Dear doctors, be kind to each other.

Very important message here. Whether you are a patient or any member of the healthcare profession, please read this.

Dharmaraj Karthikesan's Blog

I met a young doctor who used to work with me recently. I had just completed my night rounds in the hospital and I was leaving for home.

And then I saw him. He was unkempt, exhausted and appeared famished. Worst of all, he looked like a man who has totally given up on being a doctor. He appeared hesitant when I asked him what was wrong,but I could not just leave him there.

After much persuasion and insistence on my part he agreed to join me for a late supper. While he ravaged through his first proper meal of the day, he finally opened up. He has started working for the past week in a new speciality. Though the hours are longer, it was not an issue. He was well aware of the sacrifices he was expected to make.

However, the degradation, humiliation and constant harassment have finally taken…

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Final Exams: 2nd Semester (University)

My exams began on the 21st of December and ended on the 26th, a day after Christmas. For Christmas, I received a little stand-up makeup mirror, with a little container as its base to to place a tiny number of makeup items. I don’t have a lot, so I filled it with just my 3 nail polishes that each cost only about RM5 from Shopee, and a few of my mom’s lipsticks she gave me. I am quite a simple person; little things like these are enough to make me happy.

The edges of the mirror even has a light. You just touch the mirror itself and the edges light up! Cool.

On the 21st of December I sat for Math. My math is a little weak, and I did not really like the chapters we were studying for math in the 2nd semester (we study different chapters of math in all the 3 semesters), so I’m not sure how I did. I had reviewed all my lectures, but not done enough tutorials and did not do any past years, so I must admit that I did not practice enough. I have resolved to do much more practice for the math course in my 3rd semester. There were quite a few questions that I did not know how to do, so I definitely did not do as well as the other courses. (At university, we do not call subjects as “subjects” but rather “courses”. This is because three courses, such as Math I, Math II and Math III are all under the Math subject, but are separate courses).

On the 22nd of December, I sat for Communication Skills. I watched some debates on Youtube, and a video with very simple English on conversations at a workplace, just to get my mind set for writing dialogues. Eventually, though, I did not write a dialogue, I wrote 5 really short stories on cultural interactions, which was pretty fun, since I based many of it on my personal experiences. In the hours before my exam, I perused all m lecture notes at top speed and made handwritten summaries on them.

On the 24th of December, I sat for Inorganic Chemistry. Since it was an open book test, I made a handmade content page to make referring to my printed lecture notes easier. I had gone through most of the lecture notes in the week before the exam. Since there was a one day break between communication skills and chemistry, I used it to read all of my tutorial answers and a past year paper that our lecturer mentioned would be similar to our final assessment this semester. For Chemistry, all answers must be handwritten, so everything was rather rushed, but I still completed everything in record time and I believe I did well.

On the 26th of December, a Saturday, I sat for my last paper, Modern Biology. Modern Biology is the most interesting course this semester. So far, all the biology exams at university, being completely open book, were the most enjoyable for me because I get the joy of learning while I am sitting for an exam by searching the Internet for a better answer, to complement my knowledge from our lecture notes. (Since all our courses have to have open book exams, the examiners have increased the difficulty of the questions, making them much more indirect and requiring much more thought. Yet with the Internet, my lecture notes, my tutorials and past years all next to me as I do my exams is one of the most powerful and enriching exam experiences I’ve ever had. It is, really, a food for thought on how we structure our exams in the future, even when the COVID crisis is over.) For Modern Biology, I reviewed my tutorial videos. I also made a summary on what we’d learnt for all the topics, and it made for great reference during my exam.

Then, phew! It’s time to relax! “You have to study soon, you know,” said my father immediately after my exam, pouring cold water all over my head. Oh well. But I still get to relax for a while first. Haha!

My results will be out in a 1-2 weeks. I do hope I did well! Then comes a hectic 3rd semester…. I am ready for the challenge.

3rd Semester for Foundation Year at university: Exams, Commitments and Opportunities

Having completing my exam, I am having my three week semester break now. One week has nearly passed already. It hasn’t been a very busy 2nd semester, at least not relatively as compared to the previous and coming semester. This is because I took only four courses in my 2nd semester, while for the 1st and 3rd sem I am taking 5 courses. It is fixed by my University, for foundation in science Health Science Stream students.

