A Blog About An Asian Medical Student. Yes that's redundant.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An International Student's Road to Medical School

When we think of Asian medical student, we usually think of highly pressured shells of social liveless calculators, who are able to find a sustinance on rice, Spam, and piano lessons.

Then they kick our ass on the MCAT and become the best damn Internists and Surgeons possible.

The more liberal ones? We do family medicine through the shamed whispered tones under our family's beguilment.

Today I tell you the story of another type of Asian medical student.

The kind you don't usually think of.

The kind - from Asia.

...

Growing up, I was told about a young kid who was born in mainland China. During that time period, certain goverment policies made living difficult for people of particular educational backgrounds.

Anyone notice how politically sensitive I wrote that?

Toyin's family was unable to make a good living where he was born, so they subsequently left the small town he was born, relocate in Hong Kong when he was a child.

As the only male child in an Asian family of four children, his destiny was clear: medicine.

Bring face to the family, take them out of poverty. Medicine is to Asian people what sunlight is to flowers - life itself.

And that is where Toyin's story begins.

By the time he was 16, working multiple jobs and keeping together the shattered remains of a broken family, Toyin was sponsered by an uncle to go to Canada.

He had some family in Alberta - his grandfather came during the end of railroad construction and owned a restaurant. He was told Canada was full of gold. Full of opportunity.

That was where the future would be.

Toyin's uncle sponsered him to go to Edmonton. Shortly after he arrived, the uncle passed away.

And then the young man was alone.

Poverty stricken and alone, he worked odd jobs at restaurants and put himself through school. For a time he took work in camps, but ultimately his focus was on the same dream it had always been.

The dream of being a doctor.

He sent back what money he could to his mom back in Hong Kong, to take care of his sisters. He worked and he worked, but in an all too familiar plight,

his marks through high school were not that great. His university marks were adequate, but not super strong.

So he did what any aspireing medical student would do.

He went into pharmacy.

Complething his degree, he worked as a pharmacist for a few short years. He made good money, had a good life.

But he knew he had a dream. He knew it wasn't money or lifestyle that draws people to what he wanted to do.

He wanted to be a doctor due to the passion he had for it.

And that didn't change.

His relatives scoffed at him. As a wealthy pharmacist, why throw away time on another career?

He still fought on.

His relatives laughed at him. Was he stupid? He had a great career already, the money he needed. What else could he want.

He still fought on.

The Road to Medical School continues, irrespective of adversities. The heart of someone who wants to be a doctor, is the heart that drives someone to become a doctor.

He still fought on.

So as is dictated for a pharmacist, he did the logical - applied to medical school.

And he didnt' get in.

As if the fates were using him as a case study for medical students, his path

that had him struggle through university

that had him rejected from medicine

that had him become a pharmacist

that had him rejected from medicine again

led him to what we all know is the unshakable natural progression;

pay a lot of money to go to an International Medical School.

Having gone back to Asia, Toyin applied his work ethic to complete his MD. He found a doctor wife, and she travelled back to Canada with him.

They became married, and they started a life together.

As they were completing their residencies, an unexpected turn of events rocked their lives.

A baby boy was born.

And their lives stopped for a moment. The wife stopped her psychiatry residency, the husband stopped training to be an internist.

Family medicine. Pun and all.

Their world expanded, a beautiful daughter was introduced, their careers bloomed to be professionals well loved in their homes.

Honour was brought to their families.

A great life was built.

So much thanks to the Road traveled in medicine.

...

He became the director of a large Canadian medical organization. His family's medical business expanded.

And then...

His life took another turn.

His family broke apart.

His business went under seige.

His credibility questioned.

But;

He still fought on.

And he will never give up.

...

My father's full name is Dr. Edward Toyin Poon.

An established doctor for 25 years.

He currently is under trial for sexual assault.

He has lived a life that has spanned the world, started a family, built an empire, and helped countless lives.

All from one dream.

To be a doctor.

Today is Father's Day - a time to reflect on the male role models we have had in our lives. Whose stories have affected us in particular ways, sometimes for the better, sometimes elsewise.

Regardless of how difficult, challenging, and changing times we have in our lives, there are some unshakable truths.

We are alive. We have a mother. We have a father.

Dr. Edward Toyin Poon is my father.

He is my dad.

He will always be.

- David

Thursday, June 17, 2010

David Poon and the Road to Medical School: Funny Story / Love Story

aka Poon is NOT A SEXIST
aka A Revisionist Love Letter to the Disgustingly Cute


I’m probably never getting married.

And no, hah hah it’s not just because no one would ever bother marrying me.

There are websites for that. And I have my Mommy’s credit card.

No, it’s because I doubt my non-stop repertoire of never ending wit and charm is honestly enough to convince a girl to spend the rest of her life with me.

And no, hah hah that doesn’t mean I’m going to go to men.

I mean, I’m not going to switch to men.

Cause I’m don’t need to switch.

Cause I like girls.

Not men.

No switching needed.

Cause I’m straight.


Italics means emphasis, not sarcasm correct?


Correct!?!?

^-_-^

I remember during the first year of medical school, we were all put in mandatory sessions to learn something like ‘balance in life,’ ‘avoiding burnout,’ ‘childhood obesity’ you know, generally topics that had no relevance to our careers as doctors, but we’re required to know because someone crashed and burned during school and therefore the Faculty had to institute policies to show they cared.

Hm…

I wonder if next year they are going to introduce “How not to end up like David Poon to the curriculum.”

Hah.

Who am I kidding.

They already have childhood obesity.

One thing that sticks out in my memory the most was the Faculty having one of these sessions, with a very particular piece of advice:

“Your relationships will be strained. You will be on call, you won’t see your family, your spouse will argue with you. Be prepared.”

We then hear about high rates of divorce amongst surgeons, and how women in residencies typically put off having kids.

I’m not being sexist here, I mean it’s just very difficult to have a child and not take maternity leave (not that women HAVE to), so many women choose (BECAUSE IT IS THEIR CHOICE BECAUSE THEY ARE AUTONOMOUS IN AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY WORLD) to have children later in life (NOT THAT BEING OLDER MATTERS BECAUSE A WOMAN’S AGE DOES NOT AFFECT HER CAREER, PERSONALITY, OR MARRIAGE PROSPECTS).

Additionally, because of the nature of medicine (long hours, call shifts taking you away from home) marriages can just fall apart.

So forgive me that my relationship jadedness was further exacerbated by that little piece of advice.

Fine, chalk it up to immaturity.

When we first heard this talk, a good handful of us were probably immature too. And not just because of age, some of us just hadn’t been in a real relationship.

About six of us, me included, were 19 when we got into med.

How well do you think we could handle relationships and medicine at the same time.

I mean really, if I can barely handle girls now…

How well do you think I could handle women 4 years ago?

And just to clarify….

I don’t mean handle women physically.

Cause I’ve never been allowed to.

I mean, handle them emotionally.

Not that they NEED to be handled per se…

Cause they’re not objects.

To be objectified.

Cause independent creatures don’t need handling.

Cause they don’t need to be controlled.

Cause they can’t be.

Not that women should be controlled!

Cause they’re not animals!

OR CREATURES FOR THAT MATTER!?!??!

I’M NOT A SEXIST!!!!!

I’m heterosexual!

