Severe case of FOMO

Soooo I’ve been on social media detox for the last one week. I was just finding myself going on IG/FB alllll the time. Sometimes I would click on it even though I’ve looked at it an hour ago! And I could spend an hour just looking at random people’s IG. What made me think I was an addict was that it was the first thing I wake up to and last thing I see before I go to sleep.

The first few days of IG/FB-fasting was difficult, I must say. I kept thinking of what people would post or maybe someone liked/commented my photo or post (perasan) – it was a severe case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). 

What I realised after a few days was this….

1. My head felt clearer.

I read somewhere that these days we take so much information from TV, Internet, radio. We get info overload and a lot of times, the info is not that meaningful or useful to us anyway. It’s just random information, useless ‘entertainment’.

I liked going on FB/IG as a way of defrying my brain. Like watching TV and just letting my brain go numb.

After not going on FB/IG, my head feels clearer. I can’t explain it but that’s how it felt. The last 2 dayd, I started opening FB again and could feel my brain clogging up sgain. So that made me not really wanna go on it except for a few minutes.

2. I was using it to ‘socialise’ but actually felt lonelier in it. And realise I dont have many close friends at hand anyway! 

3. I liked the likes. I had to stop myself from taking photos just because I want those likes. I learnt to embrace moments more. I dont need to show it to the world. 

The other day, I made some chicken pie and it was the best I’ve made (angkat bakul sendiri). I mean, of all the chicken pies I’ve made before, this tasted the best and looked neat. Usually my pastry is all wonky and broken. I resisted all urges to take a photo just to ….. show off. So I guess I’ll just show it off via words. Ha!

4. I think I’ve used my time more wisely. Reading a book halfway now. Sleeping earlier (and feeling better in the morning). Thinking of more beneficial things. Actually replying messages on time. 

5. And this is probably the most important bit. I always liked to click on certain personalities IG and admire their lifestyle and clothes. But along the way, it carries with me some envy and sometimes resentment. Sometimes it made me hate my job because here I am slaving away when I could be doing something more fun and carefree. Sometimes I envied that they seemingly always having fun. And the clothes, the pretty clothed. And that the kids look so angelic and well behaved all the time. I know it’s Instagram and what you see is not an entirely true potrayal of one’s life… but dammit, why cant they show ugly photos too.

Anyway, I thought that I couldnt last more than a week. Though I’ve looked at IG/FB today, it turns out that I didnt miss anything. And so maybe I can last the whole month with only just a few minutes of social media a day! 

I went to Manchester for a two day course. It was SOOOO sunny and the hotel had nice views of Salford Quays. Sadly I was too tired and had to do reading on the night …. else I could have milked the night away and pretended I was on holiday!


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A school year in England

Zayan is at the last quarter of his first school year, Reception. The school year starts in August and ends in July the next year. To those who don’t know how the school system works here, it’s like this: You either go to a state school (funded by govt) or a public school (which is a private school, I know so confusing right?). 

If you decide to send to a state school, you have to apply towards the end of the year to make it for the next year. Only kids who are 4 at the start of August can be enrolled, so for example if your kid is 4 on 20th August of that school year, he can only go to school the NEXT year. Kinda annoying esp if you want to just send them to school, heheh. 

I wasnt aware when to apply and ended up applying a week before the deadline. I only knew about it because a friend reminded me, phew!! You can apply to three schools in order of your preference. Most of the time, you will be given the school based on location, ie the school that is in your ‘catchment area’. Sometimes you can apply to a school away from your house if it’s undersubscribed (so I’m told). I did choose Oadby to live partly because I heard the schools here are good.

Anyway, it was pretty exciting on the first day of school and I was half worried that Zayan will get bullied. Cos yknow, kids can be mean sometimes. So far, Zayan has been pretty happy and made some good friends. 

The parents were also invited to attend this talk a few weeks before school starts. Mostly about the curriculum, uniforms, what kids have to bring etc. I felt like a phony adult then and had to look serious/very interested in what the teachers are saying. I felt like just a kid, pretending to be a parent. MY kid is going to school, say what?

