"Enter at your own risk! I bite!" eviltooth's Profile
Nah, don't worry, I don't bite. Contrary to popular belief, I'm not the eviltooth. In fact, this eviltooth doesn't even belong to me.
I saw a patient in the morning the day I came across VT, an old lady in her 70s who migrated from Mauritius. Speaking in broken but understandable English she told me "My tooth no good, give me pain all the time, wake me at night, very evil." I thought she's the evil one for not taking good care of her poor tooth stripped of defence by poor oral hygiene and frequent sugar intake. Of course I can't tell her she's evil, frankly speaking, I felt very sorry for her, as Mae West puts it so appropriately, "Love cures all but toothache and poverty", I told her she was very brave for putting it up so so long. ;) Anyway, the term "eviltooth" just got stuck in my mind and when I'd to enter a username for VT I typed "eviltooth" without thinking.
A Brief Intro
As you might have already guessed, I'm a dental student, finally in my final year after 5 years of toil and torture (by the patients, yes you hear me correctly, the patients, eventhough they're a fantastic lot who taught me so much through the years, sometimes I wish they would stop chasing after me for appointments) at the University of Melbourne School of Dental Science. Why did I end up in dentistry? All I can say is, it was an accident, a wonderful accident that was a huge turning point in my life. You must think I'm mad (at least most of my friends think so) but I really enjoy working in the public dental hospital, especially when my patients left with a smile (believe it or not, so far I haven't meet one who didn't ;)). It's a very fulfilling experience which I can't describe in words.
I probably caught the travel bug when I was just a few months old baby, when my parents would bring me to places around Taiwan (where I was born). I don't remember anything at all, not even after looking at the old photos I managed to dig out from the store room. We left Taiwan when I was only 1 and moved to Malaysia, the beautiful tropical country where my dad's family'd been living for centuries.
After staying in several big cities around the world (Taipeh, Kuala Lumpur, Shenyang, Milan, Singapore and a very brief stint in London) I'm now in Melbourne, Australia. This is one of the best place I've ever been to and I've made it my home. If any of you are dropping by for a visit, don't hesitate to contact me for any help. I love to show visitors around my adopted country (or should I say the country that adopted me? ;)), the enchanting country that caught my wondering soul.
A lot of VT members had asked me "You don't look Aussie, where were you from?". It irks me sometimes, that most people think that Australians are all descendants of Aglo-Saxons. Australia is one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world. Our people are drawn from over 200 of the world's nation, speaking more than 240 languages. 1 in 5 Australians were born overseas, but that doesn't mean we don't call this place home and be proud calling ourselves Aussies. The newspaper reported that no matter who wins the World Cup, someone in Australia will be out celebrating (the Koreans dancing and cheering on the streets in the city, the fireworks of the Turkish in Coburg, the pre-World Cup Final party of my German patient who came here in 1940 to escape the Nazi). This just goes to show how diverse our society is. True, I wasn't born here, I was made in Taiwan, but my friends in the pic were born and raised in this wonderful land.
From left to right: Ken, Dail, Yours Truly & Jung-kon's hand :þ
So what's the Aussie look? Come here and see for yourself. :)
I love learning languages. My mother tongue is Chinese (Mandarin), the language mum taught me even before I was born. ;) Chinese diaspora had existed for centuries and spread far and wide. My dad's family left China more than 500 years ago and settled in Malaya (Malaysia). When most Malaysian Chinese'd lost their identity as a Chinese, my dad's family clung on to our 5000 years of culture with pride, that all children born in the family must be able to read and write the language. I remember my late Grandfather told me, "No matter how well you speak English, they'll always look at you as a Chinese, you'll never be one of them, never ever lose your root. " So there I was, a 3 years old toddler learning how to read and write in a hot, humid afternoon when most kids were taking a nap. Mum would give me a writing test every day, and if I wrote a word wrongly I'd to write the word repeatedly 50 times before I was allowed to play with the neighbours' kids. I'm very grateful to my parents for that, without them I won't be where I am today. It's funny how people call the Chinese characters drawings/symbols, we call them writings instead. ;)
Besides Mandarin, I also speak/understand 3 other Chinese dialects: Cantonese, Shanxi, Sichuan and Yunnan. Cantonese, from watching movies from Hong Kong when I was young (yup, I'm a movie junkie). The rest I learnt from my parents and relatives just by listening.
The Chinese dialects are so varied that sometimes a person from one dialect group cannot understand others speaking a different dialect. China was made up of different countries with different language systems more than 2000 years ago until the Qin Emperor united them. He unified the writing system, but did nothing about the spoken languages. Despite his brutality and all the negative bits condemning him throughout history, I think he made one of the greatest contribution to the Chinese civilization. Oh yes, he also ordered the building of the Great Wall of China. When you are standing on the Wall admiring one of the great wonder of the world, don't forget that it was built with the blood of the suppressed people under the rule of a despot who, in today's world, would've been coined the title of a tyrant/terrorist.
I am supposed to be able to speak Malay, but after almost 10 years of absence from the country it's getting so rusty I doubt I can be on par with a kindergarten kid. I'm just glad I can still understand the language when I eavesdropped on people talking on the street. I can't help it, I love listening to different languages being spoken. ;)
Japanese & Korean
A few years ago, I taught myself Japanese and Korean. It wasn't very effective. I learnt how to read and write but when it comes to the meaning of the words I've no clue most of the time, but I can still speak a few simple phrases. Thanks to my friends Kotaro, Dail and Jung-kon who tried to corrupt me, a few swear words in Japanese and Korean might come in handy one day.