NOT THAT I FEEL THE NEED TO REASSERT THAT EVERY TIME I MEET NEW GUYS.

AND I DON’T MEAN “GUYS” LIKE MEN.

AND I DON’T MEAN “GUYS LIKE MEN”

CAUSE I LIKE GIRLS.


I met this half Asian, half not Asian girl my first week of med. She was the same age as me (and therefore TOO OLD FOR ME TO DATE), and I thought she would be a great friend to me.

Luckily, this half breed girl had a broken leg, so couldn’t run away from me. Which I guess in retrospect makes her the perfect female in my books.  

In short she met this half Asian, half not Asian boy a few months later. They got married recently, after years of dating.

At any wedding here in Canada, convention states that the ‘dinging’ of a class with a utensil demands a kiss from the newlyweds.

Course in the marriage of two half breeds, there is really only half convention.

So at their wedding, we ding our glasses – but before they would kiss, the requisite was a “funny story’ about the couple had to be told.

There were naturally the tearful stories of friendship from the bridesmaids (not that women only cry) and the plethora of sexual innuendos from the groomsmen. The drunk uncles (made much funnier by the fact that that they were drunk ASIAN uncles) held the spotlight whenever baby stories were needed.

Missing something though.

These two people… they met in medical school

Now, I started with both the half-breeds, and realizing that my entire class is far too polite to embarrass the happy couple, that left me to tell the tales that were unmentioned.

Seated at the table with me was my Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. Knowing that I have my fledging stand up comedy career and a “hilarious” website that confuses the copious use of punctuation marks as humour, she suggested I say something.

And as we all know, as the great medical student I am, I follow medical orders to the tee.

Believe it or not, I’m not nearly as funny as I lie to myself. My spontaneity, hidden amongst a plethora of dramatic silent beats and puns, is actually a result of planned anecdotes running concurrently with a thesaurus.

Pretty much, I had to think of something.

And I thought…

Definitely talk about their public displays of affection (PDA).

One of the bridesmaids mentioned how over the first few weeks, the girl slowly started sitting in the front row to be next to the boy.

I sat in front row too.

I think it’s safe to say I started moving towards the back.

I doubt I’ll ever be able to wash the image of him functionally GROPING her scalp in front of all 140+ of us in class one day.

It’s like how in a movie theatre, you expect people having sex to be doing it in the back.

So you sit in the front, so you can see the movie in peace.

Except in this case, replace movie with fundamentally important mandatory learning, put the innocent bystanders in the back, and place disgustingly cute somewhere in the unavoidable in between.

Oh oh, and I got to mention one time they invited me to go to the park with them.

She, in her short shorts, and he in his tank top…

… touch Frisbee has forever been scarred in my mind.

Emphasis on the word touch, incaseyoumissedit.

But I scrapped that idea for a speech, cause honestly, I embarrassed the couple enough for potentially accidentally buying them some sort of softcore porn called ‘Young Doctors in Love’ as a wedding gift instead of a toaster.

I figured it would be hot enough in the old breadmaker.

Get it?

A pun.

Like toast.


But then it occurred to me that the funniest story may be the oddest one…

The fact that the story existed at all.

I wanted to tell the story of a girl from a small rural town in Alberta. She dreamed of bringing back to the isolated communities, yet ironically grew up alienated from her own family as she grew older.

How through sheer determination, she became the top of her class over and over again despite circumstances dictating that she would have to do it alone.

How at 19, her work ethic and focus led her to medical school. And led her to meet her future husband.

I wanted to tell the story of how she inspired me. A girl no older than I, with far fewer supports and privileges, who overcame nigh unbearable odds.

Who ultimately had the courage to rely on her future husband, even if she didn’t know it at the time.

While I struggled and fought, kicked and screamed, cried and hurt alone,

she opened her soul that had been so long neglected, gave her heart to a man who at times seemed solely to exist to hold it.

She was young like me

but brave.

As my own life collapsed, I could not find my peace. My devotion to medicine overpowered my responsibilities to myself.

As her life fell apart, she gained new strength in medicine – her partner, in her class, could share her every pain

from losing her first patient

to delivering her first baby.

Whether she was next to him in first row, or away from him for a year in Rural Family medicine, her strength, her inspiration, her capacity for and from the person she loved made all the difference.


I wanted to tell the story of a girl who knew the value of something I will forever regret not knowing the value of sooner.

She knew the value of love.

The power of an unconditional bond in the darkest of moments.

The pleasure of going to class with someone you know you want to spend every moment of your life with.

The end of call shifts, collapsing beside a person who, despite staying up for the past 26 hours plus, is never too tired to hear you whine, complain, or most importantly, cry.

I dinged my glass.

Got up to the microphone.

The groom said, “Now I’m scared. Is this about a toaster?”

My classmates smiled, “Maybe he’ll say something funny… for once.”

I started;

“Funny story.

Med school was wrong.

You can find love.”

In between the public fondling, grossly absurd public displays of affection, and sometimes just sickeningly cute couple talk;

I realized how they made each other stronger.

In every painful experience on the wards, there was another experience that the couple could share.

Within the madness of choosing a specialty for their individual futures, they understood how simple their decision really was, simply because what mattered was already there; they were together.

The stress of medicine didn’t tear them apart.

It bonded them together.

In a profession where the darkest moments of despair consume you…

In palliative care, where an old man watches his wife become decimated by cancer.

In neonatal, where a young couple prays for their first born.

In the wards, where some kid plays with his DS while her bedridden grandpa sleeps another day away.

In the ICU, where the solitary beep of the heart monitor is your patient’s only companion.

You learn the value of love.

You learn to appreciate it.

You learn exactly what it means to find it.

And you learn exactly how beautiful it is to have it.

On the Road to Medical School, we were all prepared to compromise on our emotions. We were all ready to sacrifice our happiness for our careers, our relationships for our goals.

But I saw something different.

I saw the impossible.

I saw four halves make a whole.

And I am truly blessed to have witnessed such a spectacle.

Funny story.

I figure I’d like to get married someday.

Just, after I get my MD.

I’m fully Asian, after all.

- David

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Site Updates: Wacky banter, late updates, and advertisments.

Falling... asleep.

Will be posting a new chapter in the Road to Medical School with in 24 hours. 

I know, I know, I keep putting it off. 

But at least I'm not off putting.

...

Well, maybe to the ladies.

I posted a newPOON Classic (totally ironic, late/new, GET IT?!?!!?!) describing my deft experiment with sleep. 

Also, a few new points regarding doyoubelieve.ca itself:

My sister felt the need to start "defending" herself in my Tweets that may be somewhat "totally incorrect." 

Since she and I have pretty enjoyable banter when she is COMPLETELY WRONG I figured I'd let her have a concurrent Twitter feed to keep me "h

onest."

Or to "quote" "her" for the "truth"

"Everything my brother has said about me is a lie."

Sheesh, if she was always around I'd never get to date a girl.

Heck

if she spoke up about my thoughts

I doubt I'd ever TALK to one ever again. 

Then again. I still haven't. 

Someday... a pretty girl will talk to me, and it will be special. 

- David

Also advertisements. If you click, I get like, a penny. 

That's like twice my going rate on the street!

POON Classics Page

Quick update

Putting in a POON Classics section to go over my original great story arcs.

