Managing Stresses

by Jinryu

[CM] is great at a lot o things, and that’s largely because she is so passionate about the things she does engage in.  That means that she has high expectations for herself and those around her, and tends to view the world through lenses made for that goal.

It’s no surprise that, as a result, when she’s worked hard for things, she gets extra upset when she doesn’t get the result she wanted.  I’m not talking about studying for a test and then getting a bad grade– more along the lines of studying generally to becoming a doctor, and being passed up for jobs because of a system that favours students based on citiznship rather than merits.

The way that the trainee job placements work in most of Australia is that local students are guaranteed spots in city hospitals upon graduation.  This means that while CM is constantly stressing over getting references just so that she can make a competitive application for a rural placement (in essentially buttfuck nowhere), local students with half her ability, half her drive, and half her personality are worrying about problems like whether or not there is free parking at their hospital of choice, or if there is good food.  This angers me because I know plenty of international students who work ridiculously hard– and they’re only fighting eachother, because those are the only tablescraps left.

CM once confronted one of her friends about the ongoing first world problems that they were constantly asking CM’s opinion on— something which I think is in pretty bad taste.  Whereas the locals have automatic guranteed placements, internationals like CM and some of our other friends have only a 1 in 3 chance of getting a job in a lottery, which is why they try so hard to get rural places– because there is the very real possibility that while locals worry about free parking and cafeteria food, international students — who have worked their asses off for the past four years, and paid the full unsubsidised tuition that funds the medical schools’ otherwise impossible budgets– may simply find themselves done their degrees with nothing afterwards.

Anyway, CM just commented on the side to her friend that the whole conversation was really exhausting to her– and that friend, referring to the parking and cafeteria discussions, said, “It’s normal that they talk about it so much though… they’re really worried too about job security.”

Job security?

I’m not sure where she picked up that buzzword, but, in case you didn’t know, job security has nothing to do with whether or not you get free parking.  Job security is about whether or not you’re going to lose your job.

That friend went on to argue that the local students’ “job security” worries were every bit as much valid as the internationals’, because these are real questions that will affect their futures forever.

I know that friend.  She’s loosely a friend of mind as well, but frankly, she’s an airhead.

Unfortunately though, the ostracisation of international students in general perpetuates because a lot of local med students share that friend’s worldview.  These are people who have gone to med school straight from high school, or straight from an undergrad degree straight from high school, who have no worldly experience.  We’re talking about people who are going to be interns and residents with authority in a few years, who still get driven to their hospitals and get bagged lunches from their parents.


I called my parents up long-distance this morning to catch up on things.  They told me a recent story about one of my cousins, [Vittek], at a picnic.  My mom asked Vittek why he wasn’t eating any of the sandwiches– Vittek’s mom responded that he doesn’t like eating anything except hot food (essentially, cooked meals).

My mom joked that when Vittek finds a girlfriend, he better make sure she can cook, otherwise he’ll starve.  Vittek’s response?  “Or, I can just stay at home forever!”

Now in his mid thirties, Vittek, like his older sister, still live at home, where the majority of the cooking and household upkeep is run by my Aunt.  Do you think that’s normal?


People tell me “it’s a cultural thing,” but I don’t buy that crap.  Culture is what you get from people exercising habits and functions– things happen a way for a reason.  When that reason makes sense, a lot of people do that thing, and that’s where you get culture.

Culture can and should evolve– easy exampe is how religions can and must evolve to the times.  Those that fall behind start losing connection with the world, while those that adapt tend to be more successful or more tolerated.

This whole 50s era Asian culture where kids stay at home until they are married, where moms are housewives and wait on even the children hand and foot, it’s all bullshit.  It’s  typical externalisation-of-costs model whereby the family model is inefficient– something that is most easily demonstrated by the family mode’s inability to adapt to changes or extreme stressors.

This model is as compared to one where there is a more “horizontal management” style, where family burdens are shared and everybody is good at everything.

If you have the typical Asian top-down method, you run into all sorts of problems.  First of it is the psychological power of those in charge for no reason other than age– and the resultant dependancy of the subordinates to the head of the family.  The head of the family doesn’t necessarily make good decisions, for one thing.  But everyone who is subordinate loses the ability to think or function without orders.  They lack independence and drive.

What if a head of the family gets sick?  The response is usually pretty  bad, because suddenly everything grinds to a halt.

What if the subordinates go out into the real world?

In the real world, they’re suckers because they don’t know how to work for themselves.   On one hand, they’ve always been used to being told what to do.  On another hand, the support system of the home meant that althought they got ordered around, they were pampered and spoiled– and that means when interacting with normal people, they lack many basic foundations when it comes to relating with people in the workforce.


Actually, my life is going pretty well right now.  I’m just cutting my rant short because there’s too much to say about momma’s boys and people with first world problems.

It isn’t that there is a heirarchy of problems, and that my problems are superior– it’s a complicated rage that I feel towards people who speak out of positions of entitlement.  It is also a complicated rage that I feel towards Asian family models that encourage their kids to believe erroneously that their children are special, either especially brilliant or worthless, because of outdated ideas of culture which they lack the courage to confront.

Most of all, I have a complicated rage to people who coast through life at the expense of others.