(Not exactly) Newsflash: KKM Semakin Tenat.

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Seriously guys… it wasn’t exactly a newsflash that MOH is understaffed, under-budget, over-worked and basically functioning sub-optimally due to all of those reasons. The same issues have been plaguing MOH since I started working in 2011 (and also long before that, I am sure). And naturally, with the way our economy is doing, the state of hospitals and health facilities in MOH has been progressively worsening since then.

And what a surprise (NOT!) that THIS time, it isn’t the mengada-mengada, manjalitis Millennials who are saying these things. These things come from the professional opinion of our country’s National Audit Department! When they say it, they have credibilities. People started sharing the news (which is not exactly news) all over the social media, flooding my newsfeed with their own take and opinions on the news. But when the junior doctors say it…. well, we can brush them off as manja dan mengada-ngada, kan? (Okay, I better stop the direction in which my composition is currently heading. Haha. I have promised myself that I am done championing the issue of junior doctors. I am already a senior now and I have my own issues that I care about to fight for. But old habit dies hard, LOL! I have always believed that as a group, we are only as strong as the weakest link. And therefore, we must empower our junior doctors so that they can be as, ehem, great as us the seniors. But heck, the juniors can learn to fight their own issues especially if they believe they are right. I have my own stuff as a senior doctor that I am unsatisfied about! LOL.)

If you look at the comments section, you will notice some of the commentators saying something to the effect of “Dahlah memang tak cukup staff. Yang ada pun, bukan semua functioning! Ada yang bermasalah… asyik EL, MIA dan ada yang mempunyai masalah peribadi hutang dengan Along sampai Along mai cari kat tempat kerja and mengamuk kat sana. Exit policy buat perhiasan agaknya!(Love your comment, there!)

Another LOVELY comment:

“Aku tak tau la susah mana sangat exit policy tu tapi yg aku tau ada ex-staff klinik aku ada kes polis pun masih kekal lagi kerja dekat PKD aku tapi dibayar gaji hari. Depa sanggup buat laporan berjela2 utk tatatertib and bayar gaji hari tapi tak sanggup nak buat laporan utk pecat org. depa punya “busy” tu macam tiap2 bulan ada kes pecat org

Another comment which I personally LOVE :

“Bukan saja masalah tak cukup pekerja… tapi ada yg tak function. Ada yg kerja cincai, salai-balai, tak bersungguh buat kerja, lembap…. dan ada yg jahat terhadap pesakit!Kalau aku jadi org admin dah lama aku buang dan terminate org2 bermasalah mcm ni. Kalau nak kerja, buat cara nak kerja. Berdisiplin mai kerja, dress appropriately pakai uniform kerja, professional layan pesakit dan PAP! Jgn sampai benda basic routine pun nak kena ketuk every day and nak kena cakap byk2 kali. Org2 yg baloq liat macam ni memang tak layak kerja dgn KKM. Ramai lagi menunggu masuk kerja. Inilah waktunya yg paling sesuai untuk kita terminate pekerja2 lembab dan membebankan jabatan. Sebab berlungguk lagi menunggu nak dapat kerja!”

Soooo many of my friends had the same view as above! We REALLY vented out while sharing the news in the social media.(Seriously, we cannot stop millennial doctors using social media anymore! One day the millennials will become the leaders and saying things in social media will no longer be taboo! Instead, it will become the mainstream. Trust me… you can see the trend already.)

We are FED UP of the admin people not doing something concrete to these toxic, cancerous, pathetic excuse of a human being who are degrading the morale of the rest of our MOH staff by their despicable (sometimes criminal) behaviour! Not just to their own colleagues but sometimes even to the patients! (I won’t say much if  you are bad to your colleagues. Kawan-kawan sekerja kau tu memang deserve your bad behaviour sebab depa tak pandai nak defend diri sendiri dan lawan kau balik sedangkan diorang mampu nak buat kalau diorang betul-betul nak! They deserve the headache of dealing with your problematic behaviour and your unnecessary EL/MIA/laziness if they do not have the spine and are TOO MUCH OF A COWARD to report against you. But if you are UNJUST to my vulnerable, defenceless, involuntarily warded patients, I will personally make it my life mission to deliver your punishment even if I have to charge you through the legal channel. I swear it! I have even warned my own staff that if I EVER see them using ‘ubat kampung’ on my patients, I will go after them myself! Because my patients are vulnerable and they are MY responsibility. I WILL GO AGAINST YOU if I see your unethical or criminal behaviour WITH MY OWN EYES. The responsibility is mine to report on you if I see your ‘ubat kampung’ with my own eyes! If I can’t get you through the admin channel, I will get you through the legal channel! I don’t care whether the charge will stick or not… but police report WILL be done against you if any form of punishment failed to be delivered using the hospital admin channel. Whether or not the charge will stick… is the job of the police and the DPP. But making the report is MY responsibility and MY prerogative and IT WILL BE DONE if the admin people fail to give a suitable reprimand and punishment against you.) 

So the admin people, please listen to the plight and woes of your clinical colleagues. Please take action against the person who has had multiple, repetitive complaints being lodged against him. (one complaint may be due to personal issues! But if multiple behavioural issues with multiple complaints?? Takkan nak brush off lagi?) Because even if we may not say things in front of you, we will certainly vent in the social media by hiding behind the sharing of ‘current issues’. Hahah. And the public will come to know all about it.

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COURTESY STIGMA

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One week ago, again my Facebook newsfeed was exploded by the scandalous news that a private psychiatrist had allegedly sexually harassed his own patient. To be fair, we need  to know both sides of the story before we come to any sort of judgment.

But, I was disheartened by some of the comments that I read in Facebook regarding this case.

Even doctors had said something to the effect of “Psychiatrists pun sama macam pesakit depa.” And another one had said “Psychiatrists pun ada mental health issues,” (What? You think Cardiologist cannot get heart disease? Oncologists cannot get cancer? Wake up to the real world, genius!)

Have you guys heard of the term ‘courtesy stigma’, first defined by the sociologist Erving Goffman in 1963?

Courtesy stigma is basically ‘stigma by association’ in which the stigma is extended to the people who are close to the stigmatized group. For example, family members of mentally ill patients are often affected by courtesy stigma. “Kakak dia ada Schizophrenia. Tak payah lah kawan dengan dia.” or “Padanlah dia suka marah-marah. Ayah dia pun bipolar. Like father, like son.” (even if the person has an absolutely valid reason to be angry at you, you will somehow relate it to the person’s mentally ill family member.)

