Monday, December 1, 2008

Medicine in action?

This weekend I watched a rather entertaining Korean movie called 200 Pounds Beauty. It follows the exploits of a talented but highly unattractive songstress, Hanna, whose job is to be the "real voice" behind a popular pop star. As her dreams are steadily crushed because of discrimination against her appearance, she solicits the aid of plastic surgery to turn her into a real beauty. Leaving her old self behind, she starts life anew and achieves acclaim as a new and rising pop star, Jenny. But as her old life tries to catch up with her, she begins to realize what she is losing...

The above video is a song, Ave Maria, performed in the movie by Jenny. I have to admit, the movie was quite touching in the end. Still, obesity and plastic surgery can be dangerous subject matter since nobody ever goes back to being ugly in these movies, leaving the unpalatable reality that things just seem to go better when you're beautiful. 200 Pounds Beauty skirts this topic artfully, leaving Hanna still beautiful in the end but having come to all the correct moral realizations and outcomes. At the same time, it manages to comment on how difficult it is for those rejected based on their appearance.

I could not help but contrast this movie against two other Asian films I had seen that served as commentary on our fixation with beauty. The God of Cookery by Stephen Chow was a comedy where the leading lady was so ugly that she was spurned by the main character despite being incredibly kind to him, only to be accepted at the end of the film when she became beautiful. It was a bit of a negative and superficial message to be carrying in film, regardless of accuracy - Stephen Chow is a bit of a crude character though, so it's not entirely unexpected. In New Police Story by Jackie Chan, the leading lady is irreparably scarred in an accident on one side of her face, but the main character romantically demonstrates at the end that he still loves her. The message here was a bit idyllic, but certainly more positive and touching. I'd say that 200 Pounds Beauty's message lay somewhere in the middle, and it's certainly interesting to consider how different movies try to broach the same issues.


After school today, us men decided to practise our clinical skills - I guess because we were starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with the pace of learning. Our band of brothers consisted of myself, Maximus, Stewie, Kushima (after the character from Real Drive), and Alto [edit: Kon] (after Macross Frontier's protagonist). Other than history taking, our clinical skills to date consist of vital signs, respiratory exam, and JVP. A couple of the guys wanted to jump right into respiratory exam, but I suggested we start from vital signs. "I think we're all pretty comfortable with vital signs," someone retorted.

We broke into two groups, and after about ten minutes the other group called us over. "Could you double check this blood pressure for us?" Four of us tried. Four different answers were obtained. I told you we should start with vital signs.

Somehow, we eventually made it past vital signs and over to respiratory exam, which is a chest exam. We were hanging at Kushima's place, which is a suite style residence. Kushima shares the residence with several grad students who were not at home. I can only imagine how awkward things would have been for them had they returned home to find some shirtless guys being examined in their kitchen/common area... The things we go through for higher education.

To drown our sorrows regarding our still developing clinical skills and appease our growling tummies, we decided to go eat. We opted for a Japanese place called "New Generation" -- the newer of two restaurants called "New Generation" in close proximity of each other. In honesty, the two are actually sister restaurants, but the original looks more like it should be named "Old Generation" or "Old New Generation."

It was a pretty chill night of bento boxes, male bonding, and discussions about girls and relationships. If you are reading this and wondering just who we were talking about in these discussions, then we were probably talking about you. [Insert evil laughter here]


Alexis said...

Alto eh? Makes me wonder what their thoughts were in naming a guy after a female vocal section. =p

yubin said...

I want to know who everyone was talking about!!!!!!
tell me!!