Sunday, March 29, 2009

Education For The Illiterate And Enlightenment For The Uncivilised

A short rebuttal before my planned hiatus.

Wow, I never thought that my two truthful encounters with the Russia graduates would ignite such fiery responses and emotionally-charged hate mails.

It appears that the literacy rate among Malaysians is not as impressive as we thought, huh?

Now, way back in 2005, I wrote a lenghty article to the mainstream media and Malaysiakini lambasting the Malaysian Medical Council for abruptly derecognizing CSMU and consequently leaving the students (and parents) in limbo.

My salient points back then were plain and clear – our local medical graduates are not superior to the CSMU students and in fact clearly lacking in many aspects.

Therefore, those who only started reading this blog in the last one week would do well to search through the archive of articles in Malaysiakini for the year 2005 before accusing me of attaching a negative stigma on graduates from CSMU and Russia.

Four years have passed since the CSMU controversy in 2005 and now we are having the graduates put through the baptism of fire i.e housemanship.

The current batch of house officers is in their third month of housemanship.

They outnumber the local graduates in a ratio of 3:1. There are probably around 35 house officers from Ukraine and Russian universities. I am not sure of the exact figure because I am obviously not in charge of administration.

Have I met all of them? Obviously not.

Nevertheless, the chatter among the clinicians is similar – most of these medical graduates are lacking in competency and fall short of their minimal expectations.

Do note my persistent usage of the term ‘most’ and not ‘all’.

Also note my first post stating very clearly that the students / graduates themselves are not to be faulted.

Regardless, if I were a CSMU or Russian student / graduate, I will look at these criticisms not as insults but as a challenge to disprove the critics.

Thus far, the only one who responded in such a manner is him.

Essentially, I am speaking for myself to hear.

With all the doubts over the competency of local graduates, the onus is on the local graduates to prove themselves worthy of the degree conferred upon them, and this is not limited to a medical qualification.

In their unchecked anger and uncontrolled emotions, the illiterate and uncivilized have hurled very colorful verbal abuses upon me without realizing that these are acts that only serve to embarrass oneself.

I shall not stoop to your level and participate in your exercise in vanity.

Instead I shall rest tonight knowing that this blog has truly served its purpose – to expose that which is presumably wrong and await the ripple effect to other sites like the much acclaimed Malaysian Medical Resources.

May I be excused now if you don’t mind - my avocadoes are waiting for me in the blender.

Till we meet again.

You can continue cursing me now.


P/S: Dear Ken Lui, I have removed your name from the alleged impostor. The posting remains for the purpose of discussion. My humble apologies.
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Ukrainian CPR, Russian Life Support and the Boris Yeltsin Classification of Heart Failure III: The Insiders’ Revelation

For perhaps the first time since I started this ‘little corner’ of mine, I’m posting two articles that are not written by myself.

Medical students “Newly Circumcised” and “Moscow Medical Academy Student” would like to share their personal experience studying abroad.

May you lend the two of them a listening ear. I’m reposting their comment in a verbatim state.

Insider I: Newly Circumcised

With all these heated up debate bout CSMU, I guess its time someone from CSMU stands out n clarify things for real.

Firstly i want to prove to all the readers out there (esp CSMU students); I'm not an imposter who plans to destroy CSMU's image.

1) Last week we had Amazing Race Simferopol where all the stupid participants sang "Negaraku" in terrible falsetto voices all evening.

2) MSC president- Mayurran. MCA president- Baba.

3) See Choo is doing hair cuts at weekends at the 1st hostel 4th floor common hall.

4) All the hostel are located at - Rechnaya Street beside the Park Gagarina with the stupid Prom night poster now on 4th Hostel wall.

5) 5th hostel "kiosk" selling Samosa at 2.60 grivs.

CSMU students reading this will know I'm not an imposter.

I'm a "REAL" CSMU student.

Now lets begin with the main issue - why Ukrainian grads lack clinical knowledge?

The answers to this enigmatic question are-poor non-practical teaching systems n lazy, idoitic students.

Here's the details.

For clinical year students the schedule is 1 or 2 lectures a day with 1 class. Needless to say, the lectures r conducted by old Russian uncles or hags in Russian language, e.g Infectious Disease lecture which obviously are boring n totally USELESS.

