Hi! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.

Sunday 6 September 2020

TL: My close friend?

There's this one guy, I will refer to him as TL in this post. Many people in NUMed think that he is my close friend. As a matter of fact, I have never been really close to him, and I have stopped being friends with him for quite some time.

During Stage 1 and Stage 2 of MBBS, occasionally TL would approach me in the NUMed library to ask questions about the lecture materials. That was how I first knew him, and I was quite willing to help him every time. At that time, I had the impression that he is a really hardworking person.

During Stage 3 FoCP, I wasn't in the same group with TL, but both our groups were posted to Batu Pahat for several weeks. Therefore, I could interact with him more and know him better as a person. I realised that he is so different from what I thought of him previously. TL is actually a playboy who isn't serious with anything. I started having a negative impression towards him.

Once, I found out that TL was using the lavatory at the hospital without closing the door and I confronted him about it. However, he insisted there was nothing wrong about that. He also took revenge by taking random pictures of me and showing it to everyone. That strained the relationship between us, and I distanced myself from him.

Later, I was placed in the same group with TL for the LTC rotation. I wasn't happy about that, but no group change was allowed for LTC. Even though I didn't like him in the beginning, I became quite close to him as time went on. I started getting influenced by TL, I became less serious with my studies. At that time, everyone in NUMed started associating the two of us as close friends.

In February 2017, it was the LTC MOSLER assessment. I failed it as I didn't study enough, but TL somehow managed to pass it despite studying much less than me. He even said arrogantly "Of course I pass the MOSLER. Who even fails it?" I was really unhappy about that. After my failure in the LTC MOSLER, I decided that I must study well for my next rotations.

For the PC rotation, I was no longer in the same group with TL. Everyone in my PC group was so unlike him, they were really serious people. They motivated me to study well, enabling me to pass the PC MOSLER assessment. I had a really great experience with them and I loved that group so much.

After PC, it was the MH rotation. I again wasn't in the same group with TL. Just like PC, I had a great experience with my MH group. At that point, I realised that it's so much better for me to not be in the same group with TL. The time I had with my PC and MH groups was so much more enjoyable compared to the time with him. I started to stay away from him.

For the following WH and CH rotations, I was once again to be placed in the same group with TL. I really didn't like that, so I requested for a group change. My request for the CH rotation was approved easily. However, the WH lecturer wasn't happy to let me switch to another group. It was only after a long talk that he reluctantly approved my request. My experience with my new WH and CH groups was surely great. During that time, I had little contact with TL.

In July 2017, it was the final exam for Stage 3. I managed to pass it, albeit by a narrow margin, while TL failed it. I surely studied much more compared to him, and that did make a real difference in the end, which felt so satisfying. He was supposed to repeat Stage 3, and I still offered him some words of encouragement for that.

However in September 2017, NUMed declared the July exam invalid due to a security breach, requiring everyone to resit for the exam. In the end, both TL and me passed the resit exam. TL didn't have to repeat Stage 3 and could proceed directly to Stage 4, despite having failed the July exam. He really was very lucky!

During semester 1 of Stage 4, I wasn't in the same group with TL and I had little contact with him. After going through the experience of resitting the Stage 3 final exam, I became much more enthusiastic with my studies during Stage 4. On the other hand, TL hadn't changed, he still wasn't serious with his studies.

In December 2017, it was the Stage 4 exam and I was able to pass it easily. TL told me that he passed the exam as well. However, he cancelled his plans to do his SSC 3 and Electives in UK, and he asked for my advice in search for an easy SSC with a lot of free time, which made me suspect that he might have failed the exam.

For SSC 2, we had to submit a poster. Hours before the submission deadline, TL told me that he had just started doing his poster and asked for my guidance. I had already submitted my poster a few days earlier and was really free at that time, so I spent that morning helping him. In the end, he completed the poster just in time for the deadline. At that time, TL finally told me that he actually failed the Stage 4 exam and he was lying about it previously.

I didn't blame him for the lie as I could understand his feelings. As Stage 4 was my strong year, I was very willing to offer help to all those who didn't pass the exam. TL would phone me occasionally to ask for advice regarding the Stage 4 resit exam, and I tried my best to help him. That brought me closer to him. In the end, TL successfully passed the resit exam in August 2018 and could proceed to Stage 5.

During Stage 5, I again wasn't in the same group with TL. He continued to phone me occasionally, mostly to talk about his personal problems. For some reasons, he didn't like sending messages and he usually contacted me through phone calls. Initially, I was fine with that. As time went on, I started finding him a bit annoying, so I would just ignore his calls sometimes.

