Friday, March 29, 2013

Death of a clinically depressed

The 10th anniversary of the death of one of Hong Kong's beloved star (singer and actor) is just around the corner. Here is a song from Leslie Cheung's posthumous album.

張國榮 - 玻璃之情
[Leslie Cheung - Glass relations]

I first fell in love with his voice and music from some theme songs from his movies.

張國榮 - 今生今世

張國榮 - 追

According to Leslie Cheung's suicide note, he did so because he found depression unbearable. Just as one cannot tell a person's sexual orientation by just looking at him/her, one also cannot tell another person's mental health and/or the life challenges that he/she is currently facing just by looking at him/her.
E.g. The second most miserable period in my life was during my secondary school days (Canadian middle school). My parents were in the throes of mid-life crisis, alternating between "cold war" and quarrelling day-to-day (with the occasional objects in levitation). I was often kept awake at night, between my parents' middle-of-night outbursts and racing thoughts of worst case scenarios. The chronic lack of sleep (over a 2 year period when the crisis peaked) took its toil on me. I was often late for school and struggled to stay awake in class -- both of which are evidenced by comments from classmates' autographs on my tardiness and drowsiness with some wondering what I was up-to at night. I think a few teachers suspected that we had some family issues since both my elder sister and I (yup, we went to the same branded school) wrote about similar stuff in our confidential start-of-school-year essay assignments about ourselves. Otherwise, no one in school really knew what I was going through. Thankfully, I managed to pass all my examinations (doing well for a few of them), except for one red mark (i.e. E8 for Additional Mathematics in semester one during my secondary 4 year). Ironically, here are some descriptions of me from my secondary school autograph books: jovial, joyous, cheerful, always smiling, easy-going, happy-go-lucky, very optimistic, "lightens one up" and "brightens up the day". 
[My schoolmates also commented that they found me: smart, "can always think of idea(s) which no one can think of", brainy, eager-to-learn, very curious, sporting and plucky, your courage, interesting, exciting, cute, adorable, comical, blur, nice, kind, warm, helpful, responsible 有责任感, too responsible, most obliging, motherly, always fully equipped, generous, magnificent and great partner (in the lab), amiable, affable, 友善 friendly, loyal, good friend, close friend, nice company, "cherish your company", quiet, "caring and concerned", considerate, care for the feelings of others, sensitive, understanding 体凉别人, stubborn, very firm in your decision, sticking to your own beliefs and principles 坚持自己的原则, fighting spirit 不向困难低头, determined 有恒心, confidence, "something different (but) I like you to be what you are", with "idiosyncrasies", your [my] patience, too critical and sarcastic, "you pass sarcastic remarks", frank and outspoken, long-winded, 太直爽 ["too direct and easy-going"], soft and gentle, "posses compassion and a certain measure of wisdom", "doesn't mind to reveal(ing) your [my] own bad-points", and "can draw quite well".
Yes, I guess I was and probably still am all of the above.]
[Note, some also wrote: "my 1st impression of you was 'Eeyaks!'", childish, childlike manner, "at times... rather grouchy", irritating, "behaviour and ways are quite irritating", "I felt very irritated by your quite silly jokes", you "laughed about real silly jokes", "you seem to talk on everything mentioned, some of which are not necessary", "motivation to win, no matter what!!!", (over the years) you-have-become/I-found-you (a bit) "more tolerable", "do change / grow up to be a 'better' girl", "always talk about things which I do not understand", "you only go talk about silly things", "you can make more friends in a week by being interested in them than ten years by trying to get them interested in you", "exceptionally slow and cautious in doing everything", "you work the hardest" (in the ECA group), "gave me the impression of an industrious student... perhaps it is because of your spectacles and your bookworm-ish look", "you express your views openly and in the process you may hurt or irritate someone", "you've taught me certain things which I was never aware of before, whether you know it or not.", "I feel that if I am given enough (extra) time to know you better and I know I am not going to regret it".
So you see, I had a hard time fitting-in socially, although one wouldn't suspect it if one meets me today. In fact, I suspect my own teenage challenges made me a particularly effective listening ear to my vulnerable teenage charges during my voluntary days.]
There are seemingly highly functional persons who crash "suddenly" for "no reason". [Click here for an example where the inflexibility of policy administrators pushed a bright young man to take his own life.] Sometimes we stand-by and watch as others gang-up to bully someone because target "can take it", "should be able to take a joke" or "was merely reaping what he had sown". As I grow older, I find myself less and less willing to be a silent target and/or a silent observer from which bullies draw their power (social cachet). After all, we will never know what may be the last straw that breaks a camel's back.


