A Doc's Life is a underground Medical Blog about some poor Singapore doctors. They are sibei sian and very buay song. Best practices not observed!
(Warning: Grammar is non existent in this blog. Those obsessively compulsive about good English please go no further and book an appointment to see your psychiatrist in Singapore.)

Friday, September 16, 2005


I come from a time when pre-university students have to go through this interview in order to enter the faculty. First, one would receive this letter saying that he or she is short-listed for the interview. I believe many would start calling their friends and ask whether they receive the same letter…

(Lai Ka Lan who received the letter called Lim Nia Hia)
Lai Ka Lan says: “Eh… I got the letter for the medicine interview today! How about you?”
Lai Ka Lan thinks: “Wah lau… he better not get it man. Less competition…”

Lim Nia Hia says: “Congrats! I actually got it too!”
Lim Nia Hia thinks: “Shit. How can someone like him be short listed. More competition now…”

Lai Ka Lan says: “Great! See you there then!”
Lai Ka Lan thinks: “Sian one half liao…”

Soon, the day comes. People preparing for the interview generally start thinking about things… perhaps this is what goes on in their heads.

Hok Kien Ping: “…Chao Ch** By*…. Still having field camp on an offshore island the day before the interview…. How to get ready?” [Males tend to pick up certain languages in Army]
[Hok Kien Ping did not make it past the interview]

Chao Maa Ger: “[for the 1000th time]…the reason I want to be a doctor is because I always wanted to save lives… Personally I feel that as a doctor, I can……”
[Chao Maa Ger was on the Dean’s list every year in medical school. He is currently a registrar in one of the internal medicine department. His friends are all still medical officers. Till this day, he still does not have a life.]

Ma Mee Boy: “…I want to do theatre studies… that’s my dream… but since mum and dad wants me to be a doctor….”
[ Ma Mee Boy grew up to be a repressed person, often unconsciously venting his frustrations on the patients…]

Wo Mei Ma: “…hmm..what should I wear to the interview? Does this skirt go with the pink blouse?”
[Wo Mei Ma ended up as a gynaecologist, toting her LV bag as she does her rounds in the hospital…]

Da Ser Lang: “…(rubbing his hands in glee)…I always love girls with brains and looks…”
[Da Ser Lang came for the interview but left when he saw the girls sitting outside the interview rooms]

You Ai Xin: “….”
[You Ai Xin did not have much time to think about the interview. She was busy doing volunteer work in one of the developing countries. She passed the interview and completed her MBBS degree. She takes time off to provide free medical services in those same developing countries]
Shen Jing Bing: "....because the voices told me to....because the voices told me to...because the voices told me to..."
[Shen Jing Bing is now working in a mental hospital]

B L Og: “…Arts? OUT. Engineering? NO. Law? NOPE. Science? NAH. Medicine? Can consider lah. What else is there to do? Sian… got stupid interview. Just go there and talk lor…”
[Dr. BL Og went through medical school and is currently working in State General. During his free time, he blogs.]

*Hint: Just wear to the interview what you would wear to a funeral...

More to come...


  1. Anonymous10:18 AM

    guessing you wear funeral clothes to mark the end of your social life:P

  2. i think it should be the other way round....actually medical students get so much fun and free time during the medical student years.....i guess no one can deny the time 'sleeping' in the med library and afternoon offs when there's no lectures.....

    dun think med school has changed so much in these few years rite? haha....

  3. Anonymous11:32 AM

    huh? i have so much time while in med school, bedding and coupling with so many gals that I can't even remember their names now! Gals from Engrg, Arts etc. Hey, being med student is the best pick-up line. Don't to admit this, but we can do the choosing, and not the other way round.

  4. Anonymous11:41 AM

    A real enlightening blog. Don't stop now. Here's a subject that interests many; how to buy & sell everything, like music on interest free credit; pay whenever you want.

  5. how come all docs come from the top JCs? i suppoose Dr bl Og came from Rj? Nj? Hwa Chong? & since u got into Med Sch izzit no need to go for NS? Liddat suppose if a guy gets a RSAF scholarship, still need NS? Ns so easy to skip mehz?