And courtesy stigma also affects psychiatry doctors. Trust me, we in psychiatry know this VERY WELL. Some of our own doctor-friends will say things like, “Psychiatrist boleh faham patient mental sebab depa pun mental.” and disguised their offensive sentence as a joke.

Well, I am having none of that! None of my friends will ever dare say things like that to me because I call out on it STAT! Right there and then I will challenge their statement and shred their reasoning to pieces. And they learn to behave well with me next time. See? I am a staunch believer and practitioner of behaviour modification. Your bad behaviour will be called out and punished stat! I don’t put up with crap. Welll… not for long, at least!

So, I wrote my own comment in the Facebook thread by saying:

When a prominent ortho surgeon was accused of multiple counts of sexual harrassment, we do not generalize all ortho surgeons “gatal” the lot of them.

Anyone can behave unethically and despicably. And we shouldn’t overgeneralize a group over any misdeed done by a few in that group.

Please don’t say nonsensical things like “psychiatrist are also like their patients” or that “some psychiatrist have mental health issues”.

A lot of doctors have mental health issues across all fields. Some have anger management issues as well, making life hell for their subordinates. Some were depressed while undergoing their master programs. We in psychiatry have seen all of them. We know mental health issues are prevalent in any field.

Some of the other doctors have spouses or children who are affected by mental health issues…. because their parents are only concerned about being good doctors rather than being a good parent/daughter/son/sister and they delegate the job of caring for their own family to others.

Anaesthetists also have a higher rate of suicide. What funny jokes can we crack about that? Access to lethal means of suicide is a known risk factor for anyone who is depressed. But depression or other mental health illness can happen to anyone.

Stop this stigmatization and overgeneralization. Cognitive errors are so unpalatable when they come from doctors who are supposed to have an enlightened mind.

I was gratified to see that many had liked my comment even though I wasn’t expecting them to. Having a lot of people read this comment of mine and liking it means that people understood and supported what I had written. So at that particular time, I have at least educated some people into not stigmatizing us. Small steps… but everything big starts with something small, right? I have done my part. I have spoken up.  In some other place and some other time, another person will speak up over the same issue and do their own part in reducing courtesy stigma. Slowly and surely the stigma will be reduced by these collective small steps. In fact, it is already reducing! The number of junior doctors queuing up in the waiting list to become Psychiatry MO is quite high, these days!

In fact, I was informed by one of my readers that my blog is one of their point of reference when they are trying to research on psychiatry career pathways! So, if my blog has done nothing else, it has at least promoted the field of psychiatry to some junior doctors. The popular campaign by RCPSYCH to #ChoosePsychiatry is also gaining momentum in the other side of the world.

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The number of junior doctors choosing to train in psychiatry is at an all-time high, according to the latest statistics.

New figures from Health Education England reveal a 92 per cent uptake in England, Scotland and Wales, with 446 of 483 available places taken by junior doctors wanting to specialise in mental health.

This compares with a 69 per cent fill rate in 2017, when only 337 accepted one of the 491 places on offer.

The dramatic increase follows the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ #ChoosePsychiatry campaign, which launched in 2017, and has worked to increase the number of junior doctors choosing psychiatry as their speciality.

The figures also reveal a significant improvement since 2018, when 480 junior doctors accepted one of the 613 places on offer – a 78 per cent fill rate.

Record levels of investment in mental health services by the government and the NHS has helped increased public awareness to unprecedented levels, making psychiatry a more attractive career path.

Dr Kate Lovett, dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Psychiatry is an incredibly rewarding career and these figures are exciting news for patients as well as the specialism.

“The College’s #ChoosePsychiatry campaign has helped drive this dramatic rise in junior doctors choosing psychiatry as their career path. 

ETHICS & LEGALITY IN PSYCHIATRY

As psychiatry doctors, ethics is one of our core subjects and is supposed to be our strength and our specialty! It is REALLY sad if we are the ones who cannot practice it properly. When ethical issues involving psychiatrists appear in the social media, it is especially disillusioning and disappointing.

We used to think that doctors are generally kind, helpful and ethical. But these days, that impression can no longer be taken for granted. Remember the case of the prominent Ortho surgeon who had sexually harassed his housemen? We all had wondered regarding how his criminal behaviour could be ongoing for so long? Aren’t MOST DOCTORS ethical? So, why do MOST OF THEM become the ENABLERS of criminal behaviour? We started to wonder and cast blame when the shit hit the fan.

“Kenapa specialists lain pun tak bersuara?” 

“Kenapa tak ada siapa buat police report?”

“Kenapa Pengarah Hospital tak buat apa-apa sedangkan dah banyak complaints?” 

I am sure, AT THAT TIME, they would answer things like, “Nak ambil tindakan kena cukup bukti.”  OR, “He is too powerful. Dah buat report police pun tak boleh nak buat apa.” OR “HOs sendiri and victims pun tak berani nak ke depan buat laporan kat dia. Budak-budak Master pun bawah dia juga… nanti depa takut tak pass master.” 

They justified their inactions and silenced their conscience!

Suddenly, ONE FINE DAY, it took only ONE PERSON to decide to contact the mainstream media (THE STAR) to give her side of the story. Maybe she was thinking, “To the hell cukup bukti ka dak! Yang pasti, aku nak benda ni keluar juga!” Sebab once dah keluar, barulah siasatan akan berjalan untuk cukupkan bukti! Masalahnya bila benda dok hushed up tak keluar-keluar sampai ke sudah… sampai bila bukti nak cukup?

So things that used to be swept under the carpet (BERTAHUN-TAHUN berlalu tapi TAK PERNAH CUKUP BUKTI sebab tak pernah siapa pun teringin nak siasat habis-habisan dan ambil tindakan) tiba–tiba senang ja terbongkar dan siasatan boleh berjalan.

Bila keluar berita yang “pakar-pakar Orthopaedic di hospital tersebut akan dipindahkan” (mungkin sebab pakar-pakar tersebut dilihat seperti membenarkan dan membiarkan penganiyaan berlaku) tiba-tiba ada yang mahu complain pula! “Kenapa kami kena pindah? Sedangkan kami tak terlibat! Kami tak bersalah! Kami tak tau pun kejadian sexual harassment tu semua!”

Amazing! Orang di hospital lain pun boleh tau pasal your notorious HOD…. macam mana kau di hospital tu boleh tak tau? What wilful ignorance is this?

You deserve the punishment of being transferred out! When you are neutral and not taking sides in the face of oppression, you are actually a co-conspirator to the act! Your silence in a situation of injustice means you are siding with the side of the oppressor! To quote Finaz Yunus, (the host of Analisis in TV Al–Hijrah) we have to “BE TRUTHFUL! Not Neutral!” and this is ESPECIALLY important in the case of human rights!

