. Dr, Joshua walked in to give some instruction, and suddenly he suggested to the lab (Histopathology) :

"Hey I think from now on we have to tune in to Mandarin station la, ok? If not, Cher Linn cannot understand."

I was touched and didn't know how to react. I smiled and suggested English station would be good. And soon they changed it Fly FM. And later someone played some old English classics from a CD, and they hummed along once in a while.

Aren't they blessings from God? =)