7:07pm 18/05/2022
The houseman-doctor spiritual crisis
By:Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

The sad news of a young houseman believed to have jumped off a roof and died is nothing short of a national tragedy.

How has it come to this?

Our nation is, to me, a failed nation many times over, but many Malaysians and academics still think that I am overstating or being too melodramatic.

We have people who are in charge of corruption seemingly getting away with corruption. We have incompetent government responding to the flash flood or the daily floods. We have political debates and other debates but they serve no meaning and have no significance to our young and their future. We have parents killing their children simply because they have no faith that the state or the community can take care of their children.

The worst thing of all that: we have so many huge and expensive houses of worship and there are still people and children who are homeless and not having a good nutritional balance except for Maggie Mee.

Now we have two issues in the houseman death: one is a fraternity of doctors who have been accused of bullying, racial characterizing and touting gender sensitive remarks; and secondly, we have housemen who seem to be laden with a mental health issue of work stress in study and practical training.

I will deal with both issues as a crisis in spirituality.

For me, spirituality is many things that even religions have not taught or have forgotten to teach and emphasize.

One aspect of spirituality is simply to be good with all living things and treat every living thing with due dignity.

Even when we meet the worst of the worst humans, we must still accord them with due dignity before and after community punishment have been given.

Why must we accord dignity to all? Because we would also like to be treated and accorded our due dignity by others!

The doctors training the housemen must understand this simple act of spirituality.

Secondly, in spirituality, we must always think that we would depend on others for help even though we may be the richest or strongest in the world. We will always depend on the other for our needs.

In this manner, we know that we are not God, because God does not depend on any other to survive or to be at peace.

The doctors should know that one day one of the housemen may be the specialist surgeon who will perform a heart bypass or an organ transplant on him or her, or on his or her loved ones.

Be humble-lah! These boys and girls you are training are YOUR future saviors. Itu macam pun tak boleh fikirkah?

This arrogance of having knowledge and a fleeting health condition will change very soon when you the doctors are sick and in need of help. Karma will make sure of that!

Thirdly, spirituality is also about treating others as part of your family.

I always treat my students regardless of their race, religion or lifestyle, as my children. I would always treat them with respect, help them when they ask or even when they don’t ask, and I always tell them if they are down in their luck or have no place to stay, they can always come and live with me until they can get up on their feet themselves.

As a Muslim, I believe that all acts of goodness and education you impart on your students will be a direct investment that keeps growing in spiritual wealth when I am in the grave until Judgment Day.

Why can’t the doctors think in this manner when they are training their future “sons” and “daughters”?

One aspect of spirituality is simply to be good with all living things and treat every living thing with due dignity.

Now, on the part of the housemen, I wish to pose several spiritual questions to them.

Many housemen said that the doctors had used abusive language like racial slurs, religious taunts or even gender sensitive remarks to those who were pregnant.

My question is, why do you care so much? The Prophets of old had been abused in the same way. Great political leaders pun kena sama juga!

I have been abused by my own race and religious adherents when I write to correct the Malays and the Muslims. I just say to myself, God will deal with them in His own way, either in this world on in the Hereafter or both.

I also tell myself that what comes out of the mouths of these foul doctors reflect the sickness they have in their hearts and spirituality. Mereka semua orang gila dan sakit jiwa!

People who use foul language on others are worse than the filthiest animals on this Earth. So, tell yourself these things and get on with your life!

Secondly, to the housemen, why do you get so stressed if you seem to be headed for failure?

One of the most important and intelligent acts that you must be responsible for is to decide whether to continue or to pull out of a course.

If your father or mother is sick and you need to attend to them, then pull out of the housemanship and redo at a later time.

If you think that the doctors are not treating you fairly, then pull out and request to be at another place.

I understand that money is an issue but you are intelligent enough to be able to handle that issue by working at Pizza Hut or whatever or write to the media and ask the Malaysian people for help.

The decision to chart your life has always been yours and not others’.

This is the grown-up thing to do. This is life and it is seemingly never fair. But we are healthy humans with a critical mind who are trained to solve and overcome problems.

Don’t expect any simple template of going to school, get all A’s, graduate with 4.0, do housemanship, be a doctor and then buy that condo and Mercedes.

Life is never that template. Spirituality is about creating your own ways around the template because it is the test of life.

Thirdly, why does it take two deaths for the issue of bullying to surface? It is already too late. All or majority of housemen should have taken a stand and provide an academic account of abuses with proof to the authorities, your MPs, or go to the press if all other avenues have failed.

You must stand up for your own rights of dignity and fair play.

Yes, there may be repercussions and vendetta. You can always sue the doctors or begin again at another place at another time.

Because everyone wants the housemanship to be over as quickly as possible, two lives were lost. Was it worth it?

Taking a strong stand against any authority takes a huge spiritual strength. Your religion should guide you in this, or else get to know the talks of Sadghuru or Eckhart Tolle to learn a global spirituality.

Your career does not depend only on your skills and knowledge but on the values you build from a contemplation of spiritual and lasting truths.

This was never taught in universities and you must find your own paths. No one can help you but you alone.

In conclusion, our education system to these doctors and would-be doctors obviously does not contain instructions in spirituality. The education is all about skills, knowledge and experience in practice.

Universities should consider these aspects of spirituality that I have outlined. One single course could have saved the lives of many and also the souls of the doctors with the vile mouth and an even filthy heart.

(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)


Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi


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