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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Cotswold trip

Today involved a lot of walking and hence I’m tired to the bone and the kids are asleep without so much of a fuss by 8.30 pm. (They normally have a lax sleep curfew in weekend unless we’re tired and need them to go to sleep)

The morning involved walking around Bleinhem palace. I think I’ve been to the gardens but not inside ….. or maybe not! I definitely have not been in the palace itself. I usually find palace/castle tours boring and pretty-much-the-same-thing. Also its usually stuffy and/or narrow inside and there’s not much of a reflection when you’ve got 50 other people in the same small room as you gawking at the same wall/throne/costumes. Inside the palace is actually nice and not stuffy at all. I mean there are the usual costumes and bedroom-gawking but you can walk through it quickly if its not your cup of tea.

Two things to note:

1. Glad we didnt bring the stroller. The gravel around the gardens would not make for good stroller riding. 

2. The kids were only slightly bored towards the end. So I had to bribe with promises of ‘present’ (snacks). 

What a nice view for snacktime!

Rule no 1 on going out on trips: Bring a lot of food/snacks. 

Ayman is going through a phase now where his invisble thread is now broken! He will go soooooo far before coming back to us. And it involves stern shouting before he will stop. 

Me: Sayang! Tu Ayman!

M: It’s ok… 

Me: What’s down there? (as Ayman zooms to the edge of a ditch)

M: It’s just a drop. (said very casually)


He stops just in time before the edge. Oh my jantung ku, you know that feeling where your heart stops for a second whilst you try not to regurgitate your breakfast. And all the while pretending to be cool about it. Ayman gives me his cheeky smile as he runs to me “Yes mamaaaaaa?” 

Baik jua ko kiyut.

I realise there’s a lot more of Ayman’s pics. Maybe cos Zayan was acting like a teenager and moaned about walking a lot/being hungry. He eventually behaves (stops moaning) after a telling off and starts playing/walking jauntily. 

Saw Nurul and family there (macam ku kenal suara urang brunei walau jauh di sana).

Had a late lunch and freshened up before realising we need to get a move on if we wanna go anywhere.

Unfortunately the weather turned even worse (raining, cold) and we went to the nearest attraction – Fairytale Farm.

Zayan has always been scared of feeding animals (but then again so am I). “Put out your hand!” I would squeal from afar. But this time he was brave enough to let the goats feed from his hands (uhhhhh….). Well done Zayan! Ayman as per usual ran away from us at every opportunity and tried to open the gates of the Alpaca enclosure/squeeze inside and climbed up the rabbit gates. 

Is it bad that I lament on how big the rabbits are and think of how meaty it would be to eat them? 

Not sure if I’ll ever eat rabbits. Mcm awww theyre so cute. But then again I have no qualms on eating cow/goat/sheeps – so why the problem with rabbits? Maybe its the thought of rabbits being a pet deters me off. 

Anyway, maybe a continuation next time! 

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We’re currently in the middle of nowhere somewhere in Oxfordshire. The parentals have been here for the last three weeks and finally there is a weekend that both M and I are off. So, I decided to book a place in Cotswold.

It also came a time when I’ve banned the ipad/youtube from the kids due to their appalling behaviour before we left for Cotswold (screaming, hitting, being untidy… typical kids behaviour I know but this was five notches up than their usual, so NO IPAD/PHONE FOR YOU TWO!). It might have come at the wrong time because the kids were driving up my wall all morning (its only 8… we’ve been awake since 6). Zayan wanted to write but I forgot to bring any paper/pen *face palm* Ayman was just in my face… like really, poking his hands on my face and pushing his cherls on me all the time. So I relented to them watching the Moana movie from laptop. Wow I can finally sit down and read and write. It’s such a bliss to actually hear myself think.

This place though has the best view. We came late yesterday at 9 pm… the wind bellowing, us chattering in the cold and just wanting to get into the warmth of the cottage. And the fireplace did just that.

All of us slept soundly last night. Maybe we were tired but the homey cottage ambience helped too. 

And then we woke up to this! MashaAllah.

Tempted to go for a run tomorrow morning (eseh sudah atu… tapi isuk karang malas jua takut sajuk). 

I mean, how can you not enjoy breakfast with a view and the breakfast made by le husband (sunny side up with toast)? Oh yes. Screaming kids, being a referee to their constant. battles and having eyes at the back of my head to make sure they (I mean Ayman) haven’t taken something and hid it somewhere else – his fave thing to do nowadays. Why did I say no to ipad again? (NO! One must stay true to your words!)

Also…. reminder to self: always always bring sos cilli maggi everywhere. 

Ok, over and out.

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I realise I’ve been neglecting this blog. So here goes….
It occured to me that there is a certain bond that you make with colleagues when you’re doing medicine. I mean, they’re the ones who are with you up in your arms, going through the throngs of patients to be seen, enduring the stick you get from relatives, standing by you as you shit in your pants together during a prolonged resuscitation (acting very calm and professional-usually- during those times).

There is a certain camaderie amongst medical teams and if you all get along, you’ve hit the jackpot! (Like a big family, some may not get along but for professional sake, you try to get along with what matters most – providing care and service to patients) And the thing similar to other frontline services… you and your team shares these sacred moments, never able to explain fully to people outside it what has happened that day … those rollercoaster of emotions whether frustration, sadness, or elation (or all of them!). 


