Monday, April 21, 2008

SKT 79, so how now?


Sincerity and good manners are relevant only to patients, not to a healthcare system riddled with pride, prejudice, racism and cronyism.

How does one react and behave when the future you’ve been working for is suddenly snatched from you?


SKT 79: so how now?

I checked my SKT today or rather, my friend checked it for me.

Hopeful but not overly, prepared but not for the worst, it was still much of a surprise that I only managed a mere 79 points for my SKT of 2007.

Still doubtful that I was given such a low mark, I rechecked it myself at the office. The young girl in green tudung was friendly and cooperative. Despite the time being very close to lunch hour, she brought out a thick, dog-eared record book. I scanned through the pages, found my name and took a long look at the points.

True enough, just as I had suspected.

I did not get 79 points.

My friend had reported it wrongly.

It was a 78.

The SKT is an acronym for Sasaran Kerja Tahunan. It is an annual evaluation exercise whereby heads of departments or specialists-in-charge grade their subordinates based on a few pre-set criteria on a scale from 0-100. It is very much a subjective and arbitrary means of assessing a doctor’s overall work performance over the preceding one year. More often than not, the final tallied points are hardly reflective of the individual’s capabilities and commitment to one’s job. The lazy doctor who disappears from the ward five times a day and sleeps throughout his on-call may very well end up with the same mark as one who goes the extra mile for one’s patients. Ass-licking and ball-carrying go a long way, to put in as bluntly as possible.

The main significance of the SKT is mostly for doctors who plan to apply for specialty training through the master’s programs conducted by our local universities. In view of recent changes in the external exams for the surgical fields, most doctors have little choice but to pursue their specialty training via the master’s program. A minimum SKT of 85 for three consecutive years is a basic criterion before one is eligible to apply for specialty training in a local master’s program. For the bumiputra doctors, an alternative specialty training program is available through Skim Latihan Akademik Bumiputra (SLAB). For non-bumiputras, we are essentially left at the mercy of our superiors to determine our future, or the lack of it, with one quick stroke of the pen.

Realising the weightage that the SKT plays in one's career, some department heads have set policies that no doctor's SKT should ever be lower than the magic number of 85. As such, every Hisham, Chan and Komaladevi will receive a commendable score regardless of one's actual work performance. It defeats the whole purpose of an annual assessment so I really wonder why anyone should even bother to work hard when ass-kissing will propel one to the top.


With an SKT of 78, my chances for a placement in the local master’s program is essentially nil.

Zilch. Zero. None. Non-existent.

What should I do now?

I can go on the whole night whining like a loser about how the macha who boozed and snoozed on the job got a better mark because he boozed and snoozed with the macha specialist who graded him. I can go on exposing the wrongs committed by this same specialist who graded me, how I stayed behind till the wee hours of the morning cleaning up the mess he created to a bleeding patient. I can write on and on because I’m writing the truth but I won’t.

I need to think think hard and ponder deep.

I need to weigh my options at this juncture.

Righteous anger is still anger. Bitter truth is still bitterness.

“My peace I give to you, peace not as the world give but peace that comes from heaven” – Jesus Christ

I do not think it is easy for anyone to sit down calmly and endure injustice flung into one’s face.

Sincerity and good manners are relevant only to patients, not to a healthcare system riddled with pride, prejudice, racism and cronyism.

How does one react and behave when the future you’ve been working for is suddenly snatched from you?

Shrug…It was never mine to begin with anyway.

I’ll weigh my options.

At this point, I can:
• Sit down and shut up. I can choose to wait for another year or two and hope someone fair and just will accord me the minimal points I need to apply for masters. By the time I am eligible to apply for a masters course, the SLAB products who were once my juniors will be my lecturers. Then again, life is not a race, or so they say…


• Get on my knees and appeal to the kind-hearted boss to re-evaluate me. I’d have to put on a gay smile, speak some niceties, do tip-toe dance or two and hope it’ll soften his callous soul. Think I should do that?


• Join the masters program as a private candidate. Pay RM 20,000 to learn under SLAB lecturers only to be left without a job upon graduation. Not a bad option in fact.


• Forgo my ambition of ever specializing, serve out my compulsory government service and open up a general practice somewhere in Kota Marudu.


• Quit medicine altogether and join a pharmaceutical company or a direct sales scheme.


• Pack my bags and leave for a foreign land and join the fight in a survival of the fittest.


