i've got the cure for you

Solidarity of the Suffering
November 20, 2010, 1:21 am
Filed under: a purpose driven life, Life | Tags: , , ,

This is my third year here at the University of Toronto and being in a life sciences related major, it’s becomes apparent, if not right when I entered then most certainly by now that most people when they here about us think we’re ruthless in a somewhat dog-eat-dog world. Of course there are exceptions but that seems to be the general portrayal being passed around. Having a few friends in engineering, I can only admire just how much of a close-knit community feeling they have with each other. But I couldn’t for the longest time wrap my mind around why? It wasn’t until I was talking to a good friend of mine on the topic of suffering. And using the engineers as an example in our discussion, it’s normal for most if not all to be failing below a 60% but it’s still not the end of the world for them. But how is that close-knit feeling harvested from failing? Perhaps if we looked back to the basic human suffering we can find that answer. Okay, I’m going on a huge tangent here that seems nothing related to health but hear me out. I think it’s through human suffering that is what brings solidarity between all of us. And one example that depicts this clearly is cancer.

For centuries we never knew it existed but now we realize it continually encompasses such a large population of the world. Breast cancer has progressively shown just how much suffering can bring us all together, whether you are living with it, a close loved one or even someone you had just met and diagnosed the next day. And just these two words alone in a conversation with a stranger brings an immediate unspoken connection. On the official launch date of the Youth4Health group, standing at the new ELLICSR space in the basement of the Toronto General Hospital listening to Scott answer my questions about the Cancer Survivorship Program at PMH made me realize this solidarity from suffering all the more. Did you know that there was no real  survivorship program for cancer patients prior to this one that was just implemented five years ago? I think it all started with group of passionate people that got together and realized what was lacking and the real support needed to be given patients outside of treatment and the doctors office. From our icebreakers and sharing, I strongly believe that some type of suffering brought all 7 us together to form a subgroup of the Youth4health. We’ve all experienced suffering in some form or another, as a victim or a personal witness. Either way, I’m sure a few of those moments have shaped the way we are and the way we see our lives.

Recently, I just learned that someone that I work with had to discontinue their studies to take care of their mother who had just gotten back positive biopsy samples for breast cancer. No one expected it, but suffering happens. And the mother will never look at life the same way again but I admire my colleague for the dedication and compassion. But this is one story out of several others that exist out there. Because of suffering, we try to make the best of the situation and continually improve patient outcomes through research, support groups,etc. Like the people that help launched the PMH Cancer Survivorship Program, I couldn’t be more excited to be part of something so moving and contribute to their work. Jill has worked hard to find a unique group to come together and I sincerely think all 7 of us have something equally special to bring to this project from our life experiences. Solidarity.

(This was also a post I made for the Youth4Health website which you can check out here.)

Warmth & Aminata Diallo
April 3, 2010, 8:13 pm
Filed under: bookworm, Life | Tags: ,

The weather has been great lately, but not as spectacular the weatherman keeps telling us. Hit up the beach yesterday with a beloved in a spring dress with flip flops, but around 4pm. I was fully expecting the 25 degrees to last well into 6-7pm. Sat on a beach towel feeling cold instead and disappointed. My arms are already open to embrace summer but where are you oh sweet warmth?!

An update on my list of books I purchased a few posts back:

The Book of Negroes - Lawrence HillRecently finished the Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill and filled me with some despair but not as much as Dr. James Orbinski’s Imperfect Offering. That book made streams of injustice and deep despair flow down my face. To summarize in a one sentence, it’s a fictional story of a young girl, Aminata Diallo, about 11 rain seasons old taken by people of the slave trade as she desperately tries to find a way back to her village, Bayo, and a new home, and the important role she played to the  society as a survivor while she loses everything and struggles to keep her dignity that hasn’t already been stripped away.   The narration by Hill is amazing and the progression of the protagonist’s worldview is captivating as she flees from one place to another. Although it is a fictional novel, the fact that some aspects of it is highly true makes it hard to swallow. The ending was perfect and leaves the reader feeling something was finally given back to her after so much has already been so unfairly taken away. This book was recommended to me by someone very dear to me and I can’t thank her enough for the great read.

