Roddy Doyle's The Commitments: listening to the soul of Dublin


Irish writer Roddy Doyle. Photo by Patrick Bolger, The Guardian.

I FIRST HEARD of Roddy Doyle through The New Yorker Fiction Podcast hosted by the magazine's fiction editor, Deborah Treisman. The guest on the show was Dave Eggers, a writer in and publisher of McSweeney's, a literary magazine. In that episode, Eggers read “Bullfighting,” Doyle's short story about friends from Dublin who go to Spain for a quick vacation. The story kept me entertained throughout my hour or so of commute from Manila to QC a few months ago. What intrigued me then was Eggers's statement that although he is not a completist, he has read everything written by Doyle.

The second paid job of my life

THE SECOND paid job of my life will be at the Department of Medicine of the Philippine General Hospital. By God's all-sufficient grace, I made it through two weeks of competitive (yet surprisingly enjoyable) pre-residency, then a month or so of patient waiting and praying for the Chief Resident's call that should come on the third or fourth week of October, if I qualified for the top 21 slots.



Photo: Dr. Ralph Villalobos

The first paid job of my life

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THE FIRST paid job of my life was in a small infirmary in a coastal town along Sarangani Bay. I started working as doctor-reliever yesterday. My father, excited to see his son finally face the real world after years of studying, drove me to the hospital. My mother insisted that I bring a towel and a blanket, in the loving way that mothers nag their grown-up children to do the most illogical things. Tatay dragged my grandmother and my two other uncles with us. To the casual observer we must’ve looked like a family on a field trip, sans the embarrassing tarpaulin.

Reciting the Hippocratic Oath

Physician Oath-taking Ceremony 2014
With my internship block. Photo credit: Dr. Agnes Custodio

NO SURGE of emotions, no tear-stained eye, no passionate sighing overcame me when I recited the Hippocratic Oath this morning with most of the country's newest physicians, passers of the August 2014 Physician Licensure Examination. But what's done is done; I am, by the grace of God, a full-fledged doctor. Many thanks for your support and prayers. Special mention goes to some of my dear friends who visit this blog daily and to random readers who wished me well and sent me encouraging emails in the course of my board review. I thank God for you.

In which I list the books I've read, lest I forget them

THERE ARE moments when I find more comfort in the presence of books than people. Reading is one of the very, very few things I do that keep me quiet—the others include sleep and prayer, but even those sometimes have me saying things aloud.

I turned to reading during the last few weeks leading up to the Board exam; I went back to it after my application for residency. By reading, of course, I mean me tackling non-academic, non-medical pieces of literature; including my medical textbooks will inevitably bloat my reading list. When I read fiction (don't say “pocket books,” unless you're reading a Mills and Boon paperback romance), I am transported to other worlds created by the author's mind. Why that's so thrilling is something only readers will understand—a thrill that, in my opinion, should be experienced by all. But, alas, not everyone has the patience for the written word, let alone pages and pages of it. But the truth is that much is lost when one forgoes reading—a perennially recurring tragedy, what with the advent of smart phones and tablets, leaving people, especially impressionable children, more adept at computer games than self-examination and empathy.