  6. Dr Oz bloke11:55 AM

    Actually, doctor do serve NS.

    They get paid peanuts and are forced to see an obscence number of patients in an hour.

    This culminates in a half insane extremely grumpy doctor who knows he is not giving his best to the patients because of the time constraints and starts becoming dissillusioned with the system especially when complaint letters from parents through the GRC's MP's secretary to HQAMS though MINDEF.

    The patients also get fed up with the crazy doctor who doesn't seem to care enough to spend some actual time seeing them and think it is his fault and thus decide it is much better to try and request for an MC and see their own doctor outside the camp ie hospital A&E MOs or if desperate Polyclinic doctors ( no coincidence they are both free for NSFs)

    And so the doctor does this NS for 2 years. After which he returns to hospital to realise that for 2 years he was not practising medicine but was merely an MC signing clerk and has to re-learn everything he learn in medical school and 2 years of work ASAP.

  7. australian med student2:04 PM

    what is the point of the medical interview really? in the space of fifteen minutes or so, can the interviewers really determind whether you have what it takes?

    so do they look at you to see if you have "the look". like maybe too pretty or yandao, then cannot enter med school is it?

    or maybe if you look very havoc, like with multiple body piercings, tattoos or very happening hairstyle then cannot enter is it?

    Or maybe dressing too skimpy then cannot enter med school?

    Or maybe they just think your face is very kiam pai. Or maybe your english just not professional sounding enough.

    maybe during the interview all those years ago, i should have worn funeral attire then maybe i might have been in Nus med school huh? too bad lar, cannot change the past lar.

  8. girl_interrupted: Not true. Med school in sg does not mean that the guy can 'skip' NS. He has the option of going through NS like everyone else and going to univ after that. Or else, he can disrupt after about 6mths in NS and proceed on to study and housemanship. After half year/1 year of MO posting, he'd get hauled back for the remainder of the NS.

  9. Dr Oz bloke2:26 PM

    Dear Australian medical student,

    what you asked about interviews applies to ALL interviews in life.

    Interviews are basically a time for you to sell yourself to the prospective employer, reporter, dean, scholarship board etc.

    The same can also be said of clinical exams in medical school. In that 30 minutes, they determine if you are worthy to pass the exams and graduate with an MBBS.

    Welcome to life.

  10. australian med student2:31 PM

    true. really regretted not being direct and assertive enough during the interview. can't remember what really happened then, been too long ago.

    hey dr bl Og, if i come back to singapore in 2 years time with my australian MBBS, what do i have to do get back into the singapore system?

    In fact, should i ever come back to singapore?

  11. Dr Oz bloke2:58 PM

    Hmm as far as I remember, australian MBBS from certain universities are recognized by MOH.

    You probably apply to Singhealth or NHG to be a HO. Haven't they had a road show at your university? The health clusters usually send people to talk to overseas singaporean medical students and entice them to come back to Singapore to serve their housemanship.

    Nevertheless I think the process is pretty simple if you are coming back to serve housemanship. Just apply with Singhealth or NHG and they will guide you.

    As for MOs. Someone wrote saying that they have to serve a number of years etc. I am not sure about that.

    I guess you did ask Dr Bl Og. :)

  12. aust med student: u should check with SMC if u're univ is on the recognised list. As far as I know, the list has increased tremendously in the last few years.

    Or you can always tell the clusters u want to join them and their HR ppl will do the legwork for u and check up for you.

  13. australian med student3:19 PM

    hm...thanks everyone. but long-term career prospects wise, is singapore or australia better? i hope to go into private practice someday. probably specialise in internal medicine or O&G. but that will be a Loooong time away. now, dealing with my current studies is headache enough.

  14. Well, my friend just came back from UK. He actually did housemanship there. Signed on with Singhealth after he returned (he has not started work yet anyway...)

    Not too sure if there's a contract though...

