Tuesday, December 25, 2007


One of my dear friends is in a dilemma. She has just passed out as a medical specialist recently and she immediately reported for duty at Putrajaya. She filled in the necessary forms and she stated her desire to stay and serve in the Klang Valley. Her reasons are simple: her family is here, she has a 4 year old beautiful and smart girl who needs her mommy ;and hubby is in the private sector and thus cannot relocate. However, knowing all this, the Ministry decides to post her to Ipoh. Yeah, Ipoh is not that far away but then it’s still a 2 hours’ drive. And thus she appealed. She appealed to the Ministry and she also tried explaining to her ‘future’ boss in Ipoh hoping to get some support.

But then little does she know that this high ranking senior Government officer, a Dato’ dislikes female doctors. She was given a tongue lashing on how he hates women becoming doctors and specialists, on how they are never as dedicated as men, and on how family interests interferes with work. Well, perhaps he is upset that his anticipated lesser workload is not materializing. Perhaps, he was upset about something else and this just added on to his irritated mind. Perhaps.

Anyway, I wonder, if this Dato’s wife get posted elsewhere to work what will he do? Will he kiss her on the forehead and give her his blessings or will he immediately get the DG over the phone and pull some fibre-optic cables to keep her put by his side? Or will he give her the ultimatum, “your family or your career?”

Being a ‘career woman’ is never easy. And worst still, is being a mother, a wife and a working person. In the past, women are expected to live at home taking care of the family and household being THE HOUSEWIFE. In the modern age and world, being a housewife is a luxury, a position that many of us are envious of, for this current time it is never enough to sustain or maintain a family with a single person’s pay. Well, we are talking about the common people here, not some rich bloke with a bottomless pit of cash.

Nowadays women working are not related to women’s lib. Majority of us have no choice. We did not burn our bras and decided that we must work to piss off all the chauvinistic male egos. Nowadays it is not a choice, working is a necessity.

But then, still women are wives and mothers first. It is natural to majority of women to feel that ‘Family Comes First’. To some employers, that makes women workers a liability. They say women do not have the commitment to the job like men do, they do not have the drive to succeed; there will always be sick kids, whining husbands coming in front of the job priority. Well, is that bad? In the employers’ narrow point of view perhaps yes. But let us look at the globally picture.

A society is made up of individuals, male and females. Majority make up small social and support units called families and thus, congregation of families makes the society. Theoretically, a society may compose of individuals without affiliation with anyone, but without families but then what kind of society would that be, hmmm….New Yorkers perhaps? And, it is a well known fact that individuals without familial support succumb to mental illness more commonly compared to those with strong familial base. Therefore, a woman’s contribution to the well-being of the society has always be understated and overlooked.

Back to the Ministry of Health, annually doctors get posted all over the country. It is inevitable. Medical service is needed everywhere but the posting of personnel is a complicated thing. Only if you have friends or relatives in high places that you may get to stay in the Hotspots. The people involved in assigning the postings are never compassionate, they do not care. What matters to them is on paper they have done their job, they do not care about the applicant’s history and family, all they care about is putting a name in an empty slot. Sometimes that is good but sometimes it is not. And when it comes to family matters then most of it is not. Yeah, true that many people misuses the family issue to stay put where they are BUT not everyone.

When another of my friend’s tried getting a transfer from Penang to Klang as his parents were ill; his mom had cancer and his dad dementia, he was told “Family or parents health is NOT a STRONG reason to get a transfer”. Uh duh? What happened to the ‘Masyarakat Penyayang’ concept? How can we become a caring society if we are not allowed to look after out aging ones? And how do you expect doctors to show compassion for other people’s parents if they are not allowed to show compassion and care to their own flesh and blood. Caring for other start from within the family, it is not a trait that can be learnt or acquired; it lies deep within us from the years of training by our family.

And therefore, who can blame a doctor if he or she decides that their family matters the most and thus quit the government service to be there for them. Isn’t it a better idea to keep doctors in the service and get them to do work wherever they are? But then, the Ministry do not care; as the staffs in-charge usually say “Ala doctor, resign aje la kalau tak suka, berlambak orang nak pangkat ni” (translation: if you don’t like it just resign, there are a lot of people vying for this post)…. Little do they know (or they refuse to acknowledge) there are actually an acute shortage of doctors and specialist in the public sector in this country.


john f seademon said...

Hmm...assholes in the govt service still exist. Difficult mentality to eradicate. The only way is to keep on fighting rather than giving up and resigning.

floweryskies said...

Ignorance again.And off course the situation does not happened to them or their family.
Not only in govt sector, happens to private sector too..
Masyarakat Penyayang?