So, in my opinion, you deserve to be punished (mobilized and transferred out of the hospital) if you had known what had happened and yet you had silenced your own conscience and let the heinous crime persist indefinitely!

So the take home message is: Bukti memang takkan cukup AT FIRST. Tapi, tugas siapa untuk cari bukti once orang dah complain? Tugas KITA lah! Tugas admin! Tugas polis! Tugas DPP!

Kalau admin malas buat kerja dan nak brush off complaints by saying things like “Ada cukup bukti tak? Dia ni dah counselling belum? Korang dah pernah minta explanation letter kat dia ke belum? Dah pernah bagi warning letter ke belum? Dah pernah pergi kursus-kursus untuk pekerja bermasalah ke belum? Bla bla bla..Dia ni dah lalui this procedure and that procedure ke? Kalau benda2 ni tak buat lagi, tak boleh ambil tindakan lagi!” Aduh! Sampai menyusahkan pula pakar-pakar yang dah lodge complaints…. and the problematic worker will continue his problematic behaviour till kingdom come! Well, orang lain mungkin akan give up or just internalize learned helplessness in dealing with problematic staff. Tapi kalau aku kat tempat orang yang complain, aku takkan diam! Orang yang setakat ada problem EL/MIA bolehlah nak suruh counselling ke and whatnots…. tapi kalau kesalahan menyalahi undang-undang dan ada kes polis dan sebagainya (like being accused of sexual harrassment/rape/assault)… aku akan laksanakan gantung kerja dulu sementara siasatan penuh dijalankan! Once you are cleared, you can come back  to work! But this is a HEAVY accusation, and you should be suspended until you are cleared!

In psychiatry, every single thing we do from patient admission, to medication, chemical restraint, physical restraint and seclusion/isolation are governed by the Mental Health Act! We are bound by the law in our clinical practice.

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One of the shameful anecdotes in the Malaysian Psychiatry history! When a mentally ill patient dies in custody, the pounding headache is real!

 

But it is no secret that mentally ill patients are very vulnerable to being abused by our own staff or by the police officers who had made the arrest. Sometimes they are abused to their deaths as in the case of the article above. And this can happen anywhere, especially in the third world countries where patients’ rights are not that well-advocated.

It is our responsibility as a psychiatry doctor to make sure that our staffs are ethical and follow the law in how they handle our patients. Mentally ill patients have their own rights. If they cannot speak up for themselves, we must look out for them!

One of my friends had said that she had heard some talks of how “ada staff masuk cell dalam wad purposefully untuk pukul patient.” in one of the hospitals she used to work at. I won’t be at all surprised if some of our staff might have unnecessarily roughened up or abused our patients.

But, that is CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR, okay! And if I see such a behaviour with my own eyes, I will give them hell!

I personally had sternly warned my own staff, “Kalau saya nampak siapa-siapa pukul pesakit tak pasal-pasal, saya akan report! Saya akan siasat! Saya akan ambil tindakan undang-undang kalau admin tak nak buat tindakan tatatertib dan orang lain tak nak buat apa-apa! Kalau pesakit unmanageable, inform saya. Kita boleh bagi ubat, atau sedation, boleh chemical restraint atau physical restraint. Tak perlu nak kasar dengan diorang pun! Tapi macam mana kita nak bagi sedation kalau korang tak report? Dan macam mana korang nak report kalau korang tak monitor patient betul-betul? So kalau patient buat perangai, jangan nak lepas geram kat diorang kalau korang yang tak buat kerja monitor patient. Kalau korang monitor betul-betul dan inform MOs betul-betul, dah lama doctors bagi intervention tanpa perlu nak kasar-kasar! Kalau pesakit aggressive sekali pun, pergi mana breakaway technique yang dah belajar tu? Pesakit aggressive sebab dia sakit. Yang kita tak sakit ni, apa alasan kita nak aggressive?” 

I make myself clear and my stand is rock-solid, unshakeable! If things happen behind my back, I might not be able to punish you because I do not know about it. But if I, myself, is a witness to your criminal behaviour against my patient, I will go all out to make sure you get your just dessert by the admin. And if the admin brushes off my concerns, I will use a legal channel to punish you! I will do it because I have the freedom and the means to do it! And most importantly, I have the WILLPOWER to do it!

Some people think that, it is necessary to hush things up untuk ‘jaga nama hospital’. Silap besar! What happened to Hospital Sungai Buloh once the conduct of the notorious Ortho surgeon became well-known, huh?!

The truth has a way of coming out! Instead of being known as “the admin who had done nothing when multiple complaints had been lodged”, be the admin who had done something worthy of your position by lodging your own complaints against him to the DG and MMC! Say to the DG and MMC “I have concerns about this specialist. I receive reports from HOs that he has been sexually harrassing them.” You MUST do your part. The outcome of your complaint is a secondary consideration! But you must do your part, first!

My principle is clear: I don’t owe my loyalty or my allegiance to any department, hospital or ministry. I owe my loyalty and my allegiance to the truth only. I owe my obedience to God, religion and my own personal principles, FIRST! Anything else is always secondary! Kalau kau salah, kau salah! My report against you had nothing to do with where I work at! I want my department and my hospital to be known as “jabatan/hospital yang akan jaga etika terhadap pesakit dan sanggup report staff sendiri kalau staff memang salah” rather than being known for lack of ethics or under the carpet dirt-sweeper! Because I believe that IN THE END, the truth will come out someday, somehow, someway… because the sunnahtullah is like that! And my lacking in action today will be the shame of me one day. I am accountable for what I see, what I hear and what I do about it. Even if the outcome might not be what I want and the perpetrator might go free, I have done what I should in my own capacity within my own limitations and that’s all that matters! 

THE LEGAL CHANNEL IS ALWAYS THE RIGHT CHANNEL

We always tell our staffs not to use the social media and we encourage them to complain using the right channel (which is usually incompetent and slow and broken). Kalau admin tak buat tindakan sepatutnya through the right channel, then we should go through the legal channel! (The legal channel is ALWAYS the right channel, anyway). Imagine what will happen once the legal channel is taken? Well, of course media akan hidu and things will become viral anyway. So remember, the legal channel is always an option! It is YOUR RIGHTS as a Malaysian citizen. And your job does not bind you from taking legal actions against anyone who had broken the law. The hospital admin CANNOT punish you for taking a legal action when they themselves fail to deliver a fair outcome out of your complaints.

And the bonus is, the legal channel can also be the viral channel. Imagine the headlines, “Houseman lodged a police report against nightmare specialist” Haha!