What keeps surprising me is the lack of homework he has to do! He does one sheet of homework to do IN A WEEK and two books to read. The books were boring to begin with and I wasnt surprised when Zayan found it a chore to read. (you know, it was like CHIP HAS A HAT. HIS HAT IS RED.) Now there’s an interesting storyline at least to the books. Anyway, this homework business… only ONE page. When I’m not working in the weekend, I turn into bapa and ‘make’ homework for him. Yup, thats what my dad used to do. Extra work after homework. This week he didnt have any homework at all!! Dont think I didnt notice Zayan….

And when it was half term/holidays (1-2 weeks off), there was no homework at all! Like couldnt we have at least assignments to do for/with the kids? *Tiger mum disappointed*

The best thing though is that Zayan’s reading skills went from ‘zero’ to ‘much improved’. He started school not even recognising the whole letters of alphabet. Whenever I tried to teach him, he would be bored and not pay attention. It was like trying to teach a wall. And then I had to teach him how to read when he started school (oh yeah, the parents even had a phonics session). Those were weeks of tears from both Zayan and I. 

Me: C-A-T … what is that?

Zayan: Dog?


Me: C … C … C!

Zayan: C …. C …. C

*five minutes later* Me: ok what is this again?

Zayan: Mmmmm, I forgot.

Oh man, I dont know how teachers do it without losing it! 

Anyway, after awhile, he just got the hang of it and blended his letters together and started reading. His teacher was right. “He’ll get there one day…” 

Nowadays his childminder reads the books with him and because I’m a Tiger mum, I either make him read it again with me or makes him spell some of the words from the book. 

What amuses me are the gold and red face. So if you’re REALLY good that day, you get to be in gold face. And this either means doing really well in reading/writing/numbers or good behaviour (helping others, sharing, etc). Which I thought was nice. If you’ve been ahem naughty, you go to red face. Red face is NOT good apparently. If you are only a little bit naughty, you go to orange face. Zayan has admitted to being in orange and red face but he rarely ‘remembers’ why he was on it in the first place. He did remember going to orange face because he was talking too much… it was like school all over again for me. I remember being pinched on my belly button area (SAKIT PADAS TUUU) because I talked too much in class. I was about 7 then. Of course, I didn’t dare tell my parents this because then I’ll be told off at home too! (Why did you talk too much? Why did you get in trouble? bla bla) I also had a teacher throw the board wiper in my general direction (I hope he wasnt aiming at me directly) because….. I was talking in class! In my defence, the others around me were talking too!!! Anyway, I was 16 then. Lol! Nothing changed.

His childminder is the one who drops him off and picks up most of the time, unless one of us is off. I dont mind this to be honest – Going through throngs of adults and kids in the morning — not my idea of fun! 

Going to school also means an almost monthly birthday invitation by yet another schoolmate. How did my 5 year old have more of a social life than me? What saddens me though is that we never get to eat the cake at the party. It’s usually cut and packed into party bags. Birthday parties are fun for eating cakes together! And also theres only one slice packed. I once ate the slice (the icing looked super inviting) and then I ate so much of the cake that I thought Zayan would just get upset if he knew …. so I ate it all. I am saving you from tooth decay, you can thank me later Zayan!

Two more months to summer holidays! And then Year 1!! I wonder if that means more homework… 

 Morning school run – scooter/walk when it’s sunny!

Yet another party.. Zayan’s the shortest in class (good things comes in small packages, I tell him).1

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16 years and still missing home like a student

It occured to me the other day that I have been in this country for 16 years this September. That is so freaking long. How did my parents ever let me go at 17 years of age to live in a place thousands of miles away , to a place that they havent even seen before??? 

Anyway, the thing is despite all these years I still have homesickness bug from time to time. I used to get really depressed whenever homesick. Lying in bed and not wanting to do anything. Thinking why did I ever decide to do this (come to UK and doing medicine). Nowadays its not so bad because its hard to mope around with 2 kids being rambunctious and work being a good distraction. 