• Commit suicide and hope the racist leaders of Malaysia will learn their lesson. Fat chance that’s gonna happen.

Still thinking. Still pondering.

It’s not easy. It never was.

“My peace I give to you, peace not as the world give but peace that comes from heaven” – Jesus Christ

Guide me Jesus.

Amen.

23 comments:

zewt said...

what's SKT????

hey... you are really writing some seriously good stuff here. if i were to ever give out a thinking blogger award, you will be the first in my list.

keep it up.

CK Tan said...

waiting for ur 2nd part....

jj said...

its not that easy my dear to get skt more than 85.
skt not just give marks on your clinical practice but other things as well like social contibution, publishing scientific papers, taking part hospital/department activities, joining KMK or inovasi etc etc etc etc.
currently i'm working in HDOK, sandakan, where my pengarah is really strict in marking the SKT. most of mo here just got an average of 80 marks, but many other staffs like MA, Sister or SN able to get at least 90 marks. this is because they contribute more in the social and hospital activities. 1 of our dietitian scored SKT of 90 because she represent malaysia in SEA games.
it's not that easy and simple. i did scored 85 last year and this is partly because i'm the only mo here doing KMK/inovasi

jj said...

an example of "social contribution" which my friends did:
1. blood bank drive (most of the mo did this)
2. community blood pressure checking, i did this last year
3. health camp in remote area, my hospital organized 2 camps last year, 1 in ulu dusun, the other one was in pulau berhala (very near to the philippine border), easy to get full marks if we able to join this.
4. joining and taking part in MERCY malaysia
5. cultural activities eg singing, culture dance
6. Thalassaemia groups activities
7. Breast cancer survivor groups
8. any religious groups activities that contribute to the society eg well known tzi chi
etc etc etc

Product of the System said...

JJ,

Thanks for sharing.

Been there, done that.

90 points SKT are dime a dozen over here. A lot depends on who's giving the assessment.

Got 93 for my SKT last year.

So did many others who didn't do half as much as i did.

Anonymous said...

which dept gave you that low?
you need at least an SKT score of 85 for 3 consecutive years to apply for local masters....
i think it's very wrong for someone to give anything lower than thst... your future would depend so much on that...
what's more.. there're many undeserving 'servants' receiving good 'grades' for 'outstanding' work... getting into masters to be future specialists and consultants... and sad to say these champions will be holding high positions and grading newbies...
go back to the person and ask for justification...
from the looks of it, I bet you're someone worthy in the system...
stay cool and continue the good work...

nyp said...

Hey, Kota Marudu welcomes you man !!

Anonymous said...

yup, KM will give you more than that... no seriously, whats with the fixation on the numbers? since you know the system, you should probably know how to beat the system. how many do you know who actually got lower marks than youd did and got into specialty training .... truth??? there are a lot out there ... a bit of fox and scully? no but thats the system. and POTS, you'll make it through . . . in fact it wasn't NEP or the machas who gave the lower marks for some, you should be looking a bit further up there
good day

CK Tan said...

u will know what you want to do. and i pray that it will turn out to be good.

the SKT thingy sounds like the local university entrance criteria whereby all the social contributions are akin to the co-curriculum activities. the intention maybe to develop a more well-balanced character but again, the implementation had been abused and most of the time, a failure. just look at the local uni std in general. pathetic and im speaking as one who graduated from it as well.

JJ, thanks for serving my hometown.

avant garde said...

seriously go talk to the macha... not beg on your knees but rather seek justice where it is due. for all you know, some its some political ploy to assasinate your future, special branch crap or something. perhaps you listed DAP as one of your cocurricular activities :) smells of career suicide ? it's not the pits. just join the rest of us who don't bother and don't whine for masters plcements and do the external Aussie / British programmes.

kittykat46 said...

I heard SKT above 80 is very hard to get lah.
SKT 79 is a decent score - but complicates your hopes of getting into the Masters program.

