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Farming Doctor

Farming Doctor

When I said I wanted to study at the Institute of Agriculture in Bogor, my father sarcastically said, “You want to become a farmer, huuh!” He forgot that 90% of the buyers in his shop were farmers; they might be poor individually, but together they had provided us good income, which enabled him to finance…
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Medical Service in Bayun

Medical Service in Bayun

Pantai Kasuari (abbreviated Pari, Casuarinen Coast) was a district of Merauke Regency. Bayun–located by Arafura Sea–is one of its villages. It is not found on the standard map, but you could try with Google Earth or Maps if you are curious—the key words are ‘Bayun, Asmat, Papua’. In Merauke, if a civil servant were assigned…
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My Primary Health Center

My Primary Health Center

To solve the problem of unequal distribution of doctors, the Government compelled all new doctors to register and to work for it. The new doctors could choose one province where they want to work. The 27 provinces were classified as non-remote, remote, and very remote. The doctors would receive a higher salary and a shorter…
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Doctor Behavior

Doctor Behavior

Compassionate people are not so many in the world, I mean the genuinely ones—no hidden self-interest expectation in return. The nuns, the Mothers—not the Fathers—is the group I find has many compassionate people among its members. Of course, it has many hypocrite members too, but relatively low comparing with the Fathers and Doctors. Two day…
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Empathy in Medical Practice

Empathy in Medical Practice

Nobody will argue that ‘doctors are the worst patients.’ They challenge the diagnosis and treatment from their doctor.  But being a patient, especially a very sick one, is necessary to become a good doctor because doctors tend to be cold. They often look their patients as machines—hopefully not ATMs—need to be fixed; remember their diagnosis…
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My First Job

My First Job

“You don’t change” or “You’re still the same” is invariably said by the people I ran into after years—up to 30 years—of our parting. The sameness they mean includes both physical appearance and personality traits. I am glad—not because I look younger for my age—that I am able to escape from the power of my…
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The First Mission

The First Mission

SOS “How come?” the desperate voice came from the communication radio in the AMA (Associated Mission Aviation) office of Sentani, Papua. “They said there were no doctor available now. They promised to send a medical team next week. Over,” Bosco Fernandez, the AMA manager replied. “Next week! People are dying every day everywhere. . ….
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Settling Adultery in Papua

Settling Adultery in Papua

Returning to Kago was not as hard as coming from. Many children of Mayuberi accompanied us—they could walk round trip within a day. My backpack moved from one’s to another’s back. Still I was the second slowest person after David. At one stop, I shared the last pack of my cookies with them. All 7…
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Teaching in the Interior

Teaching in the Interior

I always went to convents or health centers in the places where there was no hotel or inn and I knew nobody. As no nuns lived in Ilaga, my choice was only Puskesmas, the government health center. As usual, there was no doctor in charge although officially, there should have been. The head paramedic Matias,…
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Red Money

Red Money

Although I had decided to choose Papua (Irian Jaya then) as my work place months before graduation, I needed to make sure I would like it. One week after graduation (June 1989), I was in the plane to Papua with David Stanley, a cinematography student from the University of California at San Diego. He was…
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Chicken for Doctor

Chicken for Doctor

“Reduce suffering, prolong life” is the moral guide for medical doctors. Most doctors still follow this guide, and we expect most of the patients will be very grateful after receiving this compassionate deed. Unfortunately, they are not the majority. What we often hear or read is many patients complain of being overcharged for the service;…
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Runaway

Runaway

The paranormal—para means ‘above,’ ‘against,’ ‘counter,’ ‘outside,’ or ‘beyond'(Wikipedia)—phenomenon is not normally seen in our normal life. I believe I experienced this phenomenon during one of my abnormal life periods. It started with my decision to run away from the suffering at home and at school when I was 15. At home, I suffered from…
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Honesty: any gen for it?

Honesty: any gen for it?

Any correlation between honesty and stupidity? Is honesty inherited, like the intelligence? The second question often pop-up into my mind when I see people cheat in the daily life. That question stays in my mind every day when I am traveling. People cheat and corrupt everywhere in Indonesia, mostly for single reason: money. Some studies…
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Orphan-like Childhood

Orphan-like Childhood

If a student came to my clinic at Green School more than twice a week and I did not find any significant medical abnormality, I switched my role from doctor to counselor. Majority of these children, especially the primary students, were confused with the question “where do you live?” Or, they unconsciously said “my mom’s…
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Back in Papua

Back in Papua

With ten pieces of luggage weighing 70kg, I felt lucky that my friend Lily Sanjaya let me have Alpen, a Moni boy, to accompany me to Bilogai. He watched and carried some of the luggage during the travel. Missing luggage is common at the airports in Papua; I had lost some before. Airplane delay is…
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At Dyatmika School

At Dyatmika School

Jacinta Dinsmore, class 2/3 teacher of Dyatmika School, invited me to give a presentation on our project at her primary school assembly this afternoon. I am honoured because at Green School only Jerry, grade 1 teacher, who invited me to do so in front of his class. And, that was historical because one hour afterward…
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The Project has Landed

The Project has Landed

Nothing much has changed in the last two months. The forest of the Lore Lindu National Park is as beautiful as it was, but there are more “bald patches” along the way from Palolo to Doda (around 150 kilometer). The road has been much worse; heavy rain has removed off the top layer of the…
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