As for myself, I take time-out alone whenever I feel my stress building or my mood swinging. In addition, despite the frequent encouragement from kind friends to go further (ambition or career-wise), I avoid over-stretching myself because I just want to live a simple life. I have no wish to shine brightly only to crash like a supernova. [Note: This is where I have changed since my teen, for one secondary schoolmate wrote back in the 1980's, "you aim too high and whenever you could not attain your goal, you will get very unhappy."]

Thursday, March 28, 2013

CRNBC removes IEN Canadian Reference Requirement

This is for the internationally-educated nurses (IENs) who visit my blog. Further to my previous blog post, CRNBC has release an official announcement on the removal of the Canadian Reference Requirement (i.e. after working 250 hours with a Canadian employer) for all IENs.

CRNBC webpage regarding removal of Canadian Reference Requirement for all IENs

That should reduce some of the complaints one see in nursing forums regarding the barriers to entry. [Click here and here for examples.]

Monday, March 25, 2013

Volunteer Options

I have been mulling over my volunteer options recently. While I was in Singapore, I had volunteered for around a decade between a teenaged girls' shelter and the Children's Cancer Foundation. [Click here and here.] But I had to quit volunteering by the mid-2000's due to the ridiculous demand that my I.T. management made on my time.

Before I launch right into rebuilding my career in Canada, I would like to commit myself to some volunteer assignments. After all, I would like to live a balanced life by allocating my time between:
  • Work (e.g. working as a registered nurse when I receive a job offer), 
  • Personal pursuits (e.g. getting a B.C. driving licence and learning French), 
  • Voluntary service to the community (see more below), 
  • Social time (e.g. hanging out with friends and social groups), 
  • Leisure time (e.g. catching movies, dabbling in creativity/arts, blogging, surfing the internet, simply lazing around and watching the world go by).
The thing is, given my broad range of interests, it is really hard for me to decide which areas and what projects to volunteer for. 
That said, I had once volunteered for a televised fund raising event with a Vancouver-based ethnic/cultural group. However, I have decided not to volunteer with them going forward because I would prefer to be serving a wider community (i.e. not limited by linguistic/cultural demarcation). 
Here some options that I have thought of.
  1. Vancouver Arts Gallery. I volunteered recently for the Family FUSE Weekend. It was a busy but fulfilling day. Plus Sherry, the Volunteer Coordinator, was really friendly, supportive and encouraging.
  2. Theatre production groups. I have been involved on-and-off in a couple of Vancouver theatre productions during my 2+ years here. In fact, between 16th to 23rd Mar-2013, I volunteered at several shows for a fabulous theatre production in downtown Vancouver. Theatre always holds a special place in my heart because of its impact on my life.
  3. MOSAIC immigration settlements services "Host - Culture Connections". I have previously spoken with the co-ordinator for the "Host - Culture Connections" programme, the chances of me being accepted as a host is pretty high.
  4. MOSAIC immigration settlements services "Workplace Connections Mentoring Program" (after I have eased into an RN job). Last month (Feb-2013), I had an opportunity to meet and share my experience of returning to nursing with some IENs (internationally educated nurses) who were taking a professional-English course at Kwantlen. Given my experience as an IEN who has undergone CRNBC's SEC (Substantially Equivalent Competency assessment), Kwantlen's GNIE nursing re-entry program (Graduate Nurse, Internationally Educated re-entry program), passed the CRNE (Canadian Registered Nurse Exam) and obtained my B.C. nursing registration; other newly arrived IENs may be interested in my experience. 
  5. Joining groups that support vulnerable populations. In 2011 and 2012, I had the privilege of sitting in (as a trusted guest, thanks to the reputation of the group I represented) at a couple of sharing sessions run by an LBGT refugee support group. That started me thinking about working/volunteering with vulnerable-population support-groups. On a separate note, I made a donations-in-kind at the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre recently. I arrived late in the afternoon (almost closing time) on a grey and gloomy Vancouver day. The moment I stepped through the entrance, I was struck by the contrast between the weather outside and the buzz inside. I immediately felt that it was a place that was providing important support to this vulnerable population. That got me thinking once again about volunteering with these or other similar groups.
  6. [Addendum on 25-Mar-2013 as per suggestion by reader Chrono, see comments below.] Urban farming or sustainability groups. My late-paternal grandfather was a poor farmer in China before he travelled to Singapore (南洋 Nanyang) to make a living. I think it would be an interesting completion of a cycle if I do pick up farming skills. As for sustainability, my friend EM works on sustainability design with an architect firm. I always thought that her work is very interesting and meaningful. I am somewhat guarded with regards to environmentalist groups though, mainly because I do not feel comfortable with the aggressive, confrontational, media-attention-seeking and sometimes destructive approach taking by groups such as PETA. 我不想做个不合理的人。 [I don't want to be an unreasonable person.]
  7. Ad-hoc volunteer services that utilize my linguistic, computer, nursing and/or other skills. E.g. Becoming an Emergency Volunteer. Within a month of landing in Canada, I sought to volunteer with various groups since I heard that it was a good way to network and become integrated into the Canadian society. My first application was turned down because I was "too new" in Canada and I was advised to apply again when I became more "settled down" (e.g. at least 3-6 months later). Another of my application proceeded past the point of Criminal Record Check and I was called up for a final follow-up interview to determine my actual volunteer placement assignment. A day before the follow-up interview I received a call that my interview has been postponed due to the interviewer going on an unplanned extended leave. Thus, I was advised to wait some months until the replacement was available and had adjusted into his/her new job. I did not follow-up with that volunteer opportunity.
As you can tell from the above, I am pretty much undecided at the moment. That said, over brunch on Sunday (yesterday) with a social group, I have just committed myself to playing a part in organizing a regional gathering to be held next year (2014). 

