Things I’m sick of

November 17, 2011

There are some wonderful things in life. For example, being married is pretty great. My wife is amazing. Life is in general pretty fantastic right now. But I don’t people don’t like to hear about it when I’m vomiting sunshine and rainbows everywhere. That’s not why you’ve come here. So I’ll give you what you want.

I’m sick of lots of things. None of them are overly important. But all of them make me very frustrated. I don’t know why. They don’t affect me directly. But they just do.

1. “Occupy” protestors. We get it. You don’t like it that some people are rich and greedy. We get that in your perfect little world everyone would have equal wealth. I’ve got news for you. We tried that, it was called communism and it didn’t work. Capitalism is what gave you the right to protest in such a ridiculous fashion anyway. So maybe protesting against it isn’t the most wonderful idea. But then, I don’t suppose you’re the most intellegent bunch. “Occupying” somewhere for weeks (and by definition not working) isn’t likely to bring anyone around to your way of thinking. You probably don’t realise the ones you’re protesting against are working, paying taxes and paying for your welfare whilst you protest against them. Go home, have a shower and get a job.

2. Celebrities in general. Actually, not so much celebrities as those who care about their lives. Especially the ones who are famous for no other reason than that they are famous. Seriously. What on Earth did Kim Kardashian do to become famous? Actors can act, singers can sing. Even the royals at least have an inportant job to do. But this obsession we have of making idols out of people for the sake of it boggles the mind.

3. Reality television. I know this is an old one. But I hvae a particular beef at the moment. It’s the “journey.” Everyone’s on a journey. It doesn’t matter if it’s a totally artificial walk through a series of manufactured scenarios for the benefit of some very sad viewers. It’s a journey. Perhaps you could journey to somewhere where people won’t have to watch your crap.

4. Strikes. I am so sick of strikes. Everybody is striking. Pilots are striking. Engineers are striking. Nurses are striking. The guys who empty the bins at the hospital are striking. I propose a solution to the situation.
Number one: Employers stop offering their employees what is effectively a pay cut. You should be offering your employees at least CPI over the next few years. I understand this sometimes isn’t possible, especially for private companies. But I think this is good business.
Number two. Employees should realise their place. Having a job is a privelage, not a right. Employers take on all the risk in building a business, and they deserve to have the right to do what they want with it. If your employer isn’t offering you a deal you’re happy with, then quit and go somewhere else. If you can’t get a job anywhere else, perhaps you should re-evaluate your skills set and realise that perhaps your employer is actually offering you a fair deal. This is especially true for unskilled workers. Holding your employer to ransom for more cash when you really aren’t worth it is very unethical. As for working conditions, Australian’s have the best working conditions around the world. Get over it and be happy with what you’re given.

5. How could this list be complete without a rant about the government. Our government is awful. Everything they touch turns to ash. They only they can manage to achieve is a tax no sensible person wants that they promised they wouldn’t introduce. The incompetence is mindblowing. Not that the other side offers a great alternative at this point (which is another thing I’m sick of). But they have to go. And soon.

So there you have it. A list of 5 things I’m curretnly sick of. Please feel free to add things you’re sick of in the comments. It’s therapeutic.

Night shift

June 26, 2011

Night shift is a strange beast. Occasionally you meet someone who permanently does night shift. Or someone who enjoys night shift. Those people are weird. You might find such people wearing crocs and hemp pants, or saying things like “literally” when they actually mean the complete opposite. Those of us who are normal see nights as a chore; something to be dealt with, survived. They do not inspire a whole lot of joy.

Which is why I’ve been somewhat of a hermit for the last 6 weeks. For 6 weeks I’ve been nocturnal. Before “Twilight” I wouldn’t have been averse to being compared to a vampire. Now I mind. I mind very much. Thanks very much stupid Mormon author woman whose name I refuse to learn. You tomes of drivel should exclude you from being a household name.

But I digress. I was talking about night shift. Night shift is difficult. There are a lot of great things about being the night med reg. And by a lot I mean two. The first one is that you get 3 or 4 days off a week (You work 12 hour shifts so you only work a 7 day fortnight). This is great, though in general you need a least one and sometimes two of those days to recover. The second thing that is good about being the night med reg is that, for 12 hours a night, you’re kind of the boss. You’re not really the boss of course; the consultant is always just a phone call away. But practically, it’s sink or swim. You have to make all the decisions for the patients that come your way. There’s no back up. No support. People call you for advice or to help sort out their sick patients. You have to run the MET calls (cardiac arrests etc). It’s sink or swim, and when you swim it’s a pretty exciting feeling.

