I have stopped counting how many incidences regarding house officers have made it in the news since I myself started my journey as a doctor.
We are not sure whether this particular houseman had committed suicide due to work-related issues or personal issues. But what we do know for sure is that there was an undeniable temporal relationship between his suicide and him quitting his job. So as doctors with logical minds, when we hear hoof-beats, we always think of horses instead of zebras. So…well, you get what I mean.
I was a house officer myself not so long ago. In fact I was a house officer when the majority part of my housemanship was completed in the on-call system instead of the current shift system. I remember the ups and downs of housemanship life like it was yesterday.
It wasn’t all bad.
But it wasn’t all good either.
I had it tough too especially when I first started as a house officer with zero knowledge of how to be a competent doctor. But I definitely had it easier compared to other housemen by the time I was done with my first posting.
Even though I felt like overall, I had it easier (perhaps because I was – and still am – pretty outspoken) I remember that housemanship was largely about the pain of having to suffer injustice silently and the torment of facing moral injury on a daily basis.
One day, I had made myself a promise that I will never again suffer moral injury silently. When I am faced with injustice, I will speak up. I will do my part. That was my promise some time ago.
So What Is Moral Injury?
Moral injury is a term proposed to describe the distress that individuals feel when they perpetrate, witness or fail to prevent an act that transgresses their core ethical belief.
For example, if someone was brought up with a moral and ethical belief that he/she must speak up against injustice, failing to do so would give this person a moral injury.
Below is a You Tube video that I think explains the whole concept of moral injury in a simple but comprehensive manner.
And another You Tube video by Zdogg MD talked about how among healthcare workers, we are not only experiencing burn out. But we are also vulnerable to moral injury when we as clinicians have to deal with incompetent, unjust, and sometimes stupid administrators, that impose their unfair decisions upon us, the clinicians! who actually SEE the patients in our daily clinical life! I love this video!
Because human beings are moral, idealistic creatures, we SUFFER from moral injury when we CANNOT do something that we know we morally SHOULD do. And if this horrible experience is repeated often enough, it could lead to all sorts of mental disorders.
According to one of the articles in BJPsych Journal (March 2020 edition), there are aspects of moral injury that are linked to mental illness and overlaps with PTSD. There are discussions of whether or not moral injury should be included as one of the criteria of PTSD in the next edition of DSM.
One sentence in particular is interesting: “Religious beliefs and spirituality have been correlated with post-traumatic growth and are inversely associated with symptoms of PTSD”.
So religion and spirituality are protective factors, folks. Which to me, is just so naturally true as a Muslim.
I feel like, all of us no matter who we are in the society should speak up and protect our spirituality, our moral standard and our religious values…. because we want to protect ourselves against the debilitating effects of moral injury. So if we feel something is wrong, we should at least speak up because it will protect ourselves against the pain of moral injury.
My Personal Experience of Moral Injury
Has any of my readers ever experienced an incident that caused them some moral injury?
I had. Some years ago. When I was a first-poster house officer.
I saw an MO shouting at my friend in the middle of the ward, deliberately humiliating her in front of everyone just because she did not know something that most first posters wouldn’t know anyway. As a fellow first poster, I felt so ashamed because the first thought that had crossed my mind at that time was “Thank God, it wasn’t me.”
I was ashamed of myself. Because that thought was not worthy of how my parents had brought me up. Not worthy of what my religion told me I should behave. Not worthy of what I thought I should behave based on my own concept of who I was as a person. My own values that had been drummed into me since I was a child was that I should face troubles, put in some effort to settle the troubles and speak up to make things better. When it comes to bullying, part of me feel like I should speak up right there and then, not just for myself but also for others.
But I didn’t…. because I was just a first poster who was helpless as I saw the MO BULLIED my fellow first-poster at that time. (But once I became a 2nd poster and beyond, I regained my identity back. I picked my battle strategically and I did speak up … and I never stop since. I hope, Insya Allah, Allah will continue to give me the strength to speak up and do what is right).
What were my values growing up?
