On a minister

My good friend could not agree with what I said in my previous post.

My friend: “He should not even have posted that photo in the first place.”

Me: “Why not? It’s his social media. Can you imagine someone dictating what you post on your Instagram story?”

My friend: “But he is a Minister. Do you think you’ll ever see Yeo Bee Yin or Hannah Yeoh posting a photo of themselves in bikini?”

Me: “First and foremost, it’s entirely up to Yeo Bee Yin and Hannah Yeoh to decide what they want to post on their social media. Secondly, this is not an entirely accurate analogy. What Syed Saddiq did was a form of therapy. It was not something we can say for sure that he did out of vanity.”

My friend: “He can do whatever therapy he wants but why did he have to post it up?”

Me: “He is at liberty to do whatever he thinks fit.”

My friend: “Was it a fit thing to do as a minister? To post a photo of himself shirtless?”

Me: “How was that photo definitive of his capability as a minister?”

On a doctor

Dr Ian Bong

The Facebook post by Miya Wong about her housemanship experience sparked debates within the medical field. Mira shared her story (in 3 parts: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) about the toxic environment that she had to work under during her housemanship. She was certainly not alone. Her experience echoed with many similar stories shared by housemen, their parents, their siblings, and their peers.

As with any and every thing one say and do, people will always have something negative to say. The gist of the main criticism being – you are going to be a doctor, someone who deals with life and death everyday, it is a tough job and you should know this, otherwise just quit.

It all boils down to one word two words – expectations unrealistic expectations.

With great power comes unrealistic expectations

Sorry I need to break this to you but both Syed Saddiq and Miya Wong are neither God nor Goddess. They are, ordinary human beings. Like us, they eat, shit, tweet, sleep, and repeat. They fart in public and hope no one realises it. When they go through a few group photos of the same occasion, they will more likely than not, choose the one which they look best and post it. They have down times. They get tired from work. They have self-doubts. They beat themselves up when they receive criticisms. They have sleepless nights over things people say to them.

What sets them apart is, unlike many of us, they have extraordinary callings in life. The titles they carry are expected to be synonymous to perfection. They have on their shoulders unforgiving burdens and responsibilities. If to err is human, people certainly expect them to be God and Goddess.

So as they strive to do their best, I call for everyone to have realistic expectations on them. Treat them like ordinary human beings while (realistically) expecting them to do great things. Encourage and give constructive criticism on how they can perform better. If you won’t yell at your patient, why would you yell at your housemen? If you won’t allow a teacher in school to swear at your child, why would you swear at your housemen? If the thought you have when the shirtless photos of Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama were out was that they look fit and healthy, why a different opinion when Syed Saddiq’s ice bath photo was posted?

As for people out there with extraordinary callings in life, I end my post by sharing this quote with you:

Even if you are perfect, the world isn’t. The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hands or judgment will slip, and yet still struggle to win for your patients. You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.

Paul Kalanithi, ‘When Breath Becomes Air’

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