Project David Doesn't Sleep (PDDS) was actually the first story that I ever crafted on my blog back when it was called the Dissonance Connection.

Will tell more about it when I'm not falling asleep.

POON Classics

- David

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What Ever Happened to David Poon Reflections and Thanks to the Reader

aka I Never Bothered to Reply to Everyone But You All Deserve a Response So I Made a Blog About It



It's been about a week since I've reintroduced myself to the world.



I've seen some old faces



wonderful to see you again by the way;



I got to know a few new people.



Kept my blog running regularly... not sure if I have any readers, but I kept it going regularly, which I'm happy with.



I went to my original class's graduation. Loved it.



Went to their camping trip. Had my yearbook signed. Loved that too.



Also burnt a couple of marshmallows.



And my dad's trial started (if you haven't already seen the numerous news stories).



I want to write about the above eventually - though I'd much rather like to dedicate this note to the wonderful support that I have been receiving since my return.



After hanging out on Internet forums, blogs, and Youtube comment sections for a while, I've learned that there are two ways an author can interact with his or her readership.



1) Jump into the comments and adamantly fight whoever has a different opinion than you with racial slurs, sexist jokes, and an abundance of swear words whilst questioning your perceived opponent's sexuality, or;



2) Something with class.



The following instant message I received perfectly encapsulates the kind of sentiment I want to convey here.



[10-06-12 2:31:22 AM]: you there?

[10-06-12 2:31:32 AM]: i have a question for you

[10-06-12 2:31:51 AM]: do you ever respond to people personally or do you just post new blogs?



^-_-^



She had a point… not all the response I get to my work is seen in the comments section.. quite the contrary, it’s usually more private.



And I never answer.



Because I don’t…



Well…



Hm.



Why don’t I?



Okay, to start with set one



(the following are amended and made anonymous)



“It's 3 am here. Just saw ur post on fb and wanted to see what u've been up to… I am really shocked to hear what's happened in your life. I had no idea and I feel bad for not knowing cuz I would have been reaching out to you to give you as much support as a friend can give.
I'm over here and ur over there... But I consider you a close friend. Definitely very fortunate to have gotten to know u back when I was in Regina.. Hope u are doing ok my friend.”



This was the first message I received regarding the subject a week ago.



This is the kind of friendship I’ve been so blessed to have. This guy I’ve known for years and he ended up moving away.



But his note embodies the warmth that I have continually feared I would lose. The connections I’ve built with people who have since left my life during the past two years.



There’s a quiet, and reassuring comfort, I have in reading something like this because, well…



I’ve had my insecurities before that I have only the fleeting, transient relationships. That people are only with me because it’s available, or worse, convenient. To be appreciated in this type of way offers me a sort of twisted validation that makes me feel both comfortable and safe.



Now, I don’t need external validation to be me.



It’s just… so nice to know I can have it when needed.



Thank you.



“David, I admire your bravery in writing this, and your skill in pulling off the most difficult subject of all, oneself, with humor and honesty.

I'm rooting for you. And I'll be lurking through your notes in the future, as I have in the past. You have a gift for writing.”



This guy has been my secret keeper for about a year now. Worked with him on a professional level, though we are distant enough that I feel he can be more objective about me than friends I’ve known more closely.



He points out a style in my writing that I never really noticed before… sad humour. Something so beautifully tragic that the only option is to laugh. The sheer isolation of choice in how to deal with the remorse creates all the more pathos.



And while I’m certain he’s just being polite, not being referred to as a coward, or something similar, gave me confidence early on to continue with sharing my stories. I worried that I was just being a chatty Cathy or something.



A non sexist chatty Cathy.



If that’s possible.



Again, maybe he’s just polite – but I want to develop a gift for writing. Maybe someday I’ll write a book.



And this time, it won’t be full of nude pictures.



Thank you.



“wow david..i had no idea..i can't imagine how it feels to go through what you have been going through. im also amazed you are still standing! thank you for sharing this - i know it can't have been easy,

i feel that struggle allows us to become more resilient and stronger..while you've had more than your share of lemons, i think you'll come out of this to be a better human being. take care and goodluck, david!!”



This friend of mine tends to be a little verbose.



But he hits a couple of key points that I’m glad he identified.



It’s so nice to know that I’m not alone – not alone in the sense that my train of thought is rational, and that my choices are reasonable.



I mean, I actually did laugh as he finishes his message with a lesson that is essentially “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – but that was a lesson I learned throughout this process, and he sums it up correctly.



Thank you.



Oh, I love this one:



“keep nose in books. Sometime give me a 50-word summary. I am too lazy to read your 4000-word blog piece.”



From a trusted and wonderful professor I knew.



Thank you.



“I stumbled upon your note on fb and just had to read it. You are a very strong person to have dealt with so much in such a short time and still remain standing. I wish you success with everything you do and I hope you keep on moving on and up. You're an admirable person.
You will be a GREAT doctor David.”



Here, my friend touches on something that makes me happy anytime I hear it. That I’ll find my place in medicine, and find myself in it very well.



Sometimes I need that reassurance…. And the shortest of notes, the simplest of gestures means he world to me when it comes along.



This girl has listened to me complain for a very long time…



Thank you.



“It was great to see you, even briefly. I came on facebook to tell you so and saw/read your blog… Any hour of the night, you can knock. It would be good to see you.

You're a really interesting, strong, and brilliant person, and I'm so glad that I met you. I wish I'd been bolder and called you more (at all). Are you going to be around this summer?”



This was a nice surprise.



I knew this person for a few weeks last year. Then out of the blue I cross her path a few days ago.



Perhaps it’s self aggrandizing, borderline selfish, or genuinely altruistic, but I want to be able to leave a good, lasting impression on everyone I meet.



For this person who barely knows me to offer her time, her ear, and her compliments, that is warming to the heart.



In addition, she expresses a sentiment I do with many people – I wish I had called more.



Let’s meet up this summer.



Thank you.



“Hey David, I know this is probably a tough time for you, so i just wanted to give you my best. “



This guy has known me for at least a decade. We weren’t really close.



But to go out of his way just to say hi…



Thank you.





“I noticed your post “what the hell happened” to David Poon. The second I saw that title, the first thought that ran through my head was “yeah… what the hell DID happen to that guy”. Reading through the post, I see that you have had an enormously trying time these last two years.

I won’t attempt to go through in detail my thoughts upon finishing reading your post, so instead I will simply share with you my concluding thoughts on your situation. People have crumbled under less opposition than you have faced, and rallied themselves less completely. The mere fact that in spite of the circumstances, and indeed because of them, you have revisited what is important to you in your life, and identified a direction that you want to take, I feel demonstrates more personal strength than many people show in a lifetime.

You are an admirable individual, and I hope you take heart in that fact.

Your friend-“



This one means a lot to me, because it comes from an individual who I have greatly respected for years. We lost touch since I left Regina six years ago.



I want to start at the end of his message…



Just calling me his friend…



Something we usually don’t say aloud.



Was so significant.



Because sometimes, in my most private moments.. I’ve felt alone.



Now, I have tons of ‘friends’ in some sense. I was president of my school, and I’m generally loud enough that I attract a lot of attention. Interestingly, this individual spent most of my presidency making fun of me for even caring about student council.