However, there are some not-so-great things about nights. It wreaks havoc with your body clock. You experience a tiredness you’ve never quite felt before. Quality sleep is so important and so hard to come by and so hard to get. Everything in your life gets put on hold in favor of work and sleep. Then, you have to make all the difficult aforementioned decisions when your brain really isn’t sharp. It’s hard on your relationships, on your fitness, on your emotions.

So, on Friday I finished my 6 weeks. I was so happy. The day I finished, I tried to stay up all day to try and reset my body clock. Foolishly I went out to dinner for the birthday of one of Shu-en’s friends. It was great for the first hour, but once it hit 9pm I crashed. Big time. I’d been awake for 26 hours. I had a massive sleep debt. And my debt was being called in. So I wasn’t very good company for the last hour of the dinner. I was all the fun of a healthy dose of shingles. But then I came home and slept for 12 hours and now I feel fantastic.

Then, on Saturday Shu-en and I went for massages. We were given a voucher for said massages as an engagement present. It was a good present. We didn’t have the choice of massage, so we had 45 minutes of a hot-stone massage and 45 minutes of what I’m going to call a Masculine Massage Of the Face with Various Oils and Creams, also known as a MMOFVOC. This is not to be confused with the feminine version of this, the Facial. A MMOFVOC is a very acceptable and masculine form of facial massage and is not at all girly. But before any of you accuse me of making my final descent into metrosexuality, seriously, feel my face. Just feel it. Then judge me.

Anyway, the hot stone massage was by far the best part of the experience. Basically they massage you with a hot stone. It’s not exactly ground-breaking but it is a very pleasant experience. The hot stone really relaxes tight muscles from 6 weeks straight of nights.

So now I have 4 short days until I’m off to Perth for a mates wedding, and then off to Vancouver for another mates wedding. Very exciting stuff! Can’t wait. I’ll blog when I get back to update everyone. Bye for now.


Hello everyone

Apologies for the lack of activity around here recently. I’ve been stuck down with a major case of the borings. It’s a horrible affliction. Pity me.

Anyway, I now have a story to tell. It’s about my lovely fiancée and her not-so-lovely appendix. I’m going to blog in diary form.

May 18th: Shu-en was on Palm Is. yesterday. She was fulfilling her role as “Palm Island Dentist.” She came home mentioning some mild crampy lower abdominal pain. Perhaps it was the hot chips, she says. Very likely, I suspect.

May 21st: Enjoying life. The weekend is here! Hooray. Cam and Belinda’s wedding: winner. Much enjoyed by all. Shu-en pops a panadol to help her through the day but doesn’t complain at all. I suggest maybe it’s a low-grade viral gastro. She agrees. We host Andrew, Carla, Ben and Pep for dinner and 6 player 500. Much fun for all (especially for the boys who emerged victorious!)

May 25th: Shu-en still complaining of vague abdominal pain. Taking Panadol on a daily basis now, but ran up castle hill this afternoon, so it can’t be too serious.

May 26th: Shu’s pain is increasing today. The poor thing. She manages to make it through the working day but looks a bit worse for wear in the afternoon. I bring her flowers. I examine her abdomen. It’s soft, not really tender at all. Strange, really. Viral gastro should have disappeared a few days ago, and be getting worse, not better. I convince her to take tomorrow afternoon off work and go and see the GP. I’ve been a doctor long enough to know that you shouldn’t treat your own loved ones.

May 27th: Shu-en sees the GP. The GP examines her, runs some tests. She’s had pain for 9 days now. The GP doesn’t think it’s anything serious, so says she will see her next week with the test results.

May 28th: Mark and Carly come and visit for the afternoon. Shu is a bit withdrawn; pain seems to be increasing. Panadol isn’t cutting it today, neither is nurofen. Rachel and Matt come over for dinner. Shu doesn’t eat. Hmm. This must be serious. I examine her abdomen. Her pain has localised to the Right Iliac Fossa. A cardinal sign of appendicitis. It was in the back of my mind for the last few days but appendicitis pain generally isn’t taken away by Panadol; now I’m starting to become convinced. Perhaps a low-grade, grumbling appendix who is angry at the world because it’s been exposed to too much spicy Asian food.

I take her to the Emergency department. Working at the hospital wins a couple of favours. The ED consultant puts a drip in for me. The surgeon comes within an hour. The blood test show a high white cell count. The surgeon agrees; probably appendicitis. We’ll take her to theatre in the morning, they say.