    We used to believe that only doctors who graduate from "top" universities like Uni of Sydney/Melbourne/Cambridge etc etc can work in Singapore together with those with MBBS degree from the very prestigious University of Kent (Ridge). I think nowadays the list is so long that it don't really matter that much anymore. If cannot then just appeal lor. Look for MP also can. =)

  15. Dr Oz bloke4:02 PM

    Dear australian medical student,

    I understand your concerns. To be honest I wished someone had spoken to me about this when I was in medical school too. As with most students we are more concerned about passing the exams first.

    But really it depends on what you want in life.

    For example when you say you hope to go into private practice as an internal medicine or O&G consultant, what do you envision that to be?

    The other question is whether you know what the path towards becoming a consultant is like. Sometimes the end point seems ok, but the price to pay for 7 years is just too much for the end results and thus is not worth it to some.

    I guess this is a discussion that would be best done via a forum or MSN chat.

    But yes it is important. Don't get caught in the trap that many young doctors get into. That is work work work work and go with the flow. After a while they dunno why they are doing what except that everybody is doing the same.

  16. precisely. especially in surgical fields nowadays locally.
    u may just run into a roadblock at the Reg level and end up nowhere.

  17. Enjoy your time as a medical student. =) Those were good years... in retrospect, should have played more...

  18. Dr Oz bloke4:18 PM

    Life in the private sector is also not a bed of roses for the majority of doctors/specialists.

    It is generally a tough market out there and many doctors have to approach practices more as businesses than anything else.

    The field has changed. Just being a good doctor is not enough if you want to earn a comfortable living and be financially secure by the time you retire.

  19. yeah...like what my old tutor (70plus) used to tell us...in his days as a young doc, all of the docs stayed in pte housing. "......look at you all nowadays......"

  20. Dr Oz bloke4:34 PM

    Well can you imagine the children who are now 4-5 years old? What will the situation be like for those of their generation who become doctors?

    And what about those who don't become professionals?

    Scary isn't it?

  21. australian med student5:31 PM

    sometimes, i do get doubts about whether i made the right choice to do medicine. Like sometimes i ask myself, did i really want to do medicine for myself, or was i influenced by the idea of my grandfather, father and brother being doctors?

    but then again, life is uncertain right? you never know what might happen.

    other than doctors, lawyers, accountants and other similar professions are also facing new challenges. like nowadays, it is not uncommon for lawyers and doctors to live in a small HDB flat or drive a small car. So different from during our parents or grandparents' time, when these professions were highly-paid and well-respected.

  22. Dr Oz bloke6:06 PM

    This is very common in Singapore. The students who do well in school academically will aspire to go to university. The top students of that cohort will try to read, medicine, engineering, law, accounting etc. They just go with the flow. Most students don't really know what they are going to be really doing in life. They just know that their parents said, study hard, do well in school and when you graduate with good grades, the good jobs will come and everything will be fine.

    When you were thinking of becoming a doctor, did your parents and relatives say this to you?

    "Be a doctor lah. Very good what. Can get decent salary. Can then live in a small HDB flat and drive a small car. Most professions like law and medicine these days earn not that much. Plus property and car so expensive. Well at least won't be homeless and have to take public transport right? Doctors these days also not so well respected already, can see in the newspapers everyday, but be doctor still better than be nothing right?"

    While life is uncertain, it does not mean that we should be at life's mercy and just let it take us where it wants to.

    I believe one must discover what their goals in life are. What do you value most? What are your goals financially? What are your goals family wise? etc

    Many filthy rich people are not happy with their lives. Neither are many poor people. It isn't all about money. Happiness is a state within all of us. But the definition of happiness is different for every one of us. You do have to think carefully about it.

  23. Pretzel7:41 PM

    [replying to dr oz bloke's 6.06PM comment]

    As u have pointed out, our drs are usu from top students from each cohort... however, we r not utilizing this group of resources efficiently [vs those that chose the path of law, finance, etc]

    In the healthcare sector, u get specialists that over specialize, GPs that only dispense panadols and cough syrups.

    Think we need to educate the patients on basic medical care/knowledge, then we can elevate the contribution of the GPs and then hopefully help to ease the overloaded hospitals.

