Bantering with the capitalist gynae

On Thursday I was at the O&G specialist clinic for my weekly consultation. As nurse Sandra put on the blood pressure apparatus on my arm for measurement, she commented, “this Saturday, you’ll be very busy huh?” I was surprised, “Saturday?” She said, “the election, you’re staying in Hougang aren’t you?” I laughed and said no. She must have thought I did because gynae Loh kept asking me previously if I was going to run for the by-election there. I think I probably laughed too hard, cuz the measurement turned out a little too high. So the other staff had to take another measurement from me and it was normal the second time.

We left the clinic for a drink and took our time to return for my appointment. So upon meeting with Loh, he said, “Maria, we were looking for you. I thought you went to the WP (Workers’s Party) rally.” I replied, “no, I didn’t. But I want to go to the PAP (ruling party) rally instead, to see how pathetic it is.” (Pictures taken by alternative media, The Online Citizen, shows that WP rallies were filled with people even when it rained last Tuesday, whereas PAP rallies were attended by people bussed in from other constituencies and even foreign workers, but still the crowd was a pathetic small group.) He laughed, then said, “I should go attend the rally tomorrow.” “Tomorrow is cooling off day. Tonight’s the last night for rallies.” He lamented “Aiyah, tonight I’ve night clinic. Why must they hold the rallies when I can’t make it.” I suggested, “you can ask Marianne to take over.” Before the meeting, my husband had alerted me that we should not bring up any political topics for discussion just in case I forgot to ask any pertinent questions on my pregnancy and childbirth. I told him I was very sure Loh would be the one to bring it up first, and true enough he did.

Loh then said something about not able to respond to me because he was tied up with a TV program. I couldn’t get what he was trying to say, “TV program?” Sandra explained, “早安你好” (Good Morning, Singapore), and Loh continued, “shown yesterday morning.” “Oh! We don’t watch Chinese programs.” My husband added, “we don’t watch propaganda programs.” Loh then said to us, “the program is targeted at people who have gone through the war, the rioting in the 60’s, and so they find that the current system much better and they’re appreciative.” (Huh???!!!) Funny thing is my husband seemed to understand what he was trying to get at and replied, “these are the people who have got their mortgages fully paid up.” Loh gladly admits he’s a capitalist. Before the conversation went too far off-course, I quickly asked Loh on one of the signs of impending labor, Show, whether I should go to the hospital immediately when I experience bleeding. Turns out if it’s light bleeding, I have a lead time of 12 hours, but if bleeding is heavy, I should go soon in case it’s an emergency.

Anyway as expected the topic returned to WP after I asked Loh for his views on the pediatrician, Anita Menon. Not because she’s a supporter (which I wouldn’t know since I’ve never met her before), but because she is the Pediatrician at Thomson Medical Center’s clinic at 112@Katong mall. Loh realized then that we stay in the eastern part of Singapore, where WP has strong support. He quibbed, “I should go there in 2016 and stand for election. Maybe join WP, since I can’t wear white pants (white is the color of PAP). I prefer colored ones since my underwears are colored.” My husband egged him on, “Yes, join WP! You can then go against XXX. Down with XXX!” (XXX is the arrogant Minister and MP who talked down to Loh during campaign period prior to last year’s election.) But Loh replied, “maybe can be NCMP (Non-Constituency MP) first. How much does NCMP get?” I looked at him with surprise and said, “NCMP doesn’t get any allowance (whereas MP gets S$15,000 a month). So you’re only in it for the money?” “Ya, then what for become MP?” My husband said to him, “you know, there are people who are apathetic, blind to justice and out for their own pockets. But I’m only speaking in general terms, not referring to anyone.”

To be honest, we think Loh is just playing the part of a money grubber. Personally we don’t think he’s one. Though maybe he harbors secret hope to be a politician. Anyway I also wanna report that baby Alex is doing well from the ultrasound scan. Loh checked my tummy and commented that there was no tightening. But I didn’t think so, “I could feel tightening on certain parts of the tummy.” “No, there’s no tightening, this hard part is the spine, this is the buttock.” My husband had to intervene before I could continue, “he’s very experienced in this, he knows whether there’s tightening or not.” But I wouldn’t give up easily, “So what’s the relevance of the tightening?” “No relevance.” I was like, if there’s no relevance, why bring it up? But my husband later defended Loh that it might be something complicated that would require a whole day lecture and he would have to charge me for that. Anyway Alex is slightly over 3kg now, and Loh commented that at this stage, because of his fully developed bones, the weight has a 10% margin of error. So Alex may be bigger. I was a little worried after hearing that; as I wasn’t sure if my pelvic bones would be able to expand enough to allow Alex to pass through smoothly. My husband asked Loh if I would require a C-section, and he doesn’t think so, “I’ve helped a woman to deliver a 4.6kg baby.” And he doesn’t think Alex would even be that big. So hopefully when it’s time for the birth, it won’t be a problem for Alex and me.

My husband told Loh that the National Wage Council had proposed that workers making S$1,000 should have pay rise of at least S$50. He asked him if Sandra would get a pay rise. Loh replied, “the clinic not doing so well, so no pay rise.” We all laughed, and my husband said to him, “yeah, with the help of creative accounting. You can put the Ferrrari in your accounts and the clinic is not making money.” Loh then changed the subject by telling us a story, “there’s this clinic group which found itself losing money. The head guy had a meeting with all the doctors and told them that. The doctors couldn’t believe it because they had good business, how could they be losing money? But he calculated the cash, and they were really short. It turned out that he calculated the cash collected from the clinics, but didn’t check the cash that goes to the bank which is handled by a staff. And that staff took off with some of the money and went on a Mediterranean cruise. When she returned, she pleaded not to be reported to the police and she would return the money. But she still didn’t repay the full amount.” My husband joked, “so is Sandra handling your accounts?” Sandra raised her hands and said no, not her. We looked at Loh; he knows what his accounts are.

So there you have it, another funny bantering session. If I get to have another consultation next week (if Alex still wanna delay his arrival), I should charge Loh for providing him the highlight of his day.


2 thoughts on “Bantering with the capitalist gynae

  1. Dear Maria,
    Finally I am free enough to read your blog. Slightly disappointed. I still think that you sensationalize on issues just like you sensationalize about healthcare in Singapore. I happen to think that healthcare in Singapore is world class and sustainable. If a country can spend 3% GDP on healthcare and achieve this outcome, I will say why not. Especially when compared to the many countries where healthcare is much inferior. As i said, although I joked about being a capitalist, I am not a rich doctor stuck in an ivory tower. Nothing causes me more pain than poor patient not being able to afford appropriate care. If a patient truly cannot afford gynecological treatment in Singapore, let them come to my clinic and I will find treatment for them or I will treat them personally for free.

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