GNIE: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

As recently as between 12th to 19th Mar-2013, when my cohort of GNIE graduates received our CRNE result notification from the CRNBC, we were reminded of our outstanding requirement towards finalizing our registration with the CRNBC. To quote the CRNBC letter: 
"In order to finalize your registered nurse registration with the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC), you must provide a satisfactory reference from a Canadian employer for whom you worked at least 250 hours while holding provisional registration."
During the 2nd semester of GNIE, some of my classmates discussed about joining/infiltrating the CRNBC and the nurses' union to eventually fight against the (IMHO) discriminatory 250 hours requirement for GNIE graduates. [See "changes to XYZ" in the blog post here.] Back then, all we could hope for was to survive the process "as-is", and (with luck) eventually create the change we want to see for future generations of GNIE graduates. We never thought that change would be possible for our cohort of GNIE graduates.

In fact, if not for the "reception" we received at an Open House of a certain health authority back in 27-Nov-2012, we would not have been stirred up enough to launch into advocating for ourselves. As a Chinese saying goes, “塞翁失马 焉知非福”。 ["A blessing in disguise and vice versa."]

We first heard rumours about a change in policy on Wednesday 20-Mar-2013. On Thursday, some of us called up CRNBC for a verbal confirmation of the rumours. On Friday 22-Mar-2013, many of us received an email from CRNBC stating the following.
"There has been a change to our registration requirements which affects you." [... snip ...] 
"1. You are now eligible for practising OR non-practising registration." 
"2. You do NOT need to have an employer send CRNBC a reference after 250 (hours) of practice."
You can imagine the waves of celebratory joy going around amongst us. We were standing on the shoulders of giants. The change in policy, and thus the course of history for GNIE graduates, is made possible with the support of some very important people and organizations. 
Thank you all for recognizing the discrimination we faced as GNIE graduates and changing the unjust situation.

[29-Mar-2013 Update: Click here for the full impact of the change in CRNBC policy.]

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

GNIE: CRNE Results

I think that some readers may like to know the performance of Kwantlen's GNIE graduates when it comes to the all important "every Canadian Registered Nurse must pass" CRNE (excluding Quebec which has its own RN exam). I am happy to report the statistics for my GNIE cohort.