May 29th: We’re awaiting the surgery. Shu’s using morphine for pain now. She spikes a temperature. Hmm. Maybe this is more than just appendicitis. In the afternoon, she goes off to theatre. I get a personal call from her surgeon (who also happens to be a friend of mine). Another perk of being staff. She asks me to come around to recovery. I’m praying it’s nothing serious.

The surgeon tells me it was nasty. The appendix had ruptured. She couldn’t find it. There was a large pelvic abscess involving the right ovary, fallopian tube, caecum and terminal ileum. The ascending colon is inflamed. She gave her a washout and left a drain in. She will need to be in hospital for a week with IV antibiotics. They will have to go back in in 8 weeks time to find out if there is a remnant of the appendix that can be removed.

I feel like I’ve been kicked in the guts. I’ve never had something like this happen before. This shouldn’t happen. I’m a doctor, after all. I should be able to stop this happening. I shouldn’t have missed it. I’m consoled by my surgeon friend that Shu-en had a very atypical presentation and most people would have missed it. I don’t feel much better. But that doesn’t matter. Shu-en is waking up and I have to be there for her.

Shu-en is slow waking up. Probably something to do with the 10mg of morphine and 100mcg of fentanyl they gave her before she woke for pain control. But she is alive, and is in very good hands. We get visited by Mark and Carly. They give us a lot of encouragement. They are wonderful friends.

May 30th: Day 1 post-op. Shu is doing amazingly well. She wants to eat. She isn’t allowed. The metronidazole makes everything taste like metal anyway. More friends and family come and visit. We are so blessed. I still feel like I’ve been kicked in the guts. Probably not as badly as Shu does though. She tells me in no uncertain terms that I’m not allowed to feel guilty. That helps a little. What helps most is that she looks better.

I have a moment of clarity. It doesn’t matter what happens. So long as she is okay. I realised I would do anything to make her better. It was a pretty powerful feeling.

Unfortunately I have to work a night shift tonight. I try to get out of it; unfortunately 4 people have called in sick so there is nobody to cover. I have to do it. At least I can be in the hospital all night in case she gets sick, I guess.

Shu-en’s parents offer to come up to help take care of her. We jump on the offer. The fly up the next day. They are staying with me; my housemate is away at the moment and is kind enough to let them have his room.

June 3rd: Shu-en’s hospital stay has gone better than anyone could have expected. She’s coming home today! Her IV antibiotics have stopped. She can eat. Her bowels work (it’s amazing the things you appreciate after you’re sick!) She is coming home.

June 5th: Shu has been home for two days now. Her parents left today. Her pain is settling down and she is half way through her oral course of antibiotics. Hopefully we’re out of the woods now!

We’ve both learnt a lot through this experience. Shu-en has learnt not to take things for granted; health, family, friends, food, bowel movements. She learnt how much God loves her and how he holds her life in his hands.

I’ve learnt a few things too. I was reminded again, and quite abruptly so, that things are not in my control. I must trust in God. It’s an old lesson. It’s a lesson I keep having to learn. I also learned how much I love my fiancée. In a funny kind of way you don’t really realise it until you’re faced with a situation like that. It was a pretty powerful feeling.

Anyway, sorry for the intensity. It was a pretty intense week. I’m glad it’s over. For those who pray: please pray for Shu’s ongoing health and wellbeing. Chocolates are also welcome.

Recent events

March 1, 2011

Hello all

I have news. Which isn’t really news anymore since it’s about a month old. But it’s still exciting. Shu-en and I are engaged (Pause for gasping and applause, possible shrieks of joy). Please, please. Keep applauding. Don’t stop. It’s pretty awesome, I know. And not at all expected.

Actually, I was quite surprised how many people said something along the lines of “Yeah, we were waiting for that one.” That possibly had something to do with the fact that we told half the country that we were getting engaged before we got engaged (because I didn’t have the ring yet, and neither of us are good at keeping exciting secrets). Or it might be because I’m predictable. Either way, I expect no less cheering etc from all of you.

I asked her in Singapore. We had an amazing dinner at a place called Mount Faber, which is a mountain just inland from the southern beach of Singapore. I bought the waiters-must-fawn-over-guests package to make the evening special. And fawn they did. They never once showed their backs to us, but actually backed away. All I had to do was look up at one of them, and they were by the side of the table, quick as bunnies. It was awesome.