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Remember this incident, guys? It was only last year! The HO took a legal channel (which is always the right channel, as a Malaysian citizen) and the issue became viral!

So, my recommendation to any victim of injustice is this: It’s okay if you cannot use the social media since it is not allowed for you to do it. If you are asked to use the right channel, go ahead and use it as your first line action. But if your admin FAILS to give you justice, you must go through the legal channel. And trust me, the legal channel will be the viral channel, anyway! Because the media will pick it up! So, yup… you get what you want at last!

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Unfortunately, most people will not want to go through the hassle of taking any legal action, especially if the criminal behaviour is directed towards others rather than themselves. Well luckily, I am not most people. Once I am angry enough, I will fight to the end. If my warning is not heeded by my staff, I will strike on my own if the admin is too slow in doing their job. I will take a legal action. I am not used to learned helplessness and I will never make myself get used to it when it comes to dealing with dysfunctional staff with criminal-like behaviour.

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THE STANDARD

Before I end this post, I want to ask my dear readers to ponder the concept of justice and redha. Because trust me, even so-called religious people get confused at times!

My dear readers,

In our daily interactions with others in the society, the standard that is outlined by Allah for us is JUSTICE! That’s why in Islam we have judges and the justice system (Syariah: Hudud, Kisas, Takzir etc). It is not the place of ANYONE to tell you “Redha sajalah anak you kena bunuh. Kalau  you marah pun, bukan boleh dapat balik anak you. Tak payah nak siasat, panjang-panjang cerita! Maafkan saja pembunuh tu. Redha kan dapat pahala! Redha kan Islamik.”

NO! NO! NO!

Instead, in our daily interaction with OTHERS – with our fellow human beings – we must always be mindful of justice because that is THE STANDARD that Allah had DEMANDED of us! You should instead say, “Allah had enjoined us to be just! Allah will punish us for failing to do justice! It is our responsibility to see it delivered no matter what!”

However, in our relationship with Allah, the STANDARD is redha! You should not question Allah, “Why are You not fair to me? Why do You let my son be murdered! Is this fair of You to allow him to be killed when my son is a religious Muslim and a good person?”

No! No! No!

Instead, in our relationship with Allah, we must always be mindful of redha! “Ya Allah, apa saja yang terjadi, aku redha! I submit to your wisdom.”

Redha and justice are NOT contradictory concept! You can be “redha anak dah tak ada kena bunuh” even as you demand that justice be done for your murdered son. Your demand for the justice system to deliver justice for you has NOTHING to do with how redha you are with what God has fated for you.

Justice is your standard with fellow human beings and with the administrative system in this dunya! Redha is your standard in your personal relationship with Allah! They are two separate (but related) concepts!

(Not delivering justice is BELOW standard. Demanding justice is THE STANDARD… and it is THE MINIMUM STANDARD expected of us by God. Choosing to forgive your oppressor is ABOVE standard. But you cannot make any inference regarding level of redha, faham tak? You might choose to forgive your oppressor, but deep inside, you are still NOT redha about what Allah has fated for you! Yes… that can happen, ok? You can trick other non-educated civilians into forgiving crime by manipulating the concept of Redha while ignoring the concept of Justice, but you cannot trick me! Because when I tak puas hati, I read up! I know my stuff! Manipulate me at your own peril.)

Please be clear about this. And try to lead your life according to THE STANDARD (of Justice and Redha). Even as you may not do it perfectly hundred percent of the time. At least, TRY!

Until next time, my dear readers! Much love and may Allah bless all of us.

Medblogsphere And Confidentiality

The truth is there is an epidemic explosion of doctors who blog, showing to the public that physicians are not robotic and cold. That their heart beat just as passionately as the rest of humanity. That the logistics of their work is not just about doing the best for their patients (unfortunately), but they also must deal with excruciating paperwork, sound or unsound hospital policy, budget cuts, (nice or annoying) superior’s instructions despite what they think is best for their patients, and the list goes on.

I am not at the stage where I have to worry about making hospital or departmental policies, but when the policies are made, they do affect the quality of my work. (what investigations I can order for case work up, whether I can admit my patients into the ward or not, what meds I can prescribe)

What you said you wanted to do when you said you wanted to become a doctor (to help people, to make a difference, to save lives), you said all that without reading all the fine prints that came with the contract of being a doctor. Life is not so flowery when you cast away your rose-tinted glasses, alas.

If you are a frequent blog reader and are familiar with blogger doctors all over the world, you will notice that there are SO MANY doctors who blog but at the same time there are just not enough ethical guidelines regarding what you can write and cannot write in your blog. This is still a grey area that must be carefully manoeuvred… but nothing an experienced blogger can’t handle.

I began this blog when I was a medical student in 2009. So many years ago! Even then, I had already researched about what I could write, what I shouldn’t write at all and how to manoeuvre and manipulate the matter so that even if I write something that is borderline forbidden, I can still get away with it. I might get in some trouble, but nothing anyone can really pin down to make a case. I know my way around med blogging. So whenever people express concern about doctors writing about their cases in the blog, I just take note of their concerns but still continue to do my thing. Because I know my way around medblogsphere. I would never do something risky without a potential exit plan. (but I humbly admit that sometimes exit plan can have loopholes… but nothing that a good lawyer cannot rectify).

I know how to write about cases so that no one can identify my patient, not even my own colleagues. And not even the patient will know it.

I have written about Mrs. H once. But her name doesn’t start with H.

I said that Mrs. H went to KL after her divorce. But that wasn’t where she went. 

I said she had a son with a previous marriage. But how many previous marriages did she have? Or she might actually have a daughter.  Or she might actually have more than one children. See?

I said that Mrs. H has to sell sandwiches to support herself. But in reality, she might have never sold a single sandwich in her whole life, but perhaps she sold something else…. or even had another job altogether, say, a cleaner. 

If the Mrs. H (whose name doesn’t start with H) were to read my post, she wouldn’t even be able to recognize herself. Because as a doctor, I am only concerned about the main lesson/point in her life story that I can share with my readers. But in other aspects of her story,  I am like a writer who is given free reign to manipulate all her personal information, from how she looks (whether she is beautiful, whether she wears a hijab or not, whether she has any scars or personal defects) and her personal information (her age, her race, her job, her other illnesses, who her husband is, how many children she has) and her general characterization.

It’s like writing a short story or even a novel.

A good writer KNOWS that plots do not vary much. You read a few variations of each genre once, then you have read them all. (that’s why we have genres. Boy meets girl and falls in love – that is romance. The plots won’t vary that much. Good guy defeating the crazy villain – that is mystery/thriller. A vampire collaborating with a demon to create a high-tech powerful device to conquer the world- that is paranormal sci-fi.  Most plots, depending on their genres, are always the same. Over and over again. Any reader KNOWS that).

