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?
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.
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?
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?