Strong Feelings

Growing up, I have many ambitions. I was, to be quite frank, as fickle as the weather. I claimed the prerogative of a woman to change her mind.

My parents never force me into anything that I don’t want to do. They know I don’t deal very well with being forced. I rebel. I will do hunger strike (yes, I did that multiple times growing up). Or I will simply launch into extensive arguments and justifications of why I was right (one of my many dreams was to become a lawyer so that justice would prevail, hahah, so I practice arguing and debating with my father about many many things during my rebellious teenage years).

My beloved parents never forced me into anything. But they did actively discourage me about doing something that they deem inappropriate or simply unbeneficial.  The rule was basically like this “You are allowed to do many things except for a few certain things that you are absolutely forbidden to even think of, or else…”

Basically, I was not forced into being a doctor. They let me choose whether I wanted to become a doctor, a lawyer, a lecturer, a teacher, an accountant…they said I could be anything except a singer, an actress, a model or an artist ……-or a writer.

I like singing in the bathroom….but my dignity would not survive the rotten eggs and the flying shoes that the audience would throw my way if I had chosen to become a singer. So I am more than happy not to be a singer. I am not THAT deluded to think that I have the kind of voice worthy of being put on stage.

As for acting, I cannot make myself cry on the spot. So there goes my acting career.

As for modeling, I don’t have the height, the body nor the look.

An artist? Maybe I can do an  abstract painting….that might not even sell.

So you see, I am more than happy not to be a singer, or an actress or a model or an artist.

But a writer? Why not?

Why not?

My father said in his usual sarcasm, “Angah nak jadi penulis? Nak berkhayal di tepi sungai mencari ilham? Kemudian balik rumah makan pasir?”


Dad, I don’t, and never had, any need of the river to inspire my writing. All I need is a strong feeling about ANY issue to inspire me to write.

If I feel strongly about something, I write about it. That’s all.

I have always felt strongly about many issues. Before I became a houseman and thus too busy or too sleepy when I am not busy, I had blog about social issues, political issues, issues of justice, issues of Palestine, religious issues, philosophical matters, education.

Or I write short stories and poetries.

I used to have varied interest because back then, I had the TIME to feel strongly about something that I read.

Now, all I seem to blog about is life as a houseman. Because that’s what I am preoccupied with at the moment, and that’s what I feel very strongly about. Nowadays, being a houseman is ALL I know (yup, you are allowed to think I am pathetic)…and what I went through everyday is what I feel strongly about and thus that’s what I write. That’s the only thing I write, lately.

Of course I feel strongly about bad manners prevalent in my working environment. It’s not even a secret that houseman are being shouted at and screamed at or accused of and sometimes unjustly so. Of course I would feel strongly about it if I am at the receiving end of such injustice. Of course I would write about it!  I felt immediately better after I write.  So, sue me.

Of course I would feel strongly about houseman working hours…so I wrote about the shift system and what I thought of it.

Of course I would feel strongly about how to improve the efficiency of our clerical work as a houseman…so of course I would write about the E-His system.

It was just my opinion about what I feel is right, (others may agree or disagree; last time I check this is a free country) and I just happen to HONESTLY write about it without being anonymous.

That’s all.

You can feel that I am wrong…so produce your own blog and write about what you feel. Why not?

My writing is my coping mechanism. Not even my parents can forbid me when I am in the mood to write. If my parents who I have loved all my life can’t stop me, then no one can. Besides, I am the sort of person who, the more you forbid me to do something without any good reason, the more I am inclined to disobey, come what may. As long as I have not broken my religious law or my national law, I don’t think anyone should have any say about what I want to do.


Those who used to read my blog pre-housemanship would find my blog nowadays as boring and simply lacking in variety! But how can I make myself blog about something else that I haven’t had the time to feel strongly about, you tell me.

All I feel strongly about nowadays revolve around medical issues.

And today, let me tell you, I feel strongly about what happened to Dr. Lee Chang Tat, a house officer who was found dead in Kajang hospital, PRESUMABLY due to a drug overdose PRESUMABLY secondary to excessive work stress.

*long tortured sigh*

My deepest heartfelt condolence to his family and friends. This is, indeed, a black tragedy among the many tragedies in the diary of Malaysian Houosemanship.

I have a few things to say to all housemen.

