The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore

Ashes – The Epilogue Posted on 19th Aug 2011, 10:00pm by admin

And I thought that that was the end of it.

I had posted the little note on my facebook wall, forgetting that I had “be-friended” one of my medics on FB (kinda reminds you of the dangers of FB, doesn’t it?). Guess nothing online is really private. Anyway, was a little surprised to see a reply to my little note…

“ Dr XXX,

First off, I would like to say that I am very glad and thankful that I had the opportunity to work with you for those few months even though I may not have been the best “employee”. Even after ORDing, the things that you have said/done will still be with me throughout the rest of my life.

Like you’ve said, smoking is an individual decision. No matter what you say/enforce/counsel, it’s all going to fall on deaf years if the person does not want to quit. Everyone has their vices, some people gamble, some people smoke etc. There is no perfect world, no perfect workplace.

Anger – Smokers offering cigarettes to non smokers. I think your anger should be channelled into disappointment of the “non smokers” instead of being angry at the former. There is no way to force a cigarette down someone’s throat, unlike our dearest ERP/GST/ (insert abbreviation here). No amount of policing will suffice, unless you turn into a one man ruling party and enforce a strictly no smoking or else policy.

Disappointment – In my humble opinion, I believe that smoking does not dent one’s integrity/discipline/work ability or anything for that matter. Having a diligent worker who smokes versus a sloth who does not, which would incur more disappointment?

Regret – Parents send their son to serve the nation is akin to sending their kids to school. The school graduates 990 students and 10 fall off the bandwagon. Statistics don’t lie; parents do not have the right to blame the school/educators.

There is no pleasing everyone. You can do a good job and people will forget about it and just focus on the downsides. I feel that you should give yourself more credit Sir. From what I have seen for myself, from you helping to move the stores with your own bare hands instead of using your superiority to push your men around, to you encouraging us by buying us lunch when we stayed back to help, you definitely do not belong to the “I-failed-as-a-leader” group. I don’t think it is fair to carry so much of a burden on your shoulders. You are placed there to lead your men, not to be their babysitter.

Vexed – I think I have basically covered this in the aforementioned paragraphs. I would like to repeat that this is just my opinion and in no way do I mean any disrespect to you.

The few months that I got to work under both you and Dr YYY has taught me a lot, and I would like to reiterate that it was both a joy and a privilege. Don’t give up the fight, losing a battle does not equate to losing the war.

Yours Sincerely,


Many thoughts and feelings ran through my mind as I read the reply.

Yes, these “boys” are adults at 18 years of age. They can make their own decisions in life. But that does not mean that we should let them be. In our different positions in life, we are given the opportunity to empower people around us in a positive and Christ-like way.

We, as Catholic doctors, are always challenged to live up to our principles, to be a role model for others around us. Even though the journey will be tough (will, not might), always remember that God will be with us through this time. Never forget that as long as we are doing what is right, God will give us the strength to see us through.

We, as Catholic doctors, are challenged to be leaders of a different kind. There is no place for dictatorial styles of leadership where orders are given from an ivory tower. We have to see the people around us as individuals – not just a bed number, a disease, or an admin statistic or subordinate (for those in the admin field). Reach out to those around us.

And finally…

Rats. Note to self: be careful of what you write on facebook. =)

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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
2013 Oct: Hang on. We haven’t beat this thing yet.
2013 Sep: Me and My Ride
2013 Aug: A Gift of Life
2013 Jul: Finding Happiness in a Land of Plenty
2013 Jun: A Beeline
2013 May: Living My Love Of..
2013 Apr: The Healthcare Debate
2013 Mar: A Doctor’s Prayer
2013 Feb: Project Battambang ’12
2013 Feb: Mission Srolanth ’12: To Heal the Heart, with a Heart to Heal
2013 Jan: The Hardest Thing To Say…

2012 Dec: The Lost Art Of…
2012 Nov: Rome Sweet Home – Short Reflections
2012 Sep: He Keeps Falling
2012 Aug: God Decides
2012 July: Am I To Blame?
2012 June: Saving Fragile Lives
2012 May: Ruminations On Love
2012 Mar: The iPhone

2011 Dec: The Red Cross
2011 Nov: Give Thanks!
2011 Aug: Ashes – The Epilogue
2011 July: Charity
2011 July: Ashes
2011 May: Of Angry Birds & Cowardly Mice
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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