Day 1 Eurowinter 2008

In Nuremberg’s station cyber cafe waiting for bus to prague… didnt get enough sleep but I ate well 😉 I met a French girl who couldn’t speak english really well so we had conversation in mixed english, german and a bit of french, and I found out she has a thing for Heroes and Prison Break… she was a good company when Yani left me 😦

7 hour journey by van, 3 trains, 2 flights and one coming bus to prague…. it’s gonna be soooo tiring! ergh!~

Yani went somewhere with her boyfriend. From early morning in airport till arrival in Nuremberg, she was a good company (for gossips especially)…. okay, gotta go toilet, pray and catch the bus to prague…

Eurotravel Winter 2008 and hatred for Moscow

Today me is so excitatory; I’m traveling Europe for 2 damn weeks starting 31st Jan 2008, taking break from boring Nizhniy to do some boring stuffs in Europe. And I will be missing 2 practical classes of Internal Medicine with the angry stern teacher who looks a lot like Sidney Herron of Grey’s Anatomy, except that her name is something like Maria Lvovna and she’s blonde.

My plan: Moscow – Nuremberg – Prague (Hradec Kralove included) – Zurich (Basel included)-Nuremberg (Rosenheim, Munich, Füssen, Salzburg are included in Hatimi’s plan) – Moscow.

So, from Nizhniy-Moscow I will be taking chartered Marshroot (van) service from hostel compound to airport. It’s not cheap because they kinda charge 1200 rubles (RM 160) per head compared to train which is like three times cheaper. But, it’s safer (hope so) and more reliable. I never liked traveling by train for security reasons… and many of you know how much I despise Moscow, so I have to minimize my time traveling within Moscow to reach from one place to another.

And from Moscow-Nizhniy on my way back to this damn med school I will be taking S7 airlines from Domodedovo airport to Nizhniy airport. Just right after AirBerlin flight lands in Domodedovo, I will catch a connecting flight S7 Airlines to Nizhniy, a connecting flight which is not available had I choose Aeroflot which services its flights in sucky Sheremetyevo. Yep, when I am happy from my 2 weeks holiday, I want to be in my room as soon as possible. Minimize my time being in Moscow, and minimize encounters with potential Moscow criminals (and police). And FYI: MOSCOW SUUUUCCCCCCKKS!!! Wahahaha… Let’s review why I despise Moscow so much:

1st year: a day before my trip to Munich, I got robbed in one of Moscow’s metro station (credit card, camera, passport), ending up in cancellation of my whole trip. At that time there were 4 of us. Yep, that’s right, FOUR. I was robbed and 2 of my friends had to give 3000 rubles to the cops for no good reason.

2nd year: Holiday in Europe was perfect. But on the way back to Nizhniy, we had to take stupid train. There were 6 (SIX) of us. Hilmi’s MP3 was taken away by hooligans in the trains, and he almost end up in another town had not we shout his name to get off the train on arrival. And then stupid police interrogated us. Urgh! Why did I ever choose Aeroflot???

3rd year: Thank God no problem. But I feared every nanosecond in Moscow train station and in the stupid train tho… it effects my psychological and emotional stability.

One day in Moscow ruining my 2 weeks holiday in Europe is definitely not what I want. So, AirBerlin it is this year (but expensive!!)

I have to start packing stuffs becoz my van is at 9 pm tonight… and finish my infectious disease study TODAY!!! Wait a minute… Why infectious disease??? hihihihihihi… As I said, today me is so excitatory, I might do so many inappropriate stuffs… including studying for infectious disease 😉

Working as doctors in Singapore

Singapore, despite being a very crowded country, is the best place to do business in the world. Being the gold mine for business, how about the doctors there? Yes, they also face the doctor-shortage crisis…

But for junior physicians to work in Singapore, here are the lists of recognised medical schools by Singapore Medical Council (SMC). Apparently, Russian medical schools are not recognized, so no chance for Russian medical graduates to work there. And the only medical colleges in Malaysia which are recognized by SMC are Faculties of Medicines of UM and UKM, in which any medical twinning programs provided by UM and UKM will not be recognized. WoW! Singapore is really maintaining its high standard, huh?

