The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore

A Job. Posted on 28th Mar 2011, 10:29pm by Alvin

Do you still like your job?

That is 1 powerful statement question. Let’s rewind a few days of history.

An article by Salma Khalik featured in a Saturday’s Straits Times commentary, touched on the topic of bringing more transparency to the price of medicine being sold at clinics. It wasn’t very hard to allude to the impression that doctors were supposedly overcharging and profiteering from poor patients. Which got me all worked up in a jiff.

A quick facebook tag, and within 24 hours, the responses were fast and furious. “Why are doctors being targetted when many other professions such as bankers and lawyers charge more for their services per hour?” “Our on-call pay of $14 per hour, coupled with no time to go to toilet / eat / bathe, is even lower than what you pay to your hair stylist to cut your hair every month.”

And so the angst continued, until the familiar facebook message ping “ding” from a JC classmate whom i’ve not spoken to for a few years, piqued my interest.

Do you still like your job?

I diverted the question away by saying I wasn’t in clinical practice currently, but the reply didn’t let go of the question.

yea, but u’re a doc inside too.

I paused a second – not to think of a politically correct answer (no, i’m not the type to give the politically correct answer.) – but to sieve through the current angst clouding judgement.  And my reply was, “To answer your question, I have never regretted my decision to enter medicine. Just a pity the way some things have become.

My friend was concerned at the feeling of resentment, bitterness and sense of 无奈 that was present at the replies to the thread. The rest of the conversation was moot, but somehow this conversation lingered in my mind for the next few days. Do I still like my job?

I have never regretted my decision to enter Medicine. Throughout my 5 years in NUS, Medicine has given me my best friends who have stayed through with me in difficult time. Medicine has given me 5 enriching colourful years of my life – those times spent together in the many Playhouse rehearsals, Rag & Flag / Float preparations, the wonderful backpacking trips abroad…

Enter the working world, Medicine has brought the world of patients into my life. The time spent with individual patients – every patient brings with him or her their own personal perspective into a consultation. Usually the consult is so brief, that both parties leave, unchanged on the inside. Then comes along a particular encounter which leaves a positive lasting impression on you, and gives you the strength to carry on.

Of course, there are also the rocky downturns with less pleasant encounters. But hopefully we all come out stronger, and for the better. On those rocky days, I mutter a silent prayer under my breath. “Dear Lord, if what I am doing is pleasing to Your eye, and aligned to Your ways, please give me the strength to carry on.” And so, life goes on – although sometimes not in the way you’d like it to be.

And as everything comes full circle, my conversation with my JC friend ended with, “I do the best for my patients because this is what doctors do. I don’t ask for any compliment letters / presents / cards – I am happy as long as there are no complaint letters.”

This isn’t the ideal and correct Bible-standard answer. But we are after all humans.

Do you still like your job?

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2015 Jul: May You Rest in Peace
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2014 Dec: A Prayer for Deliverance 2
2014 Oct: Who are you, Where am I?
2014 Sep: A Prayer for Deliverance
2014 May: Behind Those Clothes
2014 Feb: The Red Packet(s)
2014 Jan: God Loves You

2013 Dec: Caroling Reflections of an Expired M
2013 Nov: Scripture Reflection for Physicians
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2013 Jun: A Beeline
2013 May: Living My Love Of..
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2013 Jan: The Hardest Thing To Say…

2012 Dec: The Lost Art Of…
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2011 Dec: The Red Cross
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2011 May: Notes From Salzburg On Good Friday
2011 Apr: What It Means
2011 Mar: A Job.
2011 Mar: Dear Father…
2011 Feb: Clothes, A Person Doth Maketh
2011 Jan: Wonderfully Made

2010 Dec: A White Christmas
2010 Dec: A Medical Christmas Carol
2010 Nov: Saying Goodbye
2010 Oct: I Am Always With You
2010 Sept: Be Joyful Always
2010 July: Managing Expectations
2010 June: But They Are Our Masters…
2010 June: Driving: A Means of Personal Formation?
2010 May: HO Welcome Tea
2010 May: The Rain
2010 May: A Missed Lunch
2010 May: Man In The Mirror
2010 May: Reflections At The End Of The Day
2010 Apr: Finding God In All Things
2010 Mar: Surely You Put Your Trust In The Lord?
2010 Mar: The Significance of a Name

2009 Nov: Batam: Beyond A Mission
2009 Oct: The Broken Rosary
2009 Sept: Love Note To God, Father
2009 Aug: Let God Take The Wheel
2009 Aug: The Prequel: The One About Graduation
2009 July: The Sequel: The Later Months
2009 June: First Month of HO-Ship
2009 May: “The House of God” by Samuel Shem
2009 May: In The Discipleship for Christ


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