But sometimes, I just feel horrendously alone. As if I have no one.



To be reminded, by someone I thought I had lost…



It feels great.



I want to believe that I did something good out of an impossible situation. Maybe I did. I wish there was some giant scoreboard in life “David is at +11 in life!” to know that I did make a lot of progress, to know that I had fought.



I want to know if I was strong. If I overcame something significant.



Or did I just crumple like nothing.



I still doubt myself greatly. But… my friends help me put those feeling in perspective.



Thank you.



“I know, this is a little random. I read your blog earlier and I honestly hope you are okay. I can fully say everyone in my family has you and your family on our minds and in our hearts. Even though I haven't seen you in a rediculously long time, I think that what you have been doing is amazing and that even though things are probably very difficult for you right now, I hope that you keep on going and do what you do best. You're going to be an amazing doctor.”



Close family friend who has been out of my life for at least a decade.



A reminder that while many have left my life…



… so many never did. And I am so grateful for that.



I should remember that more often.



Also, it’s nice to be called ‘amazing’ once in awhile.



Though again, she’s just being polite.







I’ll take it anyway.



Thank you.



“i read your blog post this morning. to tell you the truth it was pretty inspiring. i really hope you meant all the things you said, cause it kind of gives me hope. its like tuesday's with morrie, except so much better. when i read tuesday's with morrie i was expecting to change my pattern of thinking or look at the world in a new way, and maybe i just wasn't ready to read and appreciate that book at the time i read it, but honestly your blog post was way more revealing and insightful - well maybe i just needed to hear those things from a friend. It sounds like you have a clear focus on what you want in your life now. I am extremely proud of you.”



I had to look up what Tuesday’s with Morrie was.



I suspect you threw in a lot of hyperbole… but your comparison humbles me.



If am in my life able to inspire people to a fraction of the energy I was given by my role models and idols, I would feel I have contributed in some meaningful way.



I really do try to write with an air of purpose… I've just been happy that, some of the time, my stories have had some impact on my friends and strangers. I want that to continue.. if I were just a little bit better of a writer.



I miss you a lot.



Thank you.



"Clap clap clap clap
Very moving poon"

You're very sweet.

Thank you.


The next set were public posts, so I can put the names to them. They are still amended.



My great friend Amelia wrote to me, as part of a very personal comment, the various moments where my friendship mattered to her the most.



“my neurotic friend, if you can believe the impossible, I was even more neurotic than you when I was 19! It would have been a lonely time in med without anyone by my side openly admitting (and at times celebrating) our own neuroticisms. Again, that was my David Poon.”



Alright, this quote is ridiculous out of context.



It’s actually pretty ridiculous in context.



I keep the Poon Blog running for a number of reasons, but one surprising side effect has been the impact my stories have had on many strangers.



I mustn’t ever forget though, the impact my relationships with people have. They are some of the most significant things I can do with my life.



And sometimes it takes my big breasted friend to remind me.



Thank you.



Nassy: your countless messages worrying about me?



Thank you.



Tina:



“Thank you for the update David. I wish you all the strength and courage through this difficult time. Hopefully I will see on the wards when you return.”



I honestly didn’t know you knew my name… it’s wonderful to find support from the unexpected.



Thank you.



Suranjan “hey man, it sounds like pretty tough times indeed. I had no idea. All the best, hope everything works out alright hey.”



And here’s a guy who didn’t abandon me after I ignored his messages. And I haven’t seen him in years!



Thank you.



Michael “I'm truly sorry to hear about all the hardships you're dealing with. Like one of your professors, it's hard to believe that you're still standing after all of that. I don't know if I would be standing if I was in a similar position.

We all miss you a lot, along with you unique brand of hilarity.”



I hope ‘unique’ doesn’t mean ‘boring.’



Wait, if a girl says I was unique in bed….



Ahhhhh darn.



I wish I was funnier.



But at least I know my friends will still laugh. Maybe out of pity, but neh.



Thank you.



“David, I can't imagine how hard these past years must have been for you, given the challenges that you faced. Good on you for letting everyone know with such an impeccably well written blog,and glad to have you back!
Domke”



This guy, most know legible med student I know. I’ve written about him before, and any kudos from him is enough to make me feel competent.



Thank you.



“I have always and continue to admire your bravery. Yes, you make jokes. But sometimes you also say what you really think and that is a truly rare quality. There are things I did not ask because I knew you would talk about them when you were ready, I am glad to see you're starting to talk now. I have always considered you a great friend, though you may not remember why. I believe in you David Poon. We will talk again soon, old friend.

I am, yours most sincerely,
AGM”



A friend I’ve had since beginning high school. He’s the kind of person I’ve been neglecting for too long.



But in another showing that I am far luckier than I ever imagined, of course he’s there when I need him.



He’s a film major himself, and I take his assertion that being able to say what I ‘really think’ is a positive thing.



I hope so.



You know what I really think?



You are a good friend.



Thank you.



“I've missed you.
We have the same sense of humor and had some great laughs.
Great to see you back.
You owe me a dance on Sunday.

Lali”



Our dance was heterorotic.



I always worried I wasn’t cool. I consider this guy cool.



So when he accepts me?



That’s hot.



Thank you.



“I miss you. I have thought about you several times while you were gone – (my fiancĂ©/husband) and I have talked about you, hoped for you, wished you well in our hearts on your journey through whatever it was that troubled you, and tried to be there for you without probing.

You do inspire me and I know that you are a smart (genius, I have always said!), funny, honest, sincere, genuine, unique gentleman and after reading this blog I am very impressed with your strength, courage and ability to get through what many people would not be able to. I am even more awed with you! I wish I had your strength!



From an adoring fan,”



Daisy…



When I read this…



It was like all I was worried about in regards to my medical school class disappeared.



Did anyone notice I was gone? You said yes.



Was I always looked at like an idiot? You said no.



There was also an underlying uncertainty that I disappeared and people thought I just flaked out. For whatever reason, it mattered to me that people knew there was a reasoning behind my behavior. Daisy, thank you for noticing I was in trouble. Thank you for caring.



Do… do I have fans?



Maybe?!?!?!?



Another question I feared.



Do I come out looking stronger?



Yes?



Thank you.



“We definitely noticed you weren't there, not just yesterday but the whole time.
I can't wait to see you tomorrow!
Agata”



And here I thought no one cared.



Thank you.



“I think you are fabulous. Just utterly fabulous.
Christine”



Who are you!!??!?! I honestly have no idea. What’s your last name!?!?!



Stranger, friend… I’m only as fabulous as the continued support I have has allowed me to be.



Thank you.



“Good luck with everything David!! I look forward to being your resident ;)

Caroline”



And I promise to be a great student.



Thank you.



“David, I am so proud of you - these past few years have been so tough for you and it's true what they said - how u stayed standing is incredible. Thank you for sharing your story with me and I want you to know med school would not have been the same without you. I look forward to the day you graduate with an MD!!!
Take care and see u tommorow,
Amy”



I wonder.. would a stronger man have been able to stand taller? If I were smarter, could I have done it better?



I gave you a hug… you gave me one back… it’s good to be okay just being me.



Thank you.



Keil says



“I'm assuming we are not bold, as we were struck with the Karmic Un-Fortune of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Saw Sabretooth today. I'll keep him away from the other students at Xavier's. Chin up, old boy.”



