Fender Bender @ Jalan Channel

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I saw this while driving back – two cars collided whilst jockeying
for space. I’ll put up the morning photo shoot photos soon. I gotta
catch up with the PPS Beta 1.5
[petalingstreet.org] launch, which I missed, and all my mails and also
the blogs that I haven’t read in a while, it would be good. :) Updates
regarding the hard disk, sadly it made that disturbing clack clack
clack clackety clack sound upon startup today, and I’ll leave it to
rest for another day (superstition) before crossing my fingers (more
superstition) and trying again. I really hope this isn’t a head crash,
that would be disastrous as all my irreplaceable photos are in there! I
post the flight home ones when (if?) the hard disk issue resolves
itself, which I hope it will. Oh well, I’m going to post up the photos
from the morning. It’ll all be up in a while. I’ll have to change the
front page template too, because my bandwidth is being raped (for the
lack of a better adjective). It’s just 6 days into July and I’m nearing
2 gigs of transfer. I’ll probably set the days to display at 10 days, 7
days or 6 days, depending on what turns out better. I can’t afford to
put 14 days back on the front page anymore, my apologies. :) Oh yeah, I
saw this McDonalds – Sega promotion going on where you get to purchase
a handheld electronic game for RM 5 (A$ 2.50) just now. There’s 5
limited edition ones to collect, one new one will come out each week. I
just love things like that so I’ll head down tomorrow with my gf for
lunch or something. An interesting fact: It just takes 2-3 minutes max
to reach the Sibu town center from my home in good traffic conditions.
Heh. I’m supposed to be living in the suburbs too. :)

Project Doctor Shopping: Malaysian Edition

veritas in Malaysia.

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Greetings from Malaysia! I am not dead yet, though I did have to
make another trip to the ER (drug related) before I came back. :) I may
or may not be posting about that in the future since I’m still deciding
if doing that will reveal too much and break my anonymity. I will say
that it was the BEST service I ever had though, no triage nurses, it
was straight into a bed where I was hooked up with all sorts of
thingies and a doctor came immediately. Hypertensive crisis in
progress, heart failure probable. I would have enjoyed it if I wasn’t
really afraid for my well being. Heh. It was a bit too close for
comfort this time, please don’t take too much stimulants over a
prolonged period of time if you have an existing medical condition
which contraindicates stimulants (hypertension, heart problems etc).

I digress, that’s not what I’m talking about today. All turned out
good though, so fear not, veritas will not kick the bucket that easily.
;) I hate it when people refer to themselves in the third person too,
so you’re not alone. Anyway, today I will be reporting about doctor
shopping in Malaysia. Yeah, you heard me right, doctor shopping, not
pharmacy runs. :( Unfortunately, the days of freely available
benzodiazepines seems to be over…the pharmacies now display a startling
respect for prescribing procedures, and Xanax (alprazolam) and other
benzos seems to be getting the bad kind of attention due to unknown
instigating factors.

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Front of the blister pack.

Pharmacy run attempts:

Pharmacy #1

This was the good one that I had no problems getting Xanax
(alprazolam) and Valium (diazepam) off of last time I was back home
(about six months ago). Unfortunately, they seem to have stopped all
restricted drug sales (or so they claim) and they don’t stock any
benzodiazepines anymore. Well, too bad, but I’ve had a nice haul from
this one last time I was back so it’s all good. Thanks anyway.

Pharmacy #2

I did not want to visit this one due to personal reasons. However, a
friend of mine gets her Xanax from here, so I know they stock the
stuff, but they’ve not displayed a willingness to hand over the goods
without a prescription the last time I was here, so I was not
optimistic about walking out with benzodiazepines. Nevertheless, it
won’t hurt to try, so in I walked and told them about my situation
(just got back from Australia, couldn’t bring my prescription back, can
I have some alprazolam please?). Well, they said they’ll be happy to
sell it to me, with a prescription, which I didn’t have. Oh well.

Pharmacy #3

They don’t carry restricted medications.

Pharmacy #4

They also don’t carry restricted stuff.

Pharmacy #5

This was attached to a medical center so I doubt they will sell it
w/o a prescription but again, it won’t hurt to try, so in I went. The
counter was staffed by only a single girl, who was friendly even though
I think she suspected I was attempting to acquire benzos for
recreational purposes. I asked for alprazolam and told her my situation
(see above) and she pulled out this deliciously large container full of
generic 0.5 mg Xanax. The packaging looked like that beta blocker that
pharmacies #3 and #4 was offering me as an alternative, so I said it’s
not a beta blocker but a benzodiazepine. She said, this is a
benzodiazepine. Oops, my mistake, it was alprazolam. :) Unfortunately,
she says that company policy does not allow her to sell it without a
prescription, but she suggested that I visit the medical center beside
and get a prescription, come back and she’ll sort me out. Sounds like a
plan, until I walked into the medical center and saw rows upon rows (I
am not exaggerating) of waiting patients. I doubt it’ll be my turn come
evening, so I walked back and *cough* asked if bending the rules would
be possible. She smiled and said they have regular stock counts so she
would not be able to sell even a small amount to me even if she wanted
to. Thus, Project Doctor Shopping had to be revived in Malaysia.