Now, about the classes. In Malaysia classes r conducted as ward rounds where the clinical instructor n med students discuss, examine n perform clinical procedures together. In CSMU, the students go to hospitals too but everything else is TOTALLY different!!!
After reaching the hospitals, students will go to designated classrooms - so called " uchebnaya komnata". Then, the lecturer will come in, discuss about the tasks, make a break, continue discussion n the students will be free.

We don really get to examine patients because the patients are reluctant, n because the lecturers are lazy!

Why the patients are reluctant?

Because we're foreigners, we come from less civilized country, we're "DIRTIER".

Thus, in average for 1 cycle, students will only see 1 or 2 patients.

I really mean "SEE", most students just go to the patient, converse in broken Russian, make some short notes n that's all.

No clinical inspection, no careful analysis of lab results.

Even if there is, the clinical examination is "CINCAI".

Before the end of cycle, students will do case reports (case histories) which are actually "Copy n Paste" work of other reports. Worse still, we can "Make-up" any fake symptoms, lab results to fit the diagnosis. Cool ha?

What's way COOL is, sometimes we just take other peoples case reports, change the name of the patient n hand it to the lecturer.

U guys must be curious right-how come the lectures didn't notice it?

Of course they wouldn't know, because all the case reports ends up as "Free Toilet Papers" for the lecturers. Unless, they read while they're in the loo, how do u expect students to be competent when the system is so corrupted n vain?

2nd problem-the students themselves. Most students here are "EXTREMISTS".

Here's why.

Some are Extreme Religionists, all they do is sembahyang, attend Bhajans,go church services,Dharma classes. They would even skip classes to attend religious activities.

Some are Business Freaks. Instead of studying they waste time selling stuffs or services. Some sell Char Siew Pau, some Rojak, some Chicken Rice. Some work as "Flight Agents", Avon direct sales, manicure experts, barber n artists.

Then there is the Clubbing Maniacs. These bunch go to night clubs, dance, smoke, get drunk, fight with some Russian strangers. The hardcore ones take drugs e.g Marijuana n visit brothels. Yes. Some CSMU students r STD infected!!!

Another group - Rich Bastards. These people r the pampared, spoilt brats of rich Dato or Tan Sri. They'll play their PSP(Playsation Pocket) during lectures n classes. Download or watch movies, play PS or Nintendo wii at their rooms. There is virtually no academic conscience in them.

Luckily, there is-Kiasu Nerds. These students know of their incompetency - the result of the system. And are trying their best to improve themselves. They study Malaysian protocol books, watch n practice clinical examination methods e.g from Macleod or Talleys. But what they're doing is of limited value since real clinical skills come from hands-on experience not some video, or healthy friends to act as ill patients. Well,at least they put in effort to improve themselves.

Unfortunately though, they r the minority. They're being "Oppressed"! Students from other categories ridicule them, alienate them, some even criticize them; labelling them as nerds,geeks,No Life.

These people are good students STPM pointers 3.7-3.9. Some of them were neglected a course of their choice even with good results. Instead they were given courses like Aquaculture, Enviromental Science, Forestry which were not one of the 8 choices selected in the IPTA form.

I, myself, am a victim to the goverments so-called "Meritocracy" even with 3A1B n band 5 for my STP. Worse is our parents are tricked by the agents into sending us to study in Ukraine. They created wonderful yet obviously implausible lies like - it is the best uni in Ukraine, it is world recognized-u can work anywhere in the world with the degree. Feel sad for all the nerds, including myself.

If there really is a time machine, i would never, never, came to study here.

Well,I can only blame bad Karma.

About the students who come here on government funds.

Yes. It's true. They're Bumiputras on MARA or Yayasan scholarships.

How much? About USD 500 per month about 2500 grivens.That's quite a sum.

How do they spend these tax-payers money?


Go to Euro-trips n buy whatever they like. I've witnessed them buying Prada shoes from France trip; MAN-U jersey,Nike boots from England trip. Some smoke, take drugs n frequent high class restaurants.

Some just use the extra to get married.

Yes. This is true. MARRIAGE. Imagine.

A pair of med-students with no income marrying.

Guess who's paying for the Kenduri n Euro-trip honeymoon costs?

