Archive for June 2009

Tranquility is the absence of disturbance and turmoil.

If you have strong desire for tranquility, you need to modify your lives that significantly reduce all sort of stress. For instance, you may need to change your career or turned down promotions because you did not want the added stress of the new position. On the other hand, if you have a weak desire for tranquility, it means you can tolerate significant level of stress.

I, for sure, love tranquility. I hate moving and transferring job around the country even for the sake of promotion. I find it difficult to concentrate on what I am doing if my life is in constant turmoil. I want to be in control of my destiny. Then I will get the sense of fulfillment and proud of myself on what I am doing.

What about you?

My good friend presented me with a free pamphlet entitled, ‘Facing Death: A Testimony of A Muslim Stricken with Metastatic Cancer’ after I was told that another good friend was diagnosed to have secondaries.

The author argued that while ‘fighting with cancer’ is a misnomer, the correct attitude is redha (the true acceptance of one’s fate based upon the Muslim’s faith as decided by Allah SNT). Let Allah decide whether to heal or to take away one life after ikhtiar (commitment of trying hard to cure the illness).

Then he went on by describing how he prepared for his demise.

First and foremost, was preparation for Wasiyyah (Will), transfer of savings to those who will look after the children, spiritual counseling to those who will receive bad news.

Second was the spiritual preparation which involve deliberation on the teaching of Quran, execution on other ibadah, charity (sadaqah jariah) and dissemination of beneficial knowledge to others.

Finally, he adviced people not to feel despair over any ‘musibah’, to adopt to ‘redza and and tawakkal’ attitude and never stop reading and studying Quran.

Al-Fatihah, to a friend who had passed away peacefully at his home on 27th November 2005 and left behind a clear request to distribute this message after his demise.

May Allah gives His Mercy to his Soul.

What make some people successful over the others?

I am thinking about this question after meeting with an old friend who seemed to be ignorant about our friendship since we last parted from university. He was a brilliant fellow but academic achievement by itself did not guarantee success.

When I was asked which traits do I think important in order to make a successful person, attitude or knowledge? I would be happy to choose attitude because attitude can make a lot of difference. Knowledge can be acquired through reading textbooks and surfing the internet but attitude can’t.

Winston Churchill is famous for saying this: Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Positive mental attitude is reflected in your smile, speech, and the way you communicate. Speech is the reflection of the thought content. Speaking rude is the sign of negative mental attitude.

Let me introduce a new word Atti(r)ude; an antonym to attitude.

Jaluluddin ar-Rumi was born in 1207 in Balkh, Afghanistan When he was 12, his family left the country to escape the Mongol invasion. His family performed the pilgrimage in Mecca adn finally settled in Konya, Turkey, at that time part of the Seljuk Empire. Konya was the center of learning during Rumi’s time.

Rumi from an early age, studied religious sciences with his father, who is an eminent theological, a great teacher and da’ie (preacher). Rumi also went to Aleppo and Damascus to study with some of the greatest religious minds of the time.

His major works include the Mathnawi, the Koran in Persian and many poetry on subject related to Sufism. He undoubtedly stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic mysticism.

As a philosopher, he is a man of profound insight into the nature of mind including the nature of instincts, the power of reason over instincts, the nature of the self, of consciousness and the unconscious.

So, we have valid reasons to believe that Islamic scientists and academicians must acquire eminent brain, mind and soul to emulate great people from the past for the enlightenment of the future.

Jingo was a problem child. The psychiatrist thought his parents on some basic parenting skills i.e play with him and proper role-modeling.

One day, the father was trying to practice the advice and told the child, “I’ll get you anything you want to eat”.

Jingo thought for a moment. “I want an earthworm”. In the backyard the father found one. He set before Jingo.

“I want it cooked”. Jingo ordered. The father took it back to the kitchen and boiled it.

Jingo ordered it critically, “You eat half”. He told his father, “and I’ll eat the other half”.

The long suffering father managed to choke down half the earthworm. Suddenly Jingo let out a wild yowl: “You ate my half!”.

It comes to a point when I write straight from my mind as if someone sings his fovourite song straight from his heart. Writing has become the art. Storytelling is the skill.

When I listen to presentation given by my students, one obvious shortcoming is that their presentations lack the art of storytelling.

Psychiatric presentation is sligtly different from medical presentation in such a way that students have to present symptom history (psychopathology) as well as chronology of events. In some cases, students just concentrate on chronology of events without probing much on psychopathology. How can they make a diagnosis if symptom history is incomplete?