No worries, if you still want to work in Singapore but your med schools aren’t recognized, you can try working there as specialists. But, jeng jeng, the Specialist Accreditation Board of Singapore is even tougher. To register as specialists in Singapore, here is a list of medical qualifications eligible for specialist accreditation. Wahahaha! Now, how tough is it to work in Singapore?

I never thought of eyeing Singapore (too crowded and kiasu), but, WTH right? People can change… if I ever work there (haha I wish!) and I miss home, I can simply drive up north 😉

Russian style diplomas

While I was browsing thru the net to find a meaning of red diploma (issue was brought up by Amani), which is like the yummiest academic award for Russian-trained undergraduates, I got this from Russian wikipedia:

Требования к обладателю диплома с отличием каждый вуз вправе устанавливать самостоятельно, однако: квалификационная работа должна быть защищена на «отлично», количество оценок «хорошо» не может превышать 25 % (в исключительных случаев допускается одна оценка «удовлетворительно»).

Translation: Each tertiary education establishment has the right to establish requirements for honours degree (red diploma), however, qualifying works should always be on the level of excellent grades (5), the quantity of good grades (4) cannot exceed 25 % (in unusual cases one satisfactory grade (3) is excusable).

For those who aren’t used to the Russian system of examination, the scale of gradings used are 1-5. Excellent grade is 5 (translated into A grade), 4 is good (B grade), 3 is satisfactory (C grade). Grade of 2 and below= fail.

I tried browsing the meaning of red diploma elsewhere, but unfortunately, in my opinion red diploma only has its meaning in Russia. That doesn’t mean anyone should stop from getting all fives in exams because red diploma has no meaning in our home countries, but if you manage to get a red diploma, good for you! Meaning you are up to Russian standard of education. As a very-fast-growing country, you really want to get that red diploma in Russian Federation! Seriously!~

And those who don’t have any chance to get the red diploma will get blue diploma (it’s me, it’s me!) and start working as mediocre doctors in Malaysia… or not! We’ll see… 😉

But hey, look what I found when I googled up красный диплом:


Diplomas can be bought? Wow! Now everyone can easily obtain a diploma!

Easier for MOs in rural areas to further studies

When I was browsing Malaysian Medicine (in my link), I read an old news dated June 2006: 

Medical officers serving in rural areas would find it easier to go for post-graduate studies under incentives being considered by the government for officers posted to rural areas, the Dewan Rakyat was told Wednesday.
“We may give additional merit points for medical officers serving in rural areas who wish to further their studies,” said Deputy Minister of Health Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.
Replying to Raime Unggi (BN-Tenom), he said medical officers should discard the perception that it was difficult to live in the rural areas because the facilities there were being upgraded to match those in the urban areas.
Dr Abdul Latiff said the government was targeting a 1:600 ratio of medical officers to patients by 2015.

Fine. Good enough, it’s in the news. But how can we be sure these people keep their words when there are so many more promises they didn’t realize? If you are really an ambitious doctor, unless you’ve got a signed black and white that you’ll be posted rural only for a 2-3 years, don’t fall for the offer.

The officer in some health admin office who promised you that you’ll be posted rural for only 2 years prior to postgraduate studies should have signed black and white. Verbal promise is not usually well kept. The officer maybe promoted elsewhere when you try to reach him/her after you finished 2 years of rural posting and you’ll be staying rural forever…. or they’re just messing with your minds and end up saying after your 2 years: “Saya tak pernah cakap macam tu pun!”