If you hate your life as a houseman, go ahead and quit! Do it!  Take the plunge and open yourself up to other happier, more fulfilling alternatives. Damn what others say about you. It doesn’t matter. If you feel happier not being a houseman, then quit.

What’s stopping you?

Quit in the most honourable way. Don’t quit with multiple records of EL to your name. Don’t quit with a record of harmful negligence.

Quit by giving your notice properly. Rightfully. Honourably.

Say it this way, “I have since found out that being a doctor was not all that it was cracked up to be. It is my profound believe that our aim in life is to attain happiness in this life and the hereafter, and I have found out that I have not been able to attain that as a houseman. I am quitting my housemanship because I feel that this is the right decision for me. I am going into greener, and hopefully, happier pastures. Wish me luck, won’t you?”

Go into the sunset, to other richer, fuller opportunities in life. Be brave. If you hate your life as a houseman, what’s the point of you persisting?

Me? I will be the first to admit that I am NOT deliriously happy as a houseman. Pfffft! But neither am I drunkenly unhappy.  I have never yet felt suicidal….not even close!  I am not happy, and I am not unhappy. I just take it as it is.  I hope, insya Allah, that I know myself well enough to know when to quit once I have reached the limit of my patience.

Basically, if you have come to the point of needing drugs or feeling suicidal or depressed as a houseman, that’s the time for you to seriously re-evaluate your goals in life.

Quit first, before you go into drugs. Quit first, before you decide to commit suicide. Better quit, than dead. Better quit, than ruined. Better quit, than suffer from mental illness.

I have read one article written by a specialist regarding one particular houseman who had quitted his housemanship. He basically labeled the houseman a quitter.

I just had to smirk.

Do you have any idea how many brilliant people out there who had quitted their housemanship and are more content and happy with their lives?

To us, we will say, “Sayangnya, dia berhenti. Penat saja belajar 5 tahun. Kalaulah dia tahan lasak dan sabar sikit dua tahun ni….-“

Okay, if he/she waited these two years, only to become an MO who then have to do on-calls; meaning not being able to see your kids for more than 36 hours straight, not being able to maintain your household properly, not being able to be of good service to your ill parents because you are too busy, then what’s the point of being patient during housemanship? Just quit if you hate it!

I mean, to the ’quitters’, it was the right decision for them because life as a houseman is not conducive for their happiness. WE, might be happy enough as a houseman, so we think it was a wrong decision. But to them, they WIN when they quit because they are finally able to attain what all human beings want in life: happiness.

If you can attain happiness with what you are doing, then you win, no matter what others say. You have reached the aim that everybody wants: happiness, contentment.

Quit your housemanship. Don’t quit your life. Quit your housemanship and go into other fields and prove to others that even though you quit your housemanship, you are all the better for it; you finally got a job that makes you happy which is more than what some doctors can claim to be.

Do we think doctors are happy people? Do happy people make others below them miserable by screaming at them, snap at another colleague who she thinks had made inappropriate referrals instead of politely pointing out how the referral can be made better? Would happy people be rude? Use foul language? Are these the hallmarks of happy people? Are happy people jaded in life?

So what’s stopping you from quitting housemanship instead of quitting your life and ruining your life?

Financial responsibilities?

Hmm…this is an issue, of course. That’s why I told my parents that I would not buy a car until I got halfway through housemanship, when I could be reasonably convinced that I would not quit. And yes, I only bought my car once I was quite sure that I would not quit my housemanship, which was during my 3rd posting, my medical posting. But I still will not commit to buying a house. I am not that certain I will be able to pay for mortgage if I decide to quit later. You see, I can only be happy when I know I have the freedom to walk away from unpleasant situation whenever I like….and therefore I take great care not to have any responsibilities that can tie me down to my job to the point that I have to swallow whatever bullying and unpleasant things without being able to quit promptly. I don’t like to need anything so badly, until people can do anything to me, and I just have to take it simply because I need the money. I wouldn’t be happy in a situation where I feel trapped.

Those who have kids and family, they have to think about having job replacement so that they can feed their family. I am not yet married and am not responsible for anyone else other than myself. So I can quit whenever I like only thinking about myself. Again, I don’t feel trapped simply because I couldn’t quit for the sake of my household finance. In my case, if push comes to shove, I can work with my father. He may not pay me much, but then I live with my parents, anyway. Their money is my money too, hahhaha. Right?

