Jan 8, 2018

Political Views Among Civil Servants

This is quite rare of me to blog about politics, given how silent I am in the past in voicing my political preferences. Back then I was only a student under a sponsorship so you can imagine how dangerous it can be to be vocal about the politics - even if my blog did not reach the eyes of the masses. You can never know whose eyes are watching me. 

After I graduated from school, my next plan is to join the 1.4 million ranks of people working as civil servants. It has always be my plan to work as a doctor in Malaysia and not somewhere else. I feel indebted to MARA for sponsoring my medical studies and the obligation to return the favour was not enforced to me. I feel that it is a right thing to do, and so I do it.

And so here I am, a year of working as a junior doctor and also as a civil servant in Malaysia where the politics can be as spicy as the local cuisines we Malaysians come to love and loathe at the same time. To say that a civil servant cannot be political is a huge mistake - everyone should pay attention to politics and do their duty to vote - those who don't lose the right to complain.

And honestly, it is hard not to be interested in our politics of this late. The return of the legacy, now arms entwined with his old nemesis? The current leader with so many oppositions demanding changes etc. etc.? I admit I pay very little interest in all of this - I hardly political myself, but I am mildly interested in how my fellow colleagues and the rest of the civil servants in Malaysia react with the political waves that tsunami-ed our country for the next GE14.

I read somewhere from The Malaysian Times that civil servants in general are bound by the Rules for Public Workers (Conduct and Discipline) 1993. We can talk about politics, but our actions or our freedom of political expressions can be used against us if we do three of these things:

1. incite hatred against the ruling government
2. hold talks, discussions and debates containing anti-government elements
3. display strong anti-government views directly or indirectly in any form such as verbally or in writing

I always find it peculiar regarding those who like to criticize the Government while being employed by the same said Government. Technically, what they are criticizing is not the Government per se but the ruling party that makes the bulk of the Government body. They criticize so much about the GST, about the tolls, about corruption (whereas in practice some of us do come late to work, abusing the Paracetamol in the ward when we are sick, going MIA and etc.), and many more things that the Government is deemed so incapable of doing them right.

To me personally it gives a very wrong message to the public. If we are seen as the ones who blatantly not in sync with the Government aspiration (cehhh, big words), then who else going to do it? In the first place, do we even know what are the Government's goal pertaining to the sections we work in? I know a little, if any. Do you?

At the hospital where I work, the newly built Pusat Rawatan Ibu dan Anak complex (the one on the right) is reaching near completion. The huge complex solely for the O&G and Paediatrics department at first sounds overt. Surely yes, it is good to have this but how about other specialties? Why not expand the ever crowded wards in Medical department or renovating the Emergency department? Why do they pay attention to maternal and child health so much?

If you pay extra attention to what the Government (by extension, the Ministry of Health) has been doing all this time, you will know that we have managed to achieve the targets set from the 2011-2015 Tenth Malaysia Plan in terms of wellbeing improvement:

If that doesn't baffled you, Malaysia has also long committed in alliance with the United Nations (UN) Eight Millennium Development Goals, a project in which all 189 countries of UN members agreed to try and achieve it by the year 2015. This topic of UN's Millennium Development Goals actually came up during my final year medical school exams, so I had to know it at that time. Those eight goals, incorporated into the previous Tenth Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) are:

An excerpt from the report:

Within the MDG framework, 
  1. Absolute poverty and hunger have been eliminated in Malaysia:
  2. Universal primary education has been achieved for both boys and girls; 
  3. Child mortality is very low and is comparable to levels in high income nations; 
  4. Maternal deaths have fallen by more than half, while safe deliveries and antenatal care coverage are high; 
  5. Infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria have been halted and reversed; 
  6. Environmental sustainability has been incorporated into key plans and policies; 
  7. There is near universal coverage of clean water supply and basic sanitation; 
  8. Squatter household have been reduced. 

It's about time we talk about the good things that our country has trying to achieve and the actual achievements that we have obtained. It's also about bloody time we play a role, as civilized, civil servants, to promote the service that the Government, representing the body the people elected to govern, can offer to people. We always preach that anything must be valued from many facets of truth. No one-side coverage can enlighten the facts and figures of truth itself. So similarly, in the multitude of adversaries to the Government, one must also search about the efforts that they have put for the betterment of the people.

In essence, to dislike the ruling party is not akin to not supporting the civil service responsibilities you have been entrusted to shoulder. My two cents here are for me to heed and also for you dear readers to consider: Be a part of the team. Know what your employer's aspirations are and believe in it. A poor servant will never make a good master, as saying goes, so similarly, a poor civil servant will make you bad master of yourself. 


Dec 31, 2017

Review: The Greatest Showman

The first time I knew about this musical was back in May or June this year where I stumbled upon its trailer at YouTube. I was immediately attracted to it; it is a musical, there's Hugh Jackman, Zac Afron, and Zendaya in it, and the song in the trailer is lovely to listen to. I waited months for the movie to be released and finally I got the chance to watch it.