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Back of the blister pack.

Project Doctor Shopping:

Doctor #1

I walked into this clinic because it was empty, so I didn’t have to
wait. After registering as a new patient, I got to see the doctor and
explained my situation. I have to add that I wasn’t properly dressed
for the occasion and my current attire (which revealed my tattoos –
something I found to be a hindrance when doctor shopping) probably
contributed to the lack of helpfulness from this doctor. He said they
didn’t stock Xanax, and he was unwilling to write a prescription for it
and suggested that I visit a clinical psychologist instead as they are
more qualified to issue these medications. The doctor also commented
that I was a bit young to be taking Xanax, he said that “it’s what old
people take” (his words). I refrained from correcting his presumption,
and he refrained from charging me consultation fees. ;) No harm, no
foul, walked out in a couple of minutes and visited another doctor.

Consultation fees: RM 0
Medication fees: What medication?

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Interesting fact: Every single blister pack has a different tablet
arrangement. The first one had all the tablets with the front showing,
the second one had all backs except for the last three, which were
fronts, and the third was all fronts, except for the first two and last
two, which were backs.

Doctor #2

I ensured I looked presentable before dropping in on this one.

Doctor: Hello, what can I do for you?
Me: Hello, I have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder.
Doctor: Yes, what medication are you taking?
Me: I was prescribed with 0.5 mg alprazolam twice daily in
Australia. I just came back, but unfortunately I could not bring the
medication back.
Doctor: I see. How long have you been taking it?
Me: Oh, about one and half years. I just graduated (shows him my
Student ID card) and my health insurance (shows him my Medibank Private
card) does not allow me to bring back the medication, so I have to get
a new prescription here.
I showed him the cards and offered him additional information
because it seemed like this was a go, and if it was, I wanted to
establish a long term relationship with the doctor, considering the
stricter pharmacy guidelines which have fallen into place during the
time I was away.

Doctor: Okay, I’ll just show you the tablets that I have.
(talking to nurse) Bring me the Upjohn tablets. Is these the ones that
you’ve been taking?
He shows me a blister pack of 10 x 0.5 mg brand name Xanax tablets. I examined the pack for a while and replied:
Me: Yeah, the packaging is different but the ingredient is the same.
It never hurts to play the ignorant patient. ;)
Doctor: That’s expected, the packaging would be different as
this are the ones packaged for Malaysian sale, but if it’s the same
thing, it’ll work like your last prescription did. How many do you want?
Me: How much are the blister packs?
Doctor: It’s RM 1.50.
Me: RM 1.50 for the blister pack?!?!?
Doctor: Oh, it’s RM 1.50 per tablet, RM 12 for a blister pack.
Me: Okay, can I have two blister packs please?
RM 1.50 = A$ 0.75. RM 12 = A$ 6. The price per mg of alprazolam is
RM 2.40 or A$ 1.20, not cheap for someone who paid A$ 26.40 (RM 52.80)
for 200 mg of clonazepam. Clonazepam is equivalent on a mg to mg basis
with alprazolam so that works out to just RM 0.26 or A$ 0.13 per mg,
almost 10 times lower than the price I’m getting in Malaysia.

Doctor: Sure, just remember that this is a restricted drug, so
remember to carry the authorization letter with you (?) and don’t give
the tablets to anyone else.
Me: Yeah, I’m aware of that. Oh, can I have three blister packs? It would be easier to come back in 15 days instead.
Doctor: No problems, I’m happy to sell you as many as you need.
Hehehe!
Me: Thanks!

Consultation fees: RM 0
Medication fees: RM 36 (A$ 18) for 15 mg of alprazolam (Xanax).
These are the Pharmacia & Upjohn brand name tablets, so it would be
more expensive than generics.

