Thursday, March 20, 2008

Slapped, Pushed and Kicked Around.


I don’t feel an attraction or any strong pull towards Singapore or Australia or the USA. I owe my medical career to the rakyat of Malaysia who subsidized my university education. I repeat - I owe my current career to the citizens of Malaysia, not to the BN government. Out of honor, I serve the needy community in return. I do not see a life in another country any more comfortable or satisfying. There is no pull factor, no red carpet, no open arms, no welcome banner, no golden handshake, no personal invitation from any foreign land.

Yet, there is always this push factor from the country I was born in. It’s unspoken, unwritten, unannounced, unpublished. It’s felt and tangible so it must be real and existent.




The Push Factor

A friend of mine will be resigning from the Ministry of Health soon. No, she is not headed for the lucrative private sector. She is headed for university again, having been accepted into the Skim Latihan Akademik Bumiputera (SLAB).

Born of Pakistani father and Sabahan Chinese mother, she is somehow registered as a bumiputra. She entered medical school two years younger than us non-bumis. I don’t remember her as an outstanding medical student. In fact, if I don’t remember wrongly, she was almost retained in the first years for failing three consecutive semesters.

One week ago, she was still a humble house officer – taking blood in the wards, receiving orders from medical officers and specialists and running around frantically tracing investigation reports. She was not particularly outstanding as a house officer as well – not exceptionally knowledgeable or skilful, not noticeably more astute clinically than other doctors.

Next week, she will be a trainee lecturer-specialist in Universiti Malaya. In UM-land, she will join the hundreds of other SLAB beneficiaries and NEP products training to be a surgeon. She will be cradled like a precious stool sample, with extra care and guidance to ensure a smooth sailing over the next four years. Along the process of being spoon-fed, she would be lecturing medical students on how to study medicine and become community-oriented doctors. All tuition fees will be fully sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education.

Four years from now, at the tender age of 30, she will be recognized as a full-fledged surgeon in Bolehland. She will be barking orders at the medical officers who once ordered her around - non-Malays like myself who are only eligible to begin applying for specialty after 4 years in Ministry of Health service, roughly around the age of 31.

I don’t feel an attraction or any strong pull towards Singapore or Australia or the USA. I owe my medical career to the rakyat of Malaysia who subsidized my university education. I repeat - I owe my current career to the citizens of Malaysia, not to the BN government. Out of honor, I serve the needy community in return. I do not see a life in another country any more comfortable or satisfying. There is no pull factor, no red carpet, no open arms, no welcome banner, no golden handshake, no personal invitation from any foreign land.

Yet, there is always this push factor from the country I was born in. It’s unspoken, unwritten, unannounced, unpublished. It’s felt and tangible so it must be real and existent.

The SLAB programs and its other NEP siblings all serve to inhibit and retard the achievements of non-bumiputeras across a wide range of disciplines and fields. With its strict and increasingly strict requirements on non-bumi doctors to pursue specialty training in Malaysia, it is the ultimate push factor that purges away people like me.

The push factor forces me to rethink the noble choice of serving a community that supported my education versus the obligation of prudent stewardship by looking towards seemingly greener pastures.

It pushes me to study hard so that in future, if and when I come across these NEP/SLAB products, I can confidently kick their ignorant spoon-fed asses.

When one is so slapped in the face by arrogant SLAB products, one is pushed and driven to gain new and marketable skills, to be globally useful and locally humble.

When one is pushed around and kicked about often enough, one learns to seek a place away from the abusive forces.


14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The system set in make Minister only care taker and perform daily functions and FIREMAN tasks.
Long term NEP, distribution of quotas all in the handof Director General which is control directly under Umno.
No wonder people just fed up...
Tell us more stories..

Anonymous said...

I thought only the education system is going down the drain. Looks like the standard of medical services is also on a freefall. Pm says we will have a Nobel Laurette in 2057 but other than in Islamic Knowledge I can't think of another.

CK Tan said...

anon 953

i dun think we are doing tat well in Islamic knowledge but tat's just my personal opinion looking at tonnes of the little napoleans in the islamic dept. and not only education n medical, i think it's almost everything.

jedyoong said...

"When one is pushed around and kicked about often enough, one learns to seek a place away from the abusive forces."

agree. it's totally unfair. makes those given a leg up a sense of entitlement and a FALSE sense of achievement.

i'm totally disgusted by the system, it's as if they just want to torture the chinese to prove to themselves that they are racially superior.

it's a very sick institutionalised racial game.

Gan said...

Jed - one can DELUDE oneself to think they are more superior, and, that delusion cannot be punctured unless the deludeds dares to face reality.

But reality is so frightening, so the delusion continues.

jedyoong said...