    Eg: In SG, the 1st thg u do when u find out u r pregnant, u book your gynea and he/she'll look after u thru out the entire pregnancy. In NZ, the GP looks after u until u check in to hosp to deliver... unless it's a high risk pregnancy then u r referred to a specialist early...

  24. Dr Oz bloke7:55 PM

    Dear pretzel,

    You are absolutely right!

    What the GPs and specialists do is really up to them in Singapore. For example there are a small minority of GPs who have gone into preventive medicine and do spend time educating their patients who want to be educated.

    However in Singapore the government usually has to take the first step in order for things to become the norm practise. In the polyclinics this patient counselling never occurs.

    But GPs can contribute if they want to. But most are not interested. Many choose to enter into aesthetic medicine and other money churning practices.

    The pre-natal, ante-natal and post natal care is usually taken care of by the O&G specialists. There are reasons for this. The easy access to such tertiary care is an obvious reason.

    Healthcare is viewed as a drain of resources in Singapore. It is a burden the government probably wished they never have to deal with. I learnt this when talking to professors at NUH when they were commenting on how the entire annual budget for research in one year went to John Hopkins and Kent Ridge Wing mainly because of financial and economic reasons rather than for science and research.

    Simple question to prove the above point. What has John Hopkins NUH produced by way of research and innovation? Nothing.

  25. australian med student8:04 PM

    yar singapore very elitist, all the popular courses like law, medicine, accounting all full of students from top schools.

    like i was from a top school too. and yes, as dr oz bloke said, my parents and friends said something like how medicine is good because ," have you ever seen a retrenched doctor or a doctor getting handouts from CDC?" Some bimbo friends even said "and the guys in medicine are yandao and smart too." hahaha.

    my dad was the only one who said, "don't be a doctor.Be a lawyer or do business better. doctor life very tough and sometimes can be frustrating."

    back then i was so naive, thinking that all you have to do was to get good grades, then enter an established profession. then can earn a comfortable salary and maybe marry the guy of my dreams.

    but as life turns out, i realised that life is not so simple. and life can be downright unfair at times.

    like i realised that the path of becoming a doctor is long and tough. And as it turns out, long distance relationships don't work, so there goes the guy of my dreams.

  26. I suppose things are changing in medical school. I remember that previously there were 2 groups of medical students -- RJC and non-RJC.

    Nowadays the people from medical school comes from various junior colleges, which is good. Certainly the majority of medical students still used to wear all white or white top, green skirts... but not so bad now.

  27. Dr Oz bloke8:09 PM

    Dear australian med student,

    let me see if I can read your mind.

    You are thinking "when I graduate and return to Singapore, all will be right again and life will be good"

    Am I right?

  28. australian med student8:22 PM

    no lar. you think i so naive meh?

    actually i am quite worried about how i will be received when i go back into the singapore system to work.

    And being overseas, you lose that sense of closeness with many of your old friends and contacts. even though you keep in touch and see each other maybe once a year for a few weeks, that is not enough. like i sometimes admit that i feel a little displaced here because this is not my home.

    and dr blog, i was a white top, green skirt too. even till this day, i think a lot of the students wearing all white, and white top green skirt still think that they are SO SMART, as if nothing can out them down. that is plain arrogant. All those who come from RGS and RI before going to RJC even worse, eyes grow on top of their head. no i was not from RGS by the way.

    So all you RJC people, listen up! you are not as great as you think. there are many people out there better than you. the only advantage you have over them is that you have a good memory, or you are just a chao mugger.

  29. Dr Oz bloke8:34 PM

    To aus med student :

    strange, but really in medicine the best skill to have is a photographic memory and the determination to photograph everything! No? So most students who do well in medical school are like what you described. I mean what other skill do you need when asked to compare and contrast the pharmacological properties of all the hypertensive drugs on the market?

    Anyway I'm glad I was wrong in my mind reading attempts.

    It will be very tough to adjust to the Singapore way of doing things again unfortunately. I don't want to lie to you.

  30. heyz dun leave out HCj & Nj. When i went for NUS open house to bum around, almost 99% of the audience in the talk for entry into Med sch went from those JCs la & blabbering abt their A-level results before the talk started~ scared the colours out of my shit la~ Oh well, cheers to meritocracy~ ...S'pore's edu kinda overrated

  31. Singapore's education IS overrated.
    They call us "Boston of the East"... because??
    We're lobsters??
    Tsk tsk...