I admit I did have a huge expectation out of this movie. My little sister is equally interested in it and a bit of a movie connoisseur. In fact, her knowledge of general facts and figures of the world is greater than mine so naturally, unlike me, she knows about who the musical is about: P.T. Barnum.

The movie starts off well. The strengths of a musical movie, to me, can broadly divided into three. First, of course, is the quality of the songs itself. Second is the cinematic visuals. And lastly, the plot of the story. In this effect, the introduction of the movie goes really well. The attention brought by the crescendo beats of the the first song, "The Greatest Show" from the minute the 20th Century Fox begins managed to get me hooked. And personally I like a few of the songs in the musical.

There is a theme melody in every musical. Les Miserabl├Ęs has one (my biggest favourite of all musicals, don't fight me on this), Phantom of the Opera has one, and even High School's Musical has it. I pretty much like The Greatest Showman's as well. It is used in two or three scenes throughout the movie and I like the way they used it in reflection to the various stages of life Mr Barnum is experiencing. Some of the songs are good, but only a few are worthy to be fondly remembered, and one or two are definitely will be favourites. My personal favourites are "The Greatest Show", "This Is Me", and "A Million Dreams".

Only a couple movie musicals that I think are better than The Greatest Showman in terms of the songs. I really love the movie Fame (2009) and Into The Woods (2014) as I think their songs are better. On this you can fight me all you want because different people have different taste in music, so I leave you all to be the judge yourselves.

The cinematic visuals of this movie is fantastic, as one can expect coming from Hollywood. I love the way some of the characters sing with nothing but empty darkness behind them, while some sing with colourful and cheerful circus backdrops. The dazzling and explosives colours mingled with the soots and the grey monotone of 1830's New York are worth seeing from the glorious huge screen of your local cinema. 

I will not discuss the morals of the P.T. Barnum himself as critics are doing right now. The social norms and justice are tied to the time the society lived in, so what was wrong now may not be so 100 years ago. I will also don't give the spoilers of the movie here, so rest assured and be content to read this before or after watching the movie. What I want to share, is roughly how it affects me as I reflect it with my life.

One thing that this musical has emphasize to me, among many great teachers of life that I have encountered, is that we will never be content with what we have. This hits me really hard. It's so very easy to think that all the misfortunes are tragically destined to hit me without me trying to count all the blessings that I have. Am I happy right now? I like to think that I am not happy, not at all, with the shitty year that I was given, but are these good enough reasons to be that unhappy? I still have money, a car, I can pay my own bills (and my parent's Unifi), I started to save up money, I still have a job - these are all worth be happy about.

Do I need to have everything to be satisfied with my life? Sure, I have a massive heartbreak (not her fault), and as hard as I need to swallow, it doesn't kill me. I still need to continue on with my life as happily as I could. When Loren Allred, as Jenny Lind sings "Never Enough", I was rueful. Moral mirror is looking back at me, urging me to listen to it, forcing me to wake up, as if to say, "Listen, kid, listen to this:"

"All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough"

The ending of the movie is good, but nothing that tear-jerking to me. It was well done, so I have absolutely no problem with it. I am pretty satisfied with the movie as it is, and I hope 2018 will give me more movies like this to entertain my own soul. Cewah.

Rating: 8/10

Dec 9, 2017

Of Raw Rage that Galvanized Grief

There's a rage in every grief. It can be a small thing - the silent clench of hand, the murderous angry stare that aptly targeted to everything and everyone, or the slow, hot drops of tears as curses fly at the world and its unfairness. It can also be huge and eruptive - the wretched wails, the uncontrollable violence and mayhem, or the sheer explosive of raw anger at the misfortune that befall.

I've witnessed the latter kind of grieving anger today when one of the patients died, in the day of relative tranquility often found when working over the weekends. I have seen a lot of families with their relative succumbed to death in the hospital. It was never a pretty sight. It was a horrid affair, it is horrible to witness, and it sticks to mind too long when it should have been long forgotten.

Dec 8, 2017

Spotify Playlist 3: MEDICOLO

I have sent my logbook up to the committee right two weeks before my EOP. I have been chewed on by Ayahanda (He Who Must Not be Named) via Whatsapp after I explained to him that I still haven't completed the 12 departmental teachings required in Medical posting. I still need another two, one of which I just attended and another is my own presentation which will happen next week on the 15th. Both of which are on the dates before my EOP so will ya chill your tits out?

Luckily the other committee members are sympathetic, and Dr Z already signed the completion of training for me. Hooray. That makes it like 99.8% completion of the rotation in Medical for me. Just need to survive next week working in the dengue ward, present my topic and off I go into EOP off days and onto Surgical next. 

Cue in Makeba by Jain, a deeply pulsating song made popular by Levi's Circle advertisement I saw in the cinemas. It came late during the third month selection songs for my playlist; however, I like it immensely that I choose it as the song of the department. When fatigue catches up to me and I feel like all of this is too much, this song slowly defibrilate my all-time low mood and gradually put me back into rhythm. Like back into the groove. LOL. 