These are all inside jokes. It absolutely hilarious.



In short, he told me fortune favours the bold. And for me to finally step out and explain everything, was a bold move.



Was it? I don’t know.



Thank you.



I don’t know who this next anonymous comment is from:



“I'm glad you're back David. That was a great post and I gotta say quite inspiring. I'm not sure how you made it this far given everything that has happened.

I haven't known you for very long but I was around when some of the events were unfolding. I must say that I am sorry that I didn't offer as much support as I could have. I admit, I was a bit afraid to get too close but I should have offered more. I wasn't being as good of a team member as I should've been. I'm sorry David but I"m glad to see you are doing better.”



It’s poetically beautiful as a comment. Because this is what I was hoping people were thinking of me. Not maliciousness, not contempt. Just another human being coexisting.



Whoever you are, nothing to apologize for. I wasn’t ready.



I hope I meet you again.


Thank you.


Finally, Chris writes, 


“Great posting. It's nice to have you back Poon, though I take issue with one aspect of your recent posting - I believe true mastery of puns is not possible…”



I hate you.



- David


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why David Poon is Batman

aka My Original Post Was Too Long so I cut it in Half
aka continued from Part I...

Comic books have, unbeknownst to myself until recently, have somehow shoehorned my own psyche to fit a staple of the industry - story arcs.

Since comics, though more popular thanks to the characters recently being in blockbuster movies, are still more a niche thing generally, I'll explain a bit.

Comics (typically) come out on a month to month basis. So stories can take months to finish, even years. Since the acceptance of the 'graphic novel' format (the kind you see in chapters) generally, comics are written to last six to twelve issues each, so they can be sold in easily purchasable compilation books that are the equivalent of six to twelve comics long.

This means that comic readers are used to long term story 'arcs' that take the better part of an entire year before some resolution is found.

As bashful I am to admit, growing up on superheros as a sort of role model,


I like Batman.

His story is well known.

After leaving the theatre, a young boy sees his parents killed before his eyes during a botched robbery.

Lost, young Bruce Wayne spends his entire young adult life travelling the world, training to become the greatest detective, crime fighter, and inventor the world has ever known. He returns to his home, and his family's tremendous fortune.

In order to cope with the tremendous trauma he has undergone, he dedicates his life to "the mission" - stopping crime, becoming Batman.

While he is a superhero at night, he is billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne at day.

An unabashed rich genius with unlimited women at his disposal? 

Yeah, OF COURSE I'd hit that!

or try to be him.

The idea is that as dark and menacing Batman became, the more flamboyant and wild Bruce Wayne got. Why does Bruce have a black eye? The triplets accidentally knocked him over in the hot tub. He's sleeping in all day? Partying all night.

...

I AM Batman.

...

There's a long lasting nerd debate over who the true man is - Batman the vigilante, pretending to be Bruce Wayne, or is the Caped Crusader the mask of a traumatized boy who never grew up?

I relate to this duality deeply, for more reasons than I'm ready to admit.

Let's take this comparison lightly, but genuinely, for the moment.

In the context of my father's current trial, keep in mind that the seeds for what is happening on the news today have been planted for at least two years.

Under that duress, with my own perceived responsibility to my family - I keept my mouth shut.

But that burden weighs heavily. All the side story, the background information of a tremendous, impending criminal court case. How can I possibly deal with myself, while not shaming my family?

By example of what I grew up with... secret identity.

The mission was to cover my pain, hide it from those around me.

But still address the plethora of issues in my personal life.

Of course, doing it in comic book style...

The idea is that as dark and menacing my hidden life became, the more flamboyant and wild David Poon got. Why does David look like he hasn't slept all night? Oh he was online shopping for hours for a hot tub. He's still making fun of doctors? I guess that's cause he's a complete idiot medical student.

A few of you have noticed that my Facebook name is no longer David. I'll explain the reason I've chosen my particular new name a different time.

The secret identity idea continues. Under an alias, reporters can't get to me, or see my friends. My innermost thoughts are kept away before and during the trial. 

And a few choice pictures of me can remain hidden. 

Specially the nudes. 


To cope with my disillusionment of how difficult the legal life of medicine is, I cracked more jokes, performed more skits, made my stand up more harsh. People thought I was a complete nutcase, unsuited and an worthy of being in medical school. They labelled me as immature, sexist, racist - but at least, my secret is safe.

In first hand seeing medical legal issues up close, I wanted to become a lawyer. People said that I was spitting on an MD, that I shouldn't be in medicine if I wanted law. Friends mistook me as uncommitted. My desires to look at medicine from a legal perspective seen as hokey, nonsensical.

And that was fine; all that mattered was the mission.

Irrelevant of what people thought of me during the day, provided I could deal with thenecessary at night - to keep a balance, as the pressures increased in one life, I needed an out in the other.

For me, it was cheap laughs, eccentric humour, and plenty of "Oh, that's just Poon" moments.

Kinda wish I had some hot tub triplets though (sigh...).

Much later on, after a story known as Infinite Crisis, Batman had a crisis of conscious.

The very fabric of both Bruce Wayne and Batman was in question, because he had almost killed another man using a gun himself. Realizing he had lost himself, he goes on a journey during the yearlong story  arc '52' retracing the steps he took to become Batman.

My entire adult life had been based on becoming a doctor. Yet that was tumultuously shaken with my families medical ills.

And I mean medical not in the typical sense, though it could be seen that way.

Mom's heart attack? In the clinic potentially from the stress of the job. My father's trial? Medico-legal issues.

My disillusionment of the very goals of my entire adult life, perhaps my entire life, made me realize I had lost myself.

Perhaps more shockingly, I forgot my family. I stopped talking to my dad. I didn't spend enough time to to raise my sister right. And my mom, where was I to care for your health. Where were the responsibilities I held so dear.

Friends, my precious friends, what did I do? Ignore all of you?? Yell at some of you??? Cry, laugh... I didn't even share what was wrong.

I couldn't.

Where was David Poon?

Robin, Batman's sidekick, describes the hero after his crisises, just before his yearlong journey:

"He lost it. In the end, he just lost it. And that's what this is all about."

And maybe that could be me.


During the span of this quest, Bruce Wayne endures isolation chamber experiments, and an intense form of mediation where he 'experiences death' while alone in a closed cave without food and water for seven days. 

One of his last excursions is to face a warrior tribe whose sole existence is to kill a person's inner demons.

"I asked them to kill mine. I asked them to cut out all the dark, fearful, paranoid urges I've allowed to corrupt my life . . . and they did. It’s over."


So after I made sure my Mom was medically stable, I had to confront my own demons.

By that time, my parent's divorce was finalized, and the news of the accusations made against my father was made public in Saskatchewan.

I went to go see him.

Keeping the details of that meeting naturally to myself, this opening catharsis allowed me to start the path of rebuilding myself, finding what made David Poon work, what didn't.

My adventures didn't throw me towards sealed caves to be reborn or isolation chambers, but I got to go travelling around the world, publish something, made it to the Rhodes Scholarship finals a couple of times.

A few girls here and there. Even lived with one for a few months.

Things seemed pretty good!

But...