My wonderful fiancée gave me all the credit of expecting me to put the ring inside a champagne glass. Thanks babe. Still, it worked out well for me, because she was delightfully surprised when I took her onto out private cable car, with full leather seats, glass floors and decked out with flowers and Mumm champagne across the Singapore skyline to Sentosa Island. I asked on one knee when we were half way across the harbour. It was romantic. She was impressed. So impressed that she said yes. There was much celebrating. It was fun.

Since then life has been a flurry of planning and working new jobs. We’ve moved to Townsville which is where the initial ceremony/reception will be, followed by a second reception in Melbourne and then a Tea Ceremony in Singapore (a traditional Singaporean ceremony Shu-en and I serve the family tea, and the family gives us red envelopes full of money. I like this idea.)

Anyway things are moving along well. Shu-en is enjoying Townsville, though missing Melbourne. So if any of my Townsville readers see a lost Asian girl wandering around, there’s about a 1 in 3 chance it’s her (given the asian population of Townsville), so be nice and welcome her. Also, if you know of any good Chinese restaurants around town we’d love to hear about them.

I’ll keep you posted with my usual astounding regularity.

Getting all nostalgic

January 22, 2011

My time in Brisbane has come to an end, at least for the foreseeable future. On Monday all of my possessions (mostly hand-me-downs from my parents, or in the case of my coffee table, grandparents) will be put on the back of a truck and shipped back to sunny Townsville. (I’m not sure “Sunny” is a very good word to describe any part of Queensland at the moment, and the word “shipped” might be more literal than I had hoped by the time the truck gets to Rockhampton, but with any luck my worldly possessions will arrive with time to spare). So, I’m going to sum up my year in Brisbane in pros and cons. Being the ever peachy and cheerful optimist that I am, I’ll start with the pros.


1. Brisbane is a great city to live in. There is lots to do here, and it’s quite a pretty place to live. The weather is usually nice (recent submersion notwithstanding) and there are plenty of good eats around. There is sport, concerts and culture in ample amounts.

2. Church. I’ve been attending Christ Community Church, an independent church on the north side here, and it has been a wonderful blessing to me. I’ve met some amazing people and been encouraged in my faith with some fantastic bible teaching. I’ve seen what it means to “count it all as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” in action.

3. Work. Working at the Royal has been a different experience, but one I’m very glad I had. I’ve learnt so much and it’s made me ready to step up into the role as registrar in a couple of weeks. I’ve learnt from some of the best in the country whilst I’ve been here, and though I’ve worked crazy hours, it’s been worth it.

4. My house, and my housemates. I’ve been incredibly blessed with an amazing home to live in whilst I’ve been here, and I’ve been even more blessed to have incredible housemates. It’s been hard making friends down here, and my housemates have always been there for me when I needed them. I hope to stay friends with them all for a long time.

5. Getting things done quickly. Phone/internet connections, postage, travel; it’s all here ridiculously promptly. It’s fantastic. I’m going to miss that.


1. Traffic. And just generally getting around. I go blind with white fury trying to make my way through Brisbane city. The one way streets are enough to make you want to scream. Just when you think you’ve gotten it figured out, you try to find your way somewhere you’ve not been before. And try to turn head-on into a smart car.

2. People here drive smart cars. Enough said.

3. Kind of related to point one, getting around in general is difficult. Public transport in Brisbane leaves a lot to be desired and parking is sparse and expensive. So are parking fines. I was hit with a $100 fine for parking in a taxi zone outside church on a Sunday. Evidently, I misread the parking sign language . I thought it was translated as “Yes! You can park here! Can you believe nobody else has parked here? What a great spot! You’re a lucky guy, it must be your day.” In fact, it said “Aha! My gibberish has sucked you into my web. You will be fined a ridiculous amount of money for using an empty part of the road that your taxes paid for. I’m a parking meter. And I feed on your misery.”

4. As alluded to earlier, it’s been hard to make new friends here. There have been a few reasons for that. One is that like everywhere else, people are in their clique here. I thought it would be different in the city but apparently it isn’t. Still, that wasn’t the biggest problem. I think the biggest problem is that I was distracted and not making the effort. In a standard month, I would spend one weekend in Melbourne with Shu-en, one in Hervey Bay with my folks, and one working. That really only left one weekend for socialising and mostly I used it to catch up on sleep and errands. Work was quite busy this year which made it even harder.

