Jun 20, 2009


As I was counting down answering my last questions for Integrated II, more and more people flocked up in front and handed their answer sheets and yay! they're liberated! 3 months free of studies, academic peer pressure and learning issues. 3 months of not hearing all the complicated and boring abbreviations used in medical education - PBL, SHIT (sharing helpful information together), CPC, CXR.....

Well, medical school is not all about overrated abbreviations all together. For the first time in a relatively short period, Taiwan is hosting AMSC (Asian Medical Students' Conference). The big event involves 3 days in TCU, which is a much-needed morale boost for us. Medical students from all around Asia will spend 7 days discussing 'stigmatized illness' such as leprosy and HIV/AIDS. I personally find conferences like these are more cost-effective and useful in building a physician's core competence and compassion (rather than the other set of methods emphasized and so-called successfully inplemented by TCU).

Anyway, I won't be able to attend the very expensive event because I'd be spending 2 weeks in Tenom, Sabah. Along with the local Lion's Club and (who else?) Tzu Chi chapter, we're organizing several rounds of free clinics, house visits and 2 half-day camps in the local Chinese primary schools. Typically if we happen to be from any other school a more laissez faire attitude would be adopted, but because we are with Tzu Chi, we have to wear Tzu Chi-branded caps, Tzu Chi uniforms, eat our Tzu Chi vegetarian noodles with our Tzu Chi bowls and chopsticks, use Tzu Chi baggages and so on. As much as I loathe the dominant and for-show principle, I persisted with it because I'd like to give something back to Malaysia. As I completed my 3rd year abroad, I slowly come to realize even if I can speak with a genuine Taiwanese accent and fake myself as the typical Taipei citizen, deep in myself there's always something calling when you hear the Malaysian 'lahs' and 'aiyahs', 'ceh' and 'ladies and gentlemen, please hand your passpoks so I can chop'.
I hope to contribute towards some positive gains in the rural outbacks of Sabah. Thanks to unequal wealth distribution and use of resources, the rich-poor gap is quite distinct. We may stroll along Bukit Bintang gawking at 5-digit priced couture and Mont Blanc, but here in Tenom people may not even earn 10 ringgit a day. I will keep you guys updated on our service trip along the way.
Next up in August I'd be in Jakarta for a 7-day conference. It's a smaller cousin of AMSC but it charges as much. ACTION (Asian Collaborative Training on Infectious Disease, Outbreaks, Natural Disaster and Refugee Management) - can the name get any longer? Principally it is less conference than AMSC and more on lectures in 'extraordinary scenarios' such as wars, the SARS and H1N1 pandemic etc. My senior promised me it'll be a positive experience. However, the new influenza virus, which we're going to be trained in, is terrorizing everybody. Application has been prolonged and the committee is delaying progress in a lackadaisical attitude. We'd see if it gets by in August.
That's all for the time being, folks! Happy summer and have a great one! And to those Aussies, happy winter and persevere through the flu!


blushstar said...

Great start doc. ;P I honour you docs, who give back to society because you know you want to. It's something that's amiss I guess, in the rat race society today.

And good start on conferences, haha. Outbreaks are things that you wn't learn in med sch huh. :P

See San said...

have a nice trip in Sabah!