  32. Oh so i can say in public that the edu system is overrated arhz? i tot only in my GP essay den i can say that out blatantly.. How come the population here so matured? Sigh~ kinda outkast huhz. All ppl here are like docs, any ppl serving the nation can tell me if get RSAF scholarship still need NS anot?

  33. australian med student8:55 PM

    but singapore is really rather elitist. beginning from primary school, parents push their kids to enter EM1, then later do well for PSLE, then enter good secondary. then finally, want them to go RJC or Hwa chong. by then, the kid kenna conditioned to think that grades are everything. Just mug and your life will be a walk in the park.

    so how about those people who are from neighbourhood schools, or JCs, or even polytechnic? just because they did badly for O levels doesn't mean they are stupid. some of them were just playful when they were young.

    our education system very famous for being very harsh. like when i came to australia, the first thing some people told me when they heard i was from singapore was " i heard the education is very difficult and that it is very competitive."

    the second thing i hear is " i heard you can arrested for chewing gum or caned for vandalism."

    The third thing i hear is " i enjoy eating singapore noodles." like what on earth is singapore noodles?

    finally, some hum sup ang mohs tell me that they have heard about annabel chong....haha

  34. Dr Oz bloke8:56 PM

    Yep Singapore produces very good students academically. Excellent in getting grades.

    We are number one in getting As at exams!

    For medicine this is not too bad actually considering they still go by passing MRCP, MRCS, MRCOG, MRCGP( ever wonder why the Fam med trainees dun do MRCGP?), MRCP (paeds) etc etc etc

    And then of course exit exams! FAMS!

    So medicine is the right profession for chao muggers! Hee Hee

  35. Dr Oz bloke8:58 PM

    girl interrupted,

    get RSAF scholarship means you need to still do NS. But of course when you come back people know you are SAF scholar and will be their future boss, they will treat you damn well. Apparently the phrase is "they give you silk underwear to shit in and they will wash for you"

  36. o0h, thanks now i now where my crush is going. But fortunately, he'll fulfil his childhood dream of becoming a pilot

  37. Dr Oz bloke9:01 PM

    dear aus med student,

    back to your comment that doctor stay in small HDB flat, and drive small car...

    So yes, what about those from neighbourhood school who dun become professionals earning in the top 20% of the population. Where do they live?

    This got me worried for my children. If they worked hard and became lawyers, doctors or engineer or professionals they would just end up like me. If they did not, then HOW?!!!!

  38. Wanna sian Aust med student9:05 PM

    eh make friend leh

  39. australian med student9:07 PM

    probably live with you all their lives. then bring their wives and kids to move in with you, eat your food, use your utilities and borrow you car!

    then maybe work in your clinic for you, become your assistant nurse or maybe you guys can start up some family business. sell vitamins or run a clinic together.

    Then when you guys are all sufficiently dissatisfied with the gahmen, migrate to australia.

    just kidding lar.

  40. Dr Oz bloke9:08 PM

    Dr oz bloke,

    dun get me wrong. I am not condemning the neighbourhood school students.

    But truly I think their best bet is to be entrepreneurs and businessmen.

    Forget school totally!

    In fact I hope my children become business people rather than professionals.

    Dun say EM1. Today parents are looking at Julia Gabriel nursery vs PAP kindergarten!

    I refuse to send my children to these expensive overrated waste of money (in my opinion) nurseries!

    My wife takes them with her on her business meetings! Learn from young.

  41. australian med student9:09 PM

    to wanna sian aus med student,

    only make friends with you if you are a very yandao guy. and if you are a australian med student too. :P

  42. hihi, thought this discussion is so damn interesting. i think MOH heard u all, now they're laying down guidelines on GPs, which may or may not make things harder for ppl.

    and yes, lots of ppl think medicine is like chao shuang, study hard a bit, then can be doc-tor. very full of grand ideas and such.

    btw australian med student, smc has opened up like a huge list of schs from overseas, so practically anyone can practice here, just more competition for us sg mbbs kias lor. and the general consensus is that only certain oz unis are gd, but no matter, if u r willing to prove ur worth, it shd be ok...