Thanks, team! 

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Kampung Ayer

  Sometimes the world is changing so fast that I wish it would slow down. And though Brunei is not changing that fast, every time I come back (once or twice a year btw), there’s a new building or a new road. Which ultimately changes the landscape of the place. And changes the Brunei I know from when I first left, at 17 years old.

It makes me nostalgic sometimes. I mean, Tiong Hin was the go to place back then! Ok it was the only shop within a 5 km radius back then for my neighbourhood but it had everything! Supermarket on the ground level (bakery, doughnuts stall as well) and the first floor selling everything else from stationery to clothes to toys. I bought my dad a pen in those shiny galleries up there one year! And those sticker photobooths – my hommies and I used to frequent Tiong Hin just for that! 

Anyway I wish my kids knew about the Brunei back then too. Because Brunei may be boring and dead but there were memories made. Of playing in wide barren soft sand and no worries regarding cars and someone kidnapping you. And of swimming at Kampung Ayer, the Water Village. Ok so I almost drowned in my first (and only attempt) of swimming but memories were made!

To be honest, I was pretty miserable half the time whenever we stayed over at Kg Ayer. Mostly because there were A LOT of cats and cat poos. But that aside, it was fun! 

My extended family used to live in a house which extends lengthways. You could say it was like a bungalow on stilts in the water and it is a loooong one at that. When you enter through the double doors, just imagine a big space in the front which is the living room/tv room and then a long corridor all the way to the back, which is where the kitchen and toilets are. The rooms branch out from the corridors and I think the whole house housed around 10 people — not sure how many rooms there are — maybe 6 rooms? Oh also at the back, there is a room that has fashioned into the local neighbourhood’s corner shop. I just remember buying the lined exercise books so I can write random things in (call it my early start to blogging). 

Whenever we (the cousins) have sleepovers, we would lie out in the front hallway in a row, a sea of mattress and blankets. In the morning, you may have breakfast with a packet of rice & chicken sold by a guy who rings his bell around and sell nasi ayam from house to house. I dont remember if its nasi lemak but I remember his ayam goreng to be finger lickin good.

Sometimes it might be a different man who goes around selling ice cream. Ice cream back then was so simple but so good. It either comes in like a lolly stick (white carboard cover with polka dots that you push the stick up to get ice cream — it almost always is chocolate flavour) or those lil plastic bags that looks like a mini rectangular sandwich bag (yam flavour is my fave). My aunty used to buy in bulk even after my family moved out of Kg Ayer & we get a taste of the silky goodness once again. The cream is soft and silky and you gotta lick fast because there was no air conditioning back then (except in the masters bedroom) and things melt pretty quickly in the 32 degree weather.

Not all, as I said, were good memories. The toilets used to be non-tiled but still cemented. The rest of the housebwas mostly wooden I think. The front hallway is anyway! So anyway the toilet — when its wet (which inevitably always is), its a bit yucky to walk through. The worst is that I go in there, decide not to pee (maybe mental blockade?) and then go out again. A couple of minutes later, I realise I really do gotta pee and the whole process starts again. I think if Zayan was in my place, he would be similarly cringing and I would say 

Man up, child! JUST PEE! Stop being a city kid! 

 I may or may not have said this when we were in Jordan. 

What was the best though that the doors aren’t closed (except when we go to bed). The front door, the back door and the windows are almost always open. Mostly I guess to keep air flowing and not stuffy inside – remember no AC, just fans. Zayan was astounded to see fans back home. FANS. When he was younger, he would keep staring at it and now he’s older, I’ve thought him the fan/robot voice. You know when you stand close to the fan and your voice oscillates and sounds like a robot. Cheap thrills.

So the open windows and doors… a lot of the houses were like that in Kg Ayer. And that meant anyone can pop by. And anyone can join you and sit on the porch. Of course this is made easier because each and everyhouse is connected by wooden bridges. So your neighbours are practically connected to you. Sometimes its hard to tell when one house ‘compound’ ends and the other begin. 

I wish my kids knew how living there is like. It’s one thing to visit and another to actually be there, like how it was back in the days. 

Zayan Age 2.5 years

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Night shifts

So I was on nights this week and it was the first time Ayman (at 2 years and 4 months of age) reacted to it. Usually he would just ‘let me go’ without much of a tear or complaint. It was Zayan as a baby who would be crying and clingy and I remember giving the umpteenth goodbyes and hug before I could leave.

Anyway Ayman has been clingy with me the last couple of weeks. A few nights ago, he kept wanting a hug and I basically couldnt leave. I gave him a last hug, pushed him (because he wanted to follow me) and shut the door quickly. As I drove away, his little chubby face was at the windows, expressionless and he just stood there as I waved him off. 

Then the next day, he didnt even want me to hug or hold him. I was like the plague! Screaming and pushing me away when I held him. Wouldnt look at me. Oh Ayman!!!

It’s ok. I won him back… with  chocolate (at 7 pm!). Bad mama! But uhhh desperate times ok.

Anyway I’m sorry kids… I know you miss me when I’m away. And you know Mama miss you too! In fact, I told this patient’s mum how you didnt want me to hold you Ayman and she gave her baby for me to hold as compensation (very cuddly and has similar chubby cheeks. But it just wasnt the same… also he started whimpering when I took him)

But kids, as Mama says, Mama will always come back. 

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