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

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…



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.


“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!

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,

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.


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,”


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?


Another question I feared.

Do I come out looking stronger?


Thank you.

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

And here I thought no one cared.

Thank you.

“I think you are fabulous. Just utterly fabulous.

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 ;)


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,

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

1 comment:

  1. Rooting for you too, David. (I'm not in your city anymore, otherwise I'd offer you lunch sometime. Actually I will offer you lunch sometime just in case.)