Zhifa
A passionate young soon-to-be medical doctor with interest in writing and #HealthForAll

Lost in Translation


This new year wakes me up with a new realization; I need a translator. I have been in the clinical clerkship for some time now and I'm having difficulty understanding and speaking Javanese. Majority of people who visit my teaching hospital are Javanese and, and, and I wish I had better learn the language during my undergraduate study.

The thing about learning a new language is that you have to like it first, and truth to be told, I was never truly fond of traditional languages. For example, I don't even master the language used in my father's village; partly because I rarely visit the village and the language wasn't broadly used in my daily life. The Javanese language, on the other hand, though being spoken by roughly 70 million people worldwide, has never been critical in my life, until today.

I felt bitter when I couldn't understand my patient's complaints as a whole. I have to take the time to process the meaning of his/her sentences before I confirmed it to them. Sometimes my confirmations were amiss and I felt bad. The good thing is that most patients were accompanied by their family member and if the patient was unable to speak Indonesian (even though I could see that they really tried to deliver their speech to me) then I could speak to the guardian who was often fluent in Indonesian. 

It hit me that this is what it means to look at our patients (and other people in general, really) as a whole; holistic. As an Ambonese living in Yogyakarta, it's part of my duty to not just understand the cultures and the values, but also be part of it; like the proverbs "When in Rome, do like the Romans do." Language is power, and often times, I felt powerless. Nevertheless, I aim to master this language soon. For my patients, for me, as a way to ease their worries and a way for me to gain ثواب‎ .Very soon!

"What is a Warrior of the Light?"
"You already know that," 
"He is someone capable of understanding the miracle of life, 
of fighting to the last for something he believes in--
and of hearing the bells that the waves set ringing on the seabed."
"Everyone is capable of these things. 
And, though, no one thinks of himself as a Warrior of the Light, 
we all are."
- Paulo Coelho -

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