"Nobody can beat the Mama Africa 
You follow the beat that she’s gonna give you 
I need a smile you can love 
Make it go, the sufferation of a thousand more"

Dec 1, 2017

Of Raving Thirst to Written Tales

"Is my method of searching for new blogs to read wrong, 
or is there simply too few of us still blogging in their free time?"

Not exactly how I want to start my entry for tonight but that thought is generally what I come up with whenever the small list of blogs that I followed remained idle without updates. I understand that they are not compelled to update their blog regularly, even I sometimes leave my blogs with cobwebs for months, but what frustrates me is that I simply could not find any new interesting blogs to follow.

When I first started blogging during A level (it was in 2008), there was a number of colleagues who started to blog as well. It was a good time for me because I love reading interesting personal blogs, and all of us have different style of writing and presentations, which makes it way way more interesting. One or two garner a lot of followers due to their enticing way of story telling and others prefer theirs to be the secret garden of blooming thoughts. But over time they stopped blogging because of various reasons, leaving me alone in writing nonsensical stuff that almost no one read.

One of the aspects of blogging that I really like is the customization of the blog itself. Some bloggers don't even need to customize anything because their writings are that good and worth squinting our eyes out to blur the unattractiveness of the whole blog layout but it never hurt to appreciate some really beautifully designed blogs. But again, pretty blog without content does not hold much interest to me. 

What I want is their personal stories. Secrets that are best spilled to complete strangers. I want to read wild tales and sad woes in between every punctured sentences, in the disorganized paragraphs, and among incomplete stanzas of poetry. Give me the recollections of mistakes learned, the opportunity seized, the chances that are missed. Of the pain of being left, the sorrow of leaving, the joy of meeting - the full, undisguised spectrum of emotions that are too raw to be felt but sufficed to be understood in words. Of the littlest things that make us humans and the momentous ideas that pushes the very meaning of humanity forward. It all begins with an introduction from stringed pieces of words.

Write in the disjointed paragraphs if you want if that is the truest reflection of your current state of mind is. Be as vague as you can or as convoluted if you have to when you feel the right words are trapped in your mind. What we write defines how we want the world to see us and even how we want the world to see itself. Expressions that we want to convey can be easily presented in so many different ways and in so many forms. So please make a blog, people, and write good stuff in it regularly (and not in facebook), because I am starving for things to read.

TL;DR (huh!): Drop me your blog link in the comments so I can read them all.

Nov 21, 2017

A Checkpoint In Time

Inveritably, at one point in the future you will come and read this entry again, so that you will ascertain with a greater portion of certainty if your doubts are indeed, valid in the first place. Remember that at the time of this entry being written, there is so much that you don't know, so much that you are so unsure of, that begets me to establish a checkpoint for a later comparison.

And here you are, reading this again, as I am certain that you will, of which I am doing it right now, both at the time of writing this down and also in every instances that exists in the future. This entry is purely for us; you need to see whether your suspicions are true yourself, by comparing the future me (which is you, in case you lost all your memories) with the past me (currently at the time of writing).

This is maddeningly confusing, but you are a master at confusing yourself, so you'll be fine.

In a year or more, you will read this entry with a different tone. There will be different emotions generated from it. I suspect the weariness will still be here in a year's time. A sense of dread, too, if by my calculations is correct and you will be at the time where I think the end is approaching. More than that, I think I want you to read this entry again with a thought that you are better than the past you who is currently writing this down.

It's hard for me to put what I want to compare to in words here. I want you to be still be able to comprehend my unease here, my obscure in writing, more than words can tell. That my concern is about the future that begins with my chosen place of work, the particular lack of skills and knowledge that I get here.

There are so many things that I think I am lacking, so much that I do not know. It has been a year, and I think I am running out of time. I want you to acknowledge my concern now in every visit, in every lines of words read, in every thought that crosses your mind. I think I made a big mistake of choosing this hospital, that it didn't provide me enough skillset that I thought I would get coming from such a big hospital, or that maybe I didn't take the chances that it gives, however few that I could find.

I am thinking I am missing on all of these, that I am becoming quite a poor houseman, and it scares me. I am thinking I am not learning enough, not motivated enough, and you are the result of what I am going through. So many missed chances that it simply terrifies me into thinking that I will make huge blunders when I became a medical officer later in the future.

If you are still like me, not knowing shit from anything even after all these years, we are screwed. I see no motivation for an improvement, so I am very sorry that I can't see any way out of this. I am still emotionally wrecked and I am still very bitter about my life. I have so much hate and anger and there is this indescribable feeling of negativity that either will provoke me from time to time or drive me to tears out of nowhere. Are you still like that?

 I think so.

In a year's time, I want you to make another checkpoint entry. Compare where you are with the future you when you started to work as a medical officer. It's alright if it is still as confusing as this one. We are a bunch of confusing, twisted lump of insecurity and indecisiveness. I already feel down writing this down, and I very much hope that you will have better luck when writing yours down. The cumulative thoughts for this year, compiling the fast disappearing medical knowledge and the lack of more various skillset that I should be learning as a houseman, are yours to peruse and compare.

So do you feel better, a year from now on?