And I am being very careful not to get used to extravagant life, so that if I do decide to quit my housemanship, I wouldn’t miss the money that is required to maintain such a life. I make sure I am low-maintenance.

I don’t want to need the money. Not desperately, anyway.

So the mathematics in my life is such that:

Low maintenance lifestyle = not needing money desperately = freedom to quit whenever I like = not feeling trapped in a horrible job = happiness. .




Rezeki ada di mana-mana.

If you think you will be happier in this life, a better muslim, a better person by quitting medicine, then do it!

Rezeki ada di mana-mana.

When I was a 4th year medical student. I got a summer job of berry picking in Tumba-Rumba. I got the job for fun, for the sake of experience. So I did not pick those blue berries with the same enthusiastic ardour that most berry pickers did.

But you can actually make serious money with berry picking, provided that you can live a low maintenance life-style.

Can you? Are you willing to live a low-maintenance life-style?

I have met a Nigerian Muslim in a neighbouring tent (yes we lived in a tent during berry picking; you only need to pay 3 dollars per day for the tent site; jimat duit sewa berkalli ganda!)who picked berries earning AUD 5000 per month! She was able to go to Makkah after 3 months of berry picking.

How many of us, in our current lifestyle, can go to Makkah after 3 months of working? (In Australia, you don’t need to wait for years to get your names listed to go to Makkah; you only need the money. Muslims are scarce over there and if you want to go to Makkah, take the Australian quota and you can go to Makkah for Hajj easy-peasy.)

Lagi besar periuk, lagi besar keraknya. Kan? If you want high-maintenance life-style (to finance your bungalow, your BMW, your branded clothes and your branded Gucci handbasgs) memang sepuluh tahun kerja pun belum tentu cukup duit nak pergi Mekah.

Who is to say whether the rich is much happier than the poor? No one knows.

I was sooo much happier as a berry picker than I ever was as a medical student, back  then. If I ever got tired being a houseman, I will seriously consider berry picking as a source of stable income. I have tried it, and I know you can make a living being berry pickers. I have met a few German adults who took unpaid leave (they were engineers, to boot!!) and travel all over Australia merely using their berry picking money. When they were in between the fruit seasons, they would pack up their tents and then travelled in style. After they have used up their money, they will go to the next farm and start fruit picking again. It’s not a bad lifestyle if you are the adventurous sort.

So if money is your worries about quitting housemanship, stop worrying. Rezeki ada di mana-mana. Kita saja yang narrow minded; when we think of careers, we only thought of being a doctor, an engineer or an architect.

We tend to look down at farming jobs. And here, I have met a fellow berry picker who was so well-traveled, so cultured, and so worldly, and equipped with general knowledge in variety of subjects. We had  had numerous interesting and stimulating conversations in the common kitchen. More interesting than any tepid, boring small talk I had had to endure with fellow medical students, to be honest.


Look I am not saying that at the first hint of trouble and stress, you should quit your job.

Every job has its own stressors and trials. As Kelly Clarkson loves to say (or sing), what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, no?

So don’t simply quit for minor annoying little things in your work.

But when you are at the point of being suicidal, or when you are at the point of turning to recreational drugs to relieve your stress…that’s serious, folks! That is a red flag waving under tornado-like wind! That is a warning for you to seriously consider, what is your goal in life?

Is being a doctor still your dream of a lifetime, or a nightmare you would like to wake up from?


20 thoughts on “Strong Feelings

  1. bcnair123

    Dear Dr,

    I have tears in my eyes……Indeed we have lost a young Malaysian talent at such a young age…….May the Almighty grant his parent peace and patience and may his soul rest in peace…….kind regards and salam hormat.


  2. KKM said this matter will be investigated. When something happens, the authority will ‘always’ investigate. Somehow, I doubt anything good will come out of such investigation.
    Pessimist of me, I know.


  3. thanks for the reminder to quit med rather than quit life, glad too that you don’t feel the urge to quit either at the moment! indeed there are many options out there if doctoring ends up really not being the path for each of us 🙂


    1. Most people, they have lost the plot! They have no idea that being a doctor is only a ‘tool’ to reach your real aim, which is happiness.If the tool doesn’t work, change it!
      Why commit suicide?? I don’t understand. If you are so stressed, then quit!
      I imagine, if I quit, I would like to be a writer. I don’t have any boss, and I work whenever I please. I can take leave whenever I want. I may not be financially wealthy, but I will be happy as a writer, insya Allah.