I grew up fighting with seniors at the school canteen because they were trying to hijack our table while me and my friends were eating. I was 11 years old at that time and one of the seniors was the niece of the PKHEM (When I picked up a fight with her, I didn’t know she was the PKHEM’s niece lol. But the PKHEM never knew about it. All of us were pretty, ehem, professional with our fight with each other. We didn’t involve adults at all. Kids back then were pretty resilient. Haha)
I grew up ignoring what my ustazah told me – “Cari uniform baju kurung next year. Awak dah besar… dah darjah lima” she said – and I continued to wear pinafore as my school uniform because it was easier for me to move in a pinafore and I was more comfortable in a pinafore (I hadn’t had my menstruation yet at that time and covering my aurat was not compulsory for me yet. By the time I was 13 years old, I wore baju kurung uniform to school and started wearing the hijab even outside school because I already had my period at that time. See? Don’t control me in things that are not compulsory! I know my stuff and I know what to do and when to do it.)
I grew up being able to defy convention by insisting to my parents that we serve bihun goreng and Coca-Cola for my khatam Quran ceremony to my friends at the surau instead of pulut kuning and air sirap. To me, if there is no logical basis or a clear-cut rule for a certain tradition, then do not force me to follow something that the religion has given me a choice in what I want to do. Be strict in things that are right or wrong. But in matters of flexibility, I deserve to have a choice and I will insist on it.
I grew up confronting an ustaz in my class because he liked to insert political elements that were biased towards his own political party during the Pendidikan Islam lessons at school (he was a PAS supporter and I was an UMNO supporter at that time. I was 15 years old hahha. I told my parents what the ustaz had said in the class and my father said that I should answer him back. So blame my father for how argumentative I turned out to be now. He encouraged me in doing these things all my life. Anyway, how could an ustaz be political and spread propaganda during school lessons? So unprofessional, right?)
I have always been very outspoken when I feel that something is wrong. I will not follow people blindly. As I grew up, I learn to choose when to speak up and when to shut up. But even as I remain silent, I will always choose whether or not I will follow what people say based on my own judgment. I may shut up, but I still decide what I am going to do eventually.
This pattern of me questioning the authority has been consistent since I was a child. Because this is how me and my sisters were brought up. We don’t have the culture of “Kena ikut cakap abang sulung.” Or “Kena beralah dengan adik” just to keep the harmony. We REALLY argue and settle matters to its satisfying conclusion. We are all very forthright people.
(Here is a link of my previous post for better illustration of how I was brought up, if you guys are interested. Haha. https://afizaazmee.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/be-fair-to-all-your-children/)
Of course to be efficient, I don’t question the authority around me on everything (who got the time, man? Prioritize our causes!) I only question on things that I feel don’t make sense or are wrong. But I follow everything that makes sense to me or that I think are good or neutral, neither right nor wrong.
I might be wrong in how I view things too. I am not saying that I am always right when I question the authority. But at least when I vocalize my dissatisfaction, the authority can try to explain themselves to me and I can at least learn to correct how I think about stuff. So to me, being vocal is always a win-win. If the authority was wrong and I pointed it out, then they could correct themselves. And if it was me that was wrong, the authority could explain themselves and make me learn the more correct way of thinking about things.
Being brought up the way I was, I could not remember ever feeling hopeless or helpless in anything. And then housemanship happened. Hahah. Adeh!
As a first poster, I remember feeling like some of the scolding was unfair but I could not make myself speak up because I myself was new and inexperienced and did not know how to help myself, let alone others! I must bide my time, learn the structure of the working place, learn how to do brannula settings, learn how to review patients, learn how to do referrals, learn how to be an independent HO. I must bide my time and move under the radar so that I wouldn’t be targeted or placed in an even worse situation. That means, I could only watch as some of my fellow first posters were poorly treated by some malignant MOs over something so small and insignificant. And other HOs were also like me… they also simply watched me getting an unnecessarily harsh scolding. So we were all even here. Nafsi-nafsi. No one would bother to speak up for each other because they wouldn’t even speak up for themselves.
This went against my upbringing, my religious values and my own concept of who I was as a person. I was quite ashamed of myself. It felt like for the first time, I was such a coward. The only thing I could say to comfort myself at that time was “Well, you are not the only coward. All HOs are hamba orang here and we are all being cowards together. Just because you don’t speak up as much, doesn’t mean you are so bad. Relax! Just learn as much as possible, as soon as possible and become as competent as fast as you can. The time for payback will come soon. What goes around always comes around”.
