Jan 11, 2020

Travelog: Bali - Day One

After so many years of not travelling, finally I was given the chance (and the time) to do so. Actually, I did went travelling last year; together with my family we joined a travel tour to Padang, Indonesia. We felt cheated, tho. The fact that the tour group consisted of teachers making "feel good" trip for the sake of completing their yearly requirement or some bullshit meant that WE had to follow the school trip's itinerary. I was so mad with the whole trip I made no effort in making a travelog.


Anyway, that's enough for an introduction. Let bygones be bygones.


Now, let's talk about BALI!!


The trip to Bali is a honeymoon trip. Initially, I proposed to my wife to go to Japan for honeymoon but seeing that we were both very much broke (still are, huhu) so we looked into other options including Maldives, New Zealand, and Ipoh (okay, this is my idea of a second getaway right after the first one). My wife then suggested Bali and I was like, hey, not a bad idea.


We made plans for Bali months before the trip. Earlier when we started planning for our wedding back in March I introduced to her the wonderful world of Google Docs where users can view and edit the documents online at the same time. We had such fun planning this over calls and shared documents. I won't give you details of our documents but if you can squint your eyes, here's how our Google doc file looks like: 


I know, I'm such a nerd. LOL.


Million thanks to my wife for spearheading the search for the details about the trip. I think that's the dynamic of us - me making the general idea and direction while my wife fine-tuning the whole thing. We scoured the Internet for places worth going in Bali, accommodations to stay, the costs for every attractions, the best supirs, and many more.
  1. For flights, the cheapest we could find was Airasia. 
  2. For accommodations, we went for hotels / resorts over Airbnb. 
    • In Kuta, we chose Mercure Hotel (there's two Mercure hotels, go for the one facing the beach)
    • In Ubud, we chose Onje Villa.
  3. For supir (tour guide/driver) - google Pak Yanto. Almost every Google search for the best supirs in Bali will show Pak Yanto. Why we chose Pak Yanto? 
    • It's a huge family business.
    • They are muslims, so they will recommend and show you halal eateries.
    • There's so many good reviews about them
    • They are easily reachable. 
    • The fee is set after we confirmed with them our itinerary. That way we can be reassured there won't be any surprise added charges when we were there. 
    • We will not share the supir and the car with other tourists. 
    • The car they provided for us was a Mitsubishi's Ertiga. Other options are all MPVs, which is suitable for small groups of people like a family or couples. 
    • They will suggest which place worth going, and they are FINE with it if you refuse. 
  4. Places to go - we researched long and hard for this and decided that the mood for our trip is relaxing and easy-paced. There is a few must-go attractions in Bali that are iconic and should not be missed, but with the timing and location we did not go to Pura Lempuyang temple which is famous for the insta-worthy picture of its Gate of Heaven. 
  5. Itinerary - we made it on our own. We searched each of the place we're going on the Internet, locating where they are, how far from the hotels, and the duration to complete the whole tour for each day. We confirmed it with our supir, who repeatedly said that he will bring wherever that we wish to go (within reason) because it's our honeymoon. 

Day One


We were late. It was my fault and it was a damn close shave. We nearly missed the flight but somehow, luckily, we managed through. When we finally settled down in our seats, drenched with sweats as we cool ourselves with the tiny jets of air-conditioned air overhead, I remembered something about how we only truly know about ourselves as a couple when these things are involved: Money and Travel. We both were very much amazed at how we quickly put our heads together and made a plan on the spot when under pressure. There's much to this tale, but it's the story for both of us that we won't ever forget!


The flight took 2 hours and a half, so and so. After we comfortably ate in the plane, followed by a fresh cup of warm coffee (for me), we proceeded to sleep (first revelation of us as a couple) and woke up when the plane descended for landing.


The airport, or bandara, is very clean and looks new. I read that a huge renovation was made to accommodate the numbers of tourists that flock to Bali.


Hers and mine :)


Sunset here in Bali is one hour earlier than in Malaysia, although there is no time zone difference. Hence, by 6 pm, the sun will set. As we arrived around 2.30 pm, we still had hours to go. We already had lunch in the air so we went to Agung Bali first to kill time and to browse for souvenirs. The items here are not as cheap as anywhere else and the prices are fixed so don't bother to barter. However, the t-shirt designs are pretty and can't be found elsewhere.



You can compare the prices of souvenirs sold at the airport and at Agung Bali with shops elsewhere in Bali whether in Kuta, Ubud, Tanah Lot etc. in order to get the feel of the range of prices. Airport, being airport, sell expensive souvenirs that are premium looking. Agung Bali merchandises are like the "official" souvenirs, while the rest can be from poor knockoffs to hidden gems.



