Saturday, February 28, 2009

Being Sensitive to All Human Tragedies Irrespective of Race, Nations, or Creed: Part 1

Assalamualaikum and good morning,

Without meaning to make light of the gravity of situation in the recent Gaza conflict, which in itself is deserving of our unbridled attention, there are other plights afflicting groups of people which we might not be aware of, due to lack of media coverage, because their plights are "not important to the political global landscape".

First, there are the plight of the Rohingyas, an ethnic group of mostly Islam by religion which traditionally lives in Arakan, in northern Myanmar. They are a marginalised community in Myanmar, deprived of their ancestral land and rights for Myanmar citizenship.
Prof. Gabriele Marranci wrote about their plight in three of his articles (in chronological order) : The other, invisible suffering of Burma; Rohingya Odyssey: a silent cultural genocide?; and Rohingya Muslims and injustice: a security issue? . Their plight are not even listed in the list of ongoing conflicts worldwide in Wikipedia.

Excerpts from Marranci's articles:

"Rohingya Muslims are victims of their lack of strategic value, both for their native Southeast Asia and the wider international community. Similarly to the tragic reality of Black Muslims in Darfur, their lives have no economic, or political, value for the rest of our cynical world."

"It is clear that the Islamic concept of ummah has little value when compared to political interests. Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh, as in other Muslim countries such as Indonesia or Malaysia , are no more welcomed than in Thailand. Rohingya Muslims have protested, even recently, and tried to make more and more people aware, especially other ‘brothers’ and ’sisters’, of their intolerable condition. Yet who is really listening to them?"

"...the majority of Muslims, even those so ready to violently scream and shamefully misbehave in the name of a free Palestine, will not whisper even a single word to help these ‘brothers’. How many Muslims have heard an imam mention the name Rohingya during his supplication (Du’a) for Afghanis, Palestinians, Iraqis and even perhaps the Chechen muhajedeen?"

" ...many Muslim governments...still play the ‘Muslim ummah’ card, as in the case of the Danish Cartoons, when it is needed for their political games - but never when ordinary Muslims, like the Rohingya, without political value to barter with, find themselves oppressed."

"...the discussion is not about them, as human beings or to address their issues, but rather about how to get rid of them as quickly as possible."

Next, is the Darfur conflict raging in Sudan. Last year, the conflict managed to grab headlines for a stretch of time, before being relegated to the dustbins of journalism. The conflict is between people of African-Arab descent (specifically the Janjaweeds, allegedly helped by the Sudanese government) and the Black Africans living in Darfur province of Sudan. UN estimated that around 300 000 people had died. Further information can be gleaned from Wikipedia and the BBC.

The Gaza conflict has ceased for the time being, but the Sri Lankan conflict is still ongoing. The conflict is between the Sri Lankan Government (dominated by the Sinhalese) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who fights for an independent state for the Tamil minority. Since the conflict initially erupted in 1983, 80 000 people has been killed. Now, after years of fighting, it seemed that the balance of power has shifted to the Sri Lankan Army, who has occupied most of north-eastern Sri Lanka (LTTE power base) and pushed the LTTE to a strip of land there.
However, about 200 000 civilians (est.) who are mostly Tamils and not affiliated to LTTE are still trapped in the crossfire.

I was drawn to these conflicts, because it seemed to me that the immediate circle of people around me are sometimes selective in tuning their compassion to the victims of human conflicts.

(to be continued...) Part 2

Broadening Your Horizons About the Gaza Incident

Assalamualaikum and good evening,

Since I havent been actively blog-hopping for the past few months, when I do blog-hop for a few hours today, digging up blog archives, there are some noteworthy articles that piqued my interest, and I would like to share with you guys.

The first group of articles is about the current Gaza conflict between Israel and Palestine (going on for close to 60 years now).

My heart goes out to all the innocent civilians who died or were maimed during the conflict, irrespective of Palestinians or Jews. Contrary to popular belief, not all Jews support the active war effort perpetrated by the Israeli government against the Palestinians, although I cant vouch as to the number of these peace-minded Jews. But it can be said that most of the casualties during the 6 decades of conflict have been Palestinians.

Read these articles with an open heart.

Prof. Gabriele Marranci argues that the conflict might be a way for both Kadima and Hamas to appease their respective citizens, trapping them in a cycle of death.
He also argues that if we truly analyze the conflict, it is a political conflict, not a religious one.

Mustafa Akyol wrote that the main problem is that both sides seemed to think that their cause is the right one, and the other side is the evil one.

Tun Dr Mahathir also wrote a series of rebuttals to the claims made by the Jews regarding the conflict.

I hope that you will gain something from them.


Entering Clinical years...Finally!

Assalamualaikum and good evening,

If my blog page is considered a bookshelf, festoons of cobwebs will be dangling from its corners.

The past few months have been very crucial for me. I was finishing my theoretical years, culminating with the important exam of Penilaian Berbasis Kompetensi Ko-Asisten, aka PBKK for short in Indonesian language. In English, roughly it translates to Med Interns Assesment Based on their Competency.

What makes PBKK more terrifying to us UGM med students was due to its nature of not relying on written answers, but rather your skills and ability to cope with pressure. Basically, you have to perform a series of clinical skills (anamnesis, delivering a baby, suturing skins, etc. ) in a limited time-frame while having your lecturers breathing up your neck like vultures feasting upon carrions.

Well, I did exaggerate a bit, hehe.

Add to the fact that you never know what your exact questions would be until the moment you enter the exam room, e.g. we know that Room 1 is for Emergency Cases, but will we get CPR and ET, or CPR with Splint? How about Integrated Patient Management (IPM)? Will I get the comparatively lightweight TB, or will I get the devious CHF?

So, at the end of the day, it's a combination of hard work and pure luck.
Some will work their a** off for this exam and still flunked it because they get the 'perfectionist' examiners who expect you to do everything to a tee, or because they get the HIV case, or because their nerves just fail them.
Others with less work rate might find the exam plain sailing and pass because they have 'kind' examiners (oh, they are still students...still long as they don't mess up too much...), or they might get that TB or Malaria case.

Oh, the PBKK was on 24 February, 4 days ago. Results will be out by 14 March.
If I pass it, Insya Allah I am eligible to enter the clinical rotations come 23 March.
If I don't, then I will have to wait another month before I had another go for PBKK remedial.
Yup, that's right, another month of waiting while your friends are practicing at the hospitals.
With a failure rate of between 50 to 60% for first-timers, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

What to do between 24/2 and 14/3 you say? Well, I am currently back in Malaysia now for 2 weeks break. Figured that since in clinical years my longest holidays would be 1 week breaks, I am spending time with my family now. Clinical years would be close to 2 years before completion.

Hope that me and my fellow batchmates will all be part of the first intake for clinical rotations, Insya Allah.

But for now, a break. The calm before the storm.... :)