Thursday, May 27, 2004


so, this is a delayed blog about travelling. in the span of four days this past week, i had been on a plane, van, boat, car, and train. it's amazing. i'm still amazed at modern travel.

here was my travel itinerary:
plane from boston to long beach airport
van from long beach airport to long beach boat terminal
boat from long beach to catalina island, and back
car around long beach
train from irvine to oakland

i have to admit that after all that travelling, it's been good to sit at home and do nothing. plus, the boat ride was not fun as it was very rocky and i was very sick. also, the fact that i had to lug around all of my stuff for the entire summer with me the whole time was definitely not fun.

but if you want to see pictures of the train ride, click here. disclaimer: some are blurry and lots of just pictures, but take them as you'd like.

Posted by Hello

{also, note my use of "travelling" instead of "traveling." i swear, i should be british.}

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

travel blog

please visit the travel blog, in addition to this blog, over the summer.

for those of you who don't know yet, i will be in vietnam for over 9 weeks this summer. in the travel blog, i will write about my adventures in vietnam. i will still continue to update this blog on other stuff.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Each mark on the upperside of the ruler is one inch. The dark one hits just about the three inch mark. Posted by Hello


5 puppies!!!! And she even waited until I came back to give birth to them!!!!


Sunday, May 16, 2004


so, i've been wondering why i'm having slight anxiety attacks... then i remember that i've been drinking coffee. i have to stop it. but i can't stay awake for studying otherwise. and staying awake is important granted i'm taking finals. argh.

oh, had a wonderful weekend. went to the beach in the south shore, went for a midnight walk in the park (and i have more than a few mosquito bites as proof), and had sushi! and then i studied all day today and will study all day tomorrow. yippeee. feel the excitement.

Friday, May 7, 2004

conciseness, concise-ity

are any of those words? i like the word concise. too bad i can't be concise in my posts. so, that's my new resolution: to be concise in my postings.

so, here i am being concise. it's nice today. i skipped class. i made a cake for a friend's birthday. i'm going to a barbeque for friend's birthday.

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

dien bien phu

it's funny. when i first saw this article on, nothing came to mind. i remember the name and knew that it was in vietnam. then, i read the story and was reminded, but gosh, i didn't know nearly enough.

first, how did 20,000 people die in that battle? granted, the battle was not just a "battle," but rather 60 days of fighting - but 20,000 people?! does anyone else find this incredulous. maybe it's because i'm used to modern worlds where few people die, few wars are fought on homelands, and colonialism, for the most part, no longer exists.

now that i think about it, there have been a lot of war or conflict commemorations lately, or that are upcoming. the anniversary of tiananmen square is coming up. rwanda was 10 years ago. iraq started one year ago. i don't know what to make of all of this. all i can say is that lately, i've realized that i've become some sort of pacificist. most, if not all, types of violence get to me much more than they used to. i guess it all happened after i took a class at uc berkeley on leadership and ethics. it was an awesome class and the part that i remember most and that i find is most significant in changing my view of the world is war and ethics.

as an intro to what was taught in that class (and yes, i'm a bit rusty, so feel free to chime in)... in just war theory, there are two things that are used to evaluate a "just war." jus ad bellum and jus en bello. jus ad bellum is having just reasons for going to war and jus en bello is conducting a just war. i'll use the current war with iraq that the united states is currently involved in. a lot of the reasons as to why people oppose the war in iraq is because the united states was not going to war for "just" reasons. my main objection, along with others', is that pre-emptive strike against a country that does not pose an imminent threat to either the country starting aggression or to the international community is not just. though people could argue the other side in saying that iraq did pose an imminent threat to the united states or to the international community (however, evidence on that is thin and has been misconstrued to the point where any evidence is dubious). to illustrate jus en bello, some can argue that the way that iraqi prisoners of war have been treated by american troops is not just. prisoners of war are granted rights, as accorded in the geneva convention, and those rights have been violated.

in summary, a "just war" must be just in its reasons and just in its conduct. however, after taking the class and thinking about it extensively, my idea of what just reasons are and what just conduct is has become very strict - so much so that most wars, especially modern ones, are unjustifiable, hence my recent pacifist leanings.

i don't know what i'm getting at. i guess just a mini-lesson on just wars. later, i can evaluate international justice and what can be done in terms of reconciliation (e.g. rwanda, south africa) and international aid and equality (e.g. sudan, debt relief, etc.). but that's for another night.

Monday, May 3, 2004

larger ramifications

i've been up to a lot of stuff lately, and none of it having to do with the academic side of being a medical student. rather, i'm trying to get involved and informed in the larger idea of what it means to be a medical student and a prospective medical professional. several things that i have done to sort of explore ways in which i can get involved:

* attended a talk by Sheri Fink, who wrote War Hospital. she graduated from stanford medical school but never did her residency and has since worked in Bosnia, Iraq, and Africa doing medical aid stuff. she talked about the difficulties of doing work abroad, which is salient for myself because of my upcoming trip to vietnam. one of the things that i found most fascinating was her discussion of our responsibilities there. not only as medical professionals, but as members of an international community. we represent out home country but we are guests in another. i think that is forgotten by a lot of physicians who think that they can go to some poor developing country and save a few lives and return to their nice suburban life, telling their neighbors and friends of the poor people that they helped. i don't know if i effectively got my point across, but you know.

* starting a student chapter of physicians for social responsibility with a friend in the public health program. when we were talking about what we wanted to do and what our goals for the club would be, it dawned on me that a lot of my classmates either couldn't care less and/or don't want to know more in order to care more. it's so surprising to me when i came to medical school to find that it was more conservative, more sheltered, and definitely more concerned with their own practice more than their own patients. i don't know if this is everyone's experience, but it has been mine. i'm sure that the people that i am thinking about when i say conservative, sheltered, and concerned with lawsuits and money think that there are too many wackos and lilberals in medical school.

i thought that there had been more things that i had done or attended that made me think of the larger idea of being a physician. oh well. i totally forgot them now. but yeah, i've had to question what i'm doing here in medical school. yeah, i'm getting a great education, supposedly getting smarter and learning, but really, what are my responsibilities after i finish and actually become a doctor?

one of the most memorable moments when it comes to my choice of a medical career was at a conference that i attended during college. then, i was working at a very small non-profit, doing women's health work. i was speaking to another advocate in the field and we were talking about public health and medical careers. i told her that i was considering getting a masters in public health in addition to a medical degree and i asked her if it was worth it getting a medical degree if i will just do public health work. what she said to me, which i will never forget, was "though i hate to admit it, the 'MD' after your name gives you a lot of respect and esteem among people. yeah, you may not actually be talking about medicine, but if they see those two letters, you're automatically 'in.'" it's amazing how titles and degrees, though you may not use the knowledge gained from them, get you places in the world. i'd hate to admit it or even concede to the possibility that i would "use" my medical degree in order to have an "in" with someone, but that's the world we live in. especially in politics, a field that i'm very interested in, that seems to be even more applicable.

so maybe i'm idealistic and optimistic (two charges of which i freely admit i am guilty). does that mean that i'm naive? no way. though i think i will change the world, i am happy with the thought that though it's unlikely i will change the world, it's highly likely that i will change someone's life. i just need to reminded of my idealism every once in awhile, especially where my day-to-day life consists of anatomy textbooks and physiology lectures.