We didn't buy anything from there at that time. Once we had toured the whole place, we went to the first and only place planned in our itinerary of Day One - dinner at Jimbaran beach.

Besarnya topi sis


Initially we are worried that it might rain in Kuta, but somehow it never does


We picked the table closest to the water (at that time) and had such a lovely time as we ate dinner while watching the sunset.


The sunset at Jimbaran beach bathed us a glow of indigo. 


The restaurant that we went to had a musollah for us to pray if we need to, but seeing that our next destination is to check in at the Mercure hotel, we opted for qasa and jama' takhir instead.


Step up your game, Mercure. What is this half-assed welcoming deco?


We checked in at Mercure hotel close to 8 pm. If you read the reviews online you'll find that this hotel is slightly more than okay-ish and it doesn't break the bank by a thin margin. The room we got was exactly as described and showcased, so we had no problems. Others might complain that the room is too small, but it's fine by us.


When we entered the room and started to unwind, suddenly there's a call.

Receptionist: Pak, everything okay? We have a cake to give to you.
Me: Cake? What cake? *getting suspicious*
Receptionist: It's a welcome cake, pak. It's for you.
Me: ummm.. is it free?
Receptionist: Gratis, pak. 
Me: Oh. *awkward* Hmm where is the cake? (god kill me)
Receptionist: Someone will come shortly to bring you the cake.
Me: Oh. Erm, hmm, okay. Thank you!


And then the doorbell rang and a young porter at the door, holding a frickin' CUPCAKE in both of his hands!! We thought it's gonna be one huge cake like a proper birthday cake with candles (at least, that's what I had in mind when they told me). We accepted the cake and crackled like madmen afterwards.

Muka sedih dikecewakan dengan harapan cake tapi dapat cupcake


The biggest strength of this hotel to me is the location. We knew roughly where it is, but we couldn't appreciate the location of this hotel in relation to other places. This hotel is located directly across the road that runs along a part of Kuta beach. The road is one of the busiest road in Kuta and at night it becomes lively. There's a number of shops and hotels around this place, which made cityboi like me a very happy man.


That's conclude our Day One in Bali. I'm going to write about every day in Bali a blog post each because I talked too much and I'm still too excited about it so I will talk at great length at everything that we went and saw LOL.


Jan 10, 2020

Major Life Update Announcement

A little quick announcement:

I'M MARRIED NOW!

 
  • We had our solemnization on Dec 8th in the morning before continuing with the bride's reception in the afternoon.
  • My side's reception was held the following week on the 15th.
  • The day after, we scrambled to Bali for our week-long honeymoon.

Okay, that's it for now. The next post will be about our travel to Bali, together with the video I managed to put together shabbily. See ya (not so) soon!

Dec 7, 2019

3 Years A Doctor

Two days ago was my third anniversary of being a doctor.



Even though it feels like it's been forever, it is just the beginning. Everyone says so, even if my heart tells me otherwise. After the hardship of doing housemanship, my placement to a chill klinik kesihatan has made me complacent. It's hard not to. This is the Respite. A safe haven. I think I deserve this break - heck, I'm lucky to even have this break. I'm literally one of the last people who got permanent placement before KKM axed that promise of job security and throw everyone under the bus.


It feels kinda surreal, to be honest. Too many close shaves I'd encountered, but miraculously I managed to hang on. I remembered being depressed when I was a houseman, but I've never seriously thought of giving up for good. For real. No matter how bleak I thought my life was heading, I never entertained the idea of quitting being a doctor.


Alas, this is no bravado. Nor do I feel the necessity to brag. But I think I was scarred badly enough when I was in medical school that nothing can faze me much after that. No bad day during housemanship could make me cry while driving alone late at night. Nothing can compare the hopelessness that I felt during my fifth year with any given day of me working as a doctor. It also doesn't mean that the hardship I endured during housemanship is a walk in the park either. I've talked plenty about it, though, so enough about that.




Three years of being a doctor. Three years of accumulating knowledge and experience. It's not much, and I fear it is not enough, but for what I am doing right now I think it is passable, albeit just barely. Most of what I learnt in Surgical and Orthopaedics rotation are fast leaving me, and what I learnt in O&G and Paeds are slowly coming back to me. Again, it's not much, but it helps me with what I'm doing right now.