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Xanax 0.5 mg pink tablets. Mmm…

Success! :) This also established a possible long term relationship
with the good doctor and a good medical history with the clinic, so I’m
happy with the way things turned out. The clinic did not charge me for
consultation, and that was good. I went back to Pharmacy #5 and asked
if they were willing to sell me the generics with my “unofficial
prescription” and the she said that company policy requires a signed
doctor’s prescription for filing purposes, so it’s a no go. However,
she told me that the generic alprazolam they carry is RM 0.50 (A$ 0.25)
per 0.5 mg so that works out to be cheaper than the brand name Xanax
tablets. I’ll probably get a prescription next time I drop in on the
good doctor to get the generics instead. It was a good project, nice
and easy. :)

Hard disk is back online (I hope)

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I finally got a copy of Windows XP Pro w/ integrated Service Pack 1
today. RM 7 = A$3.50, usually things go for RM 5 though. Needless to
say, this is not a licensed copy. There seems to be a big crackdown on
“pirated” (unlicensed) VCDs, DVDs and CD-ROMs in Malaysia now, Sibu had
several raids yesterday but yeah, the shops all closed down before the
enforcement teams came. Happens all the time – information leakage. ;)
It was business as usual today, so I grabbed a copy coz it seems that
Windows Me can’t detect NTFS formatted drives when it’s running on
FAT32 so I had to install Windows XP. The serials doesn’t work with
Windows Update too (only the Service Pack checks though), so I bought a
copy with an integrated SP1. The CD has a lot of er…”value added”
features as well, as is usual with these CDs, so this saved me a lot of
downloading with my slow dial-up connection. :)

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Anyway, long story short, I could access my hard disk again and all the photos in there, so I posted the Tribeadelic Winter Party post and photos
[sixthseal.com]. Now, there’s just one last long-due post (flight home)
I have in the backburner. I’ll write that tomorrow, I have to sleep
soon, it’s a Saturday night, but I’m having a very chilled out one
today. I have to wake up early tomorrow for this photo competition at
the Rejang Esplanade, it’s a photo shoot of the candidates of a local
beauty contest. I don’t think that’s the preferred term nowadays, but I
can’t think of an alternate name. Anyway, it’s 13 girls, bring your
camera, arrive before 8 am to register, come if you’re interested. I
don’t know the contest details, coz I’m just going to take photos to
post here anyway. Check back tomorrow if you’re interested in the
aesthetic offerings of Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia. ;)

P/S – I will reply the mails and comments tomorrow. I’m terribly
sorry about the delay, I’m tooooo sleepy right now (remind me to post
the recipe to the Nice and Relaxing Mug of Hot, Steaming Milo Sleep
Potion) and my 80 gig hard disk (containing ALL my photos) just made
this horrible clanging sound and I immediately shut down the PC and
took that hard disk out. I pray it’s not a head crash or something like
that, I don’t dare to plug it back in right now, it sounded really
terrible just now. I will put on my largest set of balls and plug it
back in tomorrow and if all goes well, I’ll transfer the photos to two
other hard disk (for contingency) and back them up to CDs ASAP. Curse
me and my tardy backup practices. Again, apologies for the lack of
feedback, your comments and mails are appreciated, I’ll get to them
tomorrow. :)

Absolum + Space Tribe Live @ Dex Niteclub

This is a write-up of the Tribeadelic Winter Party at Dex on the 28th of June 2003.

I was pretty excited about the night since it’s the last rave I’ll
be going to before I head home for the night. Energy levels were rather
low at first due to sleep deprivation + a walk in South Yarra (Chapel
Street) in the afternoon, but that resolved itself later during the
night. ;) The night started out with a couple of drinks at Royal Derby
@ Brunswick with Jen’s sisters and one of their bf’s. Apologies, I can
hardly remember the night, much less names.

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Liam, Adrian, Huai Bin (me) @ Derby

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Jen’s sis’s bf, Jen’s sis, Jennifer (Not pictured: Jen’s sis #2)

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Dex Niteclub (ex Billboards)

We headed down to Dex Nightclub at around 11:30 PM (all times are
approximate). This is the new Billboards (home of Hard Kandy on
Fridays) but I can’t exactly figure out the connection right now.

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Dex bar area

It’s on different streets, and the renovated interior looks foreign, but the toilets are very familiar. I think
it’s at the old Billboards venue, and the two streets are connected,
just the entrance moved to a more accessible place (the other road). I
can’t say for sure though, until I pull out a map of CBD Melbourne.

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The mark

Anyway, the metal detectors are gone (or so it seems), and the
security is very relaxed this time, no frisking or attitude from the
security guys. Very nice.

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The arrival

The interior seems much more spacious and the sound system has definitely been upgraded. Nice lasers too. :)

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Chupa Chups dispenser

The chillout area has been integrated into the floor (around it) instead of in a separate side room.