[Update 15-Mar-2013 02:15] But first, a RETRACTION, DECLARATION AND DISCLAIMER: Please note that correlation does not equate causation. I apologize that I had previously used the words "value-add" and "R.O.I." on a whim. Please note that I do not have any proof of causation. Given such consideration, I retract my use of the above words with regards to this situation. The following is my personal opinion. I am not an Admissions Officer or in any way qualified to give "CRNE candidates advice" and thus any content from me shall be construed as a sharing of personal opinion, not advice. I do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided by me. Under no circumstances will I or anyone related to this content be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from any reliance on the information or other content posted or linked by me.

Let's start with statistics from the Canadian Nurses Association. Based on the June 2012 CRNE Bulletin, the passing rate for the "first CRNE attempt" by Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) range from 46.34% to 56.26% in 2011. 
[Aside: The "2011 CRNE results" analysis is the most recent statistic available at the moment. When we saw those statistics while we were revising for the CRNE, many of us were really worried.]

And now for the statistics from my GNIE cohort of 30* who attempted the CRNE for our first time. As at the end-of-day on 19-Mar-2013 15-Mar-2013 14-Mar-2013:
  • Passed: 26 = 86.66% 25 = 83.33% 22 = 73.33%
  • Failed: 4 = 13.33%
  • Awaiting results: 0 = 0% 1 = 3.33% 4 = 13.33%
Given the above passing rate (86.66% 83.33% around 70% for GNIE-trained IENs compared to the 2011's data of around 50% for IENs in general), I would say that the CRNE results amongst my cohort of GNIE graduates seems pretty good. [Update on 19-Mar-2013] In fact, we have reached the passing rates of the Canadian-educated nurses.

I spoke with one of my classmates who failed. He is taking it well. As per his sharing on his circumstances, he did not finish about 20 questions which is a significant 10% of the paper (i.e. 200 questions in total). He explained that he took a toilet break during the exam which costed him much time. Suggestions for future CRNE candidates to note: time management and bladder/bowel control.

[Update on 15-Mar-2013] Still waiting for the final person's result.
We are hoping for the best for the 4 who are still waiting for their results. I have confidence in some of them, especially IT who is my "academic twin" (because we kept getting the same grades during the 1st two GNIE semesters).

[Update on 19-Mar-2013] A note to those who took their exams in B.C. : According to an announcement made by an invigilator at the CRNE exam hall, everyone should get his/her result within 6 weeks after the exam. Those who have not received their 06-Feb-2013 CRNE results by the end of today (Tuesday 19-Mar-2013) should check with CRNBC.


*Note: We started off with 35 GNIE students.
Thus, there were 30 of us who had our first attempt at the CRNE on 06-Feb-2013.

[Addendum on 14-Jul-2013: Please click here for the 2nd-cut update.]

Monday, March 11, 2013

Creative side of Singapore

Came across the following music video created in Singapore. It is a hilarious spoof of many iconic Asian and/or pop culture. How many can you spot?

"Dead Girl Seeks Meaningful Relationships"

I remember Singapore in the early/mid 1990's when the policies were geared towards turning Singapore into a "Knowledge-based Economy" or a "Knowledge Hub" of sorts. There were lots of government funding to encourage people to upgrade to post-graduate paper qualification, e.g. in Information Technology. There were also funds poured in hope of creating a vibrant arts/cultural scene. E.g. That was when "the durians" were designed.

Given that much funding, one would think that Singapore would have a flourishing and world-reknown arts scene by now, almost 2 decades later. What happened? The curious case of Sticker Lady shed some light on some of the things that money cannot buy. As apparent in the video above and numerous other podcasts, videos, etc, from Singapore, the creative talent is there. However, the official tolerance for deviation from the norm has not quite caught up with the current social trend yet. [See related online commentaries here and here.]


What has Singapore become instead? To paraphrase The Wall Street Journal article dated 07-Mar-2013, Singapore is now a playground for the world's richest people looking for a safe haven to enjoy life's luxuries while avoiding tax.

Unfortunately, in this playground unlike the other world-reknown one, its poorer citizens have lost out even despite the supposed "trickle down economic" effects. In fact, coupled with open floodgate approach to foreign labour and immigration (see also appendix A here, for statistics on Singapore's foreign temporary labour), even the middle class suffered -- so much so that the once-docile Singaporean sheep took to the only space earmarked for public protest to speak against the government's plan to further jack the population up to 6.9 million on an already crowded Singapore with public services breaking down. [Click here, here and here for examples.] What did the government do? Business as usual, steamroll policies through. [Note: IMHO, it was strategic of opposition politician Workers Party Low Thia Kiang to ask for a division in the motion.] 