5. My attitude. It wasn’t until about September or October that I really started to embrace Brisbane. I was seeing it as a stepping stone, because I guess I knew I was only going to be here for 12 months, all things going well with Shu (which they are!) It’s hard to commit to a place emotionally and to invest in friendships when you know you’re only there for a finite time. And so, I spent the first six or seven months feeling like Brisbane was a means to an end, rather than an opportunity for growth, relationships and ministry.

Overall, I’m looking forward to moving back to Townsville, especially with Shu-en coming up with me. As great as our last 15 months together has been, we’re really ready to be together in the same place. We made the most of the distance, doing lots of travelling and doing lots of fun things together, but distance does take its toll and after a while you’re just ready to be together. And by the grace of God that’s what we can now do!

That said, there is certainly some sadness as I leave Brisbane. I’m going to miss Kangaroo point and Campos coffee. I’m going to miss the Royal Brisbane and I’m going to miss James st. I’m going to miss my church here (though I am very excited about coming back to Townsville Baptist!) and I’m going to miss the  friends I’ve made, and my housemates.

What I’m not going to miss is packing my house for the second time in 12 months. Which I’m currently procrastinating, in case you haven’t noticed. If you’re in Townsville, I’ll see you soon. If you’re in Brisbane, I’ll miss you. If you’re somewhere else, congratulations for making it through 1000 words of irrelevance.

Church: Like it or lump it

December 22, 2010

I’ve been a bit disturbed by some of my close, Christian friends abandoning church over the last few years. Many of them are still professing Christians, they just don’t like “Church”. There are usually 3 arguments why people who love Jesus don’t like his church.

1. Christian people are judgemental. Or at least, they are perceived to be by some. In many cases I’m sure this is true; Christians aren’t immune from judging people. But in just as many cases I’m sure genuine care and concern for your Christian character is probably what this “judgementalism” is. And the fact that it isn’t tolerated says more about said church-leavers desire to live in their sin uninhibited than it does about those “judging” them. The irony here is that people who leave church for this reason are very often passing judgement on the Church for being judgemental, hence completing the cycle of stupidity.

2. Hierarchy and establishment aren’t cool. Anarchy is the new black. You can’t be cool and be seen to believe what other people believe; what a terrible reproach to your own freedom! People want to be “spiritual” without being “religious.” Imagine someone else preaching and telling you what you should think and believe.  There are layers of irony here, not the least of which is that it’s our society that tells us that we should be individuals and be non-conforming. And that our society itself is a structured hierarchy. I call that the dual cycle of stupidity. In my head, the diagram looks kind of like the yin-yang symbol.

3. Offense and hurt. This is sometimes related to the first point, and sometimes it’s different. I think of people who were physically, emotionally or sexually abused by church members, perhaps when they were younger. I do not wish to trivialise a very real and very damaging situation, but in my experience these situations are usually the minority. And even in these circumstances, though I can understand the resistance to Church based on traumatic experience, love and forgiveness should always prevail. Christ was put to death by the very people he came to save, and the very people who ended up becoming the early Church.

Don’t mishear me. I’m not suggesting that we should stop using our brains listen to everything preached. That’s silly and isn’t a biblical idea. Nor am I suggesting that we should all wear silver-skivvy jumpsuits so that we all look the same. God made us all different for a reason, and we should celebrate those differences. I’m not even suggesting that Christians should be able to act judgmentally towards other Christians (depending on your definition of “judgemental”). And I’m hopefully not making light of very serious and potentially devastating life events that have occurred in and around church.

What I’m suggesting is this: if you profess to love Christ, you must also love his Church. You must love it for all of its warts and blemishes and all of its wayward ways. You must love it because Christ loves it. God is aware that the church isn’t perfect; trust me, he is far more aware of how sinful the church is than we are. But he loves his Church anyway, and he loves you as part of his Church. (Which if you’re a Christian, you are part of the Church; like it or lump it). God has written the names of all those judgemental people in the Lamb’s book of life (if they trust in Christ as they profess). God is the one who established the Church; it was his idea. It isn’t a construct of man. “Spirituality” isn’t a pure way of understanding God; most of the time it’s an experiment in how well one can be convinced of their own moral superiority.

The Church has done some wonderful things. It’s also done some horrible things. I’m betting you have done both too. God loves the Church, and he loves you as part of his Church. You can’t be a Christian and not be the Church. You can of course choose not to attend Church services, but to be a Christian is to be the Church. So if you’re out there smoldering in disdain for God’s Church for whatever reason, stop. Ask God for the strength to love and cherish a bunch of rotten sinners who have been saved by God’s grace. In the same way that he loves you.