I guess, at certain times, I still feel like a fraud. I used to feel this way all the time in the past, but now it only lingers from time to time. It never goes away completely, so sometimes when I'm in doubt I feel that what I am doing right now is wrong. That surely any other doctor is doing a much better job than me. This sense of insecurity, of being inferior, has long been instilled into me by products of mishap and misfortunes in the past. I can't changed what had happened long time ago, but what I am right now is an accumulation of scattered fragments of vulnerability that is hard to repair.



All I ask in life is a stable job with a stable family. I longed for a place I call my own home. I want to plant my root, make a family, and to raise it well. All of that requires me to focus my attention to more than my job. I want to be able to go home after work on time, looking after my kids (when I have one!) and spend time with my family. I want my weekends to be free at home, free to lounge around and doing house chores. It is my longest ever dream, perpetuated more firmly from my desire to escape from the all-work-no-life lifestyle while I was in housemanship.


But is that all I amount to? Does ambition mean nothing to me? Don't I wish to pursue further qualification, shouldering more responsibility, and be more than just a medical officer? Sure, my dream of having a stable family is a worthy one, noble even, but is it all it has to be? Should I strive for more than whatever it is I think I am having?


What more should I be doing? I am growing attached to the place of work I am in right now. It has medium workload, weekends off, supportive superiors and plenty of GP locum hours. This could be the place for me to plant my roots. To raise a family. Sure, it is a bit far from home (well, it's damn so far up north, to be honest), but this could be it. This. Could. Be. It.


But pursuing master may not be a bad idea. Even though it surely mean that I have to move around again, that I need to pour my brains out again studying more than ever, that I will have to work more, be responsible for more things, and that all may impact on my homely dream. Maybe the place after this will not be as nice as the one I am in. Maybe I will have less time at home. Maybe I will grow to hate being forced to work like this.


I think, for now, I will work as usual at my beloved klinik kesihatan to gain more experience. Next year I will enter the 30-year realm of adulthood. Another three years to go through before I'm even qualified to take the master program. But maybe, within that time frame I will have my answers whether to pursue specialty or not. For now, it's work and learn. Work and learn. May Allah ease.


Ameen.

Nov 23, 2019

Work Diary at Klinik Kesihatan

0645
Left home for work. Made a hot milo drink beforehand to drink while driving, with its liquid steaming warm and cozy in the black tumbler. Had to endure exactly 11 traffic lights during the drive, which depending on luck, will almost all turn green or red upon approaching the lights. The drive usually on a happy side of note thanks to the radio morning talk show and the calming paddy field scenery along the way. Sometimes curses words were uttered as I had to tow in line the tortoise-pace of village folks cycling or riding motorcycle in the middle of the village town road.


0735
Arrived at KK. Parked the car at the back of the main building at the usual spot. No roof or anything, but it's the closest spot to the building. Do I worry about the scorch of the sun baking the insides of my car and melting my wipers? Yes. Will I do something about it? Nah, fam. Punched in for the day and went to my room. Brought out my laptop, plugged the cable in, refilled my cheap-ass China-made humidifier with the tap water at the sink behind my chair, switched on Spotify and picked the Malay classic playlist.


0745
Walked to the shop lot next to the KK compound as my only sole sorry excuse of exercising. There's only three things to do in one of these days. It's either a walk to the bank to deposit my hard-earned locum money or going to the 7-11 store to buy sambal ikan bilis bread, or a walk across the road to buy kuih. 


0800
The official starting working hours of klinik kesihatan. Usually patients already came as early as 7.30 am (you people are insane) where they will register first, wait for their turn to have vital signs taken, then wait some more before being called for blood test or nurse check up or to be seen by doctors, respectively. Sometimes there are other things to attend to so early in the morning such as quick meeting among us doctors, other portfolio tasks or auditing work that need to be updated. Or it could be just a casual morning with casual conversation all around.


0830
Started seeing patients. Here we see patients according to the zones covered. There are two zones, each covering a number of villages. I cover Zone 1, meaning all patients who come from Zone 1 will be seen by me. The two big chunks of cases I see are of NCD and MCH. NCD is non-communicating diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cholesterolaemia. Those big three is usually coined as penyakit tiga serangkai. MCH stands for Maternal and Child Health, and that includes seeing pregnant mother, postnatal cases, family planning, and child development milestones. 


I hated my O&G posting when I was a houseman. I hated kids as well, despite it was a smooth sailing during my posting in Paeds back then. Just my luck to land at KK to do this day by day! But I kinda enjoy it. No lousy rounds, no shouting or telling offs, and definitely no malignant people. I do feel intimidated and unprepared from time to time, but I think I gradually do okay. I make sure my documentation is thorough, so that hospitals won't question my management here. Ye la, MO KK kan MO cabuk je.


