I am an ENT Surgeon by profession practicing in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. My work begins at 7.00 am when I start driving my wife to work, a distance of thirty five kilometres from home. After dropping her off I then continue my journey to my morning practice of the day which will be a few yards away from where she works (on Tuesdays and Fridays), or it may be a return trip to the hospital near home (on Mondays and Wednesdays). On Thursdays I go on to the charity hospital where I have an operation list in the morning. On saturdays the routine is quite simple, dropping my wife to work then proceeding to the charity hospital to have my clinic session. On Sunday mornings I might not go to work but more frequently I go on to one, two or all three hospitals to do my morning rounds for ny post-operative patients.
The afternoon is quite simple. Except for Fridays and Saturdays I do clinic sessions at the charity hospital which is actually my main practice. Then it back to my wife at 5:30 pm and driving back home together. If we are lucky we might get home and see our three baby boys by 6:30 pm. However if the traffic jam is heavy on the day we may be delayed by half an hour or so.
Breakfast along the highway on the way to work. Our servant girl would have prepared a simple meal of black sweet coffee, toast and eggs or hamburgers. my wife earnt to have her own breakfast and then wait for the car to settle running smoothly along the new Klang–Kuala Lumpur dual carriageway before giving me mine which also includes a multivitamin pill and two herbal tablets.
Lunch is light and simple. For me it simply means a mars chocolate and a soya bean drink at office wherever U may be that day.
Tea is served along the highway, the only difference being it has to be bought from a stall on the way back.
Night is spent recovering from the traffic jam.
Why do I do it when I could have easily settled down as a University lecturer in kelantan and have a fairly quiet academic life. It is a combination of circumstances and the ever present drive to prove one self. This must have begun from the early kampong days when life was very difficult thirty years ago. the ever present inferiority complex persisted throughout the boarding school years and this was made worse by the six years of medical school in egypt only to come back and found out that many of the things that one learnt from there was not applicable in this country. But this was nothing compared to the ten year struggle of working and studying for the final fellowship examinations when others took three to five years only.
However all those pain and suffering disappeared about one year ago when I finally felt that I have achieved the level I wanted in life and the busy schedule is part of the therapy, an answer to all the years of reading and working to gain operative skill and experience.
My next aim is to go back to the rural society where I was born and start a two weekly charity clinic on Sundays, a project which is well on the way.
Written by Dr. Mohd Hafiz Ali on 1997.