Archive for the ‘One Two Pun’ Category

Many of us have probably already watched Katy Perry’s music video, “Part of Me.” In that one particular scene after confronting her cheating boyfriend, she went into a public restroom and started chopping off all her hair in a fit of tearful rage.  After that, she signed on for a tour with the marines in Iraq and began a grueling training to become one of the meanest fighting machines the world has ever produced.

Although most women do not necessarily join the marines after going through a major life-changing experience, it is generally a truth that the desire to control that which seems to be uncontrollable becomes so great that we try to control that which seems to be feasibly controllable – our hair.  Of course, other women have enough vanity in them to not actually try to raze their own hair so they solicit the help of a professional hairdresser.  However, something more drastic than just a trim is bound to happen like coloring it from black to blonde or getting a perm or having it chopped off from waist to ear level.  Others who are less adventurous would just stick to cutting their own bangs just to feel like, “At least that didn’t turn out to be such a disaster.” If the purpose is merely to show off and not to change something in her psyche, then a woman would generally not do something so immensely drastic to her hair.  It was after all Coco Chanel herself who said, “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” The bottom line:  women have a very special relationship with the hair on their heads.

I was asking my brothers if they felt the same way about their hair and, of course, they did not.  My younger brother does apply some blonde streaks to his black hair from time to time but it is more of a show-off thing rather than a control thing.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the socially accepted concept of feminine beauty appears to be directly related to none other than a woman’s hair.  I heard a group of guys talk about how pretty one of my female classmates’ hair was and one of them said in a loud, obnoxious voice, “Well, that’s what she uses to flirt and play around.” Not cool, bro, not cool.

A male friend was once put on the spot by a group of girls who were asking him questions about which girls he found more attractive – the long-haired ones or the pixie-haired ones.  He told them that he found long-haired girls to be more feminine because the long hair showed him how different the girl was from him – a guy who preferred to keep his hair close to his scalp.  On the other hand, he also said that what he liked most about pixie-haired girls was that he could see their pretty faces without them hiding behind long hair.  That last one, I’m not sure if it’s complete bullshit but, at that time, it sounded so freaking good to female ears.  His point though?  To each his own; whatever floats his woman’s boat.  This is one guy who knows better than to come between a woman… and her hair.

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There was a time when I seriously thought about pursuing law. I wanted to be a human rights’ lawyer, one who had more pro bono cases than one could count, who wore slippers with a suit to courtrooms just to be disrespectful, and who traveled to remote places in Mindanao to get “accidentally” killed in an ambush attack by a rival politician’s private army.

The night I told my mother I wanted to take up Political Science or Journalism in a state university, she told me she wouldn’t support me financially if I did what I said I would. Now I know I could’ve survived in the big city alone without any financial support from family but, apparently, being fifteen and a minor render one quite helpless when it comes to making big decisions like this. So, I went on to study Biology in a non-state university.  It had not been an easy track, of course, but then nothing is supposed to be easy, yeck. What made it all worthwhile was the knowledge that medicine could get things done, which ultimately lessens my frustration over things that seem innately uncontrollable.

The Law in this country frustrates a lot of people, doesn’t it? Corruption has becomes so common that people make it into a joke just to make it less serious. In fact, meeting a man with conscience and integrity in this system strikes me speechless, mouth open and tongue-tied. If I had pursued law, I bet I would’ve been one very angry beaver, the kind who violently slaps everyone in the face with her freaking tail all day, every day. Medicine can be the same way too, having personally lived with and seen government doctors live in eternal frustration over this country’s health system. However, medicine allows things to be done right now, the results of which cannot only be seen acutely but also in the long-term. The most important part is to see that there has been a change that has occurred, no matter how minimal, as a result of an action. As opposed to law, where the result of your blood, sweat, tears, and sleepless nights is usually the inevitable freedom of a criminal because of the patronage of a powerful politician, which sounds so corny but which I also know for a fact is a reality.

The Law frustrates me too but I know it’s there for a reason. Plus I would have probably made an awful lawyer. Spoken words and I are not good friends. Moreover, explaining things with my tongue to people, especially to those who have their minds already set anyway, frustrates and angers me even worse. And I probably would have gotten myself killed before I turned twenty-five. I never want to hear my mother say to my grave, “I told you so.”

In the end, I guess I did not really agree to medicine. I chose it over and above my desire to be, well, everything else, as well as my desire to be with my family, to be home, to travel the world, and, most importantly, to earn my own living. It’s killing me to have to depend on other people for finances, haha.  Medicine allows me to understand even if I cannot do anything about it, to do something about it even if I know I’m going to fail, to fail as long as I tried anyway but still understanding where I went wrong so I don’t make the same mistake again. So, during the times I get frustrated with it, this is what I tell myself, repeatedly – I chose this over and above everything else so, honey, kindly don’t screw it up.

Yes, I talk to myself in my head sometimes.

Bullshit Ahead warning in style of warning roa...

It is not (that) difficult figuring people out. I am of the belief that we, as human beings, inherently wish to be understood by those around us that, even though we would like to seem mysterious and unreadable, that innate desire to be understood is reflected on our faces, on our body language and even on the simple physiological processes (i.e. sweating, increased blinking rate, body position and even the occasional smirks and eye-rolling etc.) that reveal the emotions that are boiling within us. Yes, I am a big believer of body language reading. However, although observation plays an integral part in showing the realness within us, intuition plays an even greater role in how one is able to gauge the character of another human being. This is what we call getting vibes or testing aura and, in my case, this is how I gauge the level of another person’s genuineness.

