Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A noble human being

A good friend of mine used to comment on how lucky I am to work as a doctor. He reckons that being a doctor makes it easier for me to do good deeds. As for him, since he is not one, he becomes obsessed in searching for good deeds to be done - joining a voluntary paramedic service.

I do not agree with his sentiment. Yes, we are in a position and place where helping people is a daily occurrence. But apart from the act of helping the important thing is our intentions. What is it that drive doctors in their daily work? I must say not many doctors are 'noble' as we are made to believe. There are many who are driven by other factors :wealth, position, status, politics, and even knowledge. The patient is secondary. It is a sad sad reality but that is the truth. It doesn't make the person a less good doctor but then definitely not noble.

As for me, I still have no idea what drives me. One thing for sure definitely not money or now I would have been in one of those money minting hospital. I know I enjoy doing what I do, I enjoy 'helping' and educating people but most of all I relish the opportunity to look at the strength of other people.

I may be digressing into another issue but then, the theme is the same :Nobility. Everyday we are pushed with stories of so-called noble people helping others in the papers. So many politicians would step forward to lend a hand when a unfortunate event occurs - giving money (which is not theirs anyway!), assistance etc. And the generally it ends with a handshake on the frontpage.

It is so ingrained in people's mind that only if things we do get reported then only it is a good deed. Anyway, being a doctor, I get the wonderful window of opportunity to see everyday wonderful 'normal' people coping and doing their best in life. Some do it out of love, some out of responsibility and some just don't see any other way of doing things but they are doing the right thing.

One of these wonderful persons is a seventy year old man comes diligently to the hospital to accompany his 45 year old son who is a schizophrenia. He is still working but in his daily routine he also makes sure his 'kid' takes his medicine. He have seen the worst of his son's illness and he just wants to make sure it never recurs. And when the son was admitted with a fracture, he was there all the time to be by his side. Curious as I am, I did ask how did ask how he copes over the years and for him it is mainly because he doesn't want his son to suffer. And in his heart, he hopes that if he dies, it happens after he his son's.

And then some days you see a bed bound 25 year old cerebral palsy patient in the ward. The mom sits by her side all the time, alert to her every single breath. 25 years earlier she might have thought that at this time she may be a proud mother attending her girl's graduation but alas a twist of fate leads her to the current day. But then not a sigh, not a complaint and always smiling. I am sure previously she would have gone through the motions of grief but then at the present day she is the solid rock that ensure the 'child' is comfortable, 'healthy' and happy.

Well, there are so many individuals like that. They are the true heroes and they usually make me think "If I am thrown into that situation, how would I fare? Would I be psychologically prepared and emotionally strong to take in life and fate unfairness? Or would I bolt and run?". I have no idea. But then looking at these noble people gives you hope against life's twist of fate. And it gives us hope that there really is a human soul.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Took this today.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Muckking Around in Lembeh Straits

It was a wonderful outing for me. Finally I am getting used to my heavy underwater setup and I manage to take a few reasonable shots. I won't say they are excellent as I have seen other people's photos plus I am just a 'point and shoot' person.

Lembeh Straits was true to its calling. A muck diving heaven. Visibility was not an issue as it didn't matter. By the way, the visibility was only 5-10 metres at its best. We had a very hard working dive guide Mickel who was busy finding for us things to see and photograph. Numerous nudibranches, shrimps and crabs can be seen at all the divesites. The group were ecstatic when we were shown frogfishes, pipefishes, octopuses and especially SEAHORSES. We got to see pygmy seahorse, common seahorse, thorny seahorse..... yippie.

The best site for us were (ah...2 'best' sites) were Teluk Kambahu which had numerous frogfishes of various colours and Nudibranch Retreat: which had so many species of nudibranches and the highlights were ghost pipefishes, winged pipefish, and pygmy seahorses.

As for the other aspects of the trip, the resort were great; staffs were friendly and courteous, rooms were clean and food was excellent. The kitchen staff made extra effort when we told them we were Muslims and thus can only consume seafood and vegetables. (Fyi, 90% of North Sulawesi population are Christians and thus not many places of halal food especially out of Manado town).

My only grouse is the heat. It was so hot in the evening and being in a fan room that is facing the strait didn't help. Wind came from the other side of the slope and we did not get any breeze. I regretted not asking for an air-conditioned room. I know why Kaz always insists on having the 'A-C'.

As always, good things have to come to an end. I am not sure when I will be back but I hope soon.

Note: Airasia flies three times a week to Manado (every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). With its recent schedule changes a worthwhile trip have to be a 6D5N trip as you will arrive in Manado at 8pm on Day One. While it is such an inconvenient schedule for the divers, I guess it have to be acceptable as it is quite cheap (Previously it used to cost Singapore Dollars 600 for flights to Manado via Singapore).

Also take note that Airasia may charge you an extra Rp125000 (RM40) for your diving equipment on the way back. This is on top of the exit visa that Indonesia charges. We were told by an 'insider' to say that there is no sporting equipment in our luggage if asked when checking in our bags. But alas, the information came in too late :(