I wonder if Bodek UMNO activity counts in the score ?....

fsl said...

in fact Kudat also not bad bro... no traffic jam, good seafood, if open up a clinic, definitely you'll earn more than clinics in kk (cos many illegal "bumiputras" :)

think you should go talk to felow who gave you 79, maybe can still change it... unless you seriously think of quiting the system then don bother about it la...

i haven't checked my recent SKT yet, the previous one was 89. if i got less than 85 i think i'l just quit the system la, either go private or singapore/australia where they accept people with skt <85 haha... sounds like it's tougher to serve the malaysian government now huh? are they trying to push us away or what??

jj said...

i was really amazed with your writings so far till this blog.
you did mentioned to study and work hard to beat those SLAB/malay.

now WTF?
you are still young and many years ahead are waiting.
being a surgeon is that not easy, its takes a very long years, no point of being a young surgeon but you can't cut! (like those SLAB candidate).
it's ok that your junior will your lecturers, as long you are determinants to be a surgeon.
i thought you will fight back, ...
i was wrong..

bee said...

Now i give back the reward of diligence to you. Dear friend, don't be discouraged. Just go Kota Marudu and serve ppl there. Or come to 'kinabatangan' to replace me doing scans everyday.

siang said...

This is the reason why we need to sit for external paper like MRCP. Personally I think that when our government derecognized MRCS etc, it main purpose is to hold back non-bumi.
POTS, it is time for you to try your luck in MRCP.

Anonymous said...

DRATS! WHAT A BUMMER

Now is as good a time as any to reexamine your options and to seriously rethink your strategy.

You're effectively bilingual, industrious, sharp, resolute, talented and ..... I could go on but you get the picture. With all this more the world is your oyster.

Perhaps it's time to spread your wings. Broaden your horizon and begin the next lap your life.

I can imagine a good number of countries raring to roll out their red carpets for a person of substance like you.

If push comes to shove and you've had enough of being suppressed, oppressed and repressed try thinking out of the box and pushing the envelope.

Fighting the establishment (easily an individual's most formidable adversary) that does everything it can to inhibit and stifle you is an uphill task. You're like the proverbial David taking on Goliath.

It pays not to be myopic. There are plenty of medical establishments elsewhere which would like nothing more than the high honour, distinct pivilege of having you on board. Their gain will be Malaysia's loss.

If I were a bigwig owning/running a hospital I wouldn't mind having the single honour, double privilege and triple pleasure of headhunting you.

While you're mulling and considering your options, remember this ............

"Don't get mad, Get **even"
"**Revenge is a dish best served cold"
"It ain't over till the fat lady sings"

Q8-)Pensive kindred spirit

** There are a multitude of ways that one can extract revenge or get even. Beating the system or thriving/flourishing inspite of the obstacles and hurdles are but two examples of how one can give the system the finger. Doing exceedingly well elsewhere and returning in triumph is yet another way of thumbing one's nose at one's adversary. The erstwhile Miss Malaysia (aka former Bond girl) is a prime example. Malaysia is ever so keen to claim kith and kin (unashamedly ##basking in reflected glory and hoping to cash in on her fame and whatever else they can leech from her). More so after her liason with the race car moghul.

## They did the same with Sufiah the Math prodigy before she went beserk (however tenous the association)

Anonymous said...

DRATS! WHAT A BUMMER

Now is as good a time as any to reexamine your options and to seriously rethink your strategy.

You're effectively bilingual, industrious, sharp, resolute, talented and ..... I could go on but you get the picture. With all this more the world is your oyster.

Perhaps it's time to spread your wings. Broaden your horizon and begin the next lap your life.

I can imagine a good number of countries raring to roll out their red carpets for a person of substance like you.

If push comes to shove and you've had enough of being suppressed, oppressed and repressed try thinking out of the box and pushing the envelope.

Fighting the establishment (easily an individual's most formidable adversary) that does everything it can to inhibit and stifle you is an uphill task. You're like the proverbial David taking on Goliath.

It pays not to be myopic. There are plenty of medical establishments elsewhere which would like nothing more than the high honour, distinct pivilege of having you on board. Their gain will be Malaysia's loss.

If I were a bigwig owning/running a hospital I wouldn't mind having the single honour, double privilege and triple pleasure of headhunting you.

While you're mulling and considering your options, remember this ............

"Don't get mad, Get **even"
"**Revenge is a dish best served cold"
"It ain't over till the fat lady sings"

Q8-)Pensive kindred spirit

** There are a multitude of ways that one can extract revenge or get even. Beating the system or thriving/flourishing inspite of the obstacles and hurdles are but two examples of how one can give the system the finger. Doing exceedingly well elsewhere and returning in triumph is yet another way of thumbing one's nose at one's adversary. The erstwhile Miss Malaysia (aka former Bond girl) is a prime example. Malaysia is ever so keen to claim kith and kin (unashamedly ##basking in reflected glory and hoping to cash in on her fame and whatever else they can leech from her). More so after her liason with the race car moghul.

