mardi, avril 26, 2005

Opera - Madame Butterfly

I went to watch an opera last month. It was the famous Madame Butterfly. As a "mountain tortoise", I had only a very vague idea of an opera. As it was performed by the London City Opera, I thought I had a good chance to understand it. How wrong was I.

The story of Madame Butterfly is simple. In fact, Miss Saigon is an adaptation as a muscial but happening during the Vietnam war. Madame Butterfly was about an American who came to Japan and got a "part-time" wife, Madame Butterfly. When Pinkerton left for US, Madame Butterfly was pregnant. She waited for the return of her husband and when he finally did, he brought along his wife. His wife knew that Madame Butterfly had born her husband a son and she wanted the baby. In the end, Madame Butterfly commited seppuku out of sadness.

All the dialogues were sang in a high-pitched tone and in Italian. The performers must have a lot of practices in order to reach this level of singing without panting. And to my surprise, the character Madame Butterfly was played by a Singaporean. Her name is Yee Er Ping and apparently, she had received the 2001 Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council.

The audiences were mostly french and the opera was in Italian. Okay, someone told me after that all operas are in Italian. Is it interesting? Well, for me, I did not understand a thing that was sung. I mean if I were to understand Italian, I am not sure if I could have understood the singing. :)

I don't think I will watch any opera in the near future. If I can recommend something foreign to you, go and watch the movie "Vas, vis et deviens" (Go, live and become). It is really a good film done by France/Israel.

This film is about an African boy from a refugee camp in Sudan. In 1985, Israel decided to save some of the Africans Jews. This boy was not a Jew but his mother made him leave with an African Jew who had recently lost her son. The boy settled in Jerusalem but had a diffcult time to intergrate and keeping the secret that he was not a Jew. This is not based on a true story but on a true event that had happened. So, I think there may be many stories that is similar to this one. Africa is one part of the world that people do not talk about so much nor do people react to the poor Africans who are still suffering there.

To Eternal Sunshine,
Thanks for your concern about my leg.
It is well now. Think it was caused by my heels and the uneven pavement in Paris. ;)

vendredi, avril 01, 2005

To doctor I went

Today is 1 April. Gone were the school days when friends made jokes on each other. This day, I remembered it as Bao Bei's birthday. Yes, we sang her a birthday song this morning to mark her one year of age but she did not really care. Guess birthdays do not count for cats.

In Paris, I had seen doctors thrice. Three times, it was with different doctors.
On the new year, I was sick and a house doctor had to come as there was no doctor who opened shop on this day. This house doctor came smelling like a chain smoker. He examined me, gave Seb the prescription for the medicines, wrote us an invoice for payment, washed his hands and left. Impression: bad.

The second time I was sick, I searched on the yellow pages in the internet for a female general practitioner near my area. Seb called up to get an appointment for me and we went. The doctor is situated in an apartment like most other doctors. The waiting room looks like a living room. There are sofas, a few chairs, a coffee table with lots of magazines. There was no assistance or nurse. The doctor sent out the patient, came to the waiting room, guided the next patient into the consultation room, examined, wrote the prescription, collected the payment and sent the patient out of the door. Then, she came into the waiting room for the next patient. That's how it works here. As medicines can only be bought from pharmacy, setting up shop as doctor is really a one man show.

The third time I was sick, which was yesterday, I searched the yellow pages for the doctor. I wanted to have an appointment in the evening after my work. I called up the female GP but she was totally booked for the day and I had to wait until the next day. I decided to call the next doctor in the list. The GP had retired and now, there is only a paediatrician. Since I am not a kid, this doctor is not for me. So, I called the next one in the list. Finally, a GP picked up the phone and he was able to see me at 18h.

At 17h55, I reached the building. It is an apartment building just a street away from my apartment. Outside the building, there was a plate engraved with the doctor's name. I went through the first wooden door and reached a spiral staris. I went up to the first floor. There were 2 apartments on each floor. On the left door, there was a plate engraved with the doctor's name. I rang the bell but no one anwsered. The door was locked. I called up the doctor and heard a phone rang on the second floor. The doctor was at home and he came down the spiral stairs to open his clinic. Once inside, he invited me to wait in the waiting room with the usual set up like a living room but minus the television.

5 minutes later, I was in the consultation room and I told him the pain I had in my foot. Half way through, the phone rang and he started to chat with someone on the other line giving advise on certain issues. As like with the previous doctor, the same procedure happened. He gave me the prescription, I paid him, he sent me out of the door.

This is kinda weird for me as I am not at all used to this. In Singapore, the doctor does not move. He just sit in his comforable chair and wait for his nurse or assistance to co-ordinate with the appointment, dispensing the medicines, and collecting money.
So this is my experience with the doctors here.