I did not know it at that time. But it WAS a moral injury. Me falling short of my own expectation of myself was a moral injury to me. After 4 months in that department, I was able to move on to the next posting without being extended (Thank God!) And I did give them some form of payback after that. (Those who knew me back then would know what I did. Haha)
I regained my equilibrium again after that. Day by day as I became a senior HO, I no longer kowtow to malignant MOs. If I was wrong, I would apologize. But if I was right, I would answer them back. I no longer swallowed every retort. I no longer suppressed every rejoinder. I picked and chose my battle. And once I have decided to fight for something, I REALLY do it.
As I have mentioned before, the more skills you have, the less opportunity you have to use it.
The more you practice the art of speaking up for yourself and defending yourself, the less opportunity you have to use that skill after some time. Because people would know not to pick a fight with you anymore and therefore you will find that you hardly have to fight with anyone anymore after some time. Alhamdulillah, I finished my housemanship in 2 years with no extension whatsoever despite my willing readiness to ‘menjawab’ when I have to. Because I believe that the truth is powerful and a person who is wrong will naturally not want to ‘cari pasal’ with someone who is more than willing to confront them and expose them. If someone is wrong and you ‘menjawab’ them and pointed out on THEIR mistakes back… do you think they will dare to target you even more? Of course not! Bullies by their very nature will only pick on someone weaker than them. So you shouldn’t be weaker than them. That’s all.
But you are only powerful if you are on the side of truth! You are not going to be powerful if you also make various mistakes in your own work.
For example…. Let’s say an MO had verbally abused you! And then you went MIA as a reaction. Think about that scenario for a moment. Just think! How can you powerfully and credibly fight against the MO and report the MO to the Pengarah if the MO can then say “She has an attitude problem. She went MIA multiple times and did not complete her work. Of course I scolded her. I wanted to teach her to be more responsible. She is just manja!”
Do you see what I mean?
Let’s say, an MO had degraded you in front of the whole ward for some trivial reason. Then as a reaction, you took multiple unwarranted ELs and caused a lot of disruption to the work flow in the ward. How can you report against the MO to the specialist when the MO can then point out that “Do you want to believe the word of someone who fake their MCs and are disruptive to the work flow?”
Do you see what I mean?
Do not react! But respond!
And respond strategically! (And I will talk about that further down below)
In order for you to fight these bullies credibly and effectively, you must be patient first and gain your experience first. Go to work, ignore their evil ragging (but know your limit. Don’t tolerate harassment or a criminal act against your person), complete your work, make friends with fellow HOs and gather experience along the way. Learn how to be an independent HO first… learn to be a reliable HO first… seize your power. Then fight back! That’s how it is done!
So when you report against the MO to the specialist, the MO cannot side-track the issue by pointing out your own wrongdoings! Your own EL! Your own MC! Your own unreliability! Your own incompetence! Instead the issue will be on the problematic MO only. You would be seen as having no conflict of interest in voicing out the issue… because you had no attitude issues in the form of MIA/multiple ELs, you had successfully completed the posting already and YET you still voice out about it. Only then, you can fight more effectively. Otherwise, it is so easy for the bullies who are more superior in their position to sidetrack the issue and turn it into your own attitude issues… even if your complaint against them is valid! That is, unfortunately, the sad reality. And as a houseman, you MUST know that and fight strategically.
That’s how it must be done. Gain your power then fight back! In the process of gaining your power, you must be patient and bide your time. Learn the structure of your workplace, learn the routine, learn to be independent until you have the reputation of being a reliable HO. When the time is ripe, you strike!
You are much more credible if you can say “I finished the posting, I never took any EL or MC. I never MIA. I made it out of the posting without being extended. But I STILL report against the MO because the MO was a bully and an evil person. Even though I already made it out of the department, I am STILL going to complain anyway because my only interest in complaining about this is to make sure that this MO won’t do the same thing to other HOs.”
That’s how it’s done! Don’t give them any opportunity to brush off their own mistakes by hiding behind your own mistakes.
What I wrote above, I learned from the life of Prophet Muhammad.
What do you think I mean by that?
You might wonder, what does the life of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) have anything to do with how a houseman should behave during housemanship?
All Muslims know that the call to Islam by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) can be divided into 2 distinct stages:
- The Makkan Phase : This phase is non-confrontational
- The Secret Call (lasted for 3 years)
- The Open Call (lasted for 10 years)
- The Madini Phase – This phase is more confrontational and this phase lasted for 10 years.