After some sex the wife gets pregnant, gives birth in CSMU. The child is left at the nursery while parents attend lectures etc.

Guess who's paying for the nursery n baby stuffs?

As a conclusion, I sincerely hope the MMC will implement a qualifying exam for all students alike. Those who fail should be given a workshop or training period. I don't care even if i have to pay. Because i don't want to "kill" my future patients. And i request senior officers not to "stereotype" all CSMU graduates.

Not all are stupid like the Surya. If given proper guidance we can at least, i fervently believe doctors of satisfactory level.

After posting this, I'll probably be in "Extreme Danger".

Some macha would probably want to whack me for good now.

Luckily, I can defend myself with some tae-kwan-do.


Insider II: Moscow Medical Academy Student

Sad but true.

I am a medical student from Russia as well.

Best part is, i or rather WE did not choose to come here.

We are all scholars sent here by either JPA or MARA.

If you were to google "Moscow Medical Academy" it is ranked by UNESCO as the second best medic Uni in the world.

DO NOT be fooled by this. Cuz i was one who was fooled as well.

Only after i landed in Moscow did i know that "2nd best in the world" is specifically granted to the Russian Medium of this medical school.

We Malaysians are doing the English medium...& i must say it's an utter shame that the Government actually spent millions of tax payers money to send us all here to study medicine.

The teaching facilities/methods of the English medium here is way below par...way below that of a 3rd world country even.

Some classrooms here even resemble the ones we have in our kampungs in rural areas such as Sabah & Sarawak. (so much for sending us here all the way to Moscow to EXPERIENCE this!)

For your information, this so called Moscow Medical 'Academy' DOES NOT even have a campus to begin with. Classes are scattered all over Moscow. (eg:Klang,PJ,Subang,Kajang,etc.).

We students are forced to travel everyday via Metro, or by foot or bus to attend classes. Also, there are many a time when we would have traveled so far to attend classes only to be told once we've reached there that classed are canceled!

The Government could have spent the money more wisely to educate us all in M'sia/Singapore/India. We get paid almost USD700 per month which i believe is a huge amount of tax payers money.

However, i doubt we will bring back much knowledge to be able to help the patients back home.

While there are some of us who save & spend the money wisely due to the high cost of living here, there are a huge majority of private & sponsored students who come here juz to ENJOY.

FREQUENT Alcohol parties, weekend getaways, world tours, & shopping sprees are very common among students here.

The lifestyle of many Malaysians changes tremendously once they came here. They behave even worse than the "Mat Sallehs" here. Malaysian girls here for instance would walk around ever so skimpily leaving nothing to the imagination (even during winter!)

Watever happen to the MALAYSIAN CULTURE?

Many here have even lost their virginity at the young tender age of 18 or 19 simply because a guy or girl can walk in ever so easily into the rooms of the opposite sex. Believe it or not,we have heard SEX sounds even!

Many Malaysian medical students behave as though they have no self dignity or watsoeva. (However, they potray the best behaviour once they land in Malaysia like as though they are the best Malaysian angels...sadly, we all know their true colours when they are here in Moscow. HYPOCRITES!!!).

These Malaysians are surely to be huge dissapointments to their families as well as to the nation.Exams & studies are the LEAST priority/favourite of many who are here. I wonder why did some people choose to study medicine in the very 1st place.

Let me also give u an insight of the education system here. You want to know why the majority of Russian grads are so incompetent & useless?

Well,1st & foremost we can get away with cheating ever so easily during tests & exams. You may ask how. Many students here aren't bothered about being honest for themselves. Many juz merely do the bare minimum of studying & copy their friend's answers or directly from the books during tests/exams. These students fail to realise that they are only cheating themselves.

The one who helps with the cheating is also going to lose out in the end once he/she is out of medic school & into the real working world. Another method which works really well for the girls is simply to shed some crocodile TEARS during tests/exams & instantly the lecturer/tutor would grant her a mere's still a pass u know (better than a fail). How is this fair to some students like me who slog day & night mugging & studying extremely hard with the simple intention of graduating as competent doctors?
After all, these cheaters would be graduating with a MD certificate as well & turn out to be the bad apples in the healthcare system in Malaysia & thus leading Senior Doctors to generalise & say that ALL Russian Grads are INCOMPETENT!