Well, my opinion sounds like a very emotional negative one. I advise you to get a second opinion from MOs who are posted rural; ask them how long have they been there. Of course, some people find rural posting very rewarding and satisfying, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

On another news:

 Malaysian doctors take longer to become specialists than their counterparts in Britain and other western countries.
A local doctor said it would take at least eight years for a fresh medical graduate working in hospitals here to become a specialist and earn a U48 pay under the Public Services Department salary scheme.
“Doctors serving in Britain or elsewhere can qualify as specialists in two-third the time.”
He said that under local requirements, doctors have to wait at least three years after completing their one-year housemanship before they could take up the specialist course.
“They would take at least four years to complete the course. However, the doctor will have to wait for his qualification to be gazetted by the local medical authorities before he can enjoy the specialist pay.”

The news dated May 2006. Now I think it’s gonna be 9 years since housemanship has been extended to 2 years. Meaning almost 10 years before a medical graduate can enjoy specialist pay (9 years training + x months of gazettement). Hmm…

Teenage Russian Radiologist

Old story about a teenage girl from Saransk, Russia who can see internal structures of body thru her eyes. She claimed to have a “psychic X-ray” power and earns much more than a certified russian radiologist; which is $2600 a month, charging $13 per reading. A regular Russian physician only earns $150-400 a month (that’s why many students take advantage of a comparatively cheaper and less competitive medical education than in their home countries).

And as stated in the article: Natasha protested during the test that appendixes can grow back after an appendectomy. When told this isn’t possible, she insisted that they do grow back in Russia. LOL! ROFLMAO! =))

 Read more about the story here.

Shortening route to Medical Specialization

Here is an old news from NST:

More than 200 Malaysians who studied medicine and practised abroad had returned to serve since 2005. Some of these practitioners, who held government scholarships, have been working up to 20 years abroad. Overseas Umno Club chairman Datuk Shafie Apdal said the country was facing a shortage of medical specialists.

“It was through visits and dialogue sessions initiated by the club that we were able to convince some about the opportunities here, especially since the government has built many hospitals equipped with modern facilities. Some are reluctant to come home because of concerns about promotion prospects and work-culture differences. They also worry about political instability, local facilities and training here.”

Shafie, who is domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, said this after officiating the United Kingdom and Ireland Pre-Departure Briefing 2007 yesterday. The briefing was held for 170 students who will pursue various courses in the two countries and six students who will leave for Cairo next month.

Hmm… currently local universities are churning out 1200 medical graduates annually. Medical schools from UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, Eastern Europe, Middle East, South Asia add thousands more. Meaning there are more than enough housemen to do little works @ scutwork.

If we are really short of medical specialists, why not shorten medical specialization? Use the UK system for example; 8 years from graduation to consultancy. In the US, it takes only 5-7 years from graduation to be a consultant plastic surgeon. In Malaysia, 10+ years, or maybe longer.

With the shortening period, senior physicians can dedicate to train and teach junior physicians, and junior physicians will be trained much better and faster. This is a win-win-win-win-win situation for everyone involved in the healthcare system.

Gaining only 200 brains since 2005 does not impress me. There is this one Malaysian-born US-trained internal medicine specialist who was willing to return to Malaysia for his medical practice only to find himself working as a medical officer (MO) and posted in anesthesia department (not his specialty). He refused, and now he’s working in Canada and get paid 10 times higher than what home is paying him.

See, the issue here is not the money. The specialist already knew what crappy salary will he receive when he returns home, still he is willing to serve. The issue here is misuse of talent; to demote him to MO and post him at a department which is not his specialty. Clearly that is the biggest mistake.

Earlier, Shafie advised the students to focus on their studies and ignore the postings about the country in blogs.
“Those who want to excel in their studies should be reading books and not blogs.”

Wahaha you people shouldn’t be reading my blog!~ WTF??? Why are these people feel so damned threatened? Instead of stopping bloggers from blogging, why not they do the blogging to stand up for themselves and their own kinds’ sakes? Or are they too dumb to blog…?