Exit, Pursued by Dogs

News on my placement for the end of the year:
it looks like I won’t have to spend it here.
I’ve been approved for Dubai in November.
And while I’m overseas, I might sight-see in December.

But amid all this talk of international rotations,
classmates posting applications to distant nations
and their seemingly never ending conversations
on the frustrations
of ambiguous indications from hospital administrations,
I can’t help but sit back and recall
how it was before
back in ‘09 when I went to Singapore.

Well, I was quite broke back then
(plus ça change, plus c’est la même)
so I scoured the internet up and down
until I found the cheapest room and board around,
I ended up in the spare room of a siao liao gal.
It was uncanny how, her life seemed to resemble a Channel 8 drama
but I guess boarding so cheap that was probably my karma
and between two months of observing her life
with apparent addiction to chaos and strife,
I was pursued by a pack of eponymous hounds
I found them hanging around at the edge of town.

See trains and buses had stopped for the night
so, out of options, I hopped in a taxi despite
the cost and not knowing my precise address
my guess was close enough that I thought it best
to just get out and walk the rest.

Within a few hundred meters of my destination,
I managed to recognise a railway station
and decided I’d just follow the train line home.
I would have checked more carefully if only I’d known.
I picked the wrong direction to walk along the MRT,
the path got quieter til there was no-one bar me.

By the time I realised I was all alone
in a nearly deserted commercial zone
and decided maybe this wasn’t quite right
I’d walked almost an hour through the moonlit night.

I decided to turn and find my way back
and that’s when I ran into a stray pack
of five large dogs ready to attack
growling and snapping trying to circle my back.

I walked backwards all the way to the main road
keys in hand (the only sharp thing I had stowed).
Fortunately, once I re-emerged into streetlight
the dogs paused for a moment on the edge of the night
then decided to leave me alone
free to return to the long walk home.

A picture of me shortly before wandering off to be chased by dogs
(Apparently that thing on the so-called lantern has its own movie too. Who’d have thought?)

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Jet Lag Sans Jet

In the blink of an eye, time flies by
leaves us wondering how, where, why
the days got away and I really can’t say
what happened to our holidays but anyway
now it’s time to return for second term
to learn more about neuro, repro and derm
but between every lesson we ask the same question,
“What did you do while uni wasn’t in session?”
and most of this conversational procession
are professing the same confession:

“During semester I couldn’t sleep at night, right?
So why fight somnolence when I can do what I like?
Despite the zeit-geber I thought I might
catch up with sleep both day and night
irrespective of dark and light.

Now we’re back on our normal timetable
my sleep pattern could be labelled unstable, I’m unable
to reconcile my sleep phase with the days, it plays
havoc the problem lays in the way I stay
on the biorhythm I was living
in the two weeks given
for us to relax and it’s still out of whack
in fact I lack the ability to get it back on track.”

It’s classic jet lag – a text book example
except all the students in this ample sample
didn’t roam but stayed home in their own time zone.
(And you’re not alone in wondering why this poem’s shown
up after such a delay by the way,
it’s cos my internal clock’s still on Tuesday)