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How is life as a doctor in Singapore?

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  #881 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2019, 07:34 AM
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In Singapore, at least for most, the main emphasis is on academic success, we train that very well, but we forget other facets of life like character building, which is actually very important, with the extra time free from studying and the environment that encourages one to follow their passion, both directly, other pathways in life are financially sustainable (eg sports) and indirectly, the society doesnít have a stigma against non practical pathways (eg must be an engineer/lawyer/doctor). It teaches children to look past the $$ and appreciate the finer things in life like purpose and passion. Lots of people become a plumber, a farmer or an electrician and they make a decent living, but can the same be said here?
I think one can only "look past the $$" when one have the basic survival needs met. As parents, my philosophy is that my parental responsibility is to ensure that our children have the necessary skills needed to at least sustain themselves. After that, they can go ahead and pursue anything that they are passionate about.

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Even our own Doctors, we havenít done a good job in choosing them. All we have are interviews and admission tests. But we donít require community service which USA and Canada looks at before we admit doctors to medical school. Students can just get the grades apply and speak about why they want to be Doctors without any basis or experience to root their judgement on, how can their word be taken if they havenít observed how itís like to be a doctor.
I don't think the selection process is to be blamed. The selection process is actually quite similar between SG and US/CAN. In US/Canada, they also place a very strong emphasis on GPA (CAN) or MCAT (US), extracurricular activities and interview performance.

I think the key difference is that Medicine in US/CAN is a post-graduate degree, so students start medical school at a much later age (average is ~24-25 years old) and therefore more mature from their other life experiences). Mature students are clearer about their goals and are also better at managing interpersonal relationships compared to 20 year olds.

I think the medical training system in SG is also partly to be blamed. The emphasis on good communication skills and respect for patients' autonomy is not as strong, compared to the Western societies.

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  #882 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2019, 07:41 AM
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Here's the big difference with Canada.

It has lots of space. And a very small population relative to that amount of space and land. 35 million?

So it is way more pleasant just living here. You have open space, lots of personal space when you go to malls or supermarkets. Less stressful.

And of course because of the abundance in space, the cost of housing and cars is way cheaper.

Quality of life is absolutely better than in Singapore.

even with the crime stuff, granted the laws are lax, but by and large the density of people is so low, that the rate of crime is kept low that way. If you dont go to the downtown area, you're not going to see the homeless and druggies.

When everyone has to put up with each other close up - in MRT train, in shopping centres, in buses, basically everywhere, thats where flashpoints take place. Hot, humid, tired, stressed, irritated, then you have people talking loudly right next to you......singaporeans you will know what I mean. And with foreigners......speaking in foreign languages and accents......and difference in cultures and values.......close up.....proximity......ain't good.

In canada everyone has their own space. So you dont feel it.

dr canuckbub

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  #883 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2019, 07:53 AM
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There is something called Old Age Pension that everyone gets. You get $613.58 monthly.

Sports? I think the big difference is you can win the Olympic Gold with Canada than with Singapore!

I agree the laws on crime in Canada are very lax. And criminals will want to give it a try. The Police also cannot be bothered with loss of property without injury.

So "safety" when it comes to being attacked and injured or killed.....I'd say it is still safe in Canada. But theft and hit and run etc is very common and goes unpunished.

The whole drug thing in Canada is a problem. But I think it goes with upbringing. You will find that it is more prevalent in certain ethnic groups and social strata.

Marijuana is very safe. Way safer than ETOH. It is over played as a damaging drug.

mark my words Cannabis will be the next wave of pharmaceuticals in the industry. We will be moving towards sublingual tablets, fast release. No more inhaled vape or smoke.

dr canuckbub
Winning an Olympic gold in SG gets you $1 million. Winning an Olympic Gold in CAN gets you $15k.

I agree that Marijuana in the adult population is safer than alcohol. Adults also have better judgement and can decide for themselves if they want to use it. But what about in the adolescent population where children succumb to peer pressure more easily? Marijuana use (esp in adolescence) has been shown to lower threshold for psychosis, increased likelihood of dropping out of school, poor cognition and lowered IQ (cited from 2014 NEJM article).

If you send your children to public schools, they will interact with some schoolmates who are using these. Unfortunately, some will give into peer pressure and become hooked. If you send them to private schools, there is a lower risk but not insignificant. But then your 120k after-tax salary would not be enough to afford this.

In SG, even sending your children to mid-tier public secondary schools, your chance of exposure to marijuana or other illicit drug is almost zero.

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  #884 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2019, 08:04 AM
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Cost of living. In general the big ticket items like car and housing is 5 times cheaper here in Alberta than in Sinkieland. A new Toyota Corolla is about $20k. A 2nd hand Toyota RAV4 is about $25k. My single family walk out basement (3 levels of living space) with mountain view cost me $760k in 2013.

So if you count the modest 3-4 times cheaper cost of living here, your earnings has to multiplied accordingly.
I know people often complain about the cost of owning cars in SG. But IMHO owning a car is not really a necessity in SG. Rather, it should be regarded as a luxury since it is a depreciating asset and the public transport is so damn cheap and efficient. Relying on MRT/Bus and the occasional Grab taxi is more than enough to get around. No real need for cars.