The full quote after the warrior killed Bruce Wayne's inner demons is:

"I asked them to kill mine. I asked them to cut out all the dark, fearful, paranoid urges I've allowed to corrupt my life . . . and they did. It’s over. Batman is gone."

What happens if one side is taken away...

the other compensates.

That's the set up of my favourite Batman story arc - Batman RIP. That story is exactly what it sounds like. The last case before the death of Batman.

As it turns out, Batman/Bruce Wayne was under psychological attack for a long time, by an enemy known as the Black Hand.

Not like that time I stole the ball during an NBA match.

HAH!

The Black Hand was led by Dr. Hurt, the doctor who conducted the isolation experiment on Batman. He knew all of his secrets, and later used that to wipe Batman's mind clean so to later defeat him, by using a trigger phrase.

It was the perfect time to attack, as Batman was nonexistant, and Bruce Wayne was overcompensating - he was in love! Batman in love!

A man in love is already ludicrous. But BATMAN? The MANLIEST MAN?!?!?

That's how you know he was crazy.


For me, it was a time period where I absconded myself of responsibility to my family. Where I just stopped thinking about the trial, Mom's health, my sister's schoolwork. Just lived to be fancy free, forgetting everything that I perceived to be too difficult, holding me back from my happiness. 

...

The trigger phrase for Batman was "Zur-En-Arrh." Once he heard that phrased uttered, his mind was wiped, forgetting both Batman and Bruce Wayne. 

The pressures built enough in my family life, and I was desperately trying to find some happiness in the darkness, that I pulled the trigger, and took personal leave from medical school. 

Longtime comic readers will know that Batman is a master of preparation. 

Bruce Wayne's description of Batman in Batman RIP:

"Batman thinks of everything. Obvious variations aside, there's only one human body... 206 bones, five major organs, 60, 000 miles of blood vessels. All it takes is time. Days. Months. Years, spent memorizing the finite ways there are to hurt and break a man. Preparing forall of them."

The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is a character that Bruce Wayne describes as a 'back up human operating system.' In the event he was under psychological attack, when everything he thought was true was false, he had one safeguard. A personality that combined the confidence of Bruce Wayne with the efficiency of Batman, streamlined to complete the mission, kept in check by the beauty of imagination as well as the practicality of rational. 

The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, adorned in a hand stitched costume of purple and yellow scraps, is self described as Batman without Bruce Wayne. His mind,

"... seems so much... faster now. Clearer. Simpler. Like a streamlined engine, a silver bullet..."

A running joke between my sister and I for the past few months has been in calling me the 'David of Zur-En-Arrh.' The eccentricities of modern David, with a newfound appreciation and dedication towards my family and my medical career. It's also a great deal more clear. 

It wasn't medicine that destroyed my family. There were obviously other reasons. I wanted to be a doctor - I just needed some time. 

I hadn't rejected my family - I was within my reason to be confused.

I hadn't lost my mind - I was just lost. 

My mind became simpler, for the better - forget other distractions, focus on what was important. The people I love. Accolades, being liked, hell, even being popular for some jokes were fun - but they weren't priorities. 

My medical school, my career in environmental medicine. My family. My friends. 

Those are the priorities. 

There couldn't be a Batman of Zur-En-Arrh forever. He needed to find balance again. Yet he was able to defeat the Black Hand.

...

Batman since gave his life to save the world. After his supposed death, there was a comic released to honour him, titled "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?"

It was a requiem for the closing of a chapter in his life. To honour one life ending, allowing a peaceful transition for what came next.

That's what inspired the title when I wrote, "Whatever Happened to David Poon?"

Right now, the current six month story arc is titled "The Return of Bruce Wayne."

Heh.

I wonder where my story takes me next?

- David

How Comic Books Change Poon


aka This is Way Too Nerdy for the Average Person Part I

(WARNING: Bring your NERD CORE CREDENTIALS for this post. If by the time you see this symbol ^-_-^ the word 'Leonardo' has not crossed your mind FOUR TIME, turn back. You are not geek enough to understand)

We all find role models in some way or another.

Some of look up to inspirations. "Great Black Hopes" like Marcellus Gilmore Edson, Michelle Obama, and Michael Jackson.

We have mentors, our professors, supervisors, older relatives, and Kumon teachers.

We have aspirations to be like someone.

For us Asian kids, it's usually some unrelated Asian Uncle's kids who got higher marks on their MCAT and are therefore, as Asian custom dictates, have more of a right to live.

And maybe not all of us find inspiration from modelling of existing lives either. All white people are led by their king, Noam Chomsky, but they also have their sacred text "No Logo." Neither is more important, each having their own unshakable role in the lives of Liberal Arts Students everywhere.

There are those who are more moved by the Mona Lisa than the flying machine, more convinced a ninja turtle in a blue mask is more life changing than a movie depicting Forrest Gump battling Gandalf.


^-_-^


Somewhere we find examples of who we want to be, or what we want to create.

Normally in the formative youth years.

See, cool kids in elementary school played hockey at 6AM in a flawless plan to be the next NHL star.

Cool kids in elementary hung out after school to go to the convenience store and buy Pixie sticks, 5 cent candies, and rent VHS.

Cool kids in elementary got to hang out with girls.

I don't think I knew a girl other than She-Ra and April O'Neil.

And Raggedy Anne, but she never wanted to play. Always lying in bed lifeless.

Not alot of fun.

Usually.

I got home from elementary school immediately after, to my wonderful life of multiple servings Grandma's cooking, processed foods, extracurricular math class, and...

... cartoons.


I grew up with superheroes. 

Batman, Spiderman, the X-Men

I was going to be a hero!

Captain Planet, Toxic Crusader

Environmental Medicine FTW!

Cept you know, every time I tried on the tights and spandex, my parents seemed to get a little more worried about their son's lunacy, and my chances with girls got a little more slim...

At least SOMETHING did!

Hah. 

Fat nerds.

Like me. 

Ah, this is why my stand up comedy never worked out...

Cause fat people can't stand up

Hah, double burn! 

I'm on FIRE

Cause fat is flammable!

Triple!

(any discussion of the superhero genre must acknowledge the fatness of geeks, and now my quota has been sufficiently filled)

Cartoon characters were just the superficial representations of the characters. And as is common for me after ordering a bottomless pop at Boston Pizza - I needed to get to the bottom of it. 

That's when I developed a love for comic books. The source of all superhero fiction.


- David

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What I Learned From Fiction: The David of Zur-En-Arrh

aka No One Knows What Zur En Arrh is
aka This is Way Too Nerdy for the Average Person
aka Part I and Part II

(WARNING: Bring your NERD CORE CREDENTIALS for this post. If by the time you see this symbol ^-_-^ the word 'Leonardo' has not crossed your mind FOUR TIME, turn back. You are not geek enough to understand)

We all find role models in some way or another.

Some of look up to inspirations. "Great Black Hopes" like Marcellus Gilmore Edson, Michelle Obama, and Michael Jackson.

We have mentors, our professors, supervisors, older relatives, and Kumon teachers.

We have aspirations to be like someone.

For us Asian kids, it's usually some unrelated Asian Uncle's kids who got higher marks on their MCAT and are therefore, as Asian custom dictates, have more of a right to live.