It’s always worse whenever I come back from holiday in Brunei. Other times, the feeling creeps up on me suddenly. Like the rare time that the sun is shining on my face so bright and looking at the blue skies reminds me of home. Or coming across a picture of the beach. Or the other day when there was a picture of a (heavenly looking) slice of durian cake. 

Sometimes it’s the time when I listened to urang cakap brunei. Macam urang melatah kah apa. Rindu jua sebenarnya. 

I’ve also come to realise that the things I miss are those that has to do with my senses. 

Listening to raindrops on zinc rooftop.

Driving and looking at the vast blue sky. 

Eating. (Enough said)

Heck, sometimes I think I miss the feeling of humidity that Brunei brings (whenever I go back, I actually dont).

Sometimes seeing people who reminds me of my family gets me. The other day I saw this old lady, her wrinkled hands and her slow walk. It reminded me of my grandma and how much I miss her. She passed away and I wasnt there, as did my three other grandparents whilst I was here. That fact always strikes me you know. That time does not stop for anyone. 

Sigh. Only two more months to holiday time.


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Confessions of a Junior Doctor

      Have just watched Confessions of a Junior doctor documentary, which is probably not a good idea after finishing a set of night shifts. The show left me emotional and perpetuates my question of ‘why am I doing this?’. 

      No, really why are we doing this, guys??

      I don’t want to come out of this as if this is greys anatomy and everything’s so horrible and dramatic and we all came to save the day. 

      The truth is …. there are ok days and horrible ‘I just want to cry’ days. The only time it’s a GOOD day is probably when I’m in clinic (nothing dramatic ever happens in clinic… or at least the clinics I go to). And since I havent been doing clinics since January, it’s either just an ok day or a horrible day.

      From watching the show, one of the doctors encapsulated things well – “It’s just relentless”. And that’s how I felt with most of my shifts these days, especially when oncall. 

      The other day, I saw the night team enter the handover room with exhausted, beaten down faces and I know far too well how they feel, how they must have felt during the shift. There was a very sick baby that night and even if there is just one sick baby in the unit, that can take most of your time (whilst trying to keep on top of the rest of your patients). 

      “You ok?” I asked the registrar.

      She gave a half nod, half shake of the head. 

      “I’m too old for this shit…” 

      And I know what she means. This shit of a mess that we so want to try to make better and it doesnt seem to be happening. On top of that, when we’re full in capacity (when care is just ‘good enough’ and deeply we want it to be more than that), it feels like we’re drowning and just trying to keep ourselves afloat. 

      It’s just draining. Physically and emotionally draining. I once wrote of how I didn’t expect working in an intensive care unit to be mentally taxing. Not because of the extremes of patients’ conditions (I have detached myself successfully in order to able to plod on) but how tiring it is mentally to try to ‘fix’ someone. Seriously, salute to all intensivists. I dont know how you guys do it … the only thing keeping me sane is the thought that I’m only doing this for six months and I’ll be off to a different rotation!

      Anyway, Confessions of a Junior Doctor echoes many things that junior doctors go through.

      The relentless shifts.

      The sinking ship feeling.

      The guilt.

      The ‘could I have done more?’ questions you have with yourselves.

      The doubts.

      What I have realised over the years is that we need to be there for each other more. Your colleagues are your comrades. Shifts are so much better when people get along well and when there’s food (read: snacks) to keep you going! 

      Ok rants over.

      Time to sleep xx

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      Seven Stories and Newcastle

      We went to an awesome place called Steven Stories in Newcastle (we also went to an awesome wedding, which was the main reason why we were there in the first place). 

      Seven Stories is a museum of children’s storybooks. I dont know if museum is the right word because it doesn’t entirely depict the place. When you hear the word museum, it’s associated with boring rows or galleries of items. It can be interactive like many science museums and certainly some museums in London (love the V&A). This place has – you guessed it – seven stories and each storey has different themes/activities to do. 

