Thursday, February 26, 2009

Look at others as human beings

The world is not in need of more guns and generals, but of more hospitals and doctors

In the World Health Organization (WHO) committee of HNMUN, being a medical student puts you among the privileged few. I was asked by an Armenian delegate sitting next to me: “What in the world is MDR-TB?” Before, a delegate (no doubt a medical student), have been using the acronym which stands for ‘multiple drug resistant tuberculosis’ and other technical terms such as prophylaxis, palliative, DOTS, etc, which sounds unfamiliar to the students of law, government, economics and politics (which made up the majority of the committee).

Other than being able to understand the technical terms, and being a walking dictionary to others, being a medical student gave us an advantage to look at problems substantively. Politicians and economists like to talk about the legislative stuff, and they talked a lot too. But they don't quite have the correct idea on the real situation we’re facing. “Developed countries must supply more AIDS-curing medicine to developing nations!” one said. Well, if there is a cure for HIV/AIDS, we would have eradicated it from this world long time ago.

Realizing the flaws, once in awhile, they would say “Let’s hear the medical point of view”, signaling the need of someone with medical knowledge to speak up front. Throughout the conference, I was invited to speak a few times, and I’ve never felt more purposeful in my life. When the world asked for your opinion, why shouldn’t you feel so? I guess one of the best things about being a doctor is that people believe whatever you say. I am lucky I did my research before. At other times, I would most probably take an ‘intellectual guess’ =P

However, one can’t possibly deny the strong correlation between politics, economy, social systems and disease. So, like it or not, we all have to work together. One time I raised an issue on economics, about how the policy in the IMF and World Bank affects the healthcare system in many developing countries, and the next day, they brought a representative from the World Bank into the committee, in case people like me who lacked knowledge on economics asks the same dim-witted question again. I didn’t talk about economics again that day. Leave it to the economists, I did =PIn the end, despite our academic differences, doctors, politicians and economists worked together to find single resolution. The best thing about health committees such as the WHO is that we couldn’t disagree upon each other concerning the main goals. Of course, no sane person would disagree on eradicating infectious diseases from the world, yes? In other committees, such as the Security Council, they had about a dozen of resolutions to be voted. We had only one resolution, and the voting is just for formality. It was inspiring to see each and every country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, raising their placard, agreeing on single resolution.


HNMUN was a grand, once in a lifetime experience for me. It was a wide-eye opener. Where else would I get a world-scale experience if not attending the real United Nations General Assembly? But then again, it wouldn’t be the same, because in HNMUN, they send students instead of real diplomats to a United Nations conference. What you’ll get are scenarios impossible in the real world. The United States in alliance with Venezuela, Iraq having dinner with Iran, India working together with Pakistan and suddenly obscured countries such as Saint Kitts and Comoros’ opinions is taken into account. I’ve never knew there’s a country which starts with ‘saint’!

As students, we realize the politics and international affair of our countries, but despite that, we looked upon each other not based on race, religion or political views. That’s the best thing about Harvard National Model United Nations: we look at each other as humans. We believe that the only real nation is humanity. We're all humans, aren’t we?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

If You Are Waiting For Tomorrow, Why Not Do It Today?

This post is dedicated to my sister, Fatin, and is inspired by her post titled Memories That Remain. Yup, Fatin is the one I wanted to eat along with fruit loops back when she was 1 =P

If you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you’ll surely regret the day
That you didn’t take that extra time for
a smile, a hug, or a kiss,
And you were too busy to grant someone, what
turned out to be their one last wish

- Norma Cornett Marek

No friend can promise you that they can still be here tomorrow. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. We keep on thinking that everything will be the same tomorrow as it is today. But the fact of life is that everybody has their own path in life, and most probably, sooner or later, you won’t be going the same way. Yet, there’s still many of us who don’t realize what a blessing it is to have your best friends around. Until suddenly, one fateful day, you realize that you have one last day to spend with them. When that day comes, everything else seems irrelevant. It doesn’t matter anymore how many arguments you won on who’s right and who’s wrong. It doesn’t matter anymore how much they owe you for buying nasi lemak when they forgot to bring their wallet. It doesn’t matter anymore who got the most ‘first place’ in class. It doesn’t matter anymore if they cheated when the teachers asked to mark their own homework.

When you know you get to spend one last day with your best friend, the only thing that remains is of the good times together. When you know it’s the last day, you can spend the time taking photos, hoping to capture your memory together one last time. But nothing compares to the memories of just eating together, coming over to each other’s house, go on camping, or riding bicycles together. Suddenly each and every moment spent with your friends, even small things, feels much more meaningful. When you’ve shared years of your life with someone, it’s not easy to let go. There’s so much for you to say, but there’s so little time, and you don’t even know where to start.

Nobody can promise you that they can still be here tomorrow. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. If today is all you get, would you still hesitate to carve a smile, to lend a hug, or to tell your friends how much they mean to you? Live each day as if it is the last chance for you to spend time with them. Spend less time frustrating the little arguments and spend more time saying ‘thank you’, ‘forgive me’ and ‘I appreciate you’ s. You’ll never know when somebody has to go. Cherish each and every moment with them, and life will seem so much more meaningful. So If you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today? Because today may be all you get

p/s: Sabar ye Tin, sume bende berlaku mesti la ade sebabnye. Memang la rase sakit hati skrg, tapi nanti lame2 baru tin akan tau hikmaknye. Anyway, ingat bopie selalu pesan, 'yang penting konfiden!'. Bopie yakin tin dapat masuk MRSM gak. Yakin, tapi if tak dapat jugak jangan hampa, coz I believe wherever you are, you'll shine on for everyone!