In the Makkan Phase, Islam was still weak. Islam was embraced by mostly slaves like Bilal Bin Rabbah and Sumayyah (may Allah be pleased with them), remember? (And HOs ARE jokingly labeled as Hamba Orang, you know. Haha). If Prophet Muhammad and the slaves were confrontational when they were still weak, Islam would be vanquished before it even began. Finito! It wouldn’t spread from the isolated desert in the heart of Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world and become one of the most practiced religion in the world.
This is what you have to understand!
When you are still weak (you don’t know how to set brannulas yet, you don’t know how to insert CBD yet, you don’t know how to do short lines/long lines/episiotomy yet, you don’t even know how to refer properly to another department without getting scolded), you have to bear your trials and tribulations with patience. How can you confront bad behaviours of your superiors when you are weak? You cannot! Just like the slaves in Makkah cannot confront the evil Makkah aristocrats because they were weak. Even when the Makkah aristocrats were wrong and evil… even when these Muslim slaves were on the side of the truth… the Muslims were commanded not to be confrontational. Instead, the Prophet (PBUH) repeatedly asked them to be patient.
But in Islam, patience is NOT a passive process. If we are weak, are we supposed to be patient and continuously remain weak? Of course not! The Prophet (PBUH) continued his dakwah secretly but diligently and strategically while practicing patience. Again, patience is not passive in Islam. Even though the Prophet FORBADE the Muslims during this Makkan phase from being confrontational, the Prophet’s patience was not passive… he continued working towards his goal. He continued to preach the teachings of Islam in the house of Al-Arqam Bin Abi Al-Arqam Al-Makhzumi in secret. This is patience with a purpose!
As an HO, you must bite your tongue first from answering back your bullies for awhile. In the mean time, you must continue progressing! Learn to be independent first. Gather some knowledge and gather your strength.
Gather your support system. In this phase, DO NOT ‘serabutkan lagi kepala otak kau’ with unnecessary financial commitments like house loans, car loans, ‘beranak-pinak banyak-banyak’… not yet, ok! These unnecessary commitments will tie your hands up even worse from speaking up against the authority because you are too afraid to fight or jeopardize your career even when you are justified in your fight. When you are in debt, you are vulnerable (and I have talked about this in many of my previous post!). So think carefully before being in debt!
Until now, I do not get myself into unnecessary debt! I don’t plan to buy multiple houses and tie my salary up in multiple mortgages. No, thank you! I don’t plan to change my car anytime soon and still use my first car that I bought when I was a houseman. I have no interest in spending my money in branded stuff. I only buy things that have value for money. I want to stay liquid. I don’t want my money to be tied up in assets that are only going to take away more of my money (in taxes and maintenance expenses) and my time (in managing them) away from me. Things that take away my money and my time are the things that will indirectly take away my freedom and I am super paranoid about that. Hahah.
Once you have undergone your Makkan phase as an HO, by the time you are a 4th poster, you are already in your Medini phase, my dear. By then, you should be competent in all the basic procedures already and you should be more confident with your knowledge and all your inter-departmental referrals. You have mastered the routine and the structure of a HOs’ life. So you will find that you can get away with confronting bad behavior of your superiors at this stage. Even so, I caution you to pick your fight wisely. Be efficient. Don’t spend your time and your energy on trivial issues. Prioritize! Strategize!
As an HO, I was able to enjoy my housemanship eventually because I was able to tell myself “I come to work for myself! Not because I need the salary. I can walk away from this anytime. But I won’t walk away because I want to win against this bullying culture! It is my pride at stake. So I am going to work because it is MY choice. Not because I have to. I don’t work for the MOs or the specialists. I work for myself and because Allah asks us to have ‘ihsan’ (arabic term for excellence) when doing our work. If I do good work, I do it for Allah… not for them! They have no power over me! None!” I am more motivated to do my work when I know that what they think about me doesn’t matter. What Allah thinks about me matters! So when you do something for the sake of Allah and try to please Allah, of course you will try to do good work… and by doing good work, you will automatically please your superiors too without you even setting out to do so. Because the sunnahtullah is such that if you take care of your relationship with Allah, Allah will take care of who will be pleased with you. It is as simple as that.
You can never please everyone. But it doesn’t matter. You don’t HAVE to please everyone, anyway. Please know that.
Your intention matters. If you do good work just to please your boss (or worse, because you could not afford to lose the job because you have too much debts, and then you become stressed, and then you become depressed because you feel trapped in a job that you hate and this will then affect your work performance even more) you will not really attain ihsan (excellence) in your work. You will always be anxious all the time.