  43. australian med student9:12 PM

    last time my father always bring me along during medical conventions. see now what happened? silly enough to end up becoming a wannabe doctor.

    should have followed my mother around, then will become businesswoman.

  44. muahahahaha, my father always bring me go nightclub talk business, I still end up doctor leh!

  45. Dr's wife10:44 PM

    How can you say Singapore education not the best!!! Every mother from Singapore that I encounter say the Canadian system is soo junk.. Singapore no.1 in the world!!!!!
    My husband and I do not want our child to be a doctor. She wont have much of a life.

  46. Wanna sian Aust med student said10:53 PM

    Sigh... 2 doctors will make a boring couple. I am definately very yandao and I am studying in one of the group of 8 too. Any hint on which one you are from? Muahahaha!!

  47. australian med student11:25 PM

    haha. then i am very very pretty. Very smart as well. also in one of the group of eight. u say which one you in first lar. must take initiative right?

  48. eh... if you two get together, remember to give Dr. BL Og a big Ang Pow for being the matchmaker....

  49. Wanna sian Aust med student3:40 AM

    I'm from the one near romantic matilda bay... how about you dear?

    dr bl og: no problem lah! will give u a big big ang pow with a gold coin (chocolate) inside. hehe!

  50. Dr Oz bloke10:03 AM

    Dear Jay,

    You are correct! MOH is thinking of requiring all GPs below a certain age to have Mmed Family Med or equivalent qualifications in order to practise family medicine.

    While the theory is sound, in practise it does nothing to improve the quality of care in the primary setting especially if patients flock to Polyclinics and polyclinic doctors have only a few minutes to spend with each of them. There is not much one can do with a lot of knowledge but no time to give out advice and have patients who just want their medicine and MC and get on with their lives.

    It's a cultural thing.

    Interestingly I was asking why Sg Gp trainees don't take the MRCGP instead of the local MMed. I mean most specialties give grants to their trainees or encourage them to take the UK Membership exams. But not so for GPs with the MRCGP.

    I know the reason. Do you?

  51. Anonymous10:42 AM

    when the training is inadequate, the local candidates cannot even qualify to take the UK exams. many times this happen because we are FORCE to see TOO many patients. To be accreditated as a MRCwhatever exam centre, there MUST be quality training (meaning you be given TIME to train and examine pt)and sometimes it is not possible (or we just do not have the resolve to do so).....

  52. Dr Oz bloke11:08 AM

    Dear anon,

    your answer is incorrect.

    If you go on your logic, then the different specialties like General Surgery, Internal Medicine etc also have the same problems and thus how did they obtain accreditation as an exam centre.

    But nevertheless that is not the main reason. A hint : Singapore does NOT want to be a MRCGP exam centre. Now the question : Why?

  53. because we don't want our GP to all run to UK and earn big bucks????

  54. pretzel11:35 AM

    It still puzzles me... *scratchz head*

    SMC: form by snr, experienced Drs
    Hosp: run by snr experience Drs (at least the clinical side), smtms u get a handful of Hosp operations/Admin pple who came out of Med school.
    Then u have CFPS, Society of Oncology, etc... all form by Drs

    You guys run and work within the system... How come u guys don't work together to lobby or Change the way u work leh??
    Don't tell me u guys form all these 'clubs' juz to meet up for tea parties? :P

    Evtime i talk to a Dr, it's always similar comments... but asked why no one taking baby steps to address the issue, i get typical response like dr oz bloke's 7.55PM kinda reply...

    Vs other professions in the real Biz World where the roles of the various professions within the organization have evolved as we face the demands of our shareholders, our customers, the challenges of mkt forces, global competition, for Survival... We (the layman, other professions) gripe, we whine, but all of us understand that if we don't do anythg, we will be replaced by someone else the organization can find in the global mkt place. THIS Mindset, u don't find amongst the medical professionals.. u guys r lucky that we will always need the Drs, so it's also in your hands to change the way u work.. to make life easier for your patients and for yourselves. :)

  55. Dr Oz bloke11:47 AM

    Dear Pretzel,

    To answer your question let's jsut start with : The health minister is not a doctor. Why?