The last 6 weeks

December 8, 2010

I’ve been on holidays for almost 6 weeks now, thanks to the delightful people at the RBWH medical administration. It has been amazing, so I’m going to tell you what I did!

Week 1: After finishing up at Geriatrics, I found myself feeling young again. It was almost as if the musty smell of stale urine wasn’t going to permeate my very being after all. At this stage Shu-en was still having her final exams and I wasn’t really in the mood for too much excitement just yet (you have to work up to these things, in case osteoporosis turns out to be catching). So I ran lots of errands, sorted out my job/move for next year and shifted my now whale-like frame into the pool for some exercise. (Okay, so whale-like is probably a bit harsh on myself, but I’m definitely not the image of fitness I once came close to almost being kind of like).

Week 2: Shu finishes her exams. Hurrah! Much celebration is had as I mosey my way down to sleepy Melbourne to help my wonderful now-dentist girlfriend be rid of that pesky Shiraz that has been sitting around waiting for her exams to finish. It was good. We called and toasted many friends that night, much to the chagrin of those in the household who still had exams.

Week 3: Back to Queensland, but this time with Shu in tow. We spend a few days wining and dining in Brisvegas (and yes, I do hate myself for calling Brisbane “Brisvegas”) before making a lazy drive up the coast to Peregian Beach, with a detour to Montville. For the uninitiated, Montville is a delightfully quaint little town in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, specialising in Grandmotherly trinkets, home-made ice cream and other sweets, as well as some great little cafes and restaurants. The view is also spectacular and the drive (for those in the car who cared to stay awake) is pretty amazing. Highly recommended day trip for anyone in the area.

We met my parents at Peregian Beach where we had a beach house for 3 nights. It was great. We played 500, watched movies, ate great food and drank good wine and scotch. Unfortunately it was bucketing down rain for most of the time, so we only made it to the beach once. Dad and I also managed to have a game of golf to celebrate Dad’s birthday. We played Twin Waters and I actually played really well, which is surprising considering how infrequently I play.

Week 4: Back to Melbourne for the arrival of Shu’s mum and her Aunty (eldest Aunty on her Dad’s side, who she is very close to and helped raise Shu-en and her siblings). I had heard much about Shu’s Aunty (who she calls “Acaur” though I’m sure that isn’t how you spell it; it’s a Mandarin term of respect used for your Father’s oldest sister). I didn’t really know what to expect, and truth be told I was a little nervous. She is a very important person to Shu-en; what if she didn’t like me? Well, all of my fears were dashed in the first five seconds when a sub-5 foot elderly Chinese lady wearing a big smile came up to me, grabbed my love handles, gave them a shake and then hugged me. The love-handle shaking wasn’t an overly pleasant experience (see whale-like frame above) but it did make me feel like part of the family, which was very nice.

That week was an emotional roller-coaster. Shu was offered a job in Shepparton and given 6 hours to accept it, which we were worried she would have to as she hadn’t been offered a Townsville job yet. We were unsuccessfully trying to get on to the clinical director of the Townsville Oral Health Service where we were hoping she would have a job. Praise God, about 5 minutes after we finished praying and accepting that we would do distance for another year if need be, the phone rang and the clinical director at Townsville (who was on leave, but still had her work phone on her) basically gave Shu a quick phone interview and had offered her a job within the hour. We were over the moon!

I think our high peaked when we went to see Wayne Brady, American Comedian from Whose Line Is It Anyway fame. I can’t remember the last time I laughed to hard. The whole show was improvised, and it was incredible. Not only was it very clever and particularly hilarious, it was mostly clean the language didn’t make you cringe (with the exception being the opening act, who was actually a comedian from Townsville, and she was awful).

The emotional roller-coaster wasn’t done for that week though. The following Sunday, one of Shu’s uncles in Melbourne died suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep. He was 56 and leaves behind his wife and two boys of 21 and 18. It was very tragic and he will be remembered as a strong and godly man, a loving husband and devoted father. He will be very sorely missed.

Week 5: Uncle’s tragic passing meant that Shu’s maternal side of the family all came down from Singapore for the funeral. Shu’s dad also came down. Shu’s mum is one of 8 children, so this was a fairly large effort to house and feed everyone. Still, I’ve been wanting to meet her extended family for quite some time, and I’m happy that I got to, though it was a shame it wasn’t under happier circumstances. They were all very lovely people, with a great sense of humour and a real sense of community within the family. The made me feel very welcome and part of the family.