Apart from me, TL also phoned a few other friends quite often. They too found him annoying and eventually they made it clear to him that they no longer wished to talk about his personal problems. However, I still didn't want to abandon him at that time. Consequently, I became the only person TL was close to.

In February 2019, I had a tragedy which led to a huge crisis. I got backstabbed by some of the people in my group. Thankfully, a few of my close friends stood with me and supported me during the crisis, and TL was one of them. TL was unable to do anything to help with the crisis, and he also lacked the communication skills to console me. However, I felt that at least he was sincere in offering me support and I really appreciated it. That brought us even closer.

The final exams for Stage 5 was in June 2019. It turned out that both me and TL failed it and had to repeat the entire Stage 5. TL was so glad to have me as a company for the repeat year, but I didn't feel the same. Although I was quite close to him, the fact that he isn't serious with the studies made me not want to mix with him too much.

TL wanted to stay with me during the repeat year. As no more single room was available at EcoNest by the time he applied for it, he proposed that we rent a unit together elsewhere. I refused as I definitely wanted to stay at EcoNest. Later, TL's mother phoned me, telling me that she managed to privately rent a unit at EcoNest for him. She offered to let me stay in his unit for only RM3000 for the whole year.

While that may seem to be a good deal, I didn't really like the idea of staying with TL, and his unit also lacked the excellent facilities found in the units managed by NUMed. Therefore, I declined the offer. TL and his mother were a bit upset about that. Realising that I wasn't so friendly to him, he started getting close to another guy who was also repeating Stage 5.

As TL was really embarrassed about having to repeat Stage 5, he wanted to sit in the last row of the lecture theatre during the induction day of the repeat year, and he asked me to sit beside him. However, my thoughts was so different from him. I didn't feel embarrassed at all, and I chose to sit in the first row of the lecture theatre so that I could meet new people in the new batch. I definitely refused to sit with TL in the last row, so he sat with the other guy.

It turned out that I was placed in the same group with TL for ESR. He promised me that he would change his old habits and be really serious with the studies during the repeat year, as he was clearly aware that he would drop out if he fails again. I was skeptical of that, but I gave him the benefit of doubt. As we both were staying at EcoNest, I carpooled with TL when travelling to the hospital every day.

I was really interested to make new friends in the new batch. However, I am a shy person and I found it difficult to start a conversation with them unless they talked to me first. Therefore, in the beginning I only mixed with TL. He too really liked to mix with me. At that time, it seemed that TL was indeed a changed person. He paid good attention during classes and he often asked the lecturers questions whenever he wasn't sure of anything. That made me more comfortable to mix with him.

On 18 September 2019, TL went for lunch with a few students in the new batch after the WH MOSLER. I couldn't join them as my MOSLER was on the following day. TL then told me that they were gossiping about me during the lunch, but he refused to tell me what they were gossiping about. Instead, he kept teasing me by saying that their gossiping indicated that I had failed to gain acceptance in the new batch. I was quite upset with him over that.

One day during the CH rotation, I carpooled with TL to the hospital as usual. I was the one driving, and I parked my car near the back entrance. When we were leaving, it was raining heavily. TL said that he couldn't get wet as he would fall sick easily. Therefore, he wanted me to get to the car myself and then drive to the hospital lobby to pick him up. I agreed with his request, but in return, I wanted him to walk with me up until the back entrance.

However, TL refused to follow me to the back entrance no matter what, even though he didn't have to get wet for that. Yet, he insisted that I do what he wanted me to do. I warned him that I could just leave him at the hospital and drive home myself, but he said he would take revenge on me if I did that. As I didn't want to create an enemy at that time, I relented in the end.

I am very willing to offer help to my friends in the new batch whenever they don't understand a particular topic. At that time, whenever TL found out that I was teaching them, he would interrupt it and then ask me to repeat to him everything that I had taught them. TL had the thinking that he was more entitled than anyone else to be taught by me. I was really annoyed with that, so I became quite unwilling to teach him anything.

During the following MH rotation, there were several occasions where the lecturer teamed me up with someone other than TL in my group. As a result, I became quite close to them. I realised that mixing with them is so much more enjoyable than mixing with TL. I even started feeling that the time I spent with him is so meaningless and is just a waste of time. My group mates could also see that he was taking advantage of me.

NUMed reallocated everyone to different groups for the PC rotation. Much to my delight, I was no longer in the same group with TL. I had a very good relationship with my PC group mates, giving me a great experience for the PC rotation. I hoped that I wouldn't be in the same group with TL again in the future.