1200
Patients started to dwindle in numbers. On better days, I became jobless as early as 11.30 am. On bad days, I finished seeing patient exactly at 1 pm, which then I proceeded to have my lunch.


1300
Oooh, here came the one-hour lunch break. Walked across the road to tapau lunch food. White rice with either chicken or beef with vegetables usually cost me RM4 - RM5.50. Went back to my desk, ate my lunch with much gusto. Once full, I walked to the bed in the room. It was time for daily siesta. Oh yesssss...


1415
Woke up groggily. It's always a good nap if I managed to score one or two dreams in it. Went upstairs to pray Zuhur. Aha, an empty office chair! A lil quick nap of 10 minutes after prayer then.


1430
Patients started to wait outside the door. It's time to see them. Mood still over on the high side, because it's only for another 2 hours and half before finishing work.


1630
No more patients in the clinic. Went upstairs to pray Asar. Started to pack my things.


1657
Switched off the air-conditioners and humidifier. By the time I reached the attendance clocking machine, it would be exactly at 1700 (it comes with a lot of practice of going back exactly on time LOL). Once the machine said, "thank you", I walked to my car, started the engine, and drove away without a backward glance.


1700
The official closing hour of a klinik kesihatan. 


1740
Reached home or locum clinic.

Oct 31, 2019

Part 4- Settling In [end]

On my second day of working in KK, I ran down a man with my car.




It was just after work. My fingerprint ID was not registered in the system yet, so I just walked out the clinic once the clock stroke 5 pm. I parked my car in front of the main building; the sheltered parking slots for medical officers were full and I don't have my favourite parking place yet.


My mind was in a dazed. After two days of learning the ropes of working in KK, I more or less managed to function serving the locals here, albeit only at 60% efficiency I gathered. I learnt the basics of antenatal ultrasound scanning, doing the RMEs (routine medical examination) for both the pregnant ladies and children, managing the diabetes mellitus and hypertension patients, and knowing when to refer to the district hospital or the tertiary hospital.


Before I reversed the car, I had checked the rear mirror and it was clear. But stupid me didn't realized that I did a left turn reverse. And who was there, minding his own business as he was putting his medicine into the basket case of the motorbike but an elderly gentleman with a DISABILITY?


The crash was soft but unmistakably "crunchy". I thought I only ran over a parked motorbike. I quickly went out to inspect the bike but to my absolute horror there's a man lying on the ground, his already deformed left leg pinned down by his own bike. I heaved up the bike, releasing the man from the weight and the other staff, who quickly went out to see what's going on, helped the poor man on his ground.


We assessed the man and he was fine. He repeatedly said he was fine, that he had nothing serious. But I was chagrined and feeling dreadful. The old man then rode his bike off with his broken side mirror without me having the chance to give him some money. There's a slight dent at my car's bumper but the dent in my heart was much bigger.


I met the old man, again, last month when he came for his appointment. Turned out he was in my care zone (I covered a certain radius of area here that covers a number of villages, including the one this old man from) and I was free to see him. When he came in to the room and sat down, as soon as we had eye contact both of us were remembering the day I ran him over. Both of us smiled sheepishly and we ended the consultation with a laugh.


There's too much to tell about what's happening in the last 4 months of me working here in KK. Much of it is uneventful. At times I do miss the craziness and the peculiarity of the cases found back in Klang, but with the advantages of lunch break, acceptable patient load and the very fact that I can go back home by 5pm sharp on weekdays (weekends off, uolls), I am liking this new workplace very much so.


With it, however, came an end for my ambition to pursue FRCEM papers. I took a few months to come to term with it, and as of now, I am not looking to pursue any paper, not even FMS. This might change in the future, but for now I am very much in the knee-deep preparing for a big chapter in my life and what may come later will just have to wait.


That's it for my last part of new MOship transfer posts. I will be posting less frequently about my work here (seeing that there's hardly exciting thing to talk about) and I foresee that I will actually post only 3-4 posts per year. This blog is far from dead, though. Just drop a comment if you guys have any suggestion/question and thank you for reading!







Aug 24, 2019

Part 3 - House Hunting

Continuing off from the last post,

I managed to wake up early. The boutique hotel didn't have breakfast included, so I had a quick breakfast at the McDonald's before setting off. My first plan was to rent a house somewhere a bit close to the district PKD. From what I gathered, the distance from the PKD to my KK is equivalent to a 15-min drive by car. Like I said, it's quite a reasonable town, albeit a bit bare to my needs.