Does anyone have any idea how frustrating this is?

Many students who sit for exams/tests earlier would simply snap a photo of the different set of questions & answers & then distribute it to the rest of the students who have yet to sit for their exams.

How is this helping anyone? Can u even call this an EXAM?

Does it fit the definition of an exam?

So,can u imagine wat kind of Doctors we're producing here?

A bunch of cheaters, liars, & irresponsible future doctors! That's the TRUTH!

Now, no wonder countries like the UK refuse to accept Russian Medical grads for their Postgraduate courses.

Simply because we have never even sat for a PROPER exam per say throughout our 6years of study here.

Look at the UK universities/colleges, do they even allow any student of theirs to bring in PDA's, camera handphones, bags, books into the exam venue?

Do they allow any exam candidate to communicate with another fellow candidate once the question paper has been distributed?

Do students know the exact sample of questions & answers prior to the exams?

HELL NO! These only happen in good old Mother Russia!

So, Wake up people!!!

So, to those of you all who are planning to send any of your offsprings to Russia for a Medical Degree, please, im begging you, think again.

You're not only going to lose your money, but also perhaps the good name & dignity of your family.

This is merely an opinion of mine & not directed to insult, degrade or humiliate anyone. I believe there is nothing wrong in sharing my opinion.

POTS’s disclaimer: Posting the two testimonies above does not in any way imply that I agree wholeheartedly with the writers’ views. However, I sincerely applaud the two brave souls for having the courage to concede weaknesses when they are present and to go against the tide of mob rage.

Following the above post, medical student Ken Lui alleged that his identity was stolen by an impostor. I have removed the relevant details. The posting remains for discussion sake.

Read more!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Career Guidance with P.O.T.S

Aspiring doctor Joanne read my UMS posting and exclaimed:

Oh my god! I have just made my application to UMS! Can i know how long is the study duration fot medicine? How many years do i need to endure? XD

This is my humble reply.

Dear Joanne,

Thank you for reading and inspiring this post.

I apologise sincerely if I have inadvertently created a negative impression even before you are in University Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

The medical program in UMS is five years, just like all other local public universities.

The process of learning and training to be a medical doctor in UMS have gotten more difficult in the last one year due to the closure of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

I was told that medical students are now dispatched to Sandakan, Tawau and Kota Belud since some disciplines have shifted their services to the hospitals there.

Anyway, I think your best source of information should not be a socio-political blogger but someone who has gone through the UMS medical program.

Instead of enlightening you about the life of a medical student and doctor, I would instead advise you to think carefully before jumping into the medical bandwagon.

Be a doctor only if you are really interested in medicine and not because your parents are.

Asian families are still very stuck in the conventional thinking of going for professional careers if their children do well academically.

In all honesty, I think we need more smart and creative people outside the circle of medicine.

I might not have said this years ago when I just completed my STPM, but the truth is this – there’s a whole lot of interesting careers out there apart from medicine.

If you are artistic with an imaginative mind, you can always go into filmmaking and wildlife photography. You can produce photo essays for Time magazine or capture scenes of a honey bear enjoying a sunbath for the National Geographic Society. After all, we need to immortalize all these wonderful creatures of God in digital media before the China Chinese devour them all.

If you are into music, do consider a career in the genre of trance. You just might taste worldwide fame not unlike prominent deejays such as Chicane, Darude and Fatboy Slim. Stay out of jazz though. I find it super gay.

Medicine should very much be left to boring and bored souls like myself. Or maybe medicine turned me into a boring and bored person.


Oh yeah, don’t forget sports and athletics. I doubt Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Nicol David ever regretted choosing their career paths. Just don’t choose football and lawn bowling though. The first is reserved for mentally-challenged intravenous drug users while the second is just plain lame.

Just between you and me, I am constantly dreaming of the life that could have been if I were a professional skateboarder.

The food business is always lucrative and rewarding, even in times of economic crisis. I have already garnered enough capital to open up my very own aquaculture farm. I am still on the lookout for a potential UMNO crony since land is increasingly scarce and in high demand. Do consider the vegetarian food sector. You will be amazed how some people are willing to fork out ridiculous cash just to bite into a shrimp-looking tofu that tastes like, well, tofu.

