Monday, August 11, 2008


Yeah, sorry I didn't update like I said I would on Thursday. I'm also sorry to disappoint most of you, as I did make it back safe from Cambodia. In fact, I sustained less bodily harm in Cambodia than I did in Singapore, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

I saw a lot of cool ruins in the 'bodes, and the children who walked the street (once they stopped pleading with you to buy their goods) were a lot of fun to talk to. It really felt good to make these kids laugh and smile, even if it was me pulling faces and yelling a lot. Besides, considering I'm a 5-year old at heart, I pretty much fit in.

Although it's tough for these kids to get by day-to-day, I really do believe that some will have the intelligence and tenacity to rise up beyond their condition. I mean, if five of them can walk behind me from one end of a temple to the other while reciting facts from the C.I.A. World Factbook about Canada, the US, and Madagascar (for some reason), they can have a better life. Unfortunately, the system provides no leaders for them. While the country has improved dramatically since the destruction inflicted by the Khmer Rouge regime over 30 years ago, they still have a long way to go.

Even still, I enjoyed myself in Cambodia, and on the morning of the Thursday, I boarded my plane and came back to Singapore. For some delusional reason, the first place I headed to after I touched down was the lab, where I embarked on some stupid quest to finish the prototype solar powered golf buggy which I had been working on all summer rather than be reasonable and unpack.

Never mind the fact that I had spent the previous two days trekking through the jungle, or started the morning at 4am and spent most of the morning either on planes or in airport terminals. Nope, I had to finish my work, come hell or high water. So I started doing the last bit of work, which was the hardest and required the most concentration: soldering wires.

In case if you've never soldered before, what I had to do was fuse wires together using a lead-tin filler, which can be melted at an extremely high temperature. The tip of the soldering iron can be as hot as 300C (or for you Fahrenheit people, roughly a billion F). The problem with my particular soldering iron is that there is a heating element that occupies 60% of the length of the tool, which is even hotter than the tip.

It's perfectly natural to grab the heating element like you would a pencil instead of holding it at the end, where it is awkward and causes messy joints.

Actually, it's not perfectly natural. You either have to be really bold, really drunk, or really really really fucking stupid to grab it around the hot part.

And that's exactly what I did: index, middle, and thumb wrapped around the middle portion because I was too tired to notice what I was doing. Coupled with my diminished reflexes due to my fatigue, I wound up with self-diagnosed second-degree burns on my thumb and my index finger, and a third-degree burn along the forefinger portion of my middle finger.

Now for some needlessly gratuitous descriptions of my wounds: The second-degree burns have manifested themselves into leaky blisters. I've also lost my sense of touch on the fingertip of my index finger. As for my third-degree burn, it's charred the skin purple and the dermis underneath refuses to heal, oozing a certain purple fluid when its particularly angry.

And how have I been curing myself? Surely I've seen a doctor by now right? Haha no. That's silly. And expensive. A doctor's appointment costs something like $50 here, and do you think that saving a finger on my left hand from amputation is worth $50? Hell no, which is why I'm doing it the manly way: by pouring iodine into my open wound and covering it with some flimsy band-aids.

Really, if I were more manly, I could rid myself of this predicament by simply downing a few pints while flexing my biceps, but then that would just cause my room to likely explode due to its inability to contain my sheer manliness. That's how manly I am.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to put more iodine into my wound because I am so fucking butch. RAWR!

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