Succession in Medical Profession


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..

Colloquial Malaysian English


When I first decided to write on this blog, I had to challenge myself to write in English. I was not sure whether I could write using perfect English. However, to my mind, most Malaysian, like I am, can write and speak English. Many have inferiority complex.

Malaysians have been thought for so long to watch out for their grammar. As a result, we failed to communicate effectively in English because ‘we are too careful with grammar’.

I think this attitude has to be changed. We have to break the psychological barrier.

Malaysians use a lot of ‘colloquial Malaysian English’ when they communicate to each other. Interestingly, colloquial Malaysian English is not spoken uniformly throughout the country as it depends very much on their mother tongue i.e whether they are Chinese-, Tamil- or Malay-educated.

Let’s borrow an example on Colloquial Malaysian English from Adibah Amin’s work.

Housewife: Your fish so flabby, no good one.
Fishmonger: Like that already hard what. How hard one you want? You want stone, want wood. I can’t find.
Housewife: You half past six lawyer one. Give little bit cheap la, this fish.
Fishmonger: Oh, that’s why you said that kind, said my thing flabby, you want cheap-cheap.
Housewife: You don’t want to give, I look at other places.
Fishmonger: Look, look la, wait you come back look for me also.

Let me just stop here to have a good laugh. Ha..Ha.. Ha..

Basic Desire


Some people believe our deep desires arise automatically. As we satisfy one, we automatically experience another and ask for something else. Nearly everyone of us want power, success, knowledge etc. Nearly everybody has desire for those kind of achievement, the exceptions are rare..very rare.

The question is do we consciously choose what we want from life. In another word, is desire predetermined or acquired?

I think we have to agree to the fact that individuals vary in how intense each desire is experienced. Perhaps the individual differences in desire partially reflect genetic variations across individuals. For example some people are born with a strong tendencies toward aggression, others are not. Don’t you think, no two people have exactly the same desire?

Well, now, let us look at this scenario. All parents instinctively love their children. But then we do see children perceive the parental love differently. Why? Because parents express their love differently. In this regard the so call, the desire to express their love differently depends on many factors such as culture, learned habit, religious and moral values. These factors are essentially – the acquired factors.

So, finally do you get what I am trying to illustrate – Basic desires are both predetermined and acquired. Your superego must be strong enough to control them. Have you acquire enough skills to control your desire?

You have the answer!

Banker to the Poor


I presented to my friend a book, “Banker to the Poor” by the Nobel laureate, Prof Mohammad Yunus.

Prof Mohammad Yunus who is known as the “banker to the poor” for making small loans in impoverished countries, is now doing business in the center of capitalism — New York City. In the past year the first U.S. branch of his Grameen Bank has lent $1.5 million, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, to nearly 600 women with small business plans in the city’s borough of Queens. Grameen America says its loan repayment rate is more than 99 percent. In fact, U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced the creation of a $100 million microfinance growth fund for small lenders in the Western Hemisphere to allow poor people to continue making loans despite the global recession (1).

It is interesting to note the emerging of new subject in economy called Social Business. It is based on Prof Yunus work, complimented by a statements made by The President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Bjorn Stigson, “Business cannot survive in societies that fail.” As Yunus noted, “Half of the world’s population lives on two dollars a day. Over one billion people live on less than a dollar a day.” (2)

Does it means a failure to capitalism as socialism has miserably failed in the Eastern and Central Europe? Does it means the West is learning some wisdom from the East? Leave it to time to tell us the answer.

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(1) Reuters
(2) http://muhammadyunus.org

Know the problem member


Let me continue some of the discussions on meeting by introducing different types of problem members.

1. The Latecomer always come to the meeting late, making a big commotion, stopping the meeting and wanting to be caught up.

2. The Early leaver drains the energy of the meeting by leaving before it it ends. There is nothing worst than continuing the meeting with people slowly drifting out.

3. The Broken-record keeps bringing up the same point over and over again. Use the group memory to remind such members.

4. The Doubting Thomas constantly puts down everything, is always negatives and assumes you are wrog until you proves yourself right.

5. The Dropout sits at the back of the room. does not do anything or he read a book or iPod. He tends to be quite disturbing to the chairperson. You’re trying to run an energetic creative meeting and there he sits yawning or reading the newspapers.

6. The Whisperer is constantly whispering to a neighbour, and can be very irritating. It is difficult to concentrate with people whispering and gigling near you.