For example, a HO who is anxious about pleasing his boss will do things very slowly and inefficiently because her brain is occupied in thinking about “Should I inform this thing to the MO regarding this patient? Maybe this thing is not significant and I shouldn’t unnecessarily inform these things to the MO. Nanti kena marah pula. Hmm…should I ask this question or not to the MO? But if I ask this question, she might think I am stupid. So maybe I shouldn’t ask. But if I don’t ask, what if the patient deteriorates? Aduh! What should I do?” See how the brain of this HO works? Anxious about how her boss thinks of her and therefore she is always in doubt and indecisive (of course she also becomes that way after having been shouted at over something trivial by some evil MOs previously …until she also becomes paranoid towards the kind ones too! And she continues to be in this loop of self-defeating thought processes). When you are in doubt and indecisive all the time, your work will be slow and inefficient and you will notice that you are unable to complete something in a timely manner because you just cannot decide on what to do because you are so, so, SO preoccupied with how other people would think of you! And then your boss will be even more upset with you when you are slow, and so you become even more anxious when your boss is upset, and then you become more indecisive and even slower in completing a simple job that other HOs could complete stat, and then your boss become even more angry at you… and on and on the circle of anxiety continues.
This is self-defeating, my dear juniors! You must stop that.
Now, imagine a HO who is not preoccupied with how other people think about her but is only preoccupied with doing a good job to please Allah. She will think “I don’t know these things. If I don’t ask, my patient might deteriorate and Allah will not be pleased with my sloppy work. So I better ask and just get it done. Kena marah pun lantak! Whatever. I have to do what I have to do.” Simple, right? Very decisive! She just asks the question, gets her answer quickly and she can move on with the rest of her work! Efficient use of her time. Even if the MO scolded her, she would just shrug her shoulder and move on because she knew she has more worthy work to do that will earn Allah’s pleasure rather than inefficiently occupying her brain space worrying about what the MO had thought of her. Banyak kerja lain lagi nak buat! Just execute your plan and do whatever you can to get that plan executed! Some of the plans might involve having to clarify and ask the MOs about some things that she isn’t sure of and the MO might unreasonably scold her, but she will just hurry up and ask the MO anyway… because she knew she MUST face it in order to do a good work in a timely manner that would earn Allah’s pleasure. What other people think of her pales in comparison to what Allah would think of her if she doesn’t do a good job. Eventually… because the HO persists in this habit of getting things done in a timely manner, she will earn the pleasure of her bosses anyway even when she didn’t set out to gain their pleasure in the first place. See? This is how it works!
You see… being free is not just about financial and physical freedom. It is also about having ‘jiwa yang merdeka’. Free your mind and your heart and your soul! And you cannot have that if you are so preoccupied about pleasing others without pausing to think about whether or not you are doing the right thing to please Allah.
Because as you mature into your career, you will find that bosses are not always right and sometimes you must be firm in voicing out your opinion so that your patients will receive the best care possible! Even if the boss hates you, you must do what you have to do. So don’t do good work for your boss! Do good work because that is YOUR value as per Allah’s guidance upon us. And you work for YOU (for your dunia and your akhirat)! For your own self-satisfaction! Not for them! Insya Allah, by having this mindset, you will be more motivated and you won’t fear your bosses as much. You should not fear anyone else other than Allah. And you cannot have this attitude if you are too dependent on anything (like your job; because you have debts!) or anyone (like your boss).
You must REALLY believe that your provision (rezeki) is in the hands of Allah. You MUST really believe that some things are already written. (The pen is lifted and the ink has dried. Your job is just to go through the process in the best way possible and leave the outcome in the hands of Allah) If you say the right thing and do the right thing, you know Allah will take care of you even if you had to lose your job in the end.
The Prophet had said “If the whole world were to gather together in order to help you, they would not be able to help you except if Allah had written so. And if the whole world were to gather together in order to harm you, they would not harm you except if Allah had written so.” These are powerful words guys; if you REALLY believe in this, it would show in the way you speak and the way you act!
Look, maybe this doesn’t sound practical to some of you who do have families to take care of and have no choice but to fear losing your job. Maybe I am speaking from the background of someone with the privilege of a good social support, without much financial worries. But that’s what I mean! Do not get into debts when you are still struggling in your career! Love your job first (and you won’t love it yet if you are still incompetent or if you HAVE to work for paying debts). Once you have loved your job, then cautiously start having some NECESSARY financial commitments. And nothing more than the absolute necessary.