Medicalization of health issues

The video below is a humorous look at the medicalization of health issues in developed nations. The song is based on USA. Nevertheless, similar issues abound in Singapore and Canada.

IMHO, the best solution is to educate healthcare users. E.g. The video below on opioid medication by Dr Mike Evans (with support from MyFavouriteMedicine.comCentre for Addiction and Mental Health and Canada Health Infoway).

"Best Advice for People Taking Opioid Medication"

Note from 7:18 to 7:30 where Dr Mike Evans says, 
"My sense is that many patients who are taking opioids for pain are painted with this wider brush of suspicion, which is unfortunate."

GNIE: CRNE results coming soon

I received a message from my GNIE classmate RS, 
"Expect your result in the mail tomorrow or Wednesday. I came from crmbc and saw the envelops mailed out. Best of luck to all of us."
Yeah! Have been looking forward to receiving the result. There is a chance that I may not pass, the CRNE was way tougher than the CNA Prep Guide made it out to be. After the exam, I found out from my GNIE classmates that I got many questions wrong!

Still I just want to know if I had passed or otherwise. It is one of the psychological barriers holding me back from being confident about applying for RN (Registered Nurse) jobs at the moment. If I pass, then it's time to carry out the next step of my plan. Otherwise, it's time to seriously put my nose to the grindstone of my nursing books this time. To be honest, I admit that I did not revise well for the first attempt, so I won't feel sorry for myself if I did not make it.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Alternate universe

Ever wondered what would have happened if you had chosen a different path in life? The idea of alternate universe(s) fascinates me from-time to-time.

"Sliding Doors" movie trailer

After I met L the lawyer, I guess I can put to rest one of my alternate universe(s).


You see, after my GCE 'A' levels (i.e. equivalent of high school in Canada), I queued up for career advice from our junior college lecturers. I wanted to pursue Engineering1 but while my result was good2, my Physics grade sucked for someone who wanted to enter Engineering.
Note 1: Yeah, those were the days when youths were told to be either a "doctor, lawyer or engineer". I never studied Biology beyond lower secondary school (i.e. aged 13 to 14) because I was not an "Ace" student, I hated memorizing those long Latin names for parts of plants/animals, and I did not have the heart to dissect live animals just to observe their hearts pumping or to see their nerves twitching their legs. Since I did not have a strong Biology foundation nor incredibly good grades (i.e. not straight 'A's which was the rumoured requirement for female medical school applicants, given the gender-based quota on medical school enrolment back then), "doctor" was out of the question. 
Note 2: My result was considered "good" in those days (late 1980's) when grade inflation was not that bad. With the exception of medical school, my teachers believed that I could pick any local university course that I wanted and I would stand a high chance of gaining entry into my course of choice. Privately though, I thought that they were being overly optimistic.
My assigned career advisor, Mr T, zoomed in on my 'A' grade and suggested that I pursue Computer Science since Mathematics was my strongest subject. I told him that I was clueless about computing, but he reassured me that with my strong mathematics foundation, I would make it.

My GCE 'A' level result

I was still somewhat doubtful. Mr T took a look at my other subjects, pausing at my General Paper grade (i.e. English). He suggested, "Or try law." Given my limited worldly exposure as a student, I equated lawyers to "people who quarrel in courts", as in criminal law. Back then, I had no idea of the other forms of law. At that age, I have had enough of a quarrelsome family background to know that I would probably dislike any job which involved bickering as part of its duties. Thus, I ruled out law school.

Obstinately, I asked Mr T if I should apply to enter Engineering. Mr T happens to be my Physics lecturer/tutor. He had first-hand experience of how I eschewed calculations and answered his tutorial questions based on my imagination of how objects would behave under the influence of various forces. [Note: I did not know about Theoretical Physics back then.] He bluntly pointed out that Physics was my worst grade and Engineering requires a strong foundation in Physics, and thus discouraged me from applying for it.
Looking back, I have to thank Mr T for steering me away from Engineering. I took an short engineering module for my Masters, and frankly, it bored me.
At that time, I was still unclear of what I would like to do for my career. For some strange reason, I had a vision that computing would become ubiquitous in the future, and thus no matter what career I choose, some computing skills would be required on-the-job. As such, it might be useful to equip myself with some computing skills with which to leverage myself into a different field should I discover my "true calling" later in life. Besides, I needed a course whose graduates had a high chance of landing a job quickly because I knew then that I would need a study loan for my university tuition. Thus, fascinating but "low employability" majors like Psychology, any language studies, etc, were out of the question. Thankfully, some areas of Computer Science turned out to be rather interesting. It also helped that we had some quirky and humorous lecturers too.