Money is also abundant in share and currency trading. My cousins are driving fancy cars and feasting in vegetarian outlets way beyond my salary as a doctor, and they are not even vegetarians.

Of course, it’s not all about the money.

Sometimes it’s about the karma and divine retribution.

One can serve the church and God too. You would need a certain degree of vocal prowess and eloquence to thrive in the ministry. Success will come soon enough and it ain’t only in the form of heavenly treasures. Just don’t molest the altar boys and get caught doing so.

When all else fails, you can always go into Malaysian politics. If someone like Muhammad I-Speak-No-English Taib can amass millions without a useful academic qualification, so can you. There might be a window of opportunity in Bukit Lanjan soon. There, you can’t say I didn’t tell you so.

After this long winded reply, if you are still keen to do per rectal examinations for life as a medical doctor, I will still cheer you on and welcome you on board.

Rest assured if you are somehow not up to the mark in clinical practice, you can always join Dr. Rikki in the logistics of quality healthcare.

All the best.
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Ukrainian CPR, Russian Life Support and the Boris Yeltsin Classification of Heart Failure II: The Reign of Chaos

I resuscitated another corpse today. By the grace of God, old Pak Abu was revived.

More than a successful resuscitation effort, it was a failed murder attempt.

The perpetrators behind the latest assassination plot were none other than our Malaysian medical graduates from Russia.

I was only a nonchalant passer-by.

Drama and blood and gore were the last things on my mind.

Yet the sight of a soul in distress was inescapable.

Some people have an uncanny the ability of selective vision to ignore that which is unpleasant to the eyes.

I unfortunately do not possess such a gift.

If I come across a man (or woman) gasping for breath trying to remain alive with the little air they can inhale, I can’t turn around and pretend I see no evil.

Now Pak Abu was obviously struggling to breathe, so much so that he was already unconscious and cyanosed with no heart beat.

I caught the first house officer and made a very quick enquiry about Pak Abu.

“Oh, he’s just sleeping,” was her reply.

It was then that I flipped and threw a fit – a memorable, record-breaking grand mal seizure even by my own standards.

“THE PATIENT IS NOT SLEEPING! HE IS DYING!” I snapped, throwing the house officer into a state of panic and disarray.

Any human being with a minimal amount of common sense could have come to the conclusion that Pak Abu was in critical condition.

I supposed that was why his Filipino caretaker stood by and did budge not an inch away from Pak Abu.

While the staff nurses and doctors left Pak Abu to die miserably, Aminah the Filipino illegal immigrant with no skilled training or formal education did the most sensible thing she could think of.

It was also the only thing she could do in the absence of assistance and professional help.

She pumped precious oxygen into his failing lungs while the Russia graduates left Pak Abu to rot.

Aminah is paid RM 60 per day. That’s RM 2.50 per hour for twenty four hours of cleaning and feeding and diaper-changing with no designated lunch time or off-days in between.

In contrast, a house officer educated for six years in a Russian medical school earns RM 4800 per month, excluding food and on-call allowances.

In the process of a rowdy resuscitation – somewhere in between 1 m of adrenaline and 360 Joules of defibrillation, I grilled the three irresponsible and blatantly negligent house officers one by one.

They did not know the basic A, B, Cs of resuscitation.

They have no inkling what an oxygen face mask is.

They have never performed chest physiotherapy and suction before.

They couldn’t tell a Ryle’s tube from an endotracheal airway or even plaster the latter decently in place.

Sometimes these Russia and Ukraine graduates give answers that can really leave one stumped in disbelief and a locked open jaw.

Do Russians turn blue and stiff and icy cold with no heart activity in sweet slumber?

Do Ukrainians have a normal blood pH of 7.28?

The list goes on.

Very bluntly, it’s a serious issue of aptitude and attitude or rather, the lack of both.

They are a living testimony to the rotten state the Malaysian Medical Council has put us all in.

How many more must suffer and die before they put in place a mechanism of evaluating the competency of trainee doctors?

As it is already, irresponsible and dubious doctors are commonplace in the system.

The disciplinary action and remedial steps however are few and far in between.

