Friday, March 04, 2011

Mind your language ..........

I was having my ultra sound scan at the Gleneagles Hospital when the Filipino staff doing the scan said, "Aunty, please turn around." I wondered with some amusement as to how I was related to her. I thought you might hear some food vendors calling you "aunty" at the market, but at a classy hospital like Gleneagles, staff would use more formal terms like "Mr. or Madam So and So. After all, my name was right on the computer screen! Now, even the foreign staff who are working in Singapore have caught up with our peculiar lingo. At least the Filipino staff was so much more
polite than the doctor - a Dr. Tan Hui Kian who came in to double check the scan. No, she did not introduce herself - I found out her name from the report. Instead, she came in and stared at me through her thick glasses for a little while as if I were E.T. from outer space. After a while, she said in a loud voice, "Peng".
(In Hokkien, meaning turn over). I guess she did not know how to use the word, "Please in Hokkien", which was why the word was omitted, making her sound quite rude and unrefined for someone so well educated. Then the doctor mumbled something in Hokkien which I thoroughly ignored. I guess little did she realise that the patient on the bed speaks more languages than she does.!

My primary school classmate, Jenny Moxey, a senior nurse, had visited me from London and had insisted on accompanying me to Gleneagles Hospital. She had asked to be allowed into the ultra sound room as she wanted to see the results. She was quite cheesed off by the rudeness of Dr. Tan, and the lack of EQ displayed by her when handling a patient.

I guess my best friend, Sim, was quite right when she said she somehow enjoyed the services of the public hospitals. Sim has been hospitalised in a few private hospitals and felt that many of the staff lack the EQ that is of such great importance when dealing with sick patients.

The other day I was taking a taxi, and told the taxi driver that now the Singapore General Hospital has improved tremendously as I was hospitalised there for a week.
"Yes, that was what I heard", smiled the taxi driver, "and that is good for our nation".

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