On top of that, I have signed up to take my MUET exam (an English Language Proficiency Test) which I must score at least a BAND 4 as a mandatory prerequisite to enter MBBS (medical course). I am also hoping to involve myself in some extracurricular activities, specifically helping the freshmen adjust to university life, and possibly taking potential students and their parents on some campus tours if we return to campus. One thing though – a few dates for training and bonding during the semester break have been set aside by our senior mentors, which I am still not sure I can commit to. It has been on my mind for a while, ever since I found that we will have training soon.

All these will fill my 3rd semester with the most commitment required so far, but I know medicine is going to be tougher. So the effort doesn’t daunt me. It is my father that may get in my way of participating in these co-curricular activities. Yes, even if these activities are all online, due to the COVID situation and rising cases. I have yet to break it to him, these activities. But these are things I want to and feel like I can contribute to. I am also hoping that these opportunities will open my eyes to interesting things.

My exam results may come out in a week or two, and so will our universities announcement on their decision regarding our academic study mode (physical, mixed or online). I will update you guys again when the time comes!

Back To High School (Collecting SPM Cert!)

Recently I went back to my old high school to collect my SPM cert.

I went the day after the school announced that we could collect it – it was two weeks before my final exam for my 2nd semester at university, which would commence on the 21st of December, 2020. Yet I went anyway, wanting to get it out of the way. Most of my friends went when they were done with exams or their semester, as did the people I am studying at the same university with, who were from my high school. They all went after exams ended on the 26th.

I went in the school hoping to meet some friends, but it was close to deserted. A sense of tranquility fell over me though, seeing how green our school compound was, how abound the place was with prowling cats, pigeons that walked weirdly, always picking food off the floor, and birds with bright yellow feathers soaring at the rooftops. I remember seeing a squirrel scampering up a tall tree in the school field before. It’s not necessarily better – but…. different, compared to my university campus.

I was eager to meet any friend there, but bumped into none. A school staff asked me to wait for a while when I asked to collect my SPM cert. I watched him chatting with another female staff. Having worked part-time jobs, and having spoken to the office staff at my university, I had become more aware of the people working in a school office and what they actually do. Before this, I never did pay attention to this little office and the people in there.

The male school staff approached me to pass me my SPM cert, made me sign on a name list. I saw my old friends’ names on the name list, and paused a few seconds just to look at all their names. No one had come to collect their cert yet, I was the first in my old Form 5 class. It’s strange, how I was not very close to most people in my class, yet I look at the names and feel a longing.

The staff asked me what I was studying. He said: “Bosan sangat lah. Sunyi sangat nie, tiap-tiap hari takde orang.” (It’s so boring here, there’s no one around at all everyday.) I smiled. I chatted with him a while, then thanked him and left.

My SPM certificate
English Language Certificate

These would have to be “quarantined” on a specific table in the living room first. Due to the COVID-19 virus, every time we buy or bring back anything from outside, we usually quarantine it aside for a while!

I wonder when next I will return to my high school?


After the flawless TAG attempt on Asteroid Bennu by NASA’s 3rd New Frontier’s Program mission OSIRIS-REx, the exact mass of sample collected was supposed to have been measured using the concept of a common Physics Law known as moment of Inertia.

*23 Oct 2020 update: The cameras later captured pictures of spacecraft’s sample collector head brimming so full of regolith that it was slowly falling out of the collector, so the Sample Mass Measurement procedure was cancelled to protect the sample. Scientists are confident that more than 60 grams of sample (which is the minimum target) has been collected by OSIRIS-REx and will proceed to quickly stow the sample.

23 Oct 2020: Sample collector head brimming with regolith

*28 Oct 2020 update: The spacecraft’s sample collector head was successfully placed into its Sample Return Capsule.

28 Oct 2020: Sample collector head placed in return capsule

*29 Oct 2020 update: The Sample Return Capsule is officially closed! The SRC is targeted to touch down in the Utah desert on 24 Sept, 2023.

29 Oct 2020: Sample collector capsule official closed!

I’ll be following OSIRIS-REx mission until 2023. New updates will be posted in a new blog and linked under here.

Disclaimer: I do not own theses photos. These images were screenshots taken from NASA OSIRIS-REx’s instagram page.

Instagram pages to follow!


Me, Rachel: