The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore

The Hardest Thing To Say… Posted on 11th Jan 2013, 9:22pm by Alvin

I usually don’t reference articles, but I recently read one in December’s edition of the Readers’ Digest, which was actually a reprint of an article which appeared in the Oregon Live newspaper in April 2012. The article is too long to reproduce here, so please refer to their website here). Do read the article – its a nice warm piece that’s not that long, probably 5-10mins reading time?

The article revolves around the protagonist, then 12-years old, who inadvertently hurt his teacher with his actions. After 39 years, the protagonist successfully tracks down his teacher, and apologizes to him for his offensive action. The story triggers the writer himself to reflect back on his own past…

Actually, this article had 3 reflection points that struck out at me after reading it.

1. Everyone has a past. Somewhere along our lives, we have done something we have regretted, said something we wished we could take back, or wished we had said an extra something or done that extra something to make things right. A spiteful word to our parents? Passing the blame / responsibility to a colleague at work? Gossiping about someone else behind his back? We are all human and will fall along the way. What is important is having the courage to stand back up, seek forgiveness, and set about to right the wrongs.

2. A target of bullying. Bullying comes in all forms, not just physical violence. The mental stress from name-calling, and social stigma from cliques and being an “outcast” are all very familiar things from school days. Even if there isn’t any “active” act of bullying, sometimes by acts of omission such as leaving a person out of an activity, we may send out the wrong message that he doesn’t “belong” with the crowd. I commiserate with the protagonist who was bullied and teased just because he didn’t fit into the “in” crowd and was thin, scrawny, and without a good physique. Again, it takes courage and mental fortitude to hold your own against others, to grow up in that kind of environment with sufficient self-confidence and self-esteem.

3. Attitude towards homosexual people. The Catholic Church has her own stand on the issue, which I shall not belabour here. I’m sure everyone knows some homosexual acquaintances or close friends. We are called to reach out to and love all our fellow brothers and sisters, regardless of their sexual orientation.

In this time of Advent and upcoming Lent, I tink it is a good opportunity to reflect upon our past and our daily lives to see how we can live more Christ-centric lives. There is a famous Chinese folklore about a scholar who used to reflect upon actions at the end of the day, using Chinese Go (Weiqi) chess pieces. He’ll reflect on the day’s actions, and any positive actions would be denoted by a white piece, any negative actions represented by a black piece. Of course, the aim is to be such that there will be few and almost no black pieces if possible.

I shall end off with a hymn, whose lyrics came to mind when I was reading the article… and remember, that God is always ready to forgive us for our mistakes.

In Bread We Bring You Lord
In bread we bring you Lord, our body’s’ labour
In wine we offer you our spirit’s grief.
We do not ask you, Lord, who is my neighbour?
But stand united now, in one belief.

For we have gladly heard your Word, your holy Word
And now in answer, Lord, our gifts we bring.
Our selfish hearts make true, our failing faith renew,
Our life belongs to you, our Lord and King.

The bread we offer you is blessed and broken,
And it becomes for us our spirit’s food.
Over the cup we bring, your Word is spoken;
Make it your gift to us, your healing blood.

Take all that daily toil, plants in our heart’s poor soil,
Take all we start and spoil, each hopeful dream.
The chances we have missed, the graces we resist,
Lord, in thy Eucharist, take and redeem.

Comment on this post

Name *
Email *
Comment *

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.

Interested in contributing articles to the Doctor’s Blog? Send us your contributions in word document to

Past Blog Articles

2015 Jul: May You Rest in Peace
2015 Jan: Happy New Year 2015

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


  1. Book review
  2. Discipleship
  3. Missions
  4. monthly mass
  5. Personal Sharing

Recent Articles

  1. May You Rest In Peace

    “Grief lasts longer than sympathy, which is one of the tragedies of the grieving.” – Elizabeth McCracken My patient died yesterday during my call and all i could feel was sadness and regret. Perhaps regret that i did not break the news as how i would want to break it. Regret perhaps that i went […]

  2. Happy New Year 2015!

    Goodbye 2014; what a year it has been.

  3. A Prayer for Deliverance #2

    Time flies, and I’ve moved on from Medical Oncology to its sister department, Palliative Medicine. The Bible reading from my previous post came to mind after seeing a referral to Palliative Medicine today.

Up-Coming Events

  1. About Us
  2. Events
  3. Dr's Blog
  4. Resources
  5. Join Us
  6. Contact Us

"I promise to consecrate my life to the service of humanity in the footsteps of Jesus Christ the Divine Physician."