The Normal Days

6.45 am – Getting of from bed. Or trying, for the very least.

7.00 am – Breakfast (Carman’s anyone?) and a quick shower.

7.20 am – Towards the bus stop, which is conveniently located below my block.

7.35 am – Bus arrives. Taps the EZ-link card after getting on.

7.45 am – Arrives at bus interchange. Taps out. 70 cents deducted. Starts walking towards the clinic.

7.50 am – Reaches the clinic. Powers up the pc.

8.00 am – Ding. The first patient being called.

9.00 am- Work work work.

10.00 am – Work work work.

10.15 am – 10 minutes breather for a quick snack. And to pee.

10.25 am – Work work work.

11.00 am – Work work work.

12.00 am – Oh my God. I’m hungry. Work work work.

1.00 pm – Lunch with friends! 5 dollars a meal. May go up to 15 since there’s a mall nearby.

2.00 pm – Bah. Back to work.

3.00 pm – You know the drill.

4.00 pm – Getting excited that it’s gonna end soon.

4.30 pm – “Why are there still patients?!” Everyone starts getting really edgy.

5.00 pm – Done! Takes a slow stroll back with wifey. (Oh yes, she works at the same place as me.)

5.10 pm – Hops on the bus.

5.30 pm – Buys dinner from the the nearby kopitiam. Spends about 10 dollars for both.

6:00 pm – Chilek time. Movies, dramas, studies, gaming, music and housework all the way till 10.30pm.

10.30 pm – Catch up on some news using Flipboard (fantastic app by the way).

11.00 pm – Nite guys!

p/s. Oh, and if you’re wondering what about the not-so-normal days a.k.a syok days, those are the times when I’m back in KL! 😉

Work Place

Ever curious as to how a polyclinic in Singapore looks like? Here’s a shot for ya.

PC

Although I hate to admit it, it’s considered one of the more comfy clinics that I’ve worked in so far.

Nowadays, surviving as a general practitioner in Malaysia is gonna be tough, and it’s gonna get tougher by the end I get my stuff settled here. Has plans (more like thoughts) to get one going but seeing GPs back home can go bankrupt, I shudder at the thought starting one myself. The initiating cost itself will definitely be a very damaging start. And to start anew in a place with hundreds of other GPs competing with one another, it’s a race out there. Building rapport with patients, and to have them like you, will take time. And time, is of essence. Income will fluctuate, and may very well end up in the losing end. Despite that, I still have dreams of having a clinic of my own. It’s considered a joy, at least for me, to see some form of continuity in care of patients with chronic illness that improves through proper management. However, you don’t really see it (the continuity) in the government polyclinics as the load of patients are shared among different doctors. Seeing a patient and having a plan does not guarantee that the patient will see you again the next, and most likely the plans will change when another doctor sees him/her.

Have you got yours planned out yet?

Chinatown, Singapore.

Grace had a sudden craving for clay-pot rice. Dragged me all the way down to Chinatown only to know that the shop was closed. Adoi. When we got out from the MRT station, the scene looked awfully familiar. Take a guess. Temple Street in Hong Kong, sounds familiar huh?

There’s a street called Temple Street too. How genuine is that? As we strolled along the street, some parts do remind me of Jonker Street back home. At times, I wonder who’s copying who or who’s being copied.

CT01

Of course being here in Singapore, everything is clean and all. That’s a plus point. Then again, although the older buildings are still preserved and kept new, there are a lot of man-made add-on stuff along the way that destroys the authenticity of it.

CT02

The fried oysters from this particular stall is pretty good. It has the longest line among all the other stalls. The oysters were yummiliciously good, but the tremendous amount of oil that the oysters were coated with, not good.

HK01

This picture was taken in Hong Kong. Compare with the stalls above. And if you look close enough, you’ll notice that the area gives off a different “feel”.

Do you need an MC?

“Do you need an MC?” has been somewhat in-planted into my daily conversations with patients. MC, which stands for medical certificate, is a piece of paper issued to a patient when he/she is absence  from work.

Some doctors in the clinic which I work in even use that as an opening statement when they first meet a patient, instead of the usual “How may I help you today?”. You may find it weird and inappropriate but truth be told, it helps a majority of us to distinguish between a seriously ill patient to a “I’m here because I want the MC” patient.

Here’s an example.

A 19-year old girl walks into the consultation room. Eye-balling her head to toe, the instance she walks in, looking for clues at what her complaints might be. Let me get this straight, it’s eye-balling okay, not ogling. That’s how we were taught in med school. Make up is on. Checked. Mascara present. Checked. Eye lines properly drawn. Checked. Clothed with a tight fitting baby T and a mini pants. Checked. On heels. Checked. Now, tell me, which part of the description itself tells you that she’s actually sick? Would a sick person really go through the effort of being so “pretty” if she’s really sick?