Years down the road, when I discovered that there was more to law than just the "quarrelsome" criminal law, I sometimes wondered what-if I had entered law school instead? Meeting L and listening to her career story, I suspect that my life would probably not be very much different from what it had been. No matter what career I chose, my nature/character is pretty much the same -- a unique combination of workaholic perfectionist (in areas of interests) and easy-going slacker (otherwise). My multiple interests would also probably drive me to explore more than one career anyway. What an interesting closure to an alternate universe!

Aside from the above, interestingly, L is the first Caucasian lady whom I've met personally who looks like she is in her 20's even when she is already in her 40's (just like me).

Class Action - Abuse in Residential Facility

At the end of last month, I met someone (L) over a social group's brunch. L happens to be a lawyer interested in legislative law, human rights law and similar areas. At one point, we started a general discussion about systemic abuses/atrocities. E.g. Those mentioned in the "Woodlands Class Action" law suit (see appendix below).

Although that happened almost 20 years ago (the residential Woodlands School was closed in 1996), I asked L regarding my concern (speaking as a foreign-trained nurse myself) that with a flood of foreign-trained nurses who often carry with us different cultural views on nursing ethics, how can we ensure that such systemic abuses/atrocities are not repeated?

L is of the view that training is important. Training to ensure that foreign-trained nurses and other healthcare workers understand and adhere to the Canadian standards for ethical healthcare delivery. I am inclined to agree with her that training is important. That said, from my observation and experience, the cultural aspects of healthcare delivery is one of the challenging areas to "train".


[Extracted from Klein Lyons Personal Injury & Class Action Law website on 07-Mar-2013.]


This is a class action for former residents of Woodlands School in New Westminster, British Columbia. Woodlands School was a residential facility operated by the Province of British Columbia for mentally disabled children and adults. The school closed in 1996.

A review of Woodlands School commissioned by the Province and conducted by a former provincial Ombudsman, Dulcie McCallum, found that there had been widespread sexual, physical and psychological abuse of Woodlands residents and that there were systemic problems with the Province’s operation of the school:

Names of the residents and staff involved with the incidents will remain private. Details of the physical abuse found in the records include hitting, kicking, smacking, slapping, striking, restraining, isolating, grabbing by the hair or limbs, dragging, pushing onto table, kicking and shoving, very cold showers, very hot baths resulting in burns to the skin, verbal abuse including swearing, bullying and belittling, inappropriate conduct such as extended isolation, wearing shackles and belt-leash with documented evidence of injuries including bruising, scratches, broking limbs, black eyes and swollen face.
A follow up investigation conducted by the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee reached similar conclusions:

Stories that were told by the former residents included physical abuse such as being slapped or beaten, sexual abuse by staff or by other residents, having to work on the wards or for other businesses, being confined in side rooms or placed in restraints and losing their privileges. Residents talked about being afraid to speak up for fear they would be punished. They also spoke of the fear of watching or hearing another resident be abused. Some of the residents described how scary it was to live on a ward where they felt that the other residents were dangerous.
The Woodlands Project Team reviewed approximately 100,000 pages of resident files. Nearly 20% of the documents revealed at least one issue of concern. These issues ranged from actual reports of abuse, unexplained injuries or illnesses, unexpected behaviour changes, sexually transmitted diseases, sterilization and the use of birth control in Woodlands, heavy doses of medication, overcrowding, chronic infectious diseases like hepatitis and salmonella, forms of punishment including seclusion, restraints, restricted visits with family and withdrawal of food and privileges like being able to have coffee or to go out on the grounds alone.

The class action was originally certified as including all former residents but the class definition was recently limited to persons who lived at Woodlands on or after August 1, 1974. This is due to the operation of British Columbia’s Crown Proceeding Act which came into force on that date. The decision to limit the class is currently under appeal.