Currently I'm struggling to learn Polish. Why? I'm truly, madly and deeply in love with a Pole. Ah, the power of love. This gotta be the most difficult to pronounce language I've ever attempted to learn, with the sz, cz, trz, prz, grz, szcz, it's a wonder my tongue still haven't get tie up into a knot.
The pic is my name written in Arabic by my dai lo Firas (dr.firas). Beautiful, isn't it? :)
The Chinese say "Xing qian li lu sheng du wan juan shu", meaning "to travel a thousand li (don't ask me the equivalent metric measurement, to tell you the truth, I've no idea) is better than reading a million books". Knowledge comes with travelling and my dream is to visit every single countries in the world. Alas, so many places to explore, so little time, so little $. Most of my travels were done when I was young with my parents and I can vaguely remember much. Now I'm trying to make my dream come true with whatever savings I've and donations from my parents (I've to thank them for putting up with me ;)), starting from the state of Victoria, slowly, bit by bit, inching my way through and hopefully across the whole country one day. :)
One of my most memorable feat was the roadtrip across 3 states (Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales) with my boyfriend Dominik in July 2002. We (or rather, Dominik to be more appropriate) drove 2645km in 6 days. It wasn't a planned trip. We were only going to the Great Ocean Road for 2 days but ended up driving all the way to Adelaide and back to Melbourne.
I guess I don't like to plan and usually do things in a spur of moment. An itinerary only makes me feel trapped but I do love reading up on possible future travel destinations.
Dad is going to award me an all expense paid trip after my graduation (can't wait! I'm counting down, only 7 months and 25 days to go! :)). It's a tough decision on where to go but my top list would be the Silk Road from China all the way to the Middle East. Looks like I can't get away with planning this time.
The pic was taken at Sorrento (not the one in Italy :p). It's a great place for fishing located at the Mornington Peninsular in the state of Victoria.
I started collecting postcards when I was 5, when dad brought back my first postcard from Malaysia Airline. After that, he would bring back several for me whenever he goes on business trips overseas.
Postcards are my windows to the world. They bring me to places where I probably won't be able to visit in my life.
I've a special liking for postcards from UNESCO World Heritage Sites and aim to collect at least 1 postcard from each of the listed sites. Thanks to my friends who gave in to my begging and blackmail, I'm one step closer to my goal each time they travel.
Also special thanks to all VT'ers who sent me postcards: Katarina(keti_angel), Old Cliff(CliffClaven), Marco(Marco_Kainz), Elizabeth(va8eha), Håkan(El_Sueco), Krzysztof(yachoo), Butch(tropicalbirdartist), and Gerardo (xz3637), especially Håkan who also sent me a map of all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. :)
The postcard of the Edinburgh Castle (UNESCO World Heritage Site) was sent by my friend Shang when he was travelling in Scotland in April 2000.
The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. -----Mark Twain
I used to read a lot. It's a pity I now spend most of my time reading textbooks (ARGH!).
A list of books I read and enjoyed in the past few months:
Norwegian Wood by Murakami Haruki
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guan Zhong (Chinese, first read it when I was 8, love it so much I read it again)
Sun Tzu's Art of War by Sun Tzu (Chinese, another re-read)
Das Boot by Lothar-Günther Buccheim
Black Hawk Down by Maak Bowden
Conqueror's Road by Osmar White
The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II by Iris Chang (I've to admit, I can't say I enjoy this book, I know most of this part of the history through my grandparents, 1 of my grandpa fought the Japanese in China, the other in Malaya, but it's still very mind-disturbing)
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
'Tis by Frank McCourt
I just realised that most of the books I read had been war-related. Even though I enjoy reading these kind of books I hate wars. What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? There is no such thing as an inevitable war. If war comes it will be from failure of human wisdoms. When will we ever learn?
Books Recommended by VT Friends
Thus Spoke Zarathusdras: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietszche (dr.firas)
Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng (wen_viaggio) I've the Chinese version. ;)
Atonement by Ian McEwan (wen_viaggio)
Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes (wen_viaggio)
Tuesdays with Morre by Mitch Albom (wen_viaggio)
A Fortune Teller Told Me by Tiziano Terzani (wen_viaggio) Yup, we've this book lying around in the house, haven't get down to it!
is not another girl. Humans'll betray you but a dog never will.
Chub was abandoned by her previous owner in Wangaratta (North East Victoria). I was helping a tutor whose husband owns a vineyard in the region (Reads at King Valley) bottling wines when I came across her. I smuggled her on the 3 and 1/2 hrs train ride back to Melbourne. She was quiet and stayed in my backpack the whole time without making a noise. :)
I wonder why people have this false impression that Chihuahuas are noisy little dogs that won't keep their mouth shut. Mine never bark, she growls before she bites. ;) She may be tiny but she once bit off a druggie following me even after I told him I have no $ to give him :)
I can't help it, I just gotta upload this pic. I was crazy over sticker photos and this was taken when I visited Singapore again in 1999.
Crispian, thanks a million for declaring I'm your best buddy, thanks for standing by me all this while and putting up with my crap. Oh, and please don't kill me for calling you Crispy, you've someone else to account for.;)
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