Apartheid Burmese or Myanmar Medical Professors
Myanmar medical field, under- graduate and post-graduate arena is not meant to be_
- a cage for zoo animals to look at each other with contempt and disdain
- nor it is a boxing ring for David and Goliath to spar without any rules,
- or a place of vengeance or Apartheid to suppress the Kalas or Muslims
- and polish the balls of people in power or cronies
- or for corrupted wolves disguised in sheep skin.
I had personally experienced or suffered a lot from many of those bigot Professors during my undergraduate training, especially in the almost all the final exams and few later, as a doctor just because I am a Muslim and had no cables nor connections.
Medical arenas in every country should in fact be a thrashing ground for the nation’s best medical harvest where the grain is separated from the chaff, for it has been said that the weeds and wheat shall grow alongside until the harvest and the chips fall one way or the other.
Not only should the relevant authorities, Director General of Medical Education, Rectors, Head of Departments, Professors, Consultants and Lecturers should be ashamed of themselves but every one else in the Government who is in a state of denial that_
- not only the standard of the medical training programme was compromised
- but its reputation would be tarnished
if they continue to practice Nepotism, Cronyism, Corruption and Racial and Religious Discrimination or Apartheid.
I need to record that_
- Rector Professor U Tun Thin,
- Physician Professor Daw Myint Myint Aye ,
- Anatomist Prof U Khin Maung Sein,
- Surgeon Prof U Khin Maung Gyi
were the best of my teachers/lecturers/bosses I had met.
- Dr U Kyaw Myint (now working as the Health Minister),
- Dr Maung Maung Wint (later married to the President San Yu’s daughter) and
- Daw Ma Ma Gyi were also some of my favourite lecturers.
During our time almost 100% of the Housemen/House Surgeon and MOs or Assistant Surgeons had lost interest in further studies and were seen reading the cartoons, love stories or other fictions and translated books only but not the Medical Books even in the wards. At last I had also give up and used to read “Speak Malay” books even on ward rounds to learn Malay language.
I was disgusted when the DGME (U Tin Oo) who was a Paediatrician told that they could not allow a Muslim Kala a place even for a local post-graduate training.
Dr Daw Myint Myint Khin, Surgeon Dr Bo Ni, Rector Anatomist U Ba Than (father-in-law of General Ne Win), Paediatric DGME U Tin Oo, Physician R. Ba Pe, Anatomist Dr Pe Thaung etc were notorious for their BIGOT APARTHEID ANTI-MUSLIM or hatred of Kalas.
In Anatomy, I had done very well, top of our class in Class Work or Item-exams which were held every two weeks as viva, I got Grade 5 (A) in all except two times where I got Grade 4. In all the Completion tests held after each part teaching e.g. Upper/lower limbs, Head & Neck, CNS, Thorax, abdomen and for the Histology, Embryology, General Anatomy etc I got the best marks in our class. In the Final exam, I got Grade 5 in Paper 1 &2. And also got good marks in practical examinations. But in viva, Dr Prof. M.M. Nyo failed me. Later the news leaked out about his unfair markings_ he stayed in his friend Anatomy Demonstrator Dr Pe Thaung’s house. He was said to have asked his friend Dr Pe Thaung whether to give Grade 5. Dr Pe Thaung advised him with a remark, “Don’t give that Kala distinction.” So he thought I was bad student and failed me. At the moderation, the board reinstated me with Grade 5 without giving distinction.
I got the sweetest revenge when his son assaulted the teacher and expelled from the school and was banned from enlisting in all the schools in Mandalay.
They came to see me and requested with an almost crying face to plead with my mother-in-law, famous Head Mistress. We all did not know about them as that case was happened in another school in the other township. I told my mother-in-law about the whole story and appealed on their behalf to accept in her school.
At first, my mother-in-law was angry when she heard about them. However, I persuaded her that if she refused, it is finished in one time. It may be a sweetest revenge if we do good on them and help them without even mentioning back their bad deeds. I am so happy with that revenge that would make them feel guilty till their death. She even needed to plead with the township and division education authorities because Pe Thaung’s son was notorious. She had to take personally the responsibility and guarantee. She kept the boy in the hand of strict teacher’s classes and took care of him till he passed all the exams in High school.
Actually my favourite Professor / Physician / Rector / Politician / MP / Chinese mixed blooded Burmese, U Tun Thin keep on telling me since I was in his ward as a Houseman doctor, to go abroad as there was no future in Burma for me and he was sure that I could pass the MRCP Part 1 exam with the first attempt.
When I argue that I have not enough practical experience, he told me that not only he knew me as a bright student but also he had seen how I had answered very well at the final MBBS exam including the very tough questions of the notorious Colonel Professor Tin Ohn at the viva interview.
