I reminisce, my journey to Trinity College Dublin was not as simple as one might think. I was not even in Ireland bound group before when I was in my preparation college. We have too big a number to be given an equal chance or free choice to any countries that we would like to go, therefore we are placed in groups based on possible countries we might fly in to, for example Aussie-NZ bound, UK bound, and Ireland bound. I chose to be placed in UK bound, too much EPL i guess, that makes me think UK is the ‘right’ choice. I had given my best (maybe) to get a place in one of 4 UK universities that I applied to. Those 4 universities were Newcastle Upon Tyne, Aberdeen, Liverpool and I couldn’t remember the last one. All in all, I couldn’t imagine how much effort i put up to get a place and to be told that none of my applications UCAS successful.
Nobody understood me better than my Daddy when i sms-ed him telling him news on the rejections by all the UK universities which i really looked forward to. I expected to get at least an offer out of possible four. His reply was very supportive this time. That brought me back further to a conversation I had with my Daddy, who was also a Doctor, along the journey back from KL to KB. I was asking for his opinions on my decision to take up medicine as a career. Shockingly, he neither encouraged me, nor he disagree with me. I was hoping that he will say more on the profession of a doctor, since he was in that line and that will make my job easy. I will listen to what he’s going to say and decide from there. That did not come to a reality of course, when he said he’s not going to interfere with my decision at that stage in my life? To hear that from a much beloved father, I was shocked and from Karak to Kuala Krai, i didn’t say a word. I protested in silence. To make it worse, there was just the two of us in the green Honda Accord our family nicknamed as ‘ WAFFLE’.
Only after we reached Kuala Krai he told me that medical profession is not a simple job, not only it’s nobility that should be the main factor of throwing yourself into medical school, but it demands honesty, interest, and care-less for money. Well I’m not too surprised this time except for the last factor, why money is not the main driving factor? Doctors do get paid highly anywhere in this world. I responded, by arguing many doctors are wealthy and in Kota Bharu, doctors are one of the biggest group of Royal Kelantan Golf and Country Club (KGCC) members, a club equivalent to Sultan Suleiman Club in Kampung Baru, the place where aristocrats, technocrats, corporates and ‘keparats’ (read: some politicians) meet, drink, eat and sing few karaoke songs. Again, he stressed his point by saying medical is not the line to get rich. It’s just not the right channel. You better off be a businessmen to get rich.
That conversation took place in the year 2001, and only now I think I understand it fully. I took 7 years of continuous thoughts while trying to digest that particular one of many conversations I had with my Daddy.
I am 4 years now in the medical course, my day to day life is not that fun anymore, with attachments, tutorials, exams, vivas, lecture notes and books to read. What more, being away from Malaysia, all things must be taken care all by myself. But all those things doesn’t really matter to me, what matter the most is, I have lost a great person to turn to when I need to seek from first hand advices. After a few good years after my conversation with Daddy, everything started to make sense, there’s nothing more obvious than honesty and great interest in the profession that helped me getting through along this course, and I never, for once, thought about the physical rewards of becoming a doctor to keep my foot in this course. I am eagerly looking forward to life after 5 lengthy, tiring, demanding years in medical school, but just to realize that, I no longer have my Daddy to share and compare my experiences with his.
With a year to go, hopefully, I will start a life my Daddy used to live in, and as time goes on, I certainly will understand and fully acknowledge the wisdom my Daddy shared with me, and I will never forget that moment in my life…
Dr. Ramli Idris, graduated from UM in early 70s and had since become a General Practitioner (GP). All his life as a doctor, he served the people in Kelantan, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, and Brunei. He passed away in his sleep on 4th of August 2006 just days after returning home from working in his clinic in Gua Musang. Most importantly, he is and will always be my beloved Daddy. Al-fatihah
I dedicate this poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling to the memories of my Daddy, and all the fathers and sons in this world.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!