we rise by lifting others

Personally, I struggle setting good goals for myself and believing in myself. So I tend to set low goals so that I won’t disappoint. So now that I’m eu route to a lifelong medical career, my confidence is shaken everyday.

Today I discovered that I had a cheerleader in me. I’ve been tutoring a child for the notorious primary school leaving examinations and today I asked her “What score would you like to get in 2 years?”. She was lost and didn’t know what to set as her goals. I gave her suggestions and she shut them all down with the same reason-“That’s too high”.

It was looking at a mirror. I saw myself in her. It struck me so hard and I couldn’t believe I had so little faith in myself. But because I saw myself in her, I knew she can make it. So I turned into the cheerleader and pushed her. I told her to aim high and I gave her many reasons why she should aim high. At the end of an hour, I managed to persuade her to aim for a famous school which required a 90th percentile score.

I saw greater purpose in just being her tutor and helping her grades improve. This was my chance to change her life so that she may be better than me. I related so much to her and I know what if I were more confident before, I’d do so much better than now. I am in a good place now but it could have been better. I want to get her there. I want her to grow up and not beat herself up. She’s surrounded by relatives who are doctors and lawyers yet she feels like she’s got no hope.

She excels in math and her science is improving drastically. I have faith in her and I will be there for her, as a tutor and a life mentor.

This is me growing and living up to my motto: we rise by lifting others.

mistletoe; heaven on earth

I know what you’re thinking, and no, this isn’t a love entry. Mistletoe is a flower, that signifies a meeting place where no violence takes place. In this piece, this meeting place will be St. Luke’s Hospital.

It’s beautiful. The place may look old, and run down on the outside, but inside, it’s beautiful and high tech. It even smells like citrus everywhere I went.

I walked in nervously, but I found my way to the meeting room and knocked on the door. A man that could be mistaken for a hongki, opened the door and welcomed me warmly. He politely asked me to take a seat while he finished his meeting with a woman on 6 beautiful acrylic paintings. Let’s call this man “John”.

Shortly after his meeting was done, an elderly Indian lady came in. She was clothed so well- you could easily tell she was of a certain social class. She sat down gracefully and sat like a queen as she proceeded to converse with John with gentle mannerisms and soft gestures. I came to learn that she was a patient of St Luke before, was an author, and with her retirement, she wanted to volunteer and contribute back as she thought that she was well taken care of as a patient. Let’s call her “Jane”. She went on to get to know me and she was very fond of the idea that a young student would take her time out to be at the hospital twice a week. “There should be more people like you.”, “So kind of you to do this.”, “You will be a great person one day.”- these are some of the things she kept repeating on and on during the whole meeting. I tend to shun away from such compliments but I decided to take them and recognize my own beauty within. People closest to me have been telling me the same things but I guess it coming from a stranger who has lived longer with more wisdom makes me more confident that the compliment was genuine and impactful.

I loved how the whole time while John took me to the rehab center and the wards, he emphasized a lot on preparing the elderly to function better after discharge and to help them have a positive outlook on life. They go through an hour of exercise everyday and they go through motor exercises and art activities to discover new hobbies and skills, which is more than what the renowned hospitals offer. I admire how Jane and John loved being in this place. I loved how many of them enjoy what they are doing. It’s hard work, it really is.

Today was truly a humbling experience. It made me more inspired to study harder and give back more. It reminds me of the career path I want to take and the commitment required to achieve it. I don’t mind living my life always serving others. People ask me what do I get from this. I always just tell him “The joy of giving is priceless.”. It really is :’)

don’t pity cancer patients. pity yourselves

Cancer has always had this taboo that automatically labels cancer patients wrongfully and dramatically. With that, they become society’s pity parties and we put them in the “less fortunate” section.

I have lost loved ones to cancer but I never saw them as a “wasted” case. In fact maybe sometimes, I envied them.

Today being at the cancer centre made me relive this feeling of envy. You’d think that you’d see sad, sobbing people with really pale faces and bald heads when you enter a cancer centre. Damn, I was shook. It’s quieter than most hospitals. Patients are friendly and gentle. I have not encountered anyone with a bad attitude yet, which is surprising because you’d think that sick people are more impatient and irritated. I was so wrong. I was stationed at the third level chemo wards and it smelled of light jasmine. Patients sat on chairs, probably in pain, but still smiling at you as you pass them. If you had the chance to look at them, you’d never pan them out to be struggling with cancer because they looked happier than most people out there.

To the world outside, they are the unfortunate ones. I beg to differ. In fact, I think most of us outside are the unfortunate ones. We are the blind ones that fail to see life as we should, fail to live as we should, as we could. They see life differently, love better, think better, live better even with the cancer creeping in and messing with them physically. They remember to treasure the people around them, they know how to be kind and understand that other people suffer too- something many people fail to grasp.

I envy them because despite the fact that they are in constant physical pain, they still hope to live; they push on with the will to live. Many of us just go through lives day to day, being pessimistic and hating on our lives just because of the how ever often bad days.

Oh how I wish more people could experience what I did then maybe life will seem kinder to us as we grace through life with a different mindset and lesser ignorance.

Ps. To all the cancer survivors out there, I truly have mad respect for you 🙂