During presentation, students have to make sure that the audience understands the story line. The presenter has to remember that many people have short attention span particularly if the story they listen is not properly organized. The audience has to depend on imagination and visualzation. Therefore, the presenter has to take the story as close to them as he can. In order to make sure the audience ‘feels’ the presentation, the presenter must try to stimulate the audience senses through vivid account of the incident using powerful choice of words.

More often than not, the presenter tends to forget on providing the setting of events as well as the traits of the charactor. That is why the presentation appears dull and dry.

Last but not least, keep the story short. Lengthy storytelling may easily makes the audience sleeps.

Good Luck.

This year intake to local universities is dominated again by girls. It is not surprising that 65% or 2 out of 3 successful applicants this year are girls since girls work much harder than boys. Boys are playful and not serious enough in their study. Imposing quota will only create ill-feeling and injustice since those girls that we are talking about might be our daughters, nieces and girl-friends.

There are many reasons why girls seem to dominate university entrance. I believe, our educational highway provides lot of exits for boys to stop by. Take for example, GIAT MARA, community college and polytechnic. To some extent, it is good to provide vocational training for those who cannot pursue their study in a scholarly pedantic way. Unfortunately, many would just stop over and find easy way out to earn little money to support their life. In doing so, many find hard to pursue their study as a result of heavy commitment to the new life.

Malay society in particular impose many rules and restrictions to girls. They are expected to behave in some particular ways. In many situations, girls are expected to help raising younger siblings when parents go to work. They clean the house, cook food for their family and complement domestic duties of the mother. When they grow-up, they seem to master their live in a short span of time. As we were told by a scholar, “If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” Responsibility makes girls work hard in school. As a result, many earn good points or CGPAs which entitle them to take up good courses in university.

Epidemiological studies on the prevalence of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders world wide revealed that boys outnumbered girls in the prevalence of externalizing problem behaviors such as ADHD, conduct and oppositional defiant disorders as well as substance abuse and dependence. Many of them would be school drop-outs and would likely to acquire low salary jobs and suffer tremendous life events such as financial and marital problems which later lead to substance abuse and dependence. The figure released by National Anti-Narcotic Agency showed that majority (97.3%) of drug addicts in rehabilitation centers throughout the country are male.

So, let us resort back to the statement released by Datuk Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi, DG of Higher Education Dept, Ministry of Higher Education that the Ministry is not gender biased and there is no way the ministry can stabilize university intake involving genders as admission is strictly based on meritocracy. So keep the status quo, please..

I was away for the last 2 days attending Meeting on Portal Health, my uncle’s funeral and the Malaysian Conference of Psychological Medicine in KL.

It seems that in the last 2 days I was busy catching up stories with relatives and friends. At the same time, there has been an admixture of feeling from happiness, sad and sorrow to grief and bereavement.

I join my friends in the Ministry of Health to congratulate those who had been appointed to JUSA C. I think, it is an achievement of the life time. Personally, I am not sure whether I could be at par with them or not.

As a result of grief, I had published on my blog word of condolences which says everything from my heart (Memperkasa Paradigma). It was a great loss to me personally. For one who had experienced losing both parents, losing a father-figure is really a blow to the fragile self.

It is also a happiest moment meeting Professor Malhi since we last met and had a lunch together in Singapore last year.

My journey end up well after attending two meetings on agalomelatine and paliperidone depot injection. Nevertheless, my emotional journey continues to flourish my heart and soul so long as I live and breath on the realm of this temporal world (selagi hayat dikandung badan).


1. Take vacations.

2. Find a retreat.

3. Don’t take work home.

4. Stay active in a hobby.

5. Escape for few minutes each day. Pray.

6. Take maximum advantahe of technology.

7. Delegate greater responsibility to subordinates.

8. Limit travel.

9. Ask your spouse for feedback.

10. Reserve time each day for children.

I find many similarities between politicians and doctors in the way they pass over their profession to the offspring.

First and foremost, many parents feel doctor is a noble profession when their children could easily move up the social strata, becoming a doctor is the simple answer to the quest of honor and glory. In some cases, the business entity like clinic and dispensary has to be handed over to the children.

The subconscious motive to many doctors is the need to pass over their legacy of wealth and generosity to the next generation.

It is a believe, to my mind, among some medical professionals that if their offspring fail to become professional equivalent to the parents, the upbringing is default in some ways or another. Becoming a flop family is a disaster. The families often gain less respect among peers and colleagues. Worst still some wive of doctors tend to compare their children achievement as the benchmark of family success. Not to mention on what car they owned and what house they lived in.

When competition is the only game in town when it comes to comparing social status, the inter-family relationship would be difficult.

The same phenomenon has also been observed among teachers as many of them are wealthy resulting from ‘privatization of the teaching profession’ in the beginning of this century.

As society progresses, challenges are unavoidable and social commentaries continue..