One thing about small towns is that they don't have many neighbourhood to begin with. There is no high rise buildings, meaning no apartments. The neighbourhoods that are there are not recent and there is no new property projects here. What it means to me, as I horridly had to find out as I drove 10 kmp/h looking at each row of streets for an advertisement, is that house for rent is NONE to be found here.




After I had combed out all the neighbourhoods and massively failed to find any, I had to quit my search for the day. I had a terrible motion sickness from having to crane my neck left and right, looking at the houses. This is the second time I had motion sickness from being a driver; the first one was during the drive to the stupid Fraser Hill. I literally drove back to my hotel, ate a cup of noodles, then slept it off to cool down the dizziness.


The next day I decided to have a second look, but this time around towns in Penang. I started off with the nearest Penang town to my KK. What I can see is, although these two towns are similar in size, they are giving off a very different vibe. A Penang town has busier traffic with more asshole drivers. I needed to drive slow and I went to all neighbourhoods there, looking for an ads. Some of the houses are too big and without a doubt beyond my measly budget, and even then there is no available rent house.


All these damn houses but no ads for rent


I've decided that going streets upon streets looking for an ads was inefficient. I drove back to my hotel to have a rest and in the afternoon I switched on my laptop and I browsed for a rent house online. There was a few ads that caught my interest but when I contacted them the houses were no longer available to rent.


At that time I was considering Bukit Mertajam as well. Yeah, sure, it takes an hour from there to arrive to my KK, not mentioning of the toll that I have to use. But it is a big city. There's a Tesco, an Aeon, there's Starbucks, TGV cinema, McDonalds, Xin Fu Tang, and a lot more fancies. Will I have to spend a fortune to live here? Absolutely. Will it be too much of a hassle to drive to work everyday? You betcha. But it has the city life that I am so used to.


I finally found an ads online that was quite reasonable. The place was approximately 45-min drive away from my KK and the route doesn't involve tolls. The house itself was new and had no previous occupants. I contacted the agent, discussing about when I could see the house. After short exchange, we agreed to meet on Friday afternoon, after I finished my course.


The next two days I had to attend an orientation course for the new PKD staff. I checked out from the hotel and dredged all my belongings in the car as I drove to this very small, fishing village surrounded with plantations. I was very skeptical throughout the journey. For such a backwater place, why on Earth they put a KK here? A klinik desa (KD) should suffice, really.


After many corners and turns, coupled with the GPS losing signal and the eerie empty road that stretches for miles, lo and behold - the biggest KK in the whole district. I was flabbergasted. It was new but it is so underutilized that three quarter of the facilities are empty and not functioning. The amount of patients that come to this KK per day is less than 40 but hear this: this KK can easily accommodate up to 300 patients per day, judging from the size of it alone.



Our literal reaction when first setting foot here


The course itself was uneventful. I checked in to a small boutique hotel at the nearest town and checked out the next day. After the event finished, I went for Friday prayer and drove to the meeting place.


First impression - excellent. The house is in this property development that are gated. Guests had to stop their vehicle and register before entering while residents have their own tag card, similar to Touch&Go TAG system. The security does their patrol periodically, there's a big park where residents do their exercises and walk their dogs, and trees are planted along the streets. Overall it looked lush and almost serene. I like it.


The house itself is a small, one storey-height terrace. I have a lawn that needs an overhaul. Inside, there's only one small, cramped bathroom that is totally not up to my taste. There's not enough water pipe and no indoor drain so a proper place for a washing machine is out of the picture. The place also reeks of fertilizers. People say that next to this place there is an animal farm, specifically a pig farm, so they are saying that the smell might be from it. Gross. The smell is so repugnant in the night, early morning and after rain. If you are indoor, it's fine. Once you step foot out of the house, pengsan. My mom said Penang is always like that and all I think is, man this sucks.


Me frantically searching for the source of the stinking smell. Ergh.


The nice thing about this place is that the property developer made a deal with TIME Internet for built-in fibre optics. That means, if people decided to subscribe TIME wifi plan, all they need to do is for TIME worker to come to their place and plug in the modem and the router. No drillings, wiring etc. required. I knew about TIME for so long and their price is too good to be true for the speed that they are offering. Anyway, after I took pictures of the house and discuss it with my family, my mom advised me to take it. So I discussed more with the agent, signed all documents needed, and boom! I'm done with my house hunting.


The next and the last part of this series would be about Settling In. That's it for now and thank you for reading this long-winded post of mine hahah. I had to spill it all out before I forget about this whole thing. See ya!