The funniest part of this was Shu’s grandmother, who was in her 80’s and didn’t speak a word of English, but for some reason assumed that I spoke Chinese. I don’t. I can count to 10 in Mandarin and say hello. Smiling and nodding abounded. I’m worried I agreed to try fish head soup next time I see her.

Week five also entailed Shu’s grad ceremony, Mary Poppins the musical, the Vigil Service, the Funeral and the grad ball, in that order. Since this post is already too long, I will describe in a series of adjectives.

Grad ceremony: Hot (without aircon in large room). Tedious. Sore cheeks. Proud boyfriend and family.

Mary Poppins: Amazing. Incredible. Highly recommended, even for straight men.

Vigil Service and funeral: Deeply touching. A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man.

Grad Ball: Frivolous. Fun. Great food. Good dancing. Fantastic photos of a ridiculously good-looking couple.

Unfortunately I had to leave after that, to come back to work (I’m going back tomorrow). It was a great holiday, even though I didn’t go anywhere I hadn’t been before or do anything extraordinary. I got to meet some wonderful people and Shu and I got to spend a good amount of time with each others families, which went swimmingly. Despite the tragedy, it was one of the best holidays I’ve ever had! Now, if I can just remember how to be a doctor, I will be all set.

Things that make me laugh

November 10, 2010

Here is a list of things that you can read for a good laugh when you’re bored/avoiding study:

1. The oatmeal: Nobody does random insult generation mixed with completely random (and possibly psychotic) scenarios better than this guy. Language warning.

2. The Onion news network: A fake news media website that is a  parody of the western media and western life in general. Language and content warning.

3. Stuff White people like: A hilarious look at western white culture. Be prepared to say “Oh my Gosh that is SO TRUE!” a lot. Which is a very white person thing to say.

4. XKCD: A deliciously sarcastic comic about love, language and mathematics. Occasional language warning.

5. 27b/6: David Thorne is a guy who complains about things via email/letter in very creative ways. He might give you some ideas for your next battle with Telstra to keep things very entertaining rather than murderous rampage inducing.

If I just contributed to someone failing exams, I apologise. Otherwise, enjoy.

It was with great sadness that on this day, the 6th of November 2010, my faithful top-loader washing machine finally took its last spin and said goodbye to us all.

He was a faithful machine. I washed my first load of soiled garments in his soapy agitation chamber many years ago, just as my mother had done before me. One might be so bold as to call him a family heirloom. Others, just a faithful friend.

Still, memories will remain. Faded clothes will remind me of his vigor and fervor for his life’s work. Occasionally, a once-white now-pink sock will make its way onto my foot, as if to remind us how my washing machine stood for racial equality, rather than separation of whites. A lesson we can all learn.

Long after those little energy stars on the front sticker had faded, my washing machine chugged along, only infrequently requiring stiff kick to get the inside spinny thing back on track.

Now it sits outside my laundry, awaiting its final journey to white goods heaven, more commonly known as the Nudgee Road transfer station (the rubbish tip, for those uninitiated to Brisbane City Council malarkey).

So long, old friend. You will be sorely missed and often remembered. At least until I get one of those shiny new front loaders.

Nathan’s recent post about the single guys and girls got me thinking. You should read it (and the comments thereafter) whether you’re single or not.  I mostly agree, with some additions that I will now entertain you with.

*Disclaimer: I know it’s going to sound smug and insensitive for a guy in a relationship to talk about singleness. I try to say this without any smugness whatsoever; but given that roughly 98% of my friends are married and I’ve been single for a fairly long time (and am still not married) I hope I am at least partly qualified to talk about this.

My feelings on the single/dating game can be summed up in the following points:

1. I hate the game.

2. Christians are generally stupid when it comes to dating, and

3. Josh Harris needs a slap in the face with a wet mullet.*

Let me explain.

1. The game. What is the game, you ask? Well, I think Vince Vaughn best summed up the game in his portrayal as Jeremy Grey in the 2005 comedy Wedding Crashers:

“Janice, I apologize to you if I don’t seem real eager to jump into a forced awkward intimate situation that people like to call dating. I don’t like the feeling. You’re sitting there, you’re wondering do I have food on my face, am I eating, am I talking too much, are they talking enough, am I interested I’m not really interested, should I play like I’m interested but I’m not that interested but I think she might be interested but do I want to be interested but now she’s not interested? So all of the sudden I’m getting, I’m starting to get interested… And when am I supposed to kiss her? Do I have to wait for the door cause then it’s awkward, it’s like well goodnight. Do you do like that ass-out hug? Where you like, you hug each other like this and your ass sticks out cause you’re trying not to get too close or do you just go right in and kiss them on the lips or don’t kiss them at all? It’s very difficult trying to read the situation.”

