The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore


Ashes. Posted on 12th Jul 2011, 8:45pm by admin

Feeling rather unsettled. My mind was in a bit of a flurry today after I learnt that my MOPA had picked up smoking.

I still remember asking all my new medics on the first day when they came in, who smoked and who didn’t. Seemed promising – 2 smokers. I had rather lofty ambitions of getting them to cut down and eventually quit smoking. My new medical centre building doesn’t even have a designated smoking area. On hindsight, was I blinded by trust? Should it have been 2 truthful people back then? I made my anti-smoking stand clearly, and dutifully reminded the rest not to pick up smoking from their counterparts, while trying to encourage the smokers to cut down and quit.

4 months down the road – 2 regular smokers, with 3 new / closet / social smokers. I think he tried to hide it from me – the gum chewing, the deodorant. Please. Its like trying to hide an elephant in an open field of lalang. Nothing can hide the smell of cigarette smoke.

As I sit in front of the computer with fingers to the keyboard, the emotions wash over me one by one…

Anger – anger at the smoker medics who offered cigarettes to the non-smokers. Anger at the non-smokers who didn’t heed my advice and warnings not to pick up smoking. Anger at myself for not policing them more stringently.

Disappointment – Really, I initially had higher hopes for some of them. Smoking is like a one-way path. Its hard to find that elusive U-turn.

Regret – parents send their sons into NS to defend their nation. Now I have 3 people who have “picked” up smoking in my Medical Centre. How am I, as a doctor, and their direct superior, going to answer to their parents as to why their sons picked up smoking?

Vexed – smoking, at the end of the day is an individual decision. I cannot simply force a smoker to quit smoking by fear of rank / punishment. He has to want to stop smoking himself. There is no point giving a top-down order to ask them to stop smoking, or tell them to knock it down 20 for every cigarette that they smoke. Yet as a guardian of healthcare, how can I go around telling people to stop smoking when my own medical centre personnel are smoking away???

What should be my next step? Is there an easy answer to this?

Why should I be so unsettled? Many will just tell me to let it go – they won’t want to quit; they’re just here to finish their time and leave; and after all, they are just a temporarily 1.5 year part of my life. Well, the answer is that even though they may just want to come here, serve their time and leave – but I just simply can’t let them do that. I answer for them. These boys are my charges. I want the best for them. Even though I may just be a transient 1.5 years to them, I want this 1.5 years to be a positive impact on them too.

And now as anger gives way to disappointment and resignation, with only ashes left behind…

What’s next?

One Comment

  1. John Chua says:

    They are adults, not boys.

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Dr's Blog

Dr’s Blog is a feature of the CMG web site that aims to encourage interaction between Guild members. We hope to foster a spirit of community through the sharing of thoughts and personal experirences. The opinions expressed in these blogs are entirely those of the contributors and not of the Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore.

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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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