At this time of the year my feet are getting itchy again, perhaps for some more traveling and backpacking… I always get jealous when my friends are traveling, but I am pretty competitive. I would travel (to same place or different place) with more show offs!
I have been traveling since childhood, but my traveling pace grew exponentially when I was in medschool. Since the medschool days, I have been traveling independently with very limited budget, limited halal food choices, limited experience and God knows the language barrier I always ran into. But I have always loved it. The best thing about traveling for me are:
1. Visit interesting places (the popular, unpopular, exotic, religious places, shopping places, cemetery, war places, beach, mountains, jungles, lakes etc etc), doing crazy things ( parasailing, paragliding, surfing, diving, party, get high etc), tasted different kind of foods, learn new languages… All travelers and backpackers will tell almost the same story.
2. Meet interesting people – from simple students, normal employers, successful business owners, failed business owners, the unemployed but obtained travel funds from rental properties, the millionaire, and those who took a year off for traveling. They all have different cultural backgrounds, different travel experiences and life experiences. When we meet together in cheap budget accomodations such as hostel or camping or couchsurfing, we toast to each other’s stories. Life was great.
3. Traveling always make me rethink of my life’s journey. Every time I travel, I will ask myself do I want to continue this path of being a doctor forever or expand my mind and travel the world. Of course I would choose travel over doctoring anytime, but I need my employment to fund my traveling, no? The important thing about traveling that I cherish the most is how fellow travelers have positive outlook in life, the volunteer works they do, the immaterialism they share, the spirituality they own, the passions they have. They actually help me to set my goals in life which are escape from employment, financial freedom and travel the world. Gosh, I need to achieve these goals so badly…
Why do I mention escape from employment and financial freedom?
Well, this is a doctor’s mid life crisis. At one point in any doctor’s life, they will always think whether it’s best to stay with government till the end, or quit working with the government, or go private, or change profession altogether. I am lucky I got Sabah. Sabah is so slow-paced and serene it gives me time to think over. In fact, I have cut down my locums significantly this month (potentially RM2000 loss) just to spend more personal time instead of dedicating to work and work. If I were to be in KL, I would never have the time as I would always work and work to no end.
For many doctors, the best plan is to escape MOH (ministry of health). But somehow, the private are not doing well on their own nowadays. So many doctors are still stuck with MOH, chose a specialty and proceed. I have mentioned in my previous post as a houseman that MOH has too many rotten apples. In fact, doctors in MOH are very very very horrible human beings in Malaysia. They care for patients, but the doctors treat each other like crap. Seniors yelling to juniors. Bullying, penalizing and punishing become so rampant. You can see how miserable most MOH staffs across the board, one blaming another, save your ass first before someone else’s.
Because of all that, it’s worth considering whether to stay or to get out.
I love my job as a doctor. I love treating my patients. I love the ownership over my patients. I love procedures. I love saving lives. I love solving problems. I just hope MOH provides better working conditions. Currently there’s a bed crisis in Kota Kinabalu, especially in medical wards. So, many medical patients from emergency department can’t be mobilized and thus can’t cater beds for those in need. Many patients have died before my eyes in casualty department because of no proper ICU care (not enough beds). The wards are scattered over all Kota Kinabalu. Surgical ward, medical ward, pediatric ward are located in three very different and very far hospitals. The system is chaotic. The system is downright sinful.
I will stop rambling bad things about healthcare in Sabah for now. I really hope 2013 is a prosperous year for me…