In Canada (outside of Toronto and Montreal), if you don't have a car, you will literally freeze while waiting for the public transit, so cars are more of a necessity. Also, cars are cheaper and public transport is more expensive compared to SG, so the cost of owning a car vs public transport in CAN is not as significant.
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  #885 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2019, 08:13 AM
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Winning an Olympic gold in SG gets you $1 million. Winning an Olympic Gold in CAN gets you $15k.

I agree that Marijuana in the adult population is safer than alcohol. Adults also have better judgement and can decide for themselves if they want to use it. But what about in the adolescent population where children succumb to peer pressure more easily? Marijuana use (esp in adolescence) has been shown to lower threshold for psychosis, increased likelihood of dropping out of school, poor cognition and lowered IQ (cited from 2014 NEJM article).

If you send your children to public schools, they will interact with some schoolmates who are using these. Unfortunately, some will give into peer pressure and become hooked. If you send them to private schools, there is a lower risk but not insignificant. But then your 120k after-tax salary would not be enough to afford this.

In SG, even sending your children to mid-tier public secondary schools, your chance of exposure to marijuana or other illicit drug is almost zero.
My kids go to public schools. No problem with drugs from them.

As I said it is the upbringing. Stay away from drugs. With Fentanyl out there now it can literally kill you.

At the end of the day which do you want? Your kids to be informed and mature and make smart choices?

Or your kids to be protected in a coccoon and cannot make smart choices in life?
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  #886 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2019, 08:15 AM
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I know people often complain about the cost of owning cars in SG. But IMHO owning a car is not really a necessity in SG. Rather, it should be regarded as a luxury since it is a depreciating asset and the public transport is so damn cheap and efficient. Relying on MRT/Bus and the occasional Grab taxi is more than enough to get around. No real need for cars.

In Canada (outside of Toronto and Montreal), if you don't have a car, you will literally freeze while waiting for the public transit, so cars are more of a necessity. Also, cars are cheaper and public transport is more expensive compared to SG, so the cost of owning a car vs public transport in CAN is not as significant.
I take transit to work. Temp can be -40.

This whole freezing thing is over played. Seriously. Dont be ridiculous. You just need the right clothing. Yes it will be cold but you dont get -40 EVERYDAY. Most times it is 0 to -10 maybe? Sometimes -20.

I actually like the temp -10 to -20.
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  #887 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2019, 08:39 AM
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My kids went to public schools.

Yeah they see kids taking drugs but they know those are idiots.

It is all upbringing. Singapore is a nanny state we all know that. Is that better? You breed a generation who are protected in cotton wool. Scholar system where the generals can do no wrong but never make it to MNCs in the private sector.

False sense of security and achievements.

But I can see why most Singaporeans are scared of a lot of things. The most silly is cold. Lol!

I cant stand the constant unchanging unrelenting heat and humidity of Singapore! And people make it worse by having air con everywhere. What does air con do? Burns energy to push heat out from the inside to the OUTSIDE! So you guys are getting hotter! Unbearable! And all year round! Jesus!
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  #888 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2019, 03:42 PM
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To provide a different perspective as a doctor coming from a neighbouring country:
Life as a medical specialist is very comfortable. Singaporean doctors have very good work ethic and are very responsible, they dont try to tai-chi things that are within their scope (at least in my experience). They try to help you as best as they can, as long as you know your stuff and your patient's issues.
Cars are expensive but not too expensive for consultants. If you choose a regular Japanese car, you can pay it off in cash with less than half your yearly salary. Rents are comparatively cheap compared with other major cities. Condos can be expensive but HDBs are affordable, and alot of HDBs have pleasant interiors with comfortable surroundings. Medical care is expensive but as long as you're working, employer insurance coverage is quite generous.
Cpf coverage is sort of like pension, with cpf life. The portion deducted from consultant salary is almost unnoticeable. It is tax exempted and earns high interest.
I have managed to save about 60% of my salary, even with a kid, car and condo living. And at least 2 overseas travel yearly.
Food is cheap and abundant. Weather is hot and humid but good for skin and joints. Age less faster. The best upside for me is to be close to family. As my parents age I foresee they will be needing more attention and care.
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  #889 (permalink)  
Old 05-12-2019, 01:28 AM
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To provide a different perspective as a doctor coming from a neighbouring country:
Life as a medical specialist is very comfortable. Singaporean doctors have very good work ethic and are very responsible, they dont try to tai-chi things that are within their scope (at least in my experience). They try to help you as best as they can, as long as you know your stuff and your patient's issues.
Cars are expensive but not too expensive for consultants. If you choose a regular Japanese car, you can pay it off in cash with less than half your yearly salary. Rents are comparatively cheap compared with other major cities. Condos can be expensive but HDBs are affordable, and alot of HDBs have pleasant interiors with comfortable surroundings. Medical care is expensive but as long as you're working, employer insurance coverage is quite generous.
Cpf coverage is sort of like pension, with cpf life. The portion deducted from consultant salary is almost unnoticeable. It is tax exempted and earns high interest.
I have managed to save about 60% of my salary, even with a kid, car and condo living. And at least 2 overseas travel yearly.
Food is cheap and abundant. Weather is hot and humid but good for skin and joints. Age less faster. The best upside for me is to be close to family. As my parents age I foresee they will be needing more attention and care.

If you are a medical specialist consult in any first world country you should have it good.
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  #890 (permalink)  
Old 05-12-2019, 08:43 AM
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Please excuse my ignorant question. How does one become a consultant? Does an existing consultant have to retire before an associate consultant can be promoted? Thanks


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