So a good writer knows that a good book MUST have great characterizations to counter the overly-used plots, so that the readers would love the characters themselves, even though the plot is same old, same old. A good writer would invest a lot of time to create a good characterization if he/she is smart.

So let’s go back to Mrs. H.

Mrs. H, if she ever comes across my blog, would NEVER be able to say in absolute certainty that “That’s me! That’s me the doctor had written about!”. 

But she might recognize the main plot of her story “a woman who was tricked into marrying an elderly man whose family wanted a free maid and financial provider for their aging father”. But how many people in this world have been in the same ‘story’ as she? Legions! She would most likely end up saying, “Wow, looks like I am not the only one in this world who suffers through the same thing. There are other patients like me.”

In the VERY unlikely event that she were to sue me, she would end up paying my legal fees when I win the case!

This is just an example of what I meant by knowing your way around medblogsphere. You have to manipulate the characterization of your case. We are only interested in the main lesson and take home messages from a certain case. Readers don’t care about the details of the patient’s character. So, use that to your advantage. Purposefully disguise your character without compromising the actual point/lessons of the case. Then, you should be reasonably safe.

Another important aspect of knowing your way around medblogsphere is to know how to use disclaimers! This is so important! Once you put a disclaimer, you are also reasonably safe. I have an existing general disclaimer for the whole blog from the day I started working in MOH (you can scroll  down and find the disclaimer at the bottom of your right hand side) and also for each specific post that I think requires an additional disclaimer.

Below is an example of my own disclaimer which has been standing for the past seven years.

“Afiza Azmee is an individual, and My Life Poetries That May Not Rhyme is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are the author’s product of her thinking process. And they do not represent the thoughts or opinions of anyone related to the author and especially NOT the author’s employers (the ministry of health).

The information in this blog is provided ‘as is’ with no warranties and confers no rights. Please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog. Author will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/ inconvenience/ damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.

Author reserves her rights to a change of opinion in the future. She is, after all, an open-minded person.

All images in this blog, unless stated otherwise, are courtesy of Google Images. Thank you, Google.

Author welcomes your comments, your disagreements, your views about any of her posts in this blog. But she reserves her rights to delete those that contained profanities, vulgarities, unrelated topics, and annoying anonymity.”

I subscribed to Psychiatric Times which is a very reputable online magazine for psychiatrists in the US. The doctors there write about their cases all the time. One example is given in this link below. The title of the post is ‘A coin flip’. To read the case, you can click H.E.R.E  

http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/residents-corner/coin-flip

The famous Kevin M.D blog also writes about cases frequently. The blog has even more tips about how to write on clinical cases, which PROVES that writing about your case is not absolutely forbidden. You just must know how to do it right. If you want to read the tips, you may click the link H.E.R.E

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/09/doctors-write-clinical-cases-online.html

When I was a HO, I had written about one particular case, disguising the character and the patient as I have always done since I was in medical school. A doctor wrote in the comment section that “I shouldn’t be writing about cases. Not even for educational purposes due to confidentiality issues.” I knew she was an MO in the same hospital as I and at that time my blog was viralled because of something I had written against a particular department in my hospital when I was a HO. She meant to reprimand me in her comment but I knew what I was doing. Like I said, I learned ethics thoroughly. I may not always be professional in what I said, wrote or did as an MO, but there is ALWAYS poetic justice behind every action I took. Someone must have crossed my boundaries and my principles, causing me to snap and when that happened, I wouldn’t answer about what I am capable of doing. So I replied by saying “Based on what I have written in this post, why don’t you track her down, find out who she is and locate her, and then get her to sue me for breaking confidentiality. I’ll wait.”

She never replied to that comment. Perhaps, because she never bothered to track the patient. Or perhaps because even if she wanted to track the patient, the patient would be untraceable.

We CAN write about cases. If cases can’t be discussed even for educational purposes, how would lecturers teach medical students? 

Sometimes a patient talks to you specifically about her situation, without knowing that you will be discussing the case with your specialists or even with your other colleagues later in the day… is that okay?

For example, most of us have not told our patients, “Kes awak nanti, kami akan discuss dalam meeting pagi-pagi. Dalam meeting tu ada student nurses, student MAs, student doctors etc etc.”

Remember, these students are not even our own staff… they are students who do not actually see the cases themselves but come to know about all those cases when they are discussed in meetings/audits/mortality reviews.

So, ARE cases allowed to be discussed for educational purposes? Yes! And also… No! Depending on the situation and how the case was discussed or written.

So the MO who had written the comment of how ‘cases are not allowed to be discussed even for educational purposes’, was just plain wrong.

You cannot give such a blanket statement over this matter. This issue is rich in nuances and must be treated and analyzed in a case-by-case basis. Otherwise, we will be contradicting our principles with our own actions when such a blanket statement is given.

Regarding cases discussed in blogs, there was never a clear black-and-white guidelines about it other than making sure that identifying information are not included and discriminating information are edited! That is the only important rule! The rest are carefully manoeuvred, again, on a case-by-case basis. For example, if the case is high profiled and well-known, just changing the identifying details may not even be enough… so, you must improvise even more.

Again, I suggest to read Kevin M.D blog post from the link I provided above, regarding how to go about editing identifying information.

***

I have heard of stories of how some master students who suffer from depression were so betrayed by their supervisors when their conditions were revealed to other lecturers and then their whole batch found out about it! And things like these happened in the academic setting of our own medical university!

Confidentiality ke laut!

How about housemen? When I was a HO, I found out from another HO that there was this particular HO who was under psychiatric follow up! Apparently, somehow, words got around. But how?

Maybe confidentiality is only preserved for hotshot specialists or only applies for HODs or ‘orang ternama and berpangkat’. But, perhaps not for the HOs? Once a HO (or a university trainee) is diagnosed of some mental disorder, somehow it is okay if their cases are discussed around?

If you are in Australia, the trainee could sue her supervisor! But in Malaysia, you don’t do that unless you want to fail your master program. Hahha.

For aspiring medbloggers out there, don’t worry if you want to start a blog to record the journey of your career as a doctor or simply to vent about your daily grievances in general. This has been going on for years in the West and Malaysians are catching up so admirably in this aspect of medical culture. Internet and social media are such an integral part of our everyday lives and it does not show any signs of fading. Older generations who are not internet-savvy have either retired or retiring. In fact, even older physicians who were not born as Gen-Ys (non-millennials older doctors) do have a blog. By the time internet-savvy doctor-bloggers become specialists and HODs, blogging doctors would be mushrooming all over the place.