The end-of-posting assessments, log books, annual SKT appraisal and incident reporting are nothing but an exercise in vanity.

Anyway, I visited Pak Abu today.

He gave me a reassuring nod of wellness.

Here is one soul that successfully slipped away from the Russians.

How many failed to?
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Ukrainian CPR, Russian Life Support and the Boris Yeltsin Classification of Heart Failure

I resuscitated a corpse today. Needless to say, I failed.

Ukrainian CPR, Russian Life Support and the Boris Yeltsin Classification of Heart Failure

I resuscitated a corpse today. Needless to say, I failed.

I pumped air and fluids and drugs into a man who was already dead.

Ahmad (not his real name) was stiff as a log by the time I was referred to him, more of a cadaver than a human being in distress.

It was not difficult to see why.

The first house officer was breaking his ribs instead of pumping his heart.

His counterpart had no experience in setting an intravenous cannula ever before.

The third of the trio simply stood by – an idle spectator in the midst of chaos. He should have brought some popcorn with him instead of a stethoscope.

The three had one thing in common – they graduated from medical schools in Ukraine and Russia.

I don’t blame the house officers for the patient’s death.

I blame the deceitftul agents that lured parents into parting with their hard-earned money to pay for a medical education in Russia and Ukraine.

I blame Malaysian parents for coercing and sometimes forcing their offspring to pursue a medical degree despite clear suggestions that their children might not make successful doctors.

I blame the universities that make Malaysian students labor for six years in a foreign land learning a foreign language only to end up as clueless, incompetent quasi-doctors.

I blame the Malaysian Medical Council who for reasons best known to them, accorded unconditional recognition to institutions that are way below par.

I blame the healthcare authorities for allowing half-baked medical graduates to roam about causing immeasurable harm and untold horror.

I blame the public for creating and perpetuating this erroneous impression that the medical profession is highly lucrative and glamorous.

Regular followers of national events will recall the controversy surrounding Crimea State Medical University (CSMU) back in June 2005 where the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) decided to abruptly derecognize the medical school.

This was done so despite earlier recognition and accreditation by the Malaysian Ministry of Education.

Worse, some of the CSMU students were actually government scholars sent over there on tax payer’s money.

After many unruly and loud parliamentary debates, during which a deputy minister was suspended and a barrage of racist remarks were fired by Nazri Aziz, all students already in CSMU then were finally allowed to practice medicine in Malaysia upon graduation.

The flip-flop decision by the Malaysian Medical Council has proven to be a very costly mistake.

At present, hundreds of medical graduates from Russian and Ukrainian universities especially CSMU are out without a leash in our government hospitals.

Most of them don’t know pharmacology or physiology.

Most can’t perform simple clinical procedures like urinary catheterization and intravenous cannulation.

Most can’t deliver acute care to a patient in distress.

They are not well-versed with common medical terms and classifications.

In short, they are a different breed altogether.

The Malaysian Medical Council should be ashamed of itself.

So should all the politicians who campaigned fiercely for unconditional recognition of the CSMU graduates back in 2005 without first understanding the issue in depth.

The MMC should have stuck to its guns and derecognized CSMU if it truly believed in the provision of a safe and sensible healthcare. These graduates from Ukraine and Russia could have been given a grace period of retraining under close observation.

If they prove to be incompetent and fail to meet the minimal standards, they could have been retired from service. It’s how the rules of employment work in most parts of the world.

Instead, they were made instant doctors.

In the process, ill patients were made into instant victims.

What we need urgently now is a way to address these obvious shortcomings among these house officers before they become medical officers and make lethal and illogical decisions.

This is by no means an irrational stigma or witchhunt.

Medical graduates from local universities should not be spared as well.

I am not blindly biased in favor of local graduates for which I am one myself.

Bottomline is this: Malaysians deserve to demand proper healthcare from the government they elected.

It’s not too much to ask, or is it?
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

It Doesn't Mean A Thing

Seriously, it doesn't matter.

It doesn’t matter if you were Malay, Indian or Chinese or Kadazandusun, we all bleed red.

It doesn’t matter if you were as charming as Megan Fox or just better-looking than Shrek, age catches up with us all and death will soon beckon.