In November 2019, the group list for the HBP next semester was released. It was largely the same as the ESR group list, so I was once again in the same group with TL. NUMed released it so early in order to give students who wanted to swap groups the opportunity to do so. I immediately seized the opportunity to switch to a different group. One of my friend agreed to swap groups with me, enabling me to switch to the 26-30 group for HBP.

TL wasn't quite happy about that. I made it clear to him that I would be sticking with my new group and I challenged him to swap groups with another student if he really wanted to be in the same group with me. Out of my expectation, TL was able to get someone to swap groups with him, enabling him to join my new group. However, I still decided to stay in the 26-30 group instead of returning to my previous group, because I wanted to make new friends.

For the P4P rotation, all sessions were held at the NUMed campus, involving all students in my group as well as 2 other groups. I had plenty of opportunities to get to know and interact with everyone in all 3 groups. At that time, I had gotten quite close to them and I was no longer shy. Therefore, I surely didn't want to mix with TL anymore. However, he kept trying to stick to me.

One day, TL phoned me and I foolishly answered the call. He said that he wanted to have lunch with me at a burger shop near EcoNest. At that time, I had to go to a bank in Bukit Indah to do something important. However, he simply told me to do it on another day and insisted that I have lunch with him on that day. TL was really annoying and he kept telling me not to end the call. I refused to give in and he eventually gave up after talking for more than 20 minutes.

On the following week, a new McDonald's outlet was open near NUMed. After class on one day, I wanted to go try it for the first time. As soon as I drove out of the NUMed campus, I received a phone call from TL and I just rejected it. However, I realised that he was just behind me in his car. TL then tailgated me, forcing me to stop my car by the roadside. As expected, he again wanted me to have lunch with him.

I said that I wouldn't mind going to the burger shop near EcoNest with him. However, TL refused to go there as he just went there on the previous day. Instead, he wanted to go to a fish head noodle restaurant. I really didn't feel like having fish head noodle at that time as I wanted to have burgers instead, but he kept insisting on it. I got really annoyed with him. Eventually, he suggested going to Black Coffee for lunch and I reluctantly agreed.

During the lunch, I told TL that I would once again switch to another group for HBP if he continues to annoy me. As he really wanted to be in the same group with me, he got panicked after hearing what I said. He then told me that he would block me on all social media if I were to talk about switching groups again. I bluntly replied him "I don't give a damn about that."

It's so clear that TL isn't sincere in being friends with me. He liked to stick to me so much simply because I was too nice to him and he could take advantage of me. At that time, I decided that I will not let that keep happening and I was prepared to stop being friends with TL anytime. I had learnt from the February 2019 tragedy that fake friends are not worth having. Luckily, I didn't agree to stay with him in his unit!

At the beginning of HBP, I still carpooled with TL when travelling to the hospital every day. However, unlike the previous semester, he now had the habit of driving quite recklessly at times, which made me quite scared. Knowing I was scared of that, TL threatened me that he would purposely drive recklessly whenever I refused to do what he wanted me to do.

On 22 January 2020, TL wanted me to have lunch with him at a restaurant quite a distance from the hospital after our hospital session ended. I was quite busy preparing for the PSA exam at that time so I didn't want to waste time. He reassured me that going to that restaurant wouldn't take a lot of time, so I agreed to follow him there. However, that restaurant was closed. Although several other restaurants at that place were open, he didn't like them.

Instead, he wanted to go to another faraway restaurant and I had to follow along as he was the one driving. I got really upset because that would waste a lot of time. I told TL in a really serious tone that we should stop carpooling if he wants to keep wasting my time and that I would be very happy to get down of his car right away and return home by Grab. Eventually, he reluctantly agreed to have lunch at one of the restaurants nearby.

On 28 January 2020, TL suddenly reopened my old wounds by bringing up my February 2019 tragedy. Despite supporting me previously, he now said that those people who backstabbed me at that time had done nothing wrong and that I should just accept the truth that they were much more influential compared to me. Since then, I stopped carpooling with TL entirely.

At that time, I bought some Chinese New Year cards to be given to my close friends in NUMed. TL definitely wasn't among those I gave the cards to. After seeing the cards I had given to my friends, TL approached me and asked "Where's my card?", to which I replied bluntly "There's none. I never intended to give you one."

I decided to move to another group for HBP rotations 2 and 3 because I really didn't want to be in the same group with TL. My friends in the 36-39 group agreed to let me join their group. However, I have a really good relationship with everyone else in my 26-30 group, so my decision to switch groups was a difficult one. I explained my decision to them and emphasised that I had absolutely no issues with them. They were very understanding.