I still remember my answer when that Colonel was surprised because I could answer all his questions, changing the topics every time when he knew that I know the subject. He even query me which monographs I read to be able to answer his questions, my answers shocked him, “Davidson” the prescribed textbook. When he could not believe, I told him that I had read the latest edition of this book from preface to the last page, including small prints and sub-notes below up to ten times as the revision. I even suggested him to read that prescribed textbook as that was the best medical book I had read and the answers to all his questions.
And for the record, my initial aim was a Physician, as I always look up to our smart and clever Professor Daw M M Khin but later sadly found out that she was an anti-Muslim and was personally jealous of most of the bright Medical Students. I decided not to try for the training as a Physician because of the hatred and fear of her anti-Muslim stunt.
I even ignored her and tried to pretend as if I had never seen her when I met her in KL at the Myanmar First Secretary’s condominium during their Christmas party. Later when I got the news that she was asking about me and was puzzled why I could not recognized her, I went to see her and since then, my wife and I try to help her out with all we can.
At the first visit, on the way to her house, we were surprised to see her son walking to and fro, on the very busy road divider in-front of the Hospital University KL, counting his numerous rubber bands on the wrists and talking himself. Then only we understand why his mother treated most of the Medical Students and Doctors with animosity, anger and jealousy without giving good lectures to distribute her precious knowledge. But she was good, polite and talk nicely to selective students who were relatives of other Professors, MI Chief General Tin Oo (people called 1 and a half as he was more powerful than No 2 in Ne Win’s cabinet) and Chinese mixed blooded people.
She was the one who refused to give distinction to me in Physiology also. Physiology exams were tough with objective questions with multiple responses. If without knowing just ticked, if right got one mark, if refused to answer or no response, zero but wrong answer would give minus one mark. So out of about 100 students in our class, about FIVE STUDENTS only would get more than 60 marks, which is Grade 3 or pass mark. Those five persons are also not permanent. Always rotating amongst about 15-20 top students. Any way there are usually about 10 students who get more than 50 marks. I always stood first with marks ranging between 70-90%. My average marks in the two years of Physiology exams was 79.9 and I was the only one who got more than 60 average pass marks in the class for that period. My final exam marks in written and practical was also very good and I was the only person called for the distinction. But I start to realize the anti-Muslim attitude of the medical authorities since then.
Even in the Luyechun Interview, she asked me which 1st. MBBS subject was the most important subject in Medical Field. When I answered, “Chemistry”, she scolded me and told that Physics was the most important subject. My one word knocked her out, “all the Medicines are related to Chemistry and if do not know Chemistry, how can a Med Student able to understand Biochemistry and Physiology.” She was not satisfied but I won the heart of the Head of examination board who was our Chemestry Professor. Now I am sure that I was right and Daw Myint Myint Khin was TOTALLY WRONG. In most of the Medical Universities around the world, entrance requirement is based on A level. In Chemistry, a student should at least get B to be accepted. For other subjects, including PHYSICS, even C is good enough if you could pay or fulfill other requirements.
In the Medicine final, I had done well in theory written papers. I got the Rheumatic Heart disease with pregnancy. I had already prepared that particular condition in advance for the O&G. Even Dr Daw MM Gyi MSc later got MRCP and became Cardiologist who was working/assisting was so impressed that she went and tell others that I, KKG got the distinction. She was later called and scolded by Head of Department Daw MM Khin. In the short case I got the paraplegic patient. I had read well and prepared thoroughly. My favourite lecturer Daw Myint Myint Aye was the best teacher I had met. She not only taught very thoroughly in theories but practically also. No one could find fault if we follow her clinical methods. And newly minted fresh MRCPs, Dr Kyaw Myint (now the Health Minister), Dr Maung Maung Wint (President’s son-in-law) and newly graduated MScs Daw Ma Ma Gyi and Daw Than Yin Mar had polished us with latest knowledge, facts and methods. So R. Ba Pe could not find fault at my clinical methods and could not question me that I could not answer. When D MMGyi told him I was the distinction candidate he just changed the patient. Then I know that he cannot fail me and is not willing to give me Grade 5.
I do not want to go away from Mandalay, so I chose the surgical carrier. I will write about these in other chapters.
At last, I could not stand the discriminations anymore to remain twisting and turning in a Burma’s small goldfish jar anyway. I thought and hope that there is an ocean out of Burma, bigger than Myanmar’s coconut shell dome or the dried footprint of a bullock.
I decided to resign from the place where the moon continues to shine in the hollow of the bamboo only.
A frog will jump out of the hot water but will remain till its doom if its heat is gradually turned on.
I decided to jump out of the cooking pot and took the risk of falling into the fire. Actually, I had suffered from the fire of Baptism and is now happy that at least I could safe my children and their descendants from the hell-fire of endless Racial Discriminations back home. Although I realized and accepted that there is discriminations everywhere, which we could not avoid totally but now there is more space to manoeuvre our struggle for their unlimited progress. At least I had successfully taken down the glass ceiling above their heads which will limit their progress.