Gan, reality is about perception. Wait till you have a boss who is DELUDED about his or her abilities. Lucky I'm not a doctor so I won't kill anyone 'cos of a moronic superior. Operate on the right leg...when the patient has appendicitis. Having said that silly people exist in every organisation but it's undeniable that the current unfair NEP as practised is demoralising to the nons. Am I being racist in saying so? Unfortunately, the reality in Malaysia makes it necessary to describe the situation in racial terms. After a while of this B***s***, you'll just wise up and reduce both efficiency and enthusiasm....

Not to say that there aren't worthy Malaysians across races, it's just that institutionalized racism is fact of life in Malaysia and it's time Malaysians recognize it.

Of cos, my statements are not generalisations but relate to my experience. It's unfortunate that the NEP has sowed so much racial resentment....

Anonymous said...

Is it Australia here I come?

Many well to have a feet there and here as well. Is that the way to go?

js said...

POTS, i just stumbled across your blog and this post. Your writing crackles, man!
I totally empathise with your disgust, having seen people of dubious ability handpicked to join the local medical 'academia'. I hope you realise that there are precious few true academics amongst local varsity medical educators. The ranks are swollen by people who, elsewhere, would merely be community college teachers with medical degrees. Like begets like, huh?.
Chin up, study hard, take the USMLE while you can still remember the Kreb's cycle and leave this bloody place. You can kick ass from across an ocean. Just look at Bakri Musa.

Anonymous said...

dude, drop your hypocrisy man. If you wanna appear to be so damn altruistic, then stop bitching just coz a colleague got a promotion and you didn't. That's life. But oh yea, you won't know that, since you've been craddled like a stool sample by the government too, straight through medical school from high school.

Anonymous said...

not all the SLAB are immediately post housejob, she is one of the LUCKY ones to get in sideways. And for your info there is also SLY which has existed since 2 yrs ago which is the same thing for Non-Bumis, same quota and same entry criteria. Easy to delude others who have no knowledge of the system. Did you not qualify for SLY or did you not apply? bad luck!!

Anonymous said...

Oii! Join SLY(SLAB programme for non-stool samples)lah! Admit it POTS, the real reason why you guys are not flocking to the SLY program is simply the non-commercial hassle of academic commitments and constraints, relative stagnant pay, and of course the 12 year bond that comes with it (4 years masters + 7 years bond). Why bother? Instead of joining SLY/SLAB, just do 4 years of masters, pass out as specialist, abuse the loop-hole by paying a token amount to pay off your bond to the Health Ministry (assuming that you're not a private student sponsored by KKM), make tens of thousands per month, either in the private side, or join as a 'lecturer' in the University, spend some token time on the 'gomen' side of the University Hospital, makan gaji buta just like the other 'stool samples' , yet still make a killing suckling and milking your private paying patients in the 'private wing' of the same 'gomen' university hospital...So why not SLY? Why not the civil service, or the armed forces nor the police? ...By the way POTS, you know what? Both your parents and I paid taxes to get us through our subsidized medical training... We're not so different then are we? Stool pieces? Perhaps, but personally I think POTS, just like your call sign, your trully are full of it (s#iT).

Anonymous said...

Oii! Join SLY(SLAB programme for non-stool samples)lah! Admit it POTS, the real reason why you guys are not flocking to the SLY program is simply the non-commercial hassle of academic commitments and constraints, relative stagnant pay, and of course the 11 year bond that comes with it (4 years masters + 7 years bond). Why bother? Instead of joining SLY/SLAB, just do 4 years of masters, pass out as specialist, abuse the loop-hole by paying a token amount to pay off your bond to the Health Ministry (assuming that you're not a private student sponsored by KKM), make tens of thousands per month, either in the private side, or join as a 'lecturer' in the University, spend some token time on the 'gomen' side of the University Hospital, makan gaji buta just like the other 'stool samples' , yet still make a killing suckling and milking your private paying patients in the 'private wing' of the same 'gomen' university hospital...So why not SLY? Why not the civil service, or the armed forces nor the police? ...By the way POTS, you know what? Both your parents and I paid taxes to get us through our subsidized medical training... We're not so different then are we? Stool pieces? Perhaps, but personally I think POTS, just like your call sign, you trully are full of it (s#iT).

tengkucougar said...

refer : https://online2.mohe.gov.my/eSubmission/

I think you should apply for this scheme ! You must be a really good doctor and willing to help others to become better than you ! SLAI has been around and UMMC has taken more SLAI then SLAB candidates recently. So why not prove yourself ? I'm sure yu're more than qualified..

erinchong said...

Very saddened by the pathetic state of our land.. n fr ur blog entry, the medical field in particular that we suppose to honour n look highly upon..