    Secondly the way health care works in Singapore is that it is never really a priority in terms of planning. The priority for Singapore is the economy, creating jobs, improving trade, earning money. Health care is straight expenditure. Of course recently there has been talk about Singapore as a medical hub, but to be honest we can't compete because we are too conservative and too cautious.

    Most health issues come up when they get out of control, a so called reactionary response rather than a proactive one. Eg recent Dengue outbreak, SARS outbreak etc

    There are many reasons why doctors also do not lobby for change. For one, the younger generation doctors are under training, looking to impress. The last thing they would want to do was to lobby for anything and single themselves out as targets. The older snr and experienced doctors that you speak of are all enjoying life since they hardly have to work as hard as the junior trainees anymore. It is also not in their interest to be a target either.

    Yes it is in our hands to decide how we want to practise and decide how much money we want to earn in this high living cost society.

    So it's quit complaining and start doing something. I totally agree! :)

  56. Anonymous12:12 PM

    dr oz bloke's Qn: Why the health minister is not a Dr?

    pretzel's answer:
    .... because smthg happened during that 5 yrs in med school and the rigorous training process from housemanship until the day u finished repaying your bond...
    Result: the Drs (that JC pals/brainy cousin u used to hang out wif) no longer able to "multi-task" and think with a helicopter perspective... :Pp
    ... vsome pre-occupied wif the restrictive career path, quite sad when some become disillusioned and juz give up, and juz go along wif the flow...

    ... actually not true, lah..
    I've got an MBA classmate who's a trained dr but chose to run the hosp instead of going into practice. He's a bit slow, n v impressed wif the rest of us during case studies discussions in mktg, startegy, financial modules... but when he grasps the concepts n how the biz world works, he always come up with interesting ideas. :)

  57. pretzel12:29 PM

    stop worrying too much about being "targets"...

    Eg: if someone can work out a decent work hr schedules for the drs and nurses @ the polyclinics, we get a win-win solution, rite?

    Those snr, experienced Drs should be more pro-active in changing the way medical fratenity contributes to society. IF u make life better for your juniors, then u don't hafta worry for your children n grandchildren, n great grandchildren when they wanna follow your footsteps/ideals as Drs, isn't it?
    Whatever happened to your vision, mission, and values, and whatever oath u made when u sign your life away in order to become a Dr? :)

  58. You docs are really painting a real bleak pic of the world for me, a year 5 stoodent.

    But i guess it's true... it's going to get real tough, and many will bcome jaded. But at least we dun go thru it alone right? And i can count on you guys and gals to inspire me. Leave me some flaming footsteps to follow after hor.

  59. Adventurer2:20 PM

    Hi guys.

    Dr Bl Og: I have been reading your blog for quite some time. Very impressed, I must say. The issues you bring out enable me to vicariously envision a doctor's life.

    I have always wanted to be a doctor and so was dejected when I was refused entry to NUS Med Fac. Now, I have to fork out about S$350000 to realise my ambition. I just found out yesterday that I have been accepted into UNSW med fac. Will be starting next year immediately after I ord.

    To everyone: Are there any tips or pearls of wisdom to impart to me so as to make my transition to an Australian education system smoother? I would be grateful for any such information.


    P.S. Dr Bl Og: continue to write in to your blog, documenting your life enabling prospective medical students to have a peek into a Doctor's Life

  60. wahhh. you say yes to medicine and no to law is siao siao man.

    law fac is super shoik. :D :D :D

    (obviously tastes differ)

  61. Wa... so many aussies... haha.. this blog is becoming international.

  62. belladona2:57 PM

    actually hor, these loctors are hao lian esp the students..why must hang the stetoscope around the neck when going for lunch at the food court or canteen..care to enlighten..

  63. if not hang where? not long enough to go round my waist leh???

    we also usually don't have our own desk or locker and leaving ur stethescope around is just asking for it to be stolen.