      One level was based on ‘Alien love underpants’ book and basically they turned the whole room into Alien love Underpants theme. Had big pants *snicker like a kid* with a laundry hanging line and alien hats and an area to read – amongst other things.

      Another level was a Bear theme. There are TONS of books with a bear theme it turns out. I love ‘Going on a bear hunt’ and have discovered ‘The Bear Under the Stairs’ (I was reading out loud to the boys there and got really into it. Not sure if the boys stuck through with it to the end)

      It was just a lovely layout and made you feel like a kid again (in a magical place without it being too tacky or corny).

      Who doesn’t love Paddington Bear? It’s so huggable!

      Then it was time for some storytelling! It lasted about half an hour – highly interactive and funny. It mostly made the kids sit down nicely, except Ayman got bored towards the end but nothing snacks can’t distract him with (we’re such good parents…).

      There was also another level with toys. I think this was their favourite – inda mau balik! It had a huge space with all windows looking out as walls. There was an area to just lie down with bean bags all around and yo can just chill and read. If I was mega rich, I would love to have a room like that.

      Macam … uhhh, we have trains like these at home too? 

      There was also a book shop (yay!) and a level called Work Lab. We didn’t have time to go to Work Lab but I saw kids holding their creative hats… so I guess there’s a arts and craft area. 

      Alien in underpants! 

      Zayan: Is he a real alien?

      We went for lunch at this place called Dabbawal. It has a different, creative twist to Indian food and presentations. More hipster like with good food! And its halal! 

      Anddddd then there was the wedding! I dont have pics of the bride and groom cos it was mostly taken from our camera. So you’ll just have to enjoy these pics….
      Us: If you guys give a good pic, you can have ice cream.

      Kids: *quickly poses*


      Ok over and out… maybe I’ll post pics of our holidays soon!



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      The constant rotation of hospitals

      I am having short bursts of anxiety-ridden thoughts the last few days. You see, during specialty training in UK, you are more likely than not to be rotated around hospitals/sub-specialties so you learn more on each sub-specialty and give people equal experience of being in a tertiary centre and in district general hospital (aka more kampung places). But dont diss kampung places. As there’s less patients technically coming in, there’s less staff but means especially when on-call, that you’re stretched out a lot of the times. It teaches you time management, leadership, character building and above all else, to hold yourself together during shit-in-the-pants moments before your consultant comes in.


      For paediatrics, we tend to rotate around every 6 months to different hospitals all around East Midlands. If you’re lucky, you get to stay in one place for a year. This could mean that you’ll be in Kettering one year and then Northampton next year and then Leicester the year after. That was me in my first three years of training. In last 2 years, I rotated around 4 different departments – 3 of which are in different hospitals.

      Each time, you meet new bunch of people to work with, new set of nurses and allied professionals, learn new set of ‘local hospital guidelines’ and new skills of ‘where best to park and beat the rest of the hospital staff members’. You learn that that department likes certain things than the last one you worked in.

      After two or three months, you finally get in your groove and can work things out without causing a medical faux-pas. And then before you know it, you have to move to another department (or worse, another hospital).

      It is draining.

      A lot of the times, because you rotate so many times, you tend to meet the same people or you’ve met them before during training days. So it’s not too bad.

      Still…. it feels like going to a new school on the first day each time.

      So yes, I’m nervous of where I’m going to go next. Usually you are give your top three preferences but… you never know, you can end up anywhere.

      I cannot wait till the end of my training and finally feel settled.


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      Life Changing Tidying…for sure.


      This year, I’m trying to read at least a book a month which is despicable compared to what my fellow teacher friends are doing (they look like they’re reading a book every few days/every week *cries in envy*). And another post will be dedicated to books I’ve read so far this year. One book in particular has turned my life around. Seriously. It did.

      Marie Kondo wrote that by tidying up your environment, your house, your bag, your work space, it will lead you on to tidying up your life. This year, I didn’t set out any resolutions. I wanted to improve myself and knew that I need a focused resolution but didn’t know where to start.