  4. Steve.

    Yes quiting is good. Why not? Instead of spending your uselss energy complaining online, why not quit? Why don’t you quit and become a full fledge write, since you like writing. Housemen worked so much less than MO and and specialist, what else do you want? Just stay and no need to work? You talked appreciating things around you, did you for once appreciate the good MOs and good specialists that have taught you patiently? Is every single one of the MO and specialist are cruel to you? Don’t forget you will be a MO soon and your HO will be cursing you behind your back too. HOs are not a different species nor a different rank, they will be MOs and specialists someday,and when you do, your HOs will be cursing you too. Just remember that.


    1. Hi Steve, How are you? I hope you are as happy as you sound in this comment section. hahah.

      Firstly, my energy is mine to dispense with in whatever manners I like. If I want to spend my energy complaining, then I will do so. After all, as I have mentioned in my post, I am the sort of person who the more you (rudely) forbid me to do something, the more I will act in the exact opposite manner. You sound like you have a problem with what I wrote. While that is, of course regrettable, I find that I couldn’t give it more than a moment’s thought. Talk about useless energy, indeed.

      Secondly, since you have just suggested to me that I should quit, then of course I WOULDN’T quit, 😛 You just have to be disappointed, I am afraid.

      I wonder whether you have actually read what I wrote with an unbiased mind. Did you actually understand the gist of what I wrote? Where do you go about assuming that I don’t appreciate good MOs and good specialists. It’s only the rude ones that I have problem with. If you are a normal person, you will have problems with the rude ones too, unless you belong in that category yourself. I think, you are the sort of person who have no IDEA about the meaning of ‘context’! Who taught you language?

      For every single MO who has been rude to me (specialists are not usually rude, in my general experience) there are scores others who are nice. There are many who are nice in every department, but they don’t make HOs lives difficult, so why should I bother talking about them. So, I hope that answers your question of ‘Is every single one of the MO and specialist are cruel to you?’ I find your question irrelevant, though. I was talking about how it is better to quit housemanship than quitting life. I was talking about how it is better to quit housemanship than going into drugs! What possible objection can you have regarding these main points of my post, pray enlighten me?! Are you trying to say that it is better to quit life than quit housemanship??? What is it that you are so upset about regarding this post, eh Steve? For the life of me, I find your outburst highly distasteful!

      Don’t worry, I am not likely to forget that I will be an MO someday too, insya Allah. As for your statement saying “your HOs will be cursing you too,” well, I am impressed that you are in possession of a magical crystal ball with which you can look into the future. But your statement, however, has implied that I too had cursed my MOs. The word ‘too’ (for a sensitive language user as I) is what I have to object. I don’t curse people. I talk and complain about them. I am no different than any other HOs, in that regard. But you won’t find me using foul language. I am competent enough to express myself without the use of any dirty language of the cursing kind. I want you to know, it is my life principle NOT to curse.

      Good day! May happiness follow your every step, so that you will be able to behave in a more civilize manner when next you deign to comment. I give as good as I get, remember that.


    2. Danny

      It’s not about good MOs and good specialists. It’s about what we really want to do in life. Im quitting my housemanship soon. Not because of the MOs and specialists (they’re nice to me by the way), but simply because this is something that I absolutely have no passion for in the first place. Our universities nowadays are churning out hundreds of fresh housemans every year. Do you honestly think that all of them did medicine because they have a passion for it? Or is it because parents nowadays all want their kids to become doctors because it is such a “noble” profession where u can have a secure job with a good income? Pick any 10 housemans at random and ask them if this is really what they want to do for the rest of their life, i bet at least 8 will answer “no”. But not everyone has the liberty to simply quit, as most of the housemans out there are bonded by JPA bonds, etc. So are they supposed to simply endure their housemanship without any complaints? Is it really their fault?
      Anyway, we houseman actually do appreciate our MOs and specialists. But sometimes, MOs and specialists need to appreciate us as well.


  5. True, it is about knowing yourself and what you are good at and what you would like to pursue in life. Most people can stay being a houseman if they can get past the bullying and the hardship of not being competent enough (yet!!) during their first posting. First posting is the most crucial part…you have to be toughest during your first posting…then the rest will get better and better.
    However, some people go on to have many, many problems during other postings as well…and it is not worth it to continue being a houseman, if you are THAT unmotivated and THAT depressed.
    As for you Danny, I am happy that you have found out what you really like to do and are brave enough to take the road less traveled and quit.
    I wish you the best of luck in your future undertakings.