  64. i have no idea, and given the position i'm in (ie in the system) dun wanna waste brain power trying to sort out the intricacies of sg's political/healthcare system. and like what dr og said, who dares to speak out against the snr docs?! i mean, even in the coporate world things like tt happen, so -shrugs-

    but to clarify, in the UK, are there two sets of docs - MRCGPs and the non MRCGPs? and are there differences in rates?

    abt the steths, yeah valid reason, but a lot of med students will bring their coats for lunch too. more jia lat. so full of things inside the pockets i sometimes see them hang all the way down to the floor lor!how sanitary.

    1)remember what you're in med for
    2)remember how much it costs
    3)remember you're coming back to sg as an HO
    4)remember how much it costs


  65. Anonymous4:49 PM

    hiee.. dr oz blog, pls cont with y s'pore isn't an accredited centre for MRCPGP exams.. interesting train of thought there.. And i totally agree with pretzel, medicine is absolutely the last bastion of old-fashioned brotherhood, fraternity with all its quaint traditions; resistant to competition and change (though tats slowly evolving with the moh,clusters tryin to lead the way...).The way docs cover up and defend each other..even how they're so concerned with the career path of their trainees and the very vocal fear of foreign competition frm NTS doctors..All these observations made me conclude as u did that the medical community juz doesn't possess tat competitive mindset, as other professions are forced to have. As to whether this is 'right' or 'wrong', it hinges on whether you think medicine is in itself distinctive frm others becoz of its inherent 'noble' motivations...........but in any case, i suppose corporatisation of medicine will happen sooner or later once all the old-timers die out and the values they exemplify die along with them..drowned out by the siren of materialism....

  66. Dr Oz bloke10:07 AM

    It's dr oz BLOKE not blog :)

    Anyway, Dr BL Og got the answer already.

    The reason why Singapore rejected the offer from Australia to be a FRACGP exam centre (Malaysia is an accredited exam centre by the way) and also did not want the MRCGP to be held here is simply because they did not want GPs to have easy routes to work overseas.

    Most specialists would not go abroad to work. Some have and they have returned. Why? When you are a consultant in hospital with HOs, MOs, Registrars to basically service you life is damn good. Plus you put in all those hours of work to get where you are.

    Now to say I want to be a specialist overseas, one would have to work as a registrar there for a period of time, maybe take exams again. Would specialists be willing to do that? Give up having all the subordinates to do their work for them? Now I can tell you that a lot of specialists in Singapore talk BIG especially in the OTs of how professor who and who during their HMDP attachments asked them to stay and work with them blah blah blah. Those are all empty boasts. I have not seen consultants move abroad to work so far. They are tired or have no guts.

    Now for GPs the situation is different. For one the training is not so long. You work for about 4 years, then you can take the exams. After you pass the exams most countries would recognize you as a specialist GP equivalent to their own. Most GPs would be in their mid 30s if they wanted to consider moving at this stage. A nice age if you were to ask me.

    And unlike specialists who work in hospitals, GPs do not have HOs, MOs and registrars to do their dirty work for them. So there is not much change when the GP moves abroad.

    Perhaps MOH foresaw this as a problem and thus made attempts to prevent a massive exodus from happening?

    Besides in Singapore specialist GP qualifications are not recognized by and large. There is no respect associated with the qualification.

    Most people would call GPs cough and cold doctors or MC givers etc.

    Just a side note. In the recent NHS 2004 on hypertension also found that the proportion of known hypertensives
    with good blood pressure control (BP <140/90 mmHg) was 49.5%,
    while the proportion among those on treatment was 52.9%. In
    addition, 38.5% of those found to have hypertension in the NHS had
    not been previously diagnosed.

    Now it does not take a genius to see that the difference between treatment and non-treatment was about 3.4%!!!!

    paragraph 5 of page 16


    Evidence to show that the medication/management of hypertension by doctors in Singapore is not that good. There has always been too much emphasis on pharmaceutical intervention rather than lifestyle modifications which are by far more important of the two.

    Clearly somethings are not ideal. Time spent per patient among other things.

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