      Tidying up, it seems, was a good way to start off.

      Now my ex housemates, uni friends and friends who go way back will know that I’m not a tidy person by nature. Let’s just say I was happy with having an organised mess, ie I know where things are in the different piles around my room. I was happy living this life until I got married and discovered I married a man who is the polar opposite of me in terms of tidiness and concepts of cleaning (if you cant see any dirt, its clean and why the need to vacuum if it looks clean?).

      His ex housemate said to me recently (who I havent seen for years) “How are the boys doing with his OCD-ness?”

      Let me tell you now though that for all my gripe on tidying up, he has made me a tidier person. Our room is 95% tidy most times – 5% untidy because of my clothes pile and random kids stuff.

      In fact I think I’ve improved so much since I married him. (He thinks I have miles to go though still… what high standards!!). I used to be like ‘Tidy level = 3’ and now have gone to 6, I reckon. Let me ask what he thinks. Wow, he actually agrees!

      The only thing was that my key to ‘tidiness’ was that if you cant see it, it’s tidy. So imagine my drawers and closet to look like it has been by a hurricane inside. Things will be thrown in and may or may not be folded properly. I mean as long as M doesnt know, its ok right? (He does know… I’m sure he peeks into my drawers every once in awhile like a warden and is hurting inside whenever he looks at it).

      So comes this Marie Kondo book!! Her motto is essentially this: Hold on to the things that brings you joy and therefore, get rid of those that does not bring you joy.

      That itself was a revelation to me. I usually base my throwing out rituals to these questions: Do I need it? What if I need it for the future? Do I hate it? I realise now that those questions hinders me from getting rid of things. I am an absolute hoarder. I keep (or used to keep) boxes, plastic bags, fancy plastic/paper bags, any cards that were given to me, photos, countless stationery that may or may not work. When I asked myself ‘does this bring me joy?’, I found it easier to get rid of things. I guess this has also been gradual inclination of wanting to get rid of things that I do not need and so, it hasn’t been as hard or arduous job than it seems.

      Here are things that I have taken away from the book:

      1. Follow Marie Kondo’s system

      Marie Kondo have a system. Start with clothes, then books, then kitchen, etc etc. When you are sorting your clothes, take out all your clothes and wade through the things you want to keep (that brings you joy).  I kind of followed the system to a degree. After awhile, I thought it was easier to do things ‘room by room’ and have things ‘contained’. After all, whilst spring cleaning, there will be mess and lots of items out of the shelves/drawers.

      Pictured: left side – Not bring joy. Right side – Joy. Middle – Couldnt decide at the time.

      I soon realise that this system is less efficient and I couldn’t compare and look at ALL the items that are similar. For example, I had finished sorting through the kids clothes and then realise I have clothes in the storage area or in one of the room downstairs. I couldn’t then keep track of all the clothes that I have kept/chucked. It is far easier to see, for example, all coats/outerwear together and decide which one to keep.

      2. You will have to keep things that do not bring you joy

      Bills. Bank statements. Tools. These things do not bring me joy but is necessary to keep. But it’s ok… as wacky as it sounds, once I go ‘Thank you for your worth’, it’s ok. I learnt (or am learning) to keep the things I really do need, even if it does not sparks joy. And by keeping those that is essential (ie chucking all the paperwork that is not really needed or well past its worth), that load of items needed but not loved is much smaller.

      3. Everything has a place

      I know this is logical to many of you.

      But yes… that.

      4. Folding things and keeping it upright.

      Pictured: I can see everything! I think I have abot 30 scarves and technically should be able to wear a different one each day per month!

      Folding and keeping it upright saves so much space and lets me see what I have. This also means  that as I’m able to clearly see what I have, I tend to use items more often than before. You know how you always tend to grab the nearest item or items that you’re comfortable with…. now that there’s full visibility and I have far less items (hrhr), I use up things more!

      It’s been almost two months now and this still looks like how it is. So I hope this stays on as it is!

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