This phenomenon cannot be stopped. It can only be regulated.

You just have to know the ropes and the absolute do’s and dont’s. The rest are in the realm of the grey areas. Just employ your creativity to disguise the details of your cases and make sure your disclaimer is well-written.

Good luck!

Ethics & Professionalism

“Kenapa Dr. Afiza tak jadi MO medical or surgical? Dr. Afiza nampak macam doktor yang patut duduk dalam department yang busy.” One of my HOs had asked me.

So, I told her that I was supposed to be an ENT doctor after my housemanship. But I wrote so many letters to the hospital director to refuse my posting in ENT. In my last letter I had said that “putting me  in ENT would be a waste of time for me and for everyone. It would be a waste of time for ENT department to train me when they know I am going out to psychiatry one day.” After that last letter, I think even ENT department would think twice before they take me as their MO. When I wrote that letter, I imagined that the ENT specialist would feel “dah budak ni cakap terang-terang tak mau masuk department aku, aku pun tak mau terhegeh-hegeh nak ambil dia”. Hahah. But I wrote that blunt sentence anyway. (Because I don’t give mixed signals. Hahha) The purpose of my last letter to the hospital director was  to state in the boldest possible manner that I’d rather be in the busy A&E where I could learn a variety of cases, than be placed in a highly specialized department such as ENT when I KNEW I would be going out anyway. It WOULD be a waste of time placing me there.

I remember thinking back then that if I couldn’t get into psychiatry, I would be happy being in  the busy A&E. I actually enjoyed my A&E posting when I was a HO. No matter how busy it gets, you can get off immediately once your shift is over and there is no on-call!  So yeah, I don’t like heavy on-calls like the ones they have in  medical or surgical. I have other interests in life such as reading, writing and hiking that I really don’t think I would be happy being too busy as a doctor. But I can do A&E. You just need to be fast in A&E and no matter how busy it gets, once your shift is over, you are done! Tomorrow is another day with another set of patients.

Maybe my HO’s observation that I should be in a busy department sprung from the fact that I have a type A personality. I want things to be done fast. I walk fast, I talk fast ,I drive fast… I even eat fast. In fact, my brain is always busy trying to think about making  things even faster. For example, I never park my car on the porch of my house because I wouldn’t be able to get moving fast. If I park my car inside the porch, I will have to open the gate first, then get into the car and reverse my car out of the porch, then I have to get out of the car and close the gate, and then I have to get back inside my car and only then I can start moving. See how troublesome and time-consuming it is!

Instead, I just park my car directly outside my front gate. So that when I want to go somewhere, all I have to do is get inside my car and just drive away. It’s more efficient and less time-consuming.

If I ask for something to be done, I want it to be done fast, especially if the completion of my task depends on YOU doing your task, FIRST. If your work doesn’t affect my work, then I won’t mind one way or another. I am pretty easy going actually (I think, haha). As long as my work is not affected by your progress, I won’t really notice your activities in the office.

To me, work performance is the ultimate goal in your working life. I don’t want to be involved in office politics, administrative stuff, gossips and conflicts… as long as they don’t bother my own work and my own performance, I will steer clear of non-doctor activities. I want to be a doctor as much as possible rather than being an administrator, peacemaker, mediator, conflict-solver etc etc. I have zero interest to lead or manage people, nor do I have any desire to be led and managed by others. I would follow whatever the majority has decided to do (if I agree to it. If I don’t, I will certainly speak up), and I would keep on doing my work as I always do. I won’t get into conflict with you as long as your conduct doesn’t bother me. I would never willingly accept being tasked doing the MO roster or being in-charge of other people (I had to do the roster when I was a HO in A&E and it drove me nearly loco arranging for everyone’s leaves and requests. I promised myself that I would never again take on the task of being the captain of any department). I want to go to work, see my patients, and come back from work to read my books or study for exams.  My external life must remain pristine, neat and uncomplicated because in my internal life, I have a rich universe inside my head. I read, and then I think about what I had read, and then I research/google about matters I have thought about,  and then I write about what I’ve thought over. Then I repeat the whole ‘read, think, research, write’ sequence.

(To be honest, my internal life is much more interesting than my superficial external life. Haha)

I have no time for dramas. (Having said that, I WILL be a drama queen should you ever decide to bother me with your ‘entah apa-apa’ ideas that affect how I do my work.)

But when the office politics or personal conflicts start to affect your work or my general surrounding, then I will start noticing. Orang yang tak bergossip macam aku pun boleh jadi bergossip. Hahha. I am usually the last person to notice anything, but when I finally do, I will start paying attention. And then I will start thinking about it… the ethics of it… the professionalism of it.

Because other than reading, I am also very interested in matters of ethics. Books and ethics are the reason I choose to practice psychiatry. Have you ever noticed that a lot of characters in novels deal with personality? (and thus are psychiatry related) The villains in mystery novels have antisocial personality disorder, for example. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes as an opium addict, did you know that? And addiction IS part of psychiatry. A lot of themes in novels deal with psychosocial issues…. a fight for justice, a fight to break away from poverty and bad childhood circumstances, a struggle to overcome some form of traumas so that the character would emerge to become a strong hero. These are all psychiatry-related issues and stuff which I have been fascinated with since the day I could read…. which would be at 5 years old.

And I grew up reading John Grisham’s books. The theme of all his novels are law and ethics related. And thus, medical ethics was my favourite subject when I was in med school. 

And one of the most emphasized aspect of ethics in medical school were conflict of interest and ethics in the work place.

***

I think most people have forgotten their ethics these days. It pained me to say this, but Malays especially are really bad at work ethics. Isn’t it such a tragic coincidence that ‘Malays’ sounds just like the English word ‘malaise’, the meaning of which is hardly flattering. And even the Malay version of ‘Melayu’ makes you think of a withered, shrunken flower.

Malays, in general, tend to allow their personal emotion to spill over into the professional realm and cause chaos in BOTH realms. Their ethics are haywire.

What do I mean by that? Well, I have a list. 😉

Romantic Relationship In The Workplace (intra-department)

This is a NO-NO!! I don’t care whether it is between staff nurses and PPKs or between doctors and staff nurses or between fellow doctors. It’s just really bad ethics! I am not even going to touch on the ‘dosa pahala’ and the morality of your conduct towards your legal spouse at home. But the workplace affair that you have is bound to affect the dynamic in  the department. If your workplace love affair then suffers through a break up, can you imagine how havoc it would be for the rest of us who might feel compelled to take sides just because they are good friends with one of the parties involved? The awkwardness of it is just not worth it!

