Since I was a kid, my mother who is a nurse always sent me to sleep with her amusing stories with her patients. Sometimes touching and at other times inspiring, her stories of how a doctor juggles between pure scientific knowledge and the softer side of humanity never ceased to astound me. I found the human body to be amusingly complex, even far surpassing the most up-to-date machine ever invented. A chance to explore this complex organism and use the knowledge to contribute to better health and well-being is simply irresistible.
My interest in medicine was put to test on the day I went for an attachment at Sarawak General Hospital. Alone with a pediatrician telling a mother of her son’s incurable cirrhosis, my heart was torn to watch as she tried to hide her miserable face from the mother. This had shown me two sides of the profession, a more mechanical, rigid aspects of it such as keeping the medical record true and systematic and maintaining neutral attitude towards every patient while the other side being softer and touches more intimately on the emotional and emphatic relation between one human being caring for another.
Beyond doubt, keeping these two in balance is a challenge I am willing to venture in. The weekly visits to a center for children with autism and cerebral palsy during my first semester in college had strengthened my desire to learn more about medicine. I was truly impressed by the sensitivity and patience of the staffs at the daycare when attending to the myriad of different needs of the individuals with autism and cerebral palsy, opening to me another perspective towards palliative care. As I went to a primary school fortnightly as volunteers during my second semester in college, I developed fondness towards children.
Planning and carrying out activities for them was not as easy as I once thought. I have to think of how to get each and every one of them to participate and involve actively. I learn to think creatively and also patience to deal with them. I love challenges and my involvement as an Interactive Peers (IP) member in college had provided just the challenge I needed. Me and the other IPs worked as a team to organize various events for the college, usually ones that involve motivations and personal development.
From various negotiations and discussion with authorities to ensure the events are successful, I learnt that human relations are uniquely defined by one thing exclusive to them: communication. As in the life of a doctor, his most powerful tool is not his stethoscope but rather it is his calming words and warm attitude towards his patient that will get him through the challenging career. During semester break, I joined the Pushing Boundaries camp in which I was stripped off from my comfort zone.
Venturing into a damp tropical jungle with only my team mates, we had to navigate our way towards the meeting place when we were all hungry and sleep-depraved. The camp prepared me to always be collected and calm even when the situation is very difficult and demanding. I found tranquility and relaxation via reading. My particular preference of reading materials however does not deviate far from the subjects I studied in class-I enjoy science magazines and also philosophical literature. I also had been lured into the Japanese art of paper-folding as a way to escape from the stress I experienced in everyday life.
In addition, I wanted to share the delight and amusement I felt with others by folding a few origamis and placing them for display. Often, I have to explain the process of making one to different people and each needs an explanation in different ways. This indirectly contributes towards my social and communication skills. My achievements and the experiences I have collected along the way has made me believe more that I am choosing the right career as a medical doctor. I wish to be a doctor with deep knowledge, limitless desire in learning, fair decision and wise empathy.