Saturday, July 04, 2009

Cultural identity

I've just finished internship and started my life as an resident in family medicine. I will be rotating through various hospital specialties for the next two years. The hospital where I'm at is quite small, the patient workload is currently very small. Actually life is very easy at the moment. The maximum number of patients underneath my care is sixteen. I'm on-call today and I haven't had much to do. I've had two patients to admit and they weren't very difficult cases. There is a lot of benefit to having a nice 2nd on-call medical officer to call upon.

There are problems with being at a small hospital. The variety of cases at this hospital is not that great compared to a large hospital, so my scope will be very limited. There are no interns. Many of the duties which would have been performed by interns, such as printing specimen labels and renew drug sheets, have to be performed by medical officers. ]I will be performing various 'intern' duties for the next year. I already accepted I would have to intern duties but thankfully less than usual. That's the price to pay for the next two years and for having a reduced workload, compared to being at a larger hospital.

Also I have to attach to other specialties during each rotation. For this rotation, I have to attach to Ear, Nose & Throat Surgery. I don't mind it but the only problem is I have to go to another hospital ten times for the next three months, which has serious consequences on my time, duties and wallet.


After ending internship and before entering residency, I went for five days in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was a very good holiday, with the hotel resort I was staying at a very good choice. If anybody stays in Chaing Mai, try "The Chedi" hotel resort for its service - truly world class.

That's not the main point of my blog entry. Whilst on vacation, I just couldn't help about the well being of the locals. Tourism is a big industry in Thailand with the economics and the culture a selling point. There are good sides to tourism, bring in much needed revenue plus exposing people to other people's cultures. Yet I was always thinking about the adverse effects of tourism. It brings out the unsavoury personality of people, trying to make as much cash as possible with as little ethic as possible. There were massage places and people selling their wares in every street. I don't oppose to people trying to make a living but at times there is a need for regulation, to prevent people getting ripped off.

Also I went to a local village to see the culture of the hill tribes. Most of the village was filled with shops trying to sell products varying from bags to dried fruit. I don't know if tourism is that great when you are trying to sell your cultural identity to raise a few bucks. I know Thailand is not alone in this problem, with every country having this dilemma.

I think exposing your cultural identity without looking like a sell-out can be done, it is just fine balance.

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