My review is obviously insufficient so here’s more for you to explore. Enjoy!



March 19, 2010, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Life

If only weather permitted, I’d spend it like this.

From: The Sartorialist

February 3, 2010, 12:28 am
Filed under: Life, Love, Mushy

to the one that matters  a lot in my world.

Balloons for you !

Can't do without confetti.


SORRY, I wiped that smile off your face
January 29, 2010, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Life

Can I just stick my head in the ground like an ostrich while the world crashes around me?

It’s just a sad week.

To my bestfriend.
October 14, 2009, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Life, Love

There is something beautiful about buying your bestfriend a cake to celebrate and show how proud you are of them for standing up for themselves.

“Sometimes the best gifts are when there are no special occasions” – Ted Wu

SpeedM flickr

Happy Birthday Grandma
August 29, 2009, 5:09 am
Filed under: food for thought, no it's just food, Life, Summer, Travelling

Day 5 HK:

Grandmother’s 71st BIG birthday bash.

Didn’t get out of the house until around noon to go eat dim sum with some of the guests coming to the party. My brother didn’t join us because of class but my little cousin with my 3rd Uncle came with my grandparents and I.

A little background about my little cousin.  She’s currently 4 and an half years old. Looks extremely similar to my 3rd Uncle. (Chinese people order all aunts, uncles, relatives, etc all my numbers) Cute at times but like all kids, can be very annoying.  My grandmother says she is exactly like me when I was young, but I see huge differences though. One of them being, she talks SO MUCH. My 3rd Uncle was joking with me saying that if she doesn’t get to talk, she’ll die. No wonder HK people love to talk and love being LOUD.

Dim sum was followed by Mahjohng for the guests that wanted to play. I went and got some shoes with Sophia around the Miramar centre. For some reason I had a tough time accepting studs on my shoes. I had Sophia kept questioning why. Probably because I associate studs with people that are into the rocker style, which I didn’t think would suit me very well. In the end, I got Gladiator styled shoes with the studs that turned out well. Sophia always makes me take huge leaps in terms of my fashion sense.

Headed back to Miramar centre and went to a Makeup /Salon shop where my grandmother and aunt were already getting their makeup done by Chen Mun Fei. Those not aren’t familiar with him, he’s the best makeup artist in HK and is the son of who is deemed the “Father of Makeup”. I waited for my turn to get my makeup done by him and had my hair also done by one of his students. Originally was going to have my hair put into a French Crown but then I was rearranged to just have loose curls, which still turned out nice.

Night of my grandmother’s huge birthday bash was a success and everyone had tons of fun. We had about 25 tables so that’s about 250+ people. We had to have the whole restaurant booked. You’re 71 only once right? The show never stopped. Opening was Lion Dance by one of the clubs in HK followed by presents being given to my Grandmother on stage. Tons of family photos. The food was spectacular with Shark Fin soup, Abalone, and other various dishes. We were also happy to have Sit Ka Yin,  Chow Yun Fat’s mother and others come join this joyous celebration. I finally got to dig my face into some really good butt buns (sao bao). I’ve been waiting 3 years for it and relished the moment! Lots of prizes were handed out. My grandma even purposely brought over tons of Ginseng from Canada as part of the prizes. (I had no idea Canada was known for that.) We had different people perform on the stage for us while my Uncle MC’ed the whole night. It was so nice to see so many of my grandparents friends come out to see them. My grandfather even had 4 tables worth of friends that he knew from back when he worked on a UMS ship. All the ship company’s exec’s came to wish my grandmother a happy birthday and gave them a beautiful ship made out of gold. My dad’s side of the family is pretty big and all of them came. I honestly have a tough time with my brother learning what to call them by. (Western people don’t differentiate family and relatives the way the Chinese do. )The party ended late and we were all exhausted. Without going into anymore detail, all in all, everyone had a good time.

Happy Birthday Grandma.