It doesn’t matter if you had millions of ill-gotten gains stashed away in a Swiss bank or just some meager loose change in your jeans pocket, we brought nothing into this world and can bring nothing out of it.

It doesn’t matter if you were born with so-called royal blood or raised without education in the slums, no human should be immune from valid criticisms and the rightful course of law.

It doesn’t matter if you were an avid follower of the sarcasm in South Park or a long-time Star Wars loyalist, Indiana Jones 4 sucked big time and will leave a bitter, disappointing aftertaste.

It doesn’t matter if you were a pious Seventh Day Adventist or just a really likeable liberalist-atheist, bak kut teh tastes damn good and that’s final.

It doesn’t matter if you were an extreme skateboarder or a bed-bound cripple, you are pretty screwed if that Russian house officer did not replace your foreskin after inserting a urinary catheter.

It doesn’t matter if you adore animals and hate the Jews, grief hurts and cuts very deeply indeed.

It doesn’t matter if you were a born loser in love or the lame winner of Akademi Fantasia, cats are cats and to them you are just human.

It doesn’t matter if you were an anonymous blogger with an open identity or a loudmouth politician with deep, dark secrets, the truth will prevail sooner or later.

It doesn’t matter if you were the son of a former racist prime minister or a dead Mongolian beauty blown into shreds, the Lord God will judge us all.

It doesn’t matter if you were a closet pedophile serving the Catholic Pope or a reluctant jihadist stranded in the tumultuous Middle East, Jesus loves you and I am trying to too.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Four Braindrains And A Rotting Driftwood

Farewell, my dear friends. I know you will excel as immigrants once again...

SMS message from POTS:
So how are your Lion City plans? Any progress?

Reply from Dr. Bee:
On-going. Now waiting for contract n registration with Singapore Medical Council. Most likely will leave by end of June. Join us.

Come July, Malaysia will lose four very capable, talented and diligent doctors.

Dr. Aye, Dr. Bee, Dr. See and Dr. Dee are four medical officers who have served the people of Sabah to the best of their ability.

Despite proving their worth and passing the preliminary stages of their external exams, they have been denied an opportunity to pursue further training in the specialty of their interest.

“Be patient,” Dr. Aye and Dr. See were told.

With the sudden extension of housemanship to two years, there was seemingly nobody to replace them in the districts of Sabah till 2010 and even then, there is no assurance that they will be transferred to a proper training center.

“Be understanding,” Dr. Dee was told.

Despite fulfilling his years of service in Sabah, Dr. Dee was denied a transfer back to his hometown in Peninsular Malaysia. The state of Sabah is supposedly facing a healthcare crisis of immeasurable severity and all transfers back to Peninsular Malaysia are frozen indefinitely.

Strangely though, the local and national news agencies are virtually hushed on this matter of political interest. As the saying goes, their silence is deafening.

“We will not stop you from resigning,” Dr Bee was told.

The Malaysian Ministry of Health demonstrates its stupidity and ignorance with words such as these.

It goes to great length to preserve rotting driftwoods like Dr. Rikki but has no qualms practically pushing astute clinicians across the Tebrau straits.

Our bright and enlightened neighbours at the south cannot be faulted for jumping at the opportunity to welcome and receive these four Malaysian ‘rejects’.

The unwanted citizens of one racist nation become the priceless assets of a capitalist city.

They are not the first and certainly won’t be the last.

My four dear friends, I wish you all the utmost and the best in your future undertakings.

I know you will all excel in all that you pursue.

And yes, I do envy your freedom and liberation from idiocracy like the SKT and SLAB programs.
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Kota Marudu, Sunday. The Land Beneath the Winds is set to tap into the lucrative health tourism industry. If realized, the inaugural project would generate an estimated revenue of RM 67.69 million for the state in 2009.

Healthscare and Nutrition Minister Datuk Liow Tong Lai made the announcement after an unannounced visit to the Kota Marudu Hospital here on Sunday.

“I have seen with my own eyes the potential that Sabah offers in terms of healthscare services. The medical and surgical care here is unprecedented and unique. There is no other way to describe it. Sabah healthscare is genuinely of international standard and on par with Zimbabwe and Somalia,” Datuk Liow said.

Future director of the state healthscare department, Dr Rikki agreed wholeheartedly.