However, NUMed told me that I couldn't switch groups for rotation 2 as it was too late to make a change. Therefore, I remained in the 26-30 group for rotation 2. Meanwhile, they said that they would consider my request to switch to the 36-39 group for rotation 3 and that I would be informed of the outcome later on.

In the following weeks, I occasionally went for lunch with my 26-30 group and I really enjoyed it. TL joined every time and I mostly ignored him. On one occasion, our lecturer offered us an extra teaching session, so my group had a discussion regarding the date and time for that. TL kept saying that the extra session mustn't be held between Friday and Monday as he would be back in his hometown. However, we couldn't find any other suitable time.

Then, I said that since he had been returning to his hometown every single week, he should just skip it for once. TL replied rudely "I already bought my flight ticket. Are you gonna pay for it?" I made it clear to TL that there were timetabled sessions on Friday, Sunday and Monday, so by returning to his hometown at that time, he was actually on an unauthorised absence and I could make a report to NUMed anytime. In the end though, my group unanimously agreed on not having the extra session.

On the week starting from 7 March 2020, my group was posted to Kluang. I followed one of my friend in my group to Kluang, and TL followed along too. I was so glad that I didn't have to stay in the same room with TL at the Kluang hotel as he chose to book his own room. In Kluang, I had a really great time with my group, we went for lunch and dinner together almost every day. Just like previously, I mostly ignored TL.

Late at night on 9 March 2020, TL suddenly said that he had a personal emergency and asked my friend to send him back to Johor Bahru immediately. He wouldn't tell what happened exactly, but I thought it was a genuine emergency. My group had made great plans for the next 2 days in Kluang, and all of it got disrupted because of that.

After the great experience at Kluang, I felt really attached to my 26-30 group (with the exception of TL). As a result, I found it really difficult to separate with them for the next rotation. NUMed still hadn't informed me the outcome of my request to switch groups for rotation 3. After thinking about it carefully, I decided that I no longer wanted to switch to the 36-39 group.

On 14 March 2020, TL finally told me about his personal emergency in Kluang. What happened was that his hotel room was haunted! I was furious to know that. Just because of something so silly like that, TL went to the extent of asking my friend to send him back to Johor Bahru so late at night. This showed how selfish and unreasonable he is! His presence in my repeat year of Stage 5 is really a nuisance.

My group was supposed to go to Kluang once more on the following week. TL definitely wouldn't want to go there again. Without him, I surely would have an even better week at Kluang with my group, and I was looking forward to that so much. Unfortunately, later on that day NUMed informed us that they had suspended all clinical placements due to the rapidly worsening Covid-19 situation. As a result, my group wouldn't be going to Kluang anymore.

Just as I was feeling really sad about missing a great week at Kluang, I received another bad news. It turned out that one of the patients my group had close contact with at Kluang hospital on 10 March 2020 had just been tested positive for Covid-19! Consequently, we had to be placed under home quarantine until 24 March 2020.

As TL had left Kluang before 10 March 2020, he could escape the home quarantine. My friend who sent him back also escaped the home quarantine, but that was merely a coincidence so TL deserved no credit for that. TL messaged me to ask about my home quarantine. However, he clearly wasn't asking out of concern of my situation, instead he was just trying to make sure that the home quarantine wouldn't affect him. I refused to reply to his message.

By the time our home quarantine ended, the Movement Control Order (MCO) had been implemented in Malaysia. NUMed had to cancel all campus teaching in addition to clinical placements. I couldn't meet anyone in NUMed, including TL. At that time, I decided to stop being friends with TL completely. I certainly wouldn't want to have any form of contact with him.

In April 2020, NUMed started conducting online classes for rotation 3. NUMed kept me in the 26-30 group for that, which was what I wanted. I was really glad to be able to meet and interact with my group during the online classes as I hadn't seen them for quite some time. Meanwhile, I completely ignored TL. He once sent me a bad joke about the Covid-19, but I never replied to that.

In July 2020, NUMed provided 2 weeks of campus teaching just before the final exams. For that 2 weeks, I was to be placed in the same group with TL but not with the rest of my 26-30 group, which was really unfortunate. Luckily, I could find someone to swap groups with me. TL phoned me twice at that time, most probably to ask about my group switch, but I refused to answer the call. I switched to the 36-39 group, and I had a great experience with them.

Just before the final results was released, TL blocked me on all social media. In the end, both of us passed the final exams and successfully graduated from NUMed with an MBBS degree. TL never contacted me again and that's surely a good thing. I definitely won't be friends with him ever again!