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The floor without flash

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The floor with fast flash

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The floor with slow flash

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The floor with full flash

There is a new side room too, which was playing some other stuff,
but I mainly stayed in the main room where the headliners were playing
some awesome psy-trance and there was this monitor with trippy visuals
playing.

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The music was amazing, great psy-trance from the likes of Absolum
and Space Tribe. I also remembered meeting this guy from the oztrance
forums (I think), very nice vibe.

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Partial shot of us – taken at the same time as the previously posted blurry one, this one is clearer but not centered.

Details are a bit vague, but it was a great night, perfect last rave before I leave. :)

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Taken from the stage area – front of the crowd

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Another one from the front

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Another shot of us, unprepared

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Everyone had a different idea of where the camera was actually at

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I don’t remember his name, but a great guy nevertheless

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The crowd – Reach for the lasers!

We left at around 6:30 am and arrived at halls at around 8 am. I had
to leave for the airport in 12 hours but despite additional sustenance,
I just had to sleep, which nearly made me late for my flight, but
that’s another story. Cheers to everyone from that night, it was
legendary. :)

Kuching, Sarawak: 2 kg ganja (cannabis)

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I read this while getting some food this morning at Sugarbun. Interesting bits:
They are being charged under 39(B), the one that carries the mandatory death sentence. Ouch.
Another guy got caught with 5.91 grams in two straws in his wallet when he threw it away upon seeing the officers.

Anyway, I don’t think I need (or want) that break after all. I’m
feeling much better today. The mood lift seems sustained so I dare say
my serotonin stores are finally being filled up again. Yay. I’ll be
posting again as usual tomorrow, I’ll reply all mails/comments then
too. I need to run, gotta go out. See ya all tomorrow. :)

Excuse me

I’ve tried to adhere to the “at least one post a day” dicipline but
I’m afriad I’ll have to take a short break now. I’m sure no one wants
to hear about the darkness I feel or allusions to depression w/ anxiety
so I’ll be away for a while to screw on my head and I’ll be back and
posting as usual in a couple of days maximum. :)
Better living through chemistry – for every problem, a chemical
solution? Nothing a quick trip to the local pharmacy or a couple of
calls won’t fix, wink wink nudge nudge. Yeah, but I choose to go this
way this time. I haven’t had anything other than alcohol since I landed
in Sibu, and I don’t plan to. I want to do this.
Still I can’t help but feel like I’m “selling out” in some wierd way.
Have I buckled under pressure? Well, no. Anyway, I’ve also seen weblogs
go on “hiatus” and they never seem to get back the pre-hiatus
pageviews. Does that bother me? I’ll be the first to admit that it
does, I won’t pretend that I’m just writing for myself (or my friends),
your presense here does make a difference.
Well, it’s a little dark over here and doing things seems to take all
the more energy out of me. Thanks for commenting everyone, I promise I
will be back in a couple of days! If you need to reach me before then,
call me at 016 869 0110 (+60 16 869 0110). I apologize for all the
unreplied mails/comments and my latent participation in everything. I
will reply them in 2 or 3 days maximum, and that’s a definate time
frame.
sixthseal.com will be back in a couple of days. :)

From Sibu, without serotonin

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Hey everyone. Just a quick update, this is all personal stuff so if
it’s not something you’re likely to be interested in, ie you’ll rather
be reading trip reports and such, those posts are likely to decrease
exponentially from now on so I’ll be setting up an email form
submission or something to notify people when veritas posts. Anyway,
back to this, finally got the long due haircut yesterday, I feel much
better now. :) Here’s a photos from today, breakfast with my gf:

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Still no luck with the old HD, it seems that there’s this big ass
operation going on in Malaysia and there seems to be a distinct lack of
er, unlicenced CDs going around. I only found an old Win XP Home
Edition w/o activation crack and a Win XP Pro w/o SP1 so I still can’t
access the old photos in the other hard disk. Anyway, if you’ve mailed
me during the past week or so and I haven’t replied, please resend the
mail, as I can’t access my other hard disk, thanks! I’m off now,
serotonin levels have been strange as of late, seems like a
rollercoaster ride, unfortunately more downs than ups though. I haven’t
been making my blog rounds too, will do so tonight. See ya.

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Sibu, Sarawak 96000

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I am back in Sibu. I actually arrived yesterday but most of that day
was spent catching up with people, nursing a comedown + hangover +
jetlag and trying to get my hard disk to work with the home PC. I still
can’t post the photos from the rave coz they were on that disk, but
I’ll try to install Win XP later and see if that helps in detecting and
mounting the disk. Anyway, I’m going out for lunch, thanks for your
comments everyone. I’ll post everything once my HD is fixed and my
serotonin levels are back to normal. ;)

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