  6. Najihah

    i’m just starting my foundation in medic/premed. i am quite scared knowing what it is really like being a doctor. but insya allah i’ll try my best, because i know my heart is in medic, in my opinion having a career as a doctor is like having a newborn. you have to sacrifice almost everything but at the end of the day you will be happy with what you had fulfilled.


    1. Salam there, Najihah.
      You have made a very interesting, and I believe, a very apt similarity between the commitment of being a doctor to that of having a newborn.

      The problem is…what will happen when you ARE a doctor, and you DO have a newborn. Well!!
      But don’t be discouraged upon my words alone, sis. I am a houseman, and even I am not discouraged yet. As a HO, we are doing clerical works. So, who like clerical works, anyway? I am waiting out until I become an MO…when I will actually be doing the work of a clinician. Hopefully when I have become an MO, I will find again the passion that I have quite lost.

      All the best, sister, in your future undertaking. Enjoy your life as a student! It was a truly blissful time for me!


  7. Salam semua. Saya bawa khabar gembira buat semua pelarian HO di sini bahawa ada peluang kerja sebagai DOKTOR atau lebih tepat lagi sebagai MEDICAL CONSULTANT di syarikat ORION PROKASIH. Sila dapatkan maklumat lanjut dengan menghubungi mereka melalui page di FB atau di blog rasmi mereka. Gaji RM4K no kidding. Campur imbuhan sales boleh capai RM5-6K sebulan. Saya telah kerja di situ. Skop kerja amat mudah dan waktu pejabat. Status kerja tetap bukan kontrak. Ia adalah anak syarikat kepada LIFECARE DIAGNOSTIC MEDICAL CENTER. Mereka perlukan lagi 40 orang doktor sama ada taraf HO atau MO. Pekerjaan anda tidak melanggar MMC kerana hanya consult sahaja. Syarikat ini sedang membesar dan akan buka cawangannya di seluruh negara mulai tahun depan. Perasmian akan dibuat September ini. Kerja akan bermula 26hb Ogos. Prospek untuk menjadi Manager cawangan pun ada. Syarikat ini didukung oleh agensi2 kerajaan seperti Majlis Belia Negara dan EDEC. Ia adalah salah satu usaha kerajaan untuk membantu BUMIPUTERA maju dalam perniagaan produk perubatan dan kesihatan melalui program 1Mkasih4U.


    1. Thank you, brother, for the information above.
      It gives more options to those out there to spread their wings outside the hospital walls, if they so wish.
      All the best everyone!
      But I suggest for you guys to finish your housemanship first, if you still can bear it. Once you finished your housemanship it will give you even more job options later.


  8. Confused HO

    currently i’m in my 2nd posting.. but still i’m undecided about quitting.. psychiatrist keep giving me ‘mc’ without really helping much.. i really believe that they cant do anything much ..except for giving mc and antidepressant.. day by day.. now only to realize dat i.m becoming more and more confused .. i really love this job.. but i hate h.o’s life.. really dont want to think about all this thing anymore..just want to become berry-pickers like the one in ur stories..


    1. dear confused HO,
      You love your job….that’s already an excellent start that many HOs don’t have.
      You hate HOs life…well, so did I. And so do many others.

      The issue now is your depression. I actually believe that the meds work (I am a PSY MO, what else can I say? haha)….but it doesn’t work a miracle of wonders overnight. Not if you don’t ‘help yourself, either.

      Know that MO life is a thousand times better than HO life. If you hang in there, you will get to taste the sweetness of patience, eventually, insya Allah.

      But while hanging in there… need to motivate yourself daily. Only you know how to do that for yourself. You know yourself best. What motivates you?

      When I was a HO, what motivates me was my pride. I don’t want to hurt it.
      What about you? What is important to you? What makes you want to go on?


  9. prokasih

    Salam 1 Malaysia, kami memerlukan tenaga kesihatan jurusan doktor yang mempunyai ijazah MD atau MBBS untuk bekerja di syarikat kami. Jika anda berminat sila hubungi 011-16659590 untuk info lebih lanjut.


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