Ni tempat kerja, bukan tempat ada affair! Get your personal life sorted out!

And if your spouse creates havoc in the workplace because of the affair you have with your colleagues, I am not likely to have a lot of sympathies at the downfall of your reputation at the work place. You put yourself in that situation and you better get out of it without affecting your work performance. The bottom line is work efficiency!

Last but not least, tak malu ke?? People talk about you, you know! It’s degrading, humiliating and an insult to your self-worth. Bagi aku, point malu ni dah cukup untuk menghalang niat untuk mewujudkan office affairs! If you still want to have affairs, at least one of you must have the decency to get out of the department first before you begin any such destructive affairs.

Personal Conflict Impacting On Work Accomplishments

Go ahead and fight with your colleagues if you have to. But never let it affect your work performance. No matter how angry you are at your colleagues/subordinates/superiors, your work must be well-done.  No ELs/MCs or asking to be transferred to a different unit just because you just had a fight with someone in your unit. If you have to communicate with your enemy to get the work done, then you have to do so despite of what you really feel. I can have a verbal argument with anyone, but if my work requires me to communicate with the person I have just had an argument with, then I WILL do so. It is a matter of pride for me that no personal feelings should ever cause my work to suffer. This is nothing extraordinary; just normal, expected professional behaviour. 

It would be the height of unprofessionalism for you to recruit supporters to your side and cause division within the department. If you have a problem with person A, then that’s on you and Person A. There is NO NEED to go to your boss, crying and asking your boss to intervene on your behalf. No matter how good your relationship with your boss is, crying and ‘mengacum’ about your colleagues is just not professional.

In general, spilling tears in front of your boss is just not allowed, okay! We are all adults here! Settle your problem among you guys and don’t bother your superiors with petty office fights.

In general, I don’t like crying women. Go ahead and cry in the toilet, if you must! Don’t do that in front of others! I think, crying publicly is a manipulative behaviour. If you have a point or an argument, say it clearly and professionally…. or even unprofessionally loudly, if you have to! But crying is pushing it beyond acceptability. If I were the boss, I would never let such an act influence me in a positive manner (ONLY in a negative manner).

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Taking sides

No! Double no! Especially if you are a boss! You must investigate the matter properly. It’s not enough that you are fair; you must also be SEEN to be fair. At least, be a good listener to BOTH sides.

Injudicious Emergency Leaves

I have never taken any EL since I came into PSY department (touch wood). I understand that some people have a lot of trouble and commitments in life and EL cannot be avoided entirely. But efforts must be displayed to minimize the frequency of ELs as much as possible. Maybe if you have taken one day of EL when your child has fallen sick, then the next day you can arrange for your spouse to take up his/her share of caring for your child too. This goes to BOTH men and women. Child rearing is not only the job of a mother. A father must take part too. Whenever I heard that a female colleague had to take ELs a few days in a row because her child was admitted into the hospital, I would roll my eyes and think inside my head, “Suami kau buat apa?? Dia tak boleh function ke? Korang tak boleh selang-selang or take turn ke?”

My mother and my father gave me the work ethics that I have now. The only ELs they have ever had when they were still working were when their parents passed away. Me and my sisters were healthy as a child, and we have rarely been admitted into the hospital for anything. So, I guess, my parents were lucky with us. Furthermore, my mother had a reliable domestic help when we were children. My mother said “Kerja elok-elok. Kalau perlu orang gaji, cari orang gaji. Mak sangat-sangat jarang EL. Mak sangat tak suka bila kena pi kerja, ganti orang EL. Seboleh-bolehnya cuba jangan menyusahkan orang”

From 2013 until now in 2017, I have never taken any EL. All my leaves are planned. I don’t know how the future might turn out to be… after all, my commitments are very little now and therefore I can afford my ethics in this. Maybe in the future when my commitments grow bigger and varied, I would have ELs too. But my point is, be considerate and judicious in what you consider as emergency. Kalau sikit-sikit nak EL, orang yang easy-going macam aku pun (ehem!) akan bengang!

Being On Time

I think that I am pretty punctual. There have been times when I arrive late to work, but it is not very frequent at all. Usually it happened when I have stayed up late to study (or to finish a novel) and thus accidentally wake up late. Or it is raining and there is an accident on the road causing me to be stuck in traffic jam.

I can get to work in a 10-minutes drive. So I usually start to get out of the house at 7.45 a.m. Usually my punch card would show that I arrive at 7.55 and occasionally 7.58/7.59. When I still lived with my parents, they would always nag me about it. “Waktu mak kerja dulu, setengah jam sebelum masuk waktu kerja, mak dah ada kat tempat kerja.” Then my father would add something along similar lines. My parents are a strict disciplinarian. 

I told them, “Mak, angah pi kerja sampai on time lah. Lepas tu angah terus pi ward and buat kerja. Angah jarang sangat nak dok kat pantry makan-makan macam orang lain. Orang lain sampai lagi lewat daripada angah, lepas tu pi pantry pula tu. At least, Angah dah makan siap-siap kat rumah.” I would defend myself.

“Mak dah makan kat rumah AND sampai setengah jam awal” My mom would shot back. Yup! When it comes to punctuality, I can never outdo my own parents.

Punctuality is not even an ethical problem…. it’s our life’s general rule, already. Being raised by two parents who take punctuality seriously, I became quite anal retentive about being on time, myself. Having said that, I don’t go around checking on other people’s punctuality… EXCEPT when it affects my own work. If your being late causes me to be slow in doing my own work, then I will start noticing. eg; HOs being late for morning rounds. Even then, I don’t make an issue out of it, if their lateness is not severe. I will simply start the rounds myself. But if you are 10-15 minutes late, then I will start feeling agitated already. So if you want to be late, please keep your lateness within the acceptable range of five minutes. And that’s the max!

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***

Of all the items in the list that I have enumerated above, romantic affair between colleagues is the most troublesome! If the affair involved a high-ranking officer with his/her subordinate, then there might exist an issue of conflict of interest when the officer in question make certain decisions that may seem to favour his/her romantic interest against the rest of the other subordinates. Then, the credibility of the officer shall suffer. All his/her decisions will be second-guessed and silently challenged behind his/her back.

And if the affair is found out by the spouse(s) of the involved parties, that is a whole lot of another can of worms! Your own colleagues would surely gossip about you. And can you blame them? You are the one who brings that sort of trashy, cheap entertainment into the workplace. They are only responding in kind.