7. The Loudmouth talks too much and too loud, dominayes the meeting and is seemingly impossible to shut up.

8. The Attacker launches pesonal attacks on another member or the chairperson.

9. The Interpreter always speak for other people.

10. The Gossiper introduces hearsay and gossip into the meeting.

11. The know-it-all uses credentials, age, legth of service or status to argue point.

12. The Backseat driver keeps telling the chairperson what he should be doing.

13. The Interrupter starts talking before others are finished. Often he does not mean to be rude but becomes impatient and overly excited

Islam and the US


I read with great interest Obama called for new effort for 2-state solution on 4 June 2009. Before that in Turkey and Cairo Obama had called for new beginning between US and Muslims. “America and Islam are not exclusive,” he said, “and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

To start with, there has been a long love-hate relationship between Islam and the West. Muslims in the early days saw modern world with skepticism and prejudice. Maryam Jameelah wrote in Islam and Modernization, 1966, “Modernism is a militant revolt against religion and all the spiritual values it represents. From its birth place in the West, this malignant cancer has invaded virtually every country in the world destroying the indigenous cultures of the East, so much so that it has become the prevailing universal faith”.

Samuel J. Huntington in The Clash of Civilization, Journal of Foreign Affairs, 2003 asserted that world politics is entering a new phase, in which the great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of international conflict will be cultural. Civilizations-the highest cultural groupings of people-are differentiated from each other by religion, history, language and tradition. These divisions are deep and increasing in importance. From Yugoslavia to the Middle East to Central Asia, the fault lines of civilizations are the battle lines of the future. In this emerging era of cultural conflict the United States must forge alliances with similar cultures and spread its values wherever possible. With alien civilizations the West must be accommodating if possible, but confrontational if necessary. In the final analysis, however, all civilizations will have to learn to tolerate each other. He hypothesized that the fundamental source of conflict that will occur between nations and groups is based on the clash of civilization.

Despite the fact that some people believe that conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq is due to ‘oil politics’, it is hard to deny the fact that the events that lead to 9/11, the Gaza massacre (at the end of Bush administration) proved significantly that the Bush administration is very much go against Islam, the belief that is shared by majority of Muslims worldwide.

Obama’s speech was perceived with a mixture of goodwill and skepticism. Iran warned that “beautiful” words alone could not remove the distrust the Middle East feels toward Washington. To date, significant rifts remain between the peoples of the United States and the Muslim and Arab worlds. New data from the U.S.-based Pew Center show Arab approval ratings of the U.S. president have improved, generally, since Obama took office, but are still low in most Arab countries

What more Obama can do?

Obama needs to address the Israeli-Palestinian issue thoroughly. He has to indicate a willingness to reestablish sustained dialogue between Israel and Palestine. Muslims believe this is the root of the problem as Muslims worldwide feel the pain and suffering of their brothers in the Palestine. He has to emphasize the necessity of mutual trust and he should firmly express his confidence in that dialogue process. Obama should indicate his broad policy goals which include detailing the road map to independent state for the Palestinians. To my mind, in general, US shouldn’t seek any territory any more. US shouldn’t seek to capture any resources or whatsoever, which might be seen as arm twist tactic of the world superpower.

Muslim people needs to be better educated. Muslim world needs to liberate its people from bullheadedness, poverty and diseases. Muslim countries especially in the Middle East must practice total democracy. Reform is needed in politic, social and economy. Terrorism must be condemned. Last but not least, the faith must be upheld.

Group-think


One of the interesting phenomenon that often creeps up in meetings is group thinking. Often we see members are quick to agree on any topic of discussion. This is the weakness of having meetings more than 2 hours or near the lunch time.

The etiology of group-think.

1. Time pressure (I got to beat the traffic jam..I got to fetch my children from school)
2. Lack of free expression especially when the chairperson is too autocratic.
3. When the decisions are already been decided by the chairman.
4. When members are too careful to speak-up, they are afraid to make any comments. Often because they scare that their ideas are going to be shut down by the chair person. At he end, they choose to shut up.
5. When members look at the problem just from one paradigm. Hence, they already close their mind to another options. As a result they see just a single solution.
6. Sometimes it become a taboo that if someone asks a lot of question and presents a lot of view, the meeting process would be too long and decisions become more difficult to reach consensus. Some people would argue on the process and the decision making procedure.
7. Anxiety to speak-up and argue is common. Social phobia is a condition when people feel anxious to speak in public and subject to feeling of being scrutinized in public.

Signs to watch out for group-think.

1. When everybody start to nod their head on every suggestions then the time may be right to stop the meeting.
2. When people are tired of constructive ideas and criticism they go to the extend of downgrading “the opposition”.
3. When somebody try to speak but stop as to censor himself from further talking, he may be doing self-censorship. As a result, others may do the same too.
4. When everybody rationalize on the same point.
5. Many a times members will say, “let’s just agree”

Group-think is highly undesirable as it decreases objectivity and openness to new and diverse viewpoints.

Few steps to improve the meeting process.

1. Encourage diversity of viewpoint.
2. Legitimize disagreement.
3. Generate new ideas instead of evaluating ideas.
4. Discuss the pros and cons of each ideas.
5. Don’t just brush off new ideas, instead, think through it more than once.
6. Examine the group process.