The game is that ridiculous attitude of aloofness that we have. It’s being someone else to try to attract the person you like. It’s waiting 3 days to call. It’s “treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen.”

I hate the game because it’s dishonest. One situation where I definitely agree with Nathan, is that when there is a single guy and a single girl who are hanging out together it is very infrequent that there is no intent on either side. Generally, both sides know this (though there does seem to be some cognitive dissonance generally in the Christian circles: see the next point). Yet we persist in a merry-go-round of trying to act disinterested so that the other person becomes interested. It’s tiring. It’s stupid.

Now, I’m not saying that we should be overly clingy or desperate. That is unattractive and just plain annoying. What I am suggesting is that you keep living your life. If you want to see the person you’re interested in, call them. If they don’t want to see you, they will say no. If they do, they will say yes. It isn’t rocket science.

2. Christians are generally pretty dumb when it comes to dating. But it is a selective stupidity. We choose to ignore what is blindingly obvious. In my experience, girls do this more than guys. I think this is because men and women think about relationships differently. As a general rule, guys are looking for a wife, and they make friends along the way. Girls are looking for friends, with the expectation that they will find a husband along the way. We approach singleness differently. The problem is not in the different approach; the problem is in the lack of understanding of the opposite sex. Thanks to Josh Harris (see point below) we have a whole generation of Christian women who somehow think that dating is wrong, evil or weak. This is incredibly confusing for young men, because we are taught that women want someone willing to commit to a relationship. And it’s incredibly damaging for young women, because they get a very negative view of their Christian brothers, thinking their desire to be in a relationship somehow makes them less godly.

3. Josh Harris (of I kissed dating goodbye fame) most definitely needs a slap in the face with a wet mullet. I understand what he was trying to get at, and I think he makes a more balanced point in Boy meets Girl. I also think I kissed dating goodbye is probably an okay book for 14-17 year old girls who probably need to be steered away from dating at this stage of life. However,  many young Christian women carry the Harris mindset into adult life where it has very little or no place. Dating is not wrong. Marriage is good. Men and women fall in love; it happens! And rightly so. We need to stop over-spiritualising this issue and get on with it. I’ve seen too many young single people crushed by this most ridiculous idea. Should you talk about marriage? Sure. But this idea that you need to know you want to marry someone before you start dating them is beggars common sense. It drags out an unnecessary and tiresome pre-dating period of awkward fluff.

So, what is the solution? Well, I don’t have it, but I do have a typical Joel-style no-nonsense approach. Here it goes.

1. Be honest. If you like someone, take a couple of weeks to figure out that it isn’t just a silly infatuation, and that they are in fact on the same page as you spiritually, then tell them! Stop playing the game, and get it out in the open. This goes for the rejection too. If you really don’t like someone and you know it’s never going to happen, say it straight. Saying “not now,” or “Not at the moment” or “I’m just not ready for a relationship,” is 99% of the time complete rubbish and 100% of the time unhelpful. It keeps the interested party on your hook, and sets them up for months more pain.

2. Guys, seriously. Man up. If you would like to date a young lady, you need to tell her. It’s a fairly crucial first step. Extract yourself from the game. Or, if you want to sound cool, you can say something like “Yeah, well, I don’t play by the rules.” Chicks dig that.

3. Girls, please give guys a break. It’s pretty gut wrenching asking a girl out. Don’t treat them like they have leprosy. And don’t expect Mr Right to rock up on your doorstep. As the old saying goes “The best opportunity is the one in front of you.” I’m not talking about settling for second best; I’m talking about giving something a shot before you write it off. This probably sounds sacrilegious in Josh Harris culture, but have you ever considered seeing where something goes without already being madly in love with someone? I have several happily married friends who started out this way. If it doesn’t work out, well, that sucks. But that’s also life. And at least you both learnt something.

I’ve probably just managed to offend simultaneously all of my readers. I think what I’m saying boils down to being honest, and not over-spiritualising the process. Please feel free to leave outbursts of rage in the comments section.

*The fish, not the haircut.