Ah Long (colloquial): Chinese for Illegal Money Lender
For as long as I have been a doctor, patients have often asked me for money. I am beginning to suspect that printed on my forehead are these words, visible only to patients:
GULLIBLE DOCTOR. WILL PART WITH MONEY EASILY
Over the years, I have often been asked, and given small sums of money to patients. Usually it’s with believable excuses such as having no money for bus fares, no money for food, no money for milk powder for the crying hungry baby in the patient’s arms, etc.
Just a few months ago, a lady stopped me as I was rushing back to my office after finishing the ID clinic and feeling terribly hungry (it was past lunch time) and she asked me for money so that she could take a cab home.
I walked away RM 20 poorer.
I’m such a sucker. Sigh.
Which also means I’d probably not do very well in private practice.
I mean, it’s doesn’t make sense that not only do I have to attend to the patient’s medical needs, I might actually end up paying them to see me! Errr.. I don’t think things work this way.
Another time, a patient called me on the phone (I don’t know how he got my phone number) and blatantly asked me for RM 300 so that he could top up the RM 800 that he has, so that he could get a second hand car so that he could start work and earn some money. I said “No” as politely as I could. I never saw him again in my HIV clinic.
I often wondered if it’s his way of retaliating for not getting the money from me. Of course, it’s a stupid way because without his medications, he wouldn’t do very well either.
Just 2 days ago, a patient, using his appointment card from the hospital as a pretense, told the guard in the place where my office is located, that he has an appointment with me! The guard, being new and ignorant of the fact that I do not see patients in my office, allowed him through. He found my office, knocked on the door and because I do not have one of them keyhole glass in the door to peep through, I opened my door and because I recognise him as one of my patients, I allowed him in.
That was a big mistake.
He proceeded to pour upon me a most tragic sob story that would probably fetch an Oscar if it was made into a movie. He said his family berated him for his condition. He said his sister ridiculed him. He said he hasn’t been home for days. He said he will probably spend Hari Raya alone, somewhere, swallowing his ketupat in bitter desolation. He said he has no money for new clothes.
He said he needed RM 100 from me!
I was wondering within me, since when did I become a financier of other people’s festive celebration?!!!
To cut the story short, I became poorer by RM 50 (after getting a 50% discount).
When I posted this on my FB page, someone suggested that I post a ‘Moneylender’ sign outside my clinic.
Maybe I should. At least then, I could get back some returns.
Fri, 270810 @ 0830