So, the “Do you need an MC?” statement comes into play. Straight to the point and usually the reply is yes. As a medical profession, we have every right to withhold the MC. However, in Singapore, the patients will complain against you since it’s part of their culture. It’s instilled in them since young, I guess. Not to say I mind being complained at. Just ignore them the Malaysian style. (complain ma complain loh..) However, the trouble of dealing with a patient who refuses to leave your room, throws tantrums and adamantly insists for the MC or else she’ll get into trouble with her boss/teacher/etc takes up most of your time. Annoying I know. One patient or two, fair enough. However, approximately 55%-65% of the total number of the patients seen are as such. And within the limited time frame of 10 minutes (that’s the amount of time we’re expected to spend with a patient in view of the large numbers of patients in the clinic each day, which may total up to a 1000). Imagine dealing with 10 of them on a daily basis, how much precious time is lost?

These patients, unfortunately, takes away the time from the patients who are really ill. 5 minutes with the patient mentioned above, could be given to another who really needs it. On the other hand, when a patient declines an MC, most of us would put an extra effort into that patient, knowing that patient came because he/she really needed help.

Rant for the new year!

So, do you need an MC today?

Jurong East Mall, Singapore.

Heard about this new mall that opened less than a month. Decided to make a trip to “kehpoh” (A Malaysian term used to describe a person being a busybody) a bit. To my surprise, it was indeed bigger than the rest of the malls here in Singapore. The size is similar to The Empire in Subang Jaya back home. Yet to see a mall that matches Pavillion or KLCC.

JEM1

It’s still in its early phase, I suppose. Certain parts of the building is still under construction. Getting here was very easy. It’s just right in front of the Jurong East MRT station. You won’t miss it, unless you really do have a bad sense of direction, then it can’t be helped.

JEM2

Can you see it? There’s space! I’ve mentioned earlier that most malls in Singapore are really crowded. Not putting my hopes too high since it was off peak and this mall is relatively new.

JEM3

Even getting into Starbucks can be troublesome.

JEM5

Gonna try this place the next time I’m here. Bread and pastries. Hmm-hmmm.

JEM6

There’s a nice and cozy cafeteria located right at the top of the mall as well. Food is affordable and desserts are cheap too. 2 Singapore dollars for a big bowl of ice kacang definitely gives you a better life.

Holland Village, Singapore.

At last, I’ve found an uber looking place where I could hang out.  Area’s not too crowded. Cool place to just sit and chill. Few bars around the area, if you’re into alcohol. Nicely renovated and tastefully designed cafes, for afternoon teas and snacks.

HV01

It gets a little more crowded in the evening though. Kinda happening at night, I was told.

HV02

Good place to look for steaks too!

HV03

Another area looks a little Hong Kong-ish. Definitely would like to come here more often but unfortunately it would take me close to an hour just to travel here by MRT. The luxury of not having a car. Dang.

Malaysia’s Klinik Kesihatan(s) vs. Singapore’s Polyclinics

Klinik Kesihatan is a Malay word for Health Clinic. They are better of referred to as Klinik Kesihatan(s) back home or just KK(s). When one mentions KK(s), it automatically means government clinics in Malaysia. And truth be told, there is no plural form for Klinik Kesihatan, hence the (s) behind it.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to point out the differences between Malaysia’s KK(s) and Singapore’s government clinics, also known as polyclinics.

WORKLOAD

Identical. The workload is massive! Even though I knew how it was, I can’t help but to laugh at myself for stepping into the same black pit all over again. Government sector clinics will always be busy no matter where you are. It’s fun, but you’ve just got to work your arse off.

PEOPLE

Patient wise, I see more Chinese nowadays. And there are quite a number of Chinese from mainland China too. And occasionally I do dread seeing them (China’s Chinese) because I find myself struggling to understand what they’re trying to tell me. The way they roll their tongues when they speak, my gawd. No offense to the original Chinese out there! It’s just how it is since Mandarin ain’t my first language, or even second. They are quite a number of Filipinos here too, but at least they speak English. However, I find most comfortable in speaking to the Malay patients.

Generally, Singaporean patients are kinda an impatient lot and they tend to get angry as easily as flicking a switch. Pushy and demanding too. It’s not just my observation. Everyone (the doctors) have been complaining about it at work each day. Just imagine how bad that can be. I rarely see them back home though.

BOSSES

Both sides have nice bosses in general. It’s just the matter of perception and it is very much dependent on the particular person’s personality.

TECHNOLOGY

Paper back home. Computerized in Singapore, with all clinics and hospitals linked up through a platform. One can assess the patient’s hospitalization records from the clinic itself. Back in Malaysia, the most favorite word used in the clinics or hospital settings under the daily plans was “Trace patient’s medical records”, knowing that most of the time, records are either missing or they’re too old to be kept therefore burnt in the incinerator. Sad but true.

CLEANLINESS

I’m sure you know who wins this category hands down.