For information about the We Survived Woodlands Group:

For information about the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities Woodlands Campaign:

Court Ruling Excludes Pre–August 1, 1974 Residents From Lawsuit

People who lived at Woodlands, but moved out of the School before August 1, 1974, have been excluded from this lawsuit by a series of court decisions. [For more details, please refer to the Klein Lyons webpage on Woodlands Class Action.]

GNIE: RN job search - Update 1

I am happy to report that at least 3 of my 33 GNIE classmates have been hired in paid Registered Nurse jobs with their Provisional Registered Nurse licence. I used "at least" because I did not hear from everyone, so the 3 are those whom I know of. Considering that not all of my classmates are actively looking for RN jobs, IMHO, this is a good statistic.
Some classmates returned to their family commitments. Some returned to their countries of origin while waiting for the CRNE results. Some are hanging on to their minimum wage jobs, while waiting for the CRNE results before launching into their RN job search. Others, like me, are taking a break.
As far as I understand, some have been interviewed but the progression of their job applications is hinged upon their CRNE results, which would be out in 1 to 2 weeks' time -- i.e. a total of 5 to 6 weeks after the exam date. Let's hope that there will be more good news to come soon. 

Met my reader(s)

Have not been blogging much. 
  • Partly because I wanted to give myself a break to enjoy idling for a change -- I had many ideas of stuff to blog about but just decided that they can wait and/or I needed to mull over some issues for a bit more before I write. 
  • Partly because (inevitably) I met a reader of my blog by chance recently, in my decision to offer support to fellow IENs (internationally educated nurses) in B.C., Canada. In fact, another reader* recently identified herself (via email) although we have met each other in person before. [*Note: If you're reading this, you'd probably know who you are. Thanks for your email advice, I have since reviewed and edited the contents under "Nursing in Canada". Hope it is ok now.]
I used a pseudonym for convenience of not being easily identified. Nevertheless, if one were to follow my posts over time, and if one has access to certain information, I am really easily identifiable in both Canada and Singapore. After all, I don't believe in lying about who I am and there aren't many people with my unique combination of circumstances.

Yet, the stuff I wrote on this blog are at times very personal in nature. I don't know if I want to wear my heart on a sleeve to the public. [Note: I have been getting above 4,000 hits a month for the recent months.] Then again, I started my blog back in March 2009, as an exercise to practise writing in English for IELTS (which I attempted in August 2009) and also to journal my ups-and-downs (given the then-impending major life changes of a career switch and migration) as a means reflect on life. Thus, it would defeat my purpose of reflecting on life if I were to avoid writing about the personal stuff. 

A solution that would meet the demands of both privacy and reflection would be to revert to the journalling using good old pen-and-paper. Or to change this blog to a "private" members-only blog. But then, it would mean that I cannot share the information that I have gleaned along the way with random strangers on a similar journey. E.g. My current 3rd most popular post is "IEN preparing to apply to CRNBC". Why? I suspect it may be because there seems to be a dearth of information on the matter. Back when I was a newly landed immigrant, I remember some kind folks sharing with me hearsay from someone-they-know-of who-met-someone who happened to have gone through the process or know-of-someone who did. 
I have recently learned from the above IEN (reader of my blog) that CRNBC and some of the immigrant settlement services agencies (e.g. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. or MOSIAC) conduct talks for IENs about getting their qualifications recognized. Please check directly with those agencies for such talks if you're interested.
After much pondering and having enjoyed an extended break, I decided to resume blogging. I was after all inspired by one brave Singapore Serf who sought to escape the lemming-like existence prescribed for the Singaporean heart-landers. [E.g. 75% Singaporeans stated that they are struggling according to a 2005-2009 Gallup World Poll. Or click here for Frugal Introvert's commentary blog post.] Since I was encouraged by Singapore Serf's down-to-earth journal of venturing overseas, I believe that there are others who are curious about an ordinary* migrant's experience. E.g. My current 4th most popular post is "Facebook exchange: What it means to leave Singapore". 
*Note: Not everyone who leaves Singapore is a high-flyer. It is a myth that one has to be a high-flyer to emigrate. 
So trusting the world (occasionally with my heart on my sleeve), onwards I blog.