So with all these troubles that would ensue when one is involved in an office affair, it boggled my mind as to why would anyone even bother? Even if you are a two-timing cheating bastard, can’t you at least seek your conquest from another setting or another department? Why must you involve someone at work to enhance your career as a casanova? It would hurt your own reputation and distress the whole department!

When I was a HO, my friend from another hospital told me how everyone in her hospital had talked about how this particular doctor had cheated on his wife with a female doctor with whom he worked in the same department. To make matters worse, his wife was also a doctor in the same hospital. Some of the staff nurses had seen the male doctor with his female colleague outside the hospital setting while they were out on a date and then tongues started to wag and stories about them got spread and embellished to an enormous degree. Do you know how ugly the talk became?

Let me enlighten you regarding how humiliating the talk can be. The dialogue would go something like this:

“Weh, MO mana yang teruk sangat ni? Handsome sangat ke dia ni?”

“Tak handsome pun! Tak layak langsung jadi kasanova.”

“Wife dia cun dak?”

“Cun la juga.”

“MO tu dah ada anak pun dengan wife dia. Baru kahwin jer pun”

“Girlfriend dia lagi cun daripada wife dia kot.”

“Wife dia baik laa…. kesian kat wife dia.”

“Awat yang MO perempuan tu pun gatal sangat. Dah tau laki orang!”

“MO perempuan tu pun dah ada boyfriend sebenarnya.”

“Habis tu? Awat dia pi kacau laki orang lagi?”

“Yang wife dia ni pun, awat tak tinggalkan ja laki macam tu?”

Isn’t it ugly? People would speculate about how you look, how your spouse look and whether your romantic interest is more beautiful/handsome than your spouse. If you are not that handsome/pretty yourself, they would talk about how ‘tak sedar diri’ you are. Hahhah. And then they assassinate your character and shred it to pieces! What would be left of your self-respect? Zip, zero, nada!

10 years hence, people STILL talk about you. Trust me! When a new HO enters your department, the gossipy staff nurses would tell them “Doktor ni dulu… dia… yadda yadda yadda. Dia suka kat bla bla bla. Lepas tu dia bercerai and so on and so forth. La ni pun dia dok….bla bla bla” It would be a never-ending headache, following you around like a relentless nemesis (which might be a fitting consequence to your own terrible mistake).

You might as well just transfer yourself to another hospital to get away from all the talk!

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In general, it is NEVER a good idea to mix business with pleasure. But if you cannot help yourself, at least one of the parties involved should transfer herself/himself to another department as soon as things get serious.

If you love your work and you value your reputation, please be professional with everyone at work and keep the relationship platonically friendly. Keep your flirtatious comments to yourself. All affairs start with flirting. So, don’t flirt! If someone tries to be too friendly with you, make your discomfort obvious and better yet, just walk off. He/she will get the idea and won’t try again! Tapi kalau kau pun tak assertive… giving mixed signals here, there and everywhere, it’s your fault! Lepas tu kau dok budget konon ‘aku dalam dilema’. So drama queen! You are the one who perpetuate the dilemma in the first place! G…God!

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In general, if I am nice to you and you are my colleague, that’s just me being kind. Hahaha. My principle is CLEAR about office romance! It’s a dumb thing to do!

Other than via flirting, affairs also get started because a member of the opposite sex starts talking about his/her personal problems to you. Sheesh! If I were the person at the receiving end of such heart-pouring session, I would think “Hiys, hang ni pathetic gila! Hang tak dak kawan lain sama jantina ka nak curah perasaan pasal masalah hang ni? Awat cari aku? Unless you wanna become my patient, I am not interested about your marital problems, especially since you are not of the same gender as me.”

Seriously! What the hell is wrong with people who like to talk about their marital problems to outsiders? Unless you are doing it in a clinical setting, talking about your marital problems to outsiders (especially with one of the opposite sex) is SO INAPPROPRIATE and SO WRONG!  (But then I guess, such conduct is already expected of someone who would have no qualms about starting an office affair and become a cheater). Even if you are in need of a good listener, don’t you have friends of the same gender who might understand you even better? Aku seriously tak faham! What a dodgy way of starting an affair!

My theory is: those who talk about their marital problems to someone of the opposite sex is actually subconsciously already attracted to that person, in the first place. They try to get that person’s attention by pouring out their sob story to this person in a manipulative manner. If this person is smart, he/she would put a stop to such sessions by saying “I wish I can help. But may I suggest you seek professional help with counsellors in pejabat agama, instead?” But if the person is just as ‘gatal’, then he/she would pretend that he/she is just being a kind-hearted, helpful listener to someone with a personal problem. Pffft! Self-delusional, MUCH??

“Maybe office love is about meeting the right person at the wrong place and the wrong time.” My best friend challenged my analysis, laughingly. “Cinta tu buta, Afiza,” My best friend gave me the cliched phrase (just to bait me for a response, I am sure. That’s just like her. Hahha)

Then I guess, love is not just blind but deaf and retarded as well. If I were the guy, I would have a few doubts about falling in love with someone so morally corrupted that she doesn’t mind stealing another woman’s husband. (Is such a husband-stealer the right person? Pfft) And if I were the woman, I would have a lot of qualms about falling in love with a guy who would cheat on his own wife with me. (Is such disloyal cheater the right person too, that you just happen to meet at the wrong place of your office and at the wrong time when he is already married? Come on!) That’s such a sick way to begin a relationship. But then, maybe this is sunnahtullah. After all, birds of a feather flock together, right? And dodgy male and dodgy female are probably made for each other, anyway.

So now the ball is in the court of the poor spouse at home. Would he/she have enough self-respect to leave his/her cheating spouse and move on? Alas, most of the time, they would only break down and cry and beg the cheater to come back into the fold of their loving arms. *sigh*

Sometimes there is no justice in this world. There is no satisfaction of a good ending and an amazing outcome in the stories of real life.

That’s why I prefer books over real life. In the books that I read, the wife will have enough pride and self-respect NOT to beg her cheating husband to come back to her. Instead, she would take matters into her own hands, get some revenge in unique ways, go on to become successful by herself and then find herself another more worthy hero as a replacement. Now, THAT’S satisfaction!

But in reality, the wife would only patiently waits. Konon ‘redha dan pasrah’. Setia ke hujung nyawa, berkorban apa saja. And all such drivel!

Maybe such wives don’t read what I read. *sigh*

***

To all people who are involved in office affairs,

“If it’s the wrong place, at the wrong time… then it is MOST CERTAINLY the wrong person!”

Get over it, and don’t start something that would end catastrophically for everyone involved, only for it to be a fodder for malicious gossip. The tragedy of it all would make you weep.