Genuineness is (personally) an important concept because having surreptitious agendas or putting on a mask of overt plasticity for no productive reason is, admit it, somewhat a waste of time. A mentor once said that the only way you will be able to spot bullshit is by being completely honest with yourself. Her point was this: how can you tell if another person is being honest with you if you are always lying to your own self? An argument could be that constantly bullshitting with yourself will make it easier for you to recognize other people’s bullshit but that would probably lead to a slap at the back of my head so I just keep my mouth shut.

It is a difficult endeavor, this being honest to self thing, which is why I truly appreciate people who have the most transparent faces. It makes spotting either bullshit or genuineness easier in the sense that there is no need to be paralyzed by analysis. There is no need to try to sift through their childhood and what could have gone wrong and the motivations that make them the way they are and how you can possibly help them and, damn, would prayer be enough to yield change in these people? Don’t hate on the effort at Psychiatry – I’m trying to make myself believe I didn’t flunk that exam. In short, it makes life easier… and why does life need to be easier at this point?

Because we do not have time for bullshit. Just kidding. Life needs to be easier because we are here to work, boo, not to produce, um, stool.

But what do I know anyway? There is a land called Denial-asia and I am their top monarch… and I bet I’m ruling this kingdom with several other monarchs.

Wolverine, a.k.a. Weapon X (Weapon Ten)

One thing that I’ve always wished we could do as human beings is to regenerate body parts.  Very Wolverine-ish, probably the coolest superpower ever.

A few days ago, I went to this bloodletting event because I was hoping to finally be cleared for blood donation.  Miracles of miracles, I was cleared for donation after years of being deferred due to anemia.  I was so happy because it had always been my dream to donate blood.  I ended up having both arms inserted with gauge 19 needles.  My right arm had thin unstable veins and my left arm had too thin veins that refused to let the blood flow out into the tubing.  I got inserted with gauge 19 needles in both arms… for nothing.

Blood donation and organ donation have always held a special place in my heart because the impact these have on the quality of life of patients who need them is truly significant.  A couple of years ago, I had to contact people I had not talked to in years just to ask for blood because I couldn’t donate to my own mother.  Frustrating.  Same goes with organ donation.  Around five years ago, I had wanted to donate a kidney and couldn’t.

Perhaps one would say that, “Nah, it’s just the Messianic complex working.” Heck, no.  I mean, I’m so selfish that I would donate blood to strangers but not my organs while I am still alive.  Selfish but practical.  We don’t need excess blood.  We make more every twenty-one days and, as long as the ABO antibodies match, you’re good to go, no chance of rejection.  But, with organs, it’s a different story.  I would rather give my organs to someone who would have a significantly lower risk of rejecting them.  I don’t believe in wasting non-regeneratable body parts.  Yes, you regenerate a liver lobe but a kidney?  Come on.

My only argument is this:  donating blood or an organ saves a life.  You don’t need to go to medschool or nursing school just to learn how to do it.  I mean, you already have it in you and, I mean, literally.

I know that last part sounded preachy, bear with now, boo.  Wouldn’t it be nice though if humans could regenerate limbs like starfishes can?  Wolverine can and, for me, he’s like the ultimate human being — regeneratable and totally capable of donating.  He’s the coolest.  If ever I get to meet him, I’d probably bite off a chunk of his skin just to see if a skin patch would grow right back.  That would probably be the best experiment I would ever undertake in my entire scientific career.


My mom noticed my dad on the first day of their post-graduate medical internship program. My dad swaggered into the room and unknowingly sat on a chair with a broken leg. Because my mother was a fair woman with somewhat Caucasian features, when he looked up, he immediately saw her. Later on, he pursued my mom relentlessly. Effort could have been my dad’s middle name.

My mom has a very funny story of how my dad used to make his moves. He told her one day he was going to take her to a posh restaurant for a dinner date. However, he claimed they had to pass by the college where his sister taught so that he could introduce my mom. When they got there, he introduced her alright but, when my mom pretended to look away, he quickly whispered to my aunt that he wanted to borrow money for his date! When they were already seated down to dinner in said posh restaurant, my dad gallantly ordered an expensive plate of pasta for my mom… and water for himself. Apparently, the money my aunt gave him was only enough for one expensive meal.

My mom still laughs whenever she tells this story. They married right after they passed the Medical Boards. He was my mother’s first boyfriend.

On their third year of surgical residency, they were earning less than Php 3,000 pesos each and already had three children, delivered roughly one year apart from each other. They decided to sacrifice residency and enter government service. It was a move borne out of necessity but my dad, I think, liked it. He was a passionate man. My mom used to say, albeit not too happily, that he was a man who firmly believed he could change the world. He served as Chief of Hospital in several district hospitals in a span of nine years. My mom, on the other hand, grew up kind of well off. She was a city girl through and through. She never wanted government service and never liked going to the mountains. She stayed as Municipal Health Officer of a mountainous municipality for close to twenty years. She, who had abhorred going to rural areas, pursued a Master’s degree in Public Management and in Public Health.

There is this theory in relationship psychology, which I firmly believe to be the foundation of any healthy relationship. It’s called Matching Hypothesis. On an extremely shallow level, of course, physical attraction still rules. However, on the level below that, outsiders would say that opposite personalities attract. But, for me, sharing the same set of beliefs, principles and values on a deeper level is what truly makes any kind of relationship work. There are certain non-negotiable values that we subconsciously look for in a partner or even just a friend. Perhaps because we know that we have to have that similarity in our belief systems for us to actually agree and coexist harmoniously. Or maybe because we know that a partner’s exemplary belief system could influence us to better ourselves. Or perhaps because we want someone who knows how to have a decent deep conversation because, come on. If you enjoy talking to a person, why would you not want to spend a lot of time with him or her?

But what do I know anyway? I’m, like, the most active fellow of the medical association, FSJAI – Forever Single, Just Accept It.