My (Brief) Take on Doctors and the Medical Profession

I’m currently following (on Twitter) a doctor who gives study and life advice to pre-med and medical students. His tweets are always full of positivity, and sometimes humour, that I’m sure they are meant to give motivation and provide these young souls the strength to embark on their journeys to become doctors.

After reading and following him for some time, it’s not hard to know that life as a med student IS difficult. The amount of stress they have to endure, the number of things they need to remember, the minimal requirements of passing their courses, the number of hours they put into studying and later houseman-ship.. The expectations from parents, sponsors and society in general.

Having this perspective in mind, I find it sad that some groups in society, especially young and social media hip parents, take doctors and the medical profession for granted. Criticising them for lacking compassion, not caring enough for their kids (if paediatrician) and accusing them for “simply wanting money by injecting chemicals and vaccines or giving antibiotics to their patients”.

True, I’m sure there are some unethical doctors around. I sympathize those who had awful experiences with their doctors, but believe me these bad apples exist in other occupations too – lawyers, businessmen, politicians, contractors, heck, even educators.

But does that give us the right to put all, or most, doctors down? To label them as ” they don’t know everything” and that we are better at certain things just because we spent HOURS and MONTHS reading many, MANY journals on certain issues? These doctors spent YEARS of their lives wallowing in medical knowledge. For everything learned, there are epistemologies to understand, the history and reasoning of why’s, there are ethics and proper procedures to be followed and for Muslims, maqasid shariah to be complied. If I could give an analogy, it’s like when people haven’t any formal training as a professional photographer but claim to be a “photographer” just because they’re good at using Instagram, Camera 360 and the like. Hmm..

I’d like to have faith in humanity. I still do. That is why for every bad apples around (in any job, I might add), I believe there are many more good ones to counteract. So I choose to believe that most doctors are good. They do have their patients best interest at heart. There’s nothing wrong with equipping ourselves with medical and technical knowledge, but we shouldn’t get too cocky and claim that we are better. Especially when we didn’t endure what they did.


Can’t Say What?

I’m trying to remember since when it became so rampant, so widespread, all this prohibitions for Muslims from WISHING other devotees on their festive days, like, we can’t wish Merry Christmas, can’t wish Happy Chinese New Year.. Or the forbidding from wishing Happy Valentine’s Day. Not forgetting the most recent debate on not allowing Muslims to utter R.I.P to the deceased who aren’t Muslims.

Not that I’m a modern, liberal Muslim but I’m just wondering, where do we draw the line?
I’m guessing that one day we can’t even wish “good luck” or “happy birthday”.. Or be embarrassed if we’re caught uttering them.

Is it not enough that we DON’T celebrate those days? Must we also be that strict as to not/can’t convey well wishes in the spirit of muhibbah? I know I’m not that pious nor do I have the depth of Islamic knowledge like some people, but I sincerely cannot fathom how well wishing can threaten one’s iman. Are we that weak and easily swayed? I guess we are, since we Muslims impose this on ourselves.

I had my primary education overseas (though for a short period of time), went to a convent school when we came back, was even taught by a nun (for English :)), had wonderful friends from various beliefs, my BFFs were Hindus and Christians before I went to residential school.

In retrospect, I’m so thankful my parents gave me that sort of childhood. The exposure of other races, other customs, other surroundings when in the States.. It made me more respectful and tolerant of others while appreciating my own religion more. It made me the person I am today.

The Checklist

It’s been over a year since my last entry! Yeah, things have been extremely busy for me and blogging just doesn’t seem to be the top priority these days. But last night, I tweeted (just for fun) “What do you look for in a life partner?”.. and what do you know, the responses that I got from my cool followers, which are mostly students, are so interesting. What I found amusing was that most of them were mature beyond their ages, seeking qualities that I myself never thought of at 20 or 21.. My mind then began to reminisce my younger self and, hey, I had this sudden urge of blogging about it.

Regardless how old we are, the topic of love and relationship is always a hit.. and never gets old. Not just among girls, but guys as well (though they’d rather act cool than to ever admit it).

