Sunday, December 26, 2010

A fling with the military

I remembered when i was 13, i fancy being in the military, and i always fantasised myself being in army uniform, serving at the front lines as a medic. I run towards the battle-scorned field without hesitation against the current of civilians running away, in the shower of bullets, attending a wounded soldier; a true angel in the midst of the battlefield. Therefore, i found the Royal Military College in Sungai Besi as my first stepping stone to turn my day dreams into something more tangible. But judging from my not-so-tall physique, i have to contend to the idea that the military is not made for a 'petite' guy like me. So, my fling with the military slowly laid to rest in time.

Until now.

I had been eying a book for a quite some time, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins and thankfully, i had the whole 2 weeks of my winter break in Spain to finish the book together with Amartya Sen's Development as Freedom, away from the hassles and packed schedule of my medical studies ( though i have tonnes of research paper to go through). All of the sudden, my long-forgotten dreams of being in service is raised from the dead, incarnated in a whole new form, utilising tools which i believe are more effective and systematic than the use of force and violence; developmental economics. Given my full time commitment in the medical field, i acknowledged that i am in no position of critiquing the the current state of the economy or suggesting economic models that could release millions of people from the shackles of poverty and famine. I am also well-informed that my inadequate knowledge of politics would not put my opinions of governance in a place where it will be valued.

But what i can say is this. i realised that most of us who are privileged enough to obtain a decent university education are not just bounded by the responsibility which are set on the piece of paper after completing our degrees, but it goes far and beyond that. Being pragmatist (maybe a bit of realist as well), i believe that our ignorance towards the issues around the world has led to further deterioration of what now can be classified as humanity crisis. It came to me that my list of duties and responsibilities also includes towards humanity and community, especially after i opted myself in medicine, and i realised that the least i can do to fulfill this call of duty is to be aware of what's going on in the world and the struggles of millions who are in dire need. I had a conversation once with Ammar Roslizar, and he instilled the idea in me that in this era, human science will prevail as a driving force of civilizations and whoever could master this realm of knowledge, he or she will become the masters of the world. This notion enticed me further to spur my understanding of development, governance and economy.

So, i might opted to go into the army, after my conversation with Saffa about the excitement of being in the military, maybe travel around the world to see and meet more people and to have a larger perspective of the world, or i can march myself towards the front lines, with governance and economy as my preparation, medicine as my uniform, values and principles as my compass, my voice and actions as weapons. Or God-forbid, i might not do anything.