## They did the same with Sufiah the Math prodigy before she went beserk (however tenous the association)

Anonymous said...

This is an open letter to all Malaysian Chinese caught in the same predicament.

ICH KANN, ICH WILL, ICH MUSS
I CAN, I WILL, I MUST

Quote
“How does one react and behave when the future you’ve been working for is suddenly snatched from you?”
“Forgo my ambition of ever specializing, serve out my compulsory government service and open up a general practice somewhere in Kota Marudu.
• Quit medicine altogether and join a pharmaceutical company or a direct sales scheme.” Unquote

Hard lines.

I’m so disturbed by this post and the other one about Dr Bee that I feel compelled to put another of my two cents worth. It ill behoves beleaguered doctors like you, Dr Bee and all the other Chinese doctors in the same boat to let the system scupper your dream. The future may seem bleak when one is faced with the daunting prospect of having one’s dream waylaid/crushed.

Knowledge/qualifications is power, so arm yourselves with as much knowledge/qualifications as possible. You people are the crème de la crème, the top 1 percent of your cohort. You people are what is left of your fellow Chinese Malaysians. This notwithstanding the system will continue to relentlessly whittle away the remaining number of Chinese. We all know just how difficult it was for all of you to get to where you are today so please cling tenaciously to your dream. Consider your opportunity cost if you let the system get to you. Remember this… “You can, you will and you must”. You’re doing it not just for yourself, your family and your friends but also your fellow Chinese Malaysians.

Quote
“It defeats the whole purpose of an annual assessment so I really wonder why anyone should even bother to work hard when ass-kissing will propel one to the top.”
Unquote

What gets my goat is obsequious sycophants who bow and scrape to undeserving cruds. Shamelessly trying to curry favours in their blinkered pursuit of a smooth and unimpeded ascend up the corporate ladder. You know these indolent hanger-ons are really scraping the barrel when the only thing they excel in is brown-nosing. I have nothing but contempt for these emotionally labile people. Best to give them a wide berth and be leery of them.


Q 8-) Concerned kindred spirit with withers unwrung

Jay said...

POTS,

Leave. Singapore is recruiting UKM and UM trained medical grads in droves. The MOH sucks. It will get worse now that some dumbass nutritionist thinks that waiting not more than 30 minutes means you get quality healthcare. Things will get worse. You are evidently too talented not to train further. So leave. Quick

ChinNA said...

I am not a doctor and might not be able to understand everything.

On the logical human thinking, you could leave to places that will value your skills more. But as a Christian, this is not the first option.

Thus, let us ask ourselves this question: What is God's (I mean YWYH and not any other gods) calling for each of us?

With the answer to that question, you will find the right places to go to.

I will like to leave you with this verse Eph 6:13, Having done all, to stand.

If you have done all and you choose not to stand, it will cause you grief. The ability to stand is important.

Note the verse did not say "Having done all, to walk or to run or to sleep etc..." It said, Having Done All, To Stand.

To stand means, stay your ground, leave it to God and do nothing else. It means standing still and learning how put your stake on the ground and be still. Stand Your Ground.

Usually preachers do not expound on the words "to stand". They cover the other aspects of the verse.

Understand these 2 words "To Stand" and I prophesised for you that God will meet you.

If you want to, I am in facebook. Look for ChinNA and drop me a message.

Take care.

digital dental surgeon said...

skt in essence is a good way to assess the staff..

BUT..

in the wrong heads of depts, directors, etc skt is just a failure of the system.

i've seen doctors and dental surgeons who work with dedication and tirelessly treat patients but yet get less than 80 marks in their skt..

WHILE..

some lazy boned staff got 90 marks and anugerah cemerlang for kissing up their boss' ass..

that is the system for you..


fact is, if ur boss have the brains and uses it wisely, then ur ok. if not.. well..

bide ur time.. when ur the boss, make sure skt is done properly.. that is all that i can say..

sigh..

articularis said...

they are supposed to review the SKT system this year. maybe they will scrape it off next year and you will get lucky.

all the best ya.

S-S said...

Hi~ i am facing the same situation now...already had 2years of skt more than 85...n the 3rd year gone~ :(
Am thinking of other options in life now...

Wanna ask~ if let's say i were to sit for masters program as a private candidate, will i still get my salary....?