Like most girls, I used to dream about my Mr Right in my preadolescent days. In fact, I had a checklist. Yes, it’s sad, but admit it, most of you have one too! Hehe.. From the top of my head, these were among the things on my checklist alongside their, er, ‘justifications’:

  • Tall (‘coz I’m pretty tall)
  • Cute (would you date an ugly fella?)
  • Fair (‘coz shallow not-so-fair me wants fair kids)
  • Chinese looking (don’t ask. But I guess this is equivalent to the younger generation’s obsession with K-pop stars)
  • Smart (I needed someone to look up to)
  • Speaks good English (I can’t bear nor comprehend kapak jokes)

Four out of six traits were physical. Tsk tsk… I can’t remember the rest but I’m sure they’re equally shallow. Being young, carefree and superficial to say the least, as you can see, the ‘qualities’ I went for weren’t something to be proud of. When you’re younger, the things that you find attractive are usually exterior. In other words, physical attributes rule the young eyes and, unfortunately, common sense. That’s why we have so many young girls falling for bad boys ‘coz they tend to be good-looking and/or charming. I was fortunate though. Despite me liking guys who are easy on the eyes, my sensibility still kicks in, or will eventually kick in, if they’re schmucks 🙂

But as we grow older, we tend to be wiser and start to review our checklist. And this usually happens after we’ve been hurt once, or a few times.

In my case, I started to seek for more wholesome qualities around after graduation. Yeah, it took me that long to realise (so don’t make my mistake, guys). I started to ask myself what sort of qualities do I enjoy -minus looks. Hmm, that proved to be a lot harder than I thought. I know I’m not much of a looker myself but that only justifies why I need a cute guy. I mean, we can’t both be ugly! Haha..

So anyway, after much thought and soul-searching, I realized that I actually like, appreciate even, these traits in a guy:

Funny. Never underestimate the power of sense of humour, girls. Have you ever wondered why some average-looking dudes have hot girlfriends? It’s not necessarily money. Most prolly, they are funny and fun to be around. I’m not talking about being a clown or cracking jokes all the time (that’s crossing the line of immaturity), just someone who’s witty and knows when to loosen up at the right moments. Being with someone who can make you laugh or smile often is definitely attractive.

Smart. Most girls need someone they can look up to. This could either be in the form of strength, good in DIY stuffs, piousness, whizz with cars or gadgets, great sense of direction etc. For me personally, it’s intellect. A guy doesn’t have to be a super genius but he’s got to have some knowledge in his head. He could be book smart or street smart. Whichever. They’re equally good qualities if you ask me.

Cute. Ok, so this doesn’t exactly fall in my target of wholesome qualities but you gotta admit, looks do matter. You do need to be with someone who you’re attracted to. Besides, this is subjective. A person I find cute may look like a train wreck to you. So, life’s fair.

Responsible. This is such as important quality in a man. Especially vital for future husbands. Most guys are reckless, lazy or appear to be wacky when they’re younger. That’s fine. We all have our fun and crazy sides. But there comes a point when maturity kicks in and you need to know when to switch it off, even for a while. This is when most boys transform and become men. If a guy is responsible, it’s all-embracing. He would know his responsibilities to God, to his parents, to his own family, to his career and to himself. Here’s a tip: most girls run away from mummy’s boys thinking that they’ll have competition with their mother-in-laws. But quite often, these guys will turn out to be more responsible than others. You would want someone who loves his mom.. because this translates that he’ll love his own family too one day.

Reliable. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re stuck somewhere and needed a lift, or you needed help to estimate dimensions of a room but you’re too ditzy to convert the measurements in your head? The first person that comes to mind (minus parents) and can reassure you that everything’s OK (even if they’re not) should definitely be a part of your life. Some girls often make the mistake of friend-zoning guys with this trait. Look more closely, girls. If he’s reliable and he’d go through a lot of trouble for you, chances are he’d be there for you through sickness and health. That’s a rare gem.

Homely. Say what?? This trait may not sound too appealing or important to you young girls now, but trust me when I say that you’ll appreciate a man who comes home straight from work everyday instead of hanging out at bistros with his colleagues, one who enjoys your company rather than his friends. Some people call this boring but I find it extremely comforting.

Non-smoker. Yeah, well.. To each her own. I know many girls who don’t mind smokers. Heck, some smoke themselves. They find smokers attractive or macho. So I’ll leave those guys for those ladies.

So there. My revised checklist for a future husband. This was my dream guy. The one I pray to meet and even if he doesn’t have all these qualities, at least, some of them would do. Never would I thought I’d actually meet him one day. To be honest, I still find my younger and more juvenile characteristics important (speaks good English, tall, fair, chinese-looking) but they’re just bonuses now. Not the main criteria.

Fast forward a few years, I’m extremely lucky to have met my significant other who carries all these traits. Of course, he’s not without flaws. Like most couples, we do have small fights and may even think about ringing the other’s necks sometimes (but that’s another story, hehe). But as long as I keep reminding myself of all these wonderful traits that I envisioned years before, and that I am myself not perfect, he’s perfect enough for me 🙂