And maybe not all of us find inspiration from modelling of existing lives either. All white people are led by their king, Noam Chomsky, but they also have their sacred text "No Logo." Neither is more important, each having their own unshakable role in the lives of Liberal Arts Students everywhere.

There are those who are more moved by the Mona Lisa than the flying machine, more convinced a ninja turtle in a blue mask is more life changing than a movie depicting Forrest Gump battling Gandalf.


^-_-^


Somewhere we find examples of who we want to be, or what we want to create.

Normally in the formative youth years.

See, cool kids in elementary school played hockey at 6AM in a flawless plan to be the next NHL star.

Cool kids in elementary hung out after school to go to the convenience store and buy Pixie sticks, 5 cent candies, and rent VHS.

Cool kids in elementary got to hang out with girls.

I don't think I knew a girl other than She-Ra and April O'Neil.

And Raggedy Anne, but she never wanted to play. Always lying in bed lifeless.

Not alot of fun.

Usually.

I got home from elementary school immediately after, to my wonderful life of multiple servings Grandma's cooking, processed foods, extracurricular math class, and...

... cartoons.


I grew up with superheroes. 

Batman, Spiderman, the X-Men

I was going to be a hero!

Captain Planet, Toxic Crusader

Environmental Medicine FTW!

Cept you know, every time I tried on the tights and spandex, my parents seemed to get a little more worried about their son's lunacy, and my chances with girls got a little more slim...

At least SOMETHING did!

Hah. 

Fat nerds.

Like me. 

Ah, this is why my stand up comedy never worked out...

Cause fat people can't stand up

Hah, double burn! 

I'm on FIRE

Cause fat is flammable!

Triple!

(any discussion of the superhero genre must acknowledge the fatness of geeks, and now my quota has been sufficiently filled)

Cartoon characters were just the superficial representations of the characters. And as is common for me after ordering a bottomless pop at Boston Pizza - I needed to get to the bottom of it. 

That's when I developed a love for comic books. The source of all superhero fiction.

Comic books have, unbeknownst to myself until recently, have somehow shoehorned my own psyche to fit a staple of the industry - story arcs.

Since comics, though more popular thanks to the characters recently being in blockbuster movies, are still more a niche thing generally, I'll explain a bit.

Comics (typically) come out on a month to month basis. So stories can take months to finish, even years. Since the acceptance of the 'graphic novel' format (the kind you see in chapters) generally, comics are written to last six to twelve issues each, so they can be sold in easily purchasable compilation books that are the equivalent of six to twelve comics long.

This means that comic readers are used to long term story 'arcs' that take the better part of an entire year before some resolution is found.

As bashful I am to admit, growing up on superheros as a sort of role model,

I like Batman.

His story is well known.

After leaving the theatre, a young boy sees his parents killed before his eyes during a botched robbery.

Lost, young Bruce Wayne spends his entire young adult life travelling the world, training to become the greatest detective, crime fighter, and inventor the world has ever known. He returns to his home, and his family's tremendous fortune.

In order to cope with the tremendous trauma he has undergone, he dedicates his life to "the mission" - stopping crime, becoming Batman.

While he is a superhero at night, he is billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne at day.

An unabashed rich genius with unlimited women at his disposal? 

Yeah, OF COURSE I'd hit that!

or try to be him.

The idea is that as dark and menacing Batman became, the more flamboyant and wild Bruce Wayne got. Why does Bruce have a black eye? The triplets accidentally knocked him over in the hot tub. He's sleeping in all day? Partying all night.

...

I AM Batman.

...

There's a long lasting nerd debate over who the true man is - Batman the vigilante, pretending to be Bruce Wayne, or is the Caped Crusader the mask of a traumatized boy who never grew up?

I relate to this duality deeply, for more reasons than I'm ready to admit.

Let's take this comparison lightly, but genuinely, for the moment.

In the context of my father's current trial, keep in mind that the seeds for what is happening on the news today have been planted for at least two years.

Under that duress, with my own perceived responsibility to my family - I keept my mouth shut.

But that burden weighs heavily. All the side story, the background information of a tremendous, impending criminal court case. How can I possibly deal with myself, while not shaming my family?

By example of what I grew up with... secret identity.

The mission was to cover my pain, hide it from those around me.

But still address the plethora of issues in my personal life.

Of course, doing it in comic book style...

The idea is that as dark and menacing my hidden life became, the more flamboyant and wild David Poon got. Why does David look like he hasn't slept all night? Oh he was online shopping for hours for a hot tub. He's still making fun of doctors? I guess that's cause he's a complete idiot medical student.

A few of you have noticed that my Facebook name is no longer David. I'll explain the reason I've chosen my particular new name a different time.

The secret identity idea continues. Under an alias, reporters can't get to me, or see my friends. My innermost thoughts are kept away before and during the trial. 

And a few choice pictures of me can remain hidden. 

Specially the nudes. 


To cope with my disillusionment of how difficult the legal life of medicine is, I cracked more jokes, performed more skits, made my stand up more harsh. People thought I was a complete nutcase, unsuited and an worthy of being in medical school. They labelled me as immature, sexist, racist - but at least, my secret is safe.

In first hand seeing medical legal issues up close, I wanted to become a lawyer. People said that I was spitting on an MD, that I shouldn't be in medicine if I wanted law. Friends mistook me as uncommitted. My desires to look at medicine from a legal perspective seen as hokey, nonsensical.

And that was fine; all that mattered was the mission.

Irrelevant of what people thought of me during the day, provided I could deal with the necessary at night - to keep a balance, as the pressures increased in one life, I needed an out in the other.

For me, it was cheap laughs, eccentric humour, and plenty of "Oh, that's just Poon" moments.

Kinda wish I had some hot tub triplets though (sigh...).

Much later on, after a story known as Infinite Crisis, Batman had a crisis of conscious.

The very fabric of both Bruce Wayne and Batman was in question, because he had almost killed another man using a gun himself. Realizing he had lost himself, he goes on a journey during the yearlong story  arc '52' retracing the steps he took to become Batman.

My entire adult life had been based on becoming a doctor. Yet that was tumultuously shaken with my families medical ills.

And I mean medical not in the typical sense, though it could be seen that way.

Mom's heart attack? In the clinic potentially from the stress of the job. My father's trial? Medico-legal issues.

My disillusionment of the very goals of my entire adult life, perhaps my entire life, made me realize I had lost myself.

Perhaps more shockingly, I forgot my family. I stopped talking to my dad. I didn't spend enough time to to raise my sister right. And my mom, where was I to care for your health. Where were the responsibilities I held so dear.

Friends, my precious friends, what did I do? Ignore all of you?? Yell at some of you??? Cry, laugh... I didn't even share what was wrong.

I couldn't.

Where was David Poon?

Robin, Batman's sidekick, describes the hero after his crisises, just before his yearlong journey:

"He lost it. In the end, he just lost it. And that's what this is all about."

And maybe that could be me.


During the span of this quest, Bruce Wayne endures isolation chamber experiments, and an intense form of mediation where he 'experiences death' while alone in a closed cave without food and water for seven days. 

One of his last excursions is to face a warrior tribe whose sole existence is to kill a person's inner demons.

"I asked them to kill mine. I asked them to cut out all the dark, fearful, paranoid urges I've allowed to corrupt my life . . . and they did. It’s over."