Strategy, guys! Everything in stages! Just like the stages of our beloved Prophet’s dakwah in Makkah and Madinah.
If I told any HO to have sabar… that means the HO is still at the Makkan phase, okay. Sabar dan belajar! Bukan sabar tapi passive tak buat apa-apa! But know your limit! Do not tolerate physical or sexual harassment by thinking that you have to ‘sabar’! Jangan sabar dengan benda-benda macam tu, please! Voice out against sexual and physical harassment no matter who does it!
Once I start to advise anyone to fight, it means I believe he/she is already in the Madini phase of her career. Strategically fight back if you have to! Haha.
But remember to know when to get help if you feel like you are suffering from depression or overwhelming anxiety due to work-related stressors. In dealing with any kind of emotional or mental turmoil, we have the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model of looking at things. What I have written so far are the spiritual aspect mostly and some psychological aspect (although I personally believe that as a Muslim, psychological and spiritual aspects are one and the same for me. But then, that’s just me). But we can also treat biologically by giving you pharmacological treatment to help you bounce back. We can do psychotherapy for you as well if you are not keen to start on medication. So do seek help at the right places. Seeking treatment is part of your effort and therefore part of the sunnahtullah for success : Usaha, doa and tawakkal.
Disclaimer: There are MANY good superiors out there. But the bad and malignant ones are too dominant because the good ones do not really do anything much to admonish the bad ones. Or maybe the good ones unfortunately did not know about it… or did not care enough to admonish the bad ones among their circles. I have met many inspiring superiors. But the bad superiors are the ones who would make life difficult for HOs until they would contemplate quitting their job. Just like in schools… the bullies are not many. But they are the ones who would bully other weak students and make life difficult for these students! So do not ask irrelevant questions like “Takkanlah semua boss jahat kat department tu? Tak dak yang baik langsung ka? Awat dok focus kat yang jahat tu saja?” Hahhaha! Irrelevant, guys! Orang yang cakap macam ni mungkin patut rasa macam mana bila anak kau kena buli kat sekolah… lepas tu baru kau tahu langit tinggi ke rendah bila anak kau refuse to go to school and then you had to refer your child to psychiatry for school refusal. Settle the issue and be a problem solver, okay! Don’t say something irrelevant out of nowhere. Orang yang buli tu memanglah sikit, tapi depalah yang menyebabkan orang quit. Takkan nak tunggu satu department jadi pembuli baru nak mengaku ada problem? Come on! So as a HOD or a specialist, you better buck up and do your job of administering your department properly. Warn and eliminate the bad ones if you have to, but please do it! Because one day you will find someone who will speak up and embarrass your whole department or the whole hospital because they have had enough.
We are living in the world where we tend to care so much about what other people think of us. The social media play a huge factor in why we start to be too self-conscious of how we appear to others. Sometimes we will compromise saying the truth of what we truly believe because we don’t want people to judge us harshly. #CancelledCulture. Even though we know the truth, we would not say it because we are afraid that other people would disagree with us and tarnish our reputation in retaliation.
Some doctors are so afraid about being openly honest regarding their disapproval of the LGBT agenda in this country that they simply remain silent from talking about this. They are afraid other people would feel like they are less intellectual for not supporting the liberal views from the West. Or afraid that people would perceive them as homophobic or intolerant.
But the truth is just the truth even if some people do not like it and then giving it bad labels to justify their own self-interest. (Labels such as intolerant/homophobic, backward, bigoted etc etc) #LabellingDoesNotTrumpTruth. There must be enough people in the society who insist upon telling the truth and not giving up to falsehood. No matter what happens we must be equally strong or stronger than the falsehood. Just like the life of a houseman; he or she must be stronger than the bullies and persists against them either by remaining patient at first or retaliating against them later on. The Makkan phase and the Madini phase, remember? We must not lose to falsehood or to bad culture of bullying! In fact, we must strategize against them!
Some doctors are careful not to reveal their political opinion. As though by being a doctor, they are not also a Malaysian who does have a stake in how the country will turn out to be and therefore has a right to propagate towards the agenda that they believe as right for the country. (For example, I will always have a very firm opinion about the need to abolish vernacular schools and to promote unity among the races by getting all Malaysians to be educated in the same school system… and I will continue to write about this on and off even if my audience might hate that opinion. To me the people who insist to continue the existence of vernacular schools are the racist ones! I will not allow those people to propagate their false narrative without giving them a counter-narrative, just to create superficial appearance of false harmony. Sorry… I am just not like that.)