“Datuk Liow has indeed seen with his own eyes. We have Burmese surgeons and Iraqi physicians, Russian house officers and lots of Filipino patients. No other state hospital can claim to be more international than us,” Dr. Rikki added.

The Healthscare Ministry in Kuala Lumpur has appointed Kinabatangan MP Dung Mokhtar to oversee the implementation of the pioneer Sabah State Tourism Project.

“Like the Healthscare Minister, I not only saw with my own eyes but have analysed the situation in Sabah as well. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Kota Marudu Hospital will be ideal for this project,” Dung explained.

Details of the various packages up for offer are yet to be finalized.

For accommodation, potential clients can choose between the standard rusted bed and the more economical makeshift canvass bed.

To enjoy greater camaraderie, patients can opt for the backroom where the space between two beds is a mere 30 centimetres.

“You can hear your neighbour’s fart and even smell it. If you have TB and are coughing your lungs out, the neighbouring bed can rescue that precious pulmonary tissue,” a medically-enlightened Dung elaborated.

Meals served in the health tourism project will display strictly Malaysian flavors. Breakfast comprises sliced bread and plain water. Lunch and dinner will be pure porridge served with boiled fish or steamed chicken.

“With such mouth-watering servings, I am sure that the ill and debilitated will recover in no time and once again be in state of a positive nitrogen balance,” Dung added.

Dung Mokhtar brushed aside concerns regarding the welfare of patients’ caretakers and next-of-kin.

“They can sleep on the floor and the many benches around the hospital if they want. We will not stop them,” Dung promised. Read more!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dr. Rikki II: The Rise of Driftwood

A sense of déjà vu came over me. The hunched figure with a greying crown seemed so familiar.

The furrows on his forehead were like anyone else’s but somehow extraordinary for some reason.

Was he an ill patient that I once treated and have now recovered to full health?

Perhaps he was just another Sabahan with common features of a limited gene pool.

Dr. Rikki II: The Rise of Driftwood

It wasn’t the best time to be distracted.

The patient was severely ill and on her way for a brain scan in the Sabah Medical Center. Her vital signs were just barely acceptable and would require my close and total attention for the next hour or so. It is never easy to be jolted out of more secure environment in the ward and into an ill-equipped Malaysian ambulance.

Yet the face that I just glanced at in a flash refused to depart from the corner of my mind.

A sense of déjà vu came over me. The hunched figure with a greying crown seemed so familiar.

The furrows on his forehead were like anyone else’s but somehow extraordinary for some reason.

Was he an ill patient that I once treated and have now recovered to full health?

Perhaps he was just another Sabahan with common features of a limited gene pool.

I’m sure he was more than that. I am quite sure that at one point of my life I was by choice or by force, interacting with this native patriarch on a regular basis.

Something about him must have left a deep, lasting impression in me way back then.

I tried to attach a name to the face and maybe place the person in a regular environment.

An attire of some sort might help. So will a tie, a lab coat and maybe a stethoscope too.

The image seems complete now, except for a voice and some movements.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting… Dr. Rikki?

Dr. Rikki?

The 46-year-old house officer?

The prince of the soil who lived off a MARA medical scholarship for ten years only to return as a ward jester starting 2 mls of Ryle’s tube feeding and one pint of third generation cephalosporin for maintenance fluid?

What the heck is he doing back in the hospital?

Wasn’t he sent to an apex university somewhere in Kelantan to repeat his final year of medical school?

He passed?

He passed!

He passed and he’s back!

I met Dr. Rikki again a few days later. Very casually, we exchanged greetings and I enquired about his current posting.

“Oh, I decided I didn’t like clinical medicine. I’m in management now - Quality Assurance Unit in the state health department.”

Had I not been on flat ground, I would have fallen back in utter disbelief and absolute astonishment.

I am not against providing a lifeline for doctors who are incompetent in clinical practice.

One has to feed a family, and Dr. Rikki is no exception.

If my ageing brain has not failed me, Dr. Rikki could hardly spell ‘A-O-R-T-A’ to refer a patient with severe chest pain.

So pray, tell, how on earth can anyone with minimal command of the English language be placed in administration and specifically one that implements quality control measures?

Is it any wonder Sabah is perpetually in such dire straits?

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