So after I made sure my Mom was medically stable, I had to confront my own demons.

By that time, my parent's divorce was finalized, and the news of the accusations made against my father was made public in Saskatchewan.

I went to go see him.

Keeping the details of that meeting naturally to myself, this opening catharsis allowed me to start the path of rebuilding myself, finding what made David Poon work, what didn't.

My adventures didn't throw me towards sealed caves to be reborn or isolation chambers, but I got to go travelling around the world, publish something, made it to the Rhodes Scholarship finals a couple of times.

A few girls here and there. Even lived with one for a few months.

Things seemed pretty good!

But...

The full quote after the warrior killed Bruce Wayne's inner demons is:

"I asked them to kill mine. I asked them to cut out all the dark, fearful, paranoid urges I've allowed to corrupt my life . . . and they did. It’s over. Batman is gone."

What happens if one side is taken away...

the other compensates.

That's the set up of my favourite Batman story arc - Batman RIP. That story is exactly what it sounds like. The last case before the death of Batman.

As it turns out, Batman/Bruce Wayne was under psychological attack for a long time, by an enemy known as the Black Hand.

Not like that time I stole the ball during an NBA match.

HAH!

The Black Hand was led by Dr. Hurt, the doctor who conducted the isolation experiment on Batman. He knew all of his secrets, and later used that to wipe Batman's mind clean so to later defeat him, by using a trigger phrase.

It was the perfect time to attack, as Batman was nonexistant, and Bruce Wayne was overcompensating - he was in love! Batman in love!

A man in love is already ludicrous. But BATMAN? The MANLIEST MAN?!?!?

That's how you know he was crazy.


For me, it was a time period where I absconded myself of responsibility to my family. Where I just stopped thinking about the trial, Mom's health, my sister's schoolwork. Just lived to be fancy free, forgetting everything that I perceived to be too difficult, holding me back from my happiness. 

...

The trigger phrase for Batman was "Zur-En-Arrh." Once he heard that phrased uttered, his mind was wiped, forgetting both Batman and Bruce Wayne. 

The pressures built enough in my family life, and I was desperately trying to find some happiness in the darkness, that I pulled the trigger, and took personal leave from medical school. 

Longtime comic readers will know that Batman is a master of preparation. 

Bruce Wayne's description of Batman in Batman RIP:

"Batman thinks of everything. Obvious variations aside, there's only one human body... 206 bones, five major organs, 60, 000 miles of blood vessels. All it takes is time. Days. Months. Years, spent memorizing the finite ways there are to hurt and break a man. Preparing for all of them."

The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is a character that Bruce Wayne describes as a 'back up human operating system.' In the event he was under psychological attack, when everything he thought was true was false, he had one safeguard. A personality that combined the confidence of Bruce Wayne with the efficiency of Batman, streamlined to complete the mission, kept in check by the beauty of imagination as well as the practicality of rational. 

The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, adorned in a hand stitched costume of purple and yellow scraps, is self described as Batman without Bruce Wayne. His mind,

"... seems so much... faster now. Clearer. Simpler. Like a streamlined engine, a silver bullet..."

A running joke between my sister and I for the past few months has been in calling me the 'David of Zur-En-Arrh.' The eccentricities of modern David, with a newfound appreciation and dedication towards my family and my medical career. It's also a great deal more clear. 

It wasn't medicine that destroyed my family. There were obviously other reasons. I wanted to be a doctor - I just needed some time. 

I hadn't rejected my family - I was within my reason to be confused.

I hadn't lost my mind - I was just lost. 

My mind became simpler, for the better - forget other distractions, focus on what was important. The people I love. Accolades, being liked, hell, even being popular for some jokes were fun - but they weren't priorities. 

My medical school, my career in environmental medicine. My family. My friends. 

Those are the priorities. 

There couldn't be a Batman of Zur-En-Arrh forever. He needed to find balance again. Yet he was able to defeat the Black Hand.

...

Batman since gave his life to save the world. After his supposed death, there was a comic released to honour him, titled "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?"

It was a requiem for the closing of a chapter in his life. To honour one life ending, allowing a peaceful transition for what came next.

That's what inspired the title when I wrote, "Whatever Happened to David Poon?"

Right now, the current six month story arc is titled "The Return of Bruce Wayne."

Heh.

I wonder where my story takes me next?

- David



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What I Learned From Fiction: Prelude

aka This Was Originally The First Chapter of a Blog Post Originally Called "The Prisoner of Azkaban" 

I stopped reading fiction five years ago.

All fiction. Graphic novels or comic books aside, any story.

Two major reasons:

1) The lack of mandatory English courses stopped the unyielding barrage of Can Lit down my proverbial throat (perhaps creating my COMPLETELY HETERONORMATIVE FETISHISM OF MY LITERAL THROAT).

2) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Let it be known that that bastardization of the Harry Potter mythos single handedly ruined my desire to expand my mind with any written prose that claimed a fictional narrative.

Why?

The book is bloated, boring, artificially self important, and ultimately incredibly underwhelming in payoff.

...

I now know what it is like to date David Poon.

^-_-^

The emotion evoked from a disappointing fantasy (ex: every time I have tried picking up Asian schoolgirls) seemed odd, as the trivial nature of a supposedly non existant work should have little bearing on my reality itself.

Yet;

Somehow my real world decisions are affected by my impressions of the fictional. Did I stop reading because my real world expectations of a book I got for 20 dollars were not met? Or was it the fictional world that made me despondent.

I remember the controversy that surrounded "A Million Little Pieces," an inspiring memoir that Oprah HERSELF felt was near gospel in healing a wounded soul.

Such a powerful story it was that millions of readers were galvanized to make something more of themselves. To be something more.

Yet;

The story wasn't true.

The memoirs were fake.

And somehow, all the good the book inspired was undone.

People were upset that the improvements they made in their life, from overcoming addictions to building their careers, were all made meaningless as the purposed drive to a better life was ignited by a fake story.

Fiction can bring us to tears. Bring us hope, bring us sadness, change our perspective, make us angry, confused, passionate, reborn.

Heck, The Notebook has done that to every teenage girl in history.

And Twilight seems to permanently make my chances of doing a teenage girl history.

So why then the reaction to fake memoirs? If the response is real, why is the catalyst made insignificant?

Are we so skewed in our beliefs that only the real must change the real? That the fictional remain affecting only its illusionary constructs?

What about Religion? I like how South Park puts it:

"Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense... but I have a great life, and a great family. And I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don't care if (the Prophet) made it all up - because what the Church teaches now is loving your family, being nice, and helping people. And even though people in this town think it's stupid, I still chose to believe in it."

Irrespective of your Religious views, there's a point - a lesson, an example, can still be relevant whether it be real or imagined, unproven or lived.

What I Learned From Fiction will be a series exploring the retrospectively incredibly impact fiction has had on the life of David Poon. Ranging from Batman and Pokemon to the dark depths of Disney Princesses (how dirty sounding), it's reoccured to me often that many of my life lessons and values were from the damn Ninja Turtle education segments after each episode.

Or what He-Man showed me when no one else was looking...

Hm....

I'm not gay.

I didn't watch Rainbow Brite.

- David

10 points to whoever understands why the Azkaban reference is relevant. Secret Harry Potter trivia and all.