Well… you will see that in my blog, I am very open about all my views. From political issues, to medical issues, to philosophical issues, to religious issues. People can choose to interpret my words as conservative, extreme, racist, homophobic, intolerant… or logical, balanced, practical, realistic… or whatever… I don’t really care. I write what I believe as right as per the guidance of my religious values. If you believe I am wrong, you are welcome to voice your own opinion in the comment section. This is a free country. Who knows… I might learn something from you if I really was wrong in my opinion. I write what I sincerely believe as right. But I also believe that I could be wrong and therefore by being open about it and subsequently receiving correction from others, I will be able to learn and adjust. So, I am very open to opposing views. But of course I am also very open to present my own counter-argument to the said opposing views.
Before I was a doctor, I was a Muslim first and a Malaysian, second. We all have our rights as a Malaysian citizen to voice out our opinion about any issue that is going on in the country. Being a doctor or a public servant doesn’t mean that those rights are taken away. If anyone is not happy with the things I write in my blog, they can choose not to come to my website at all. I never promoted my blog to anyone. I did not even post all my blog updates in the social media. My blog is not for any monetary gain or popularity gain.
My blog is for me. If people come and read my blog it isn’t because I had promoted it in any way. In fact, I am very low-profile about it.
My blog was initially created for me and for my own pleasure! For my own mental and intellectual exercise! To write about the interesting things that I had read or thought of! As my own personal space for me to practice my craft and to indulge in raving about my latest book obsession and to display my bad poems that sometimes do not rhyme Hahaha. Not really for the sake of gaining an audience (although I do welcome anyone who wants to read my blog.) But I will not change my belief of what is the truth just to appease the feelings of anyone coming here.
The truth does not always sit well with everyone. But that’s okay. Getting to the truth is a process anyway. Sometimes the process is life-long, folks.You do your own research and do your own thinking… go through the process… and you will hopefully find what you believe as the truth.
May Allah guide all of us.
Books of The Month
This months I had read 3 books : one non-fiction, one award-winning literature and one fiction.
The Well-Tuned Brain: The Remedy For A Manic Society – by Peter C. Whybrow, MD
- Based on ANFRS, I only give this book 2 stars. I am sorry to say that it started out quite interesting but deteriorated along the way into unrelated personal stories. At the end of the book, I don’t get much of an answer on how to tune the brain. I am sorry… but I cannot recommend this book to my readers personally. But if you are interested, by all means, go ahead and buy it.
My Name Is Red – by Orhan Pamuk
- Based on AFBRS, I only give this book 2 stars as well. And I am breaking- up with Orhan Pamuk. This is his 3rd book that I had read and I must say my impression of him continues to suffer with each subsequent reading of his book. He put too much details about what does the job of an illustrator entail, boring me to tears with all the cultural and historical facts of some illustrations or other. Somewhere in the middle of the book I thought I was reading a non-fiction book on how to do an illustration in the 16th century during the reign of Suleyman The Magnificent rather than a fiction with proper plots. This book just didn’t grip me. I wasn’t invested enough. I am no longer buying Orhan Pamuk’s books from now on. Done with him!
The Secret Adversary – by Agatha Christie
- I read the online version of this book and loved it! I finished it in 2 days. I am so into Agatha Christie now. This is not one of her books on the great Hercule Poirot series. This one is the Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries series. The Secret Adversary is the first book in the series. This is about two restless young souls – Tommy and Tuppence – who found themselves jobless and decided to embark on a daring business scheme: Young Adventurers Ltd. In the course of this business, they found themselves embroiled in the dangerous world of international politics, espionage and kidnapping. They had to become an amateurish detective in the process of completing their first business assignment. Ah, what a great, relaxing read! I recommend it to all my readers. You can get it for free via Aldiko app because this book’s copyright has expired already. So go and get it! I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5 based on AFBRS.
Until next time, my dear readers. May Allah guide our leaders and our superiors to lead their people fairly, compassionately, and wisely. And may Allah punish them severely and give them what they deserve if they behave unjustly, cruelly and unreasonably. Amiin Ya Rabb.