Tuesday, November 09, 2010


that word generally gives a good impression. like someone specially recruited from another country,  who is well-schooled, highly-qualified, an expert in a chosen field of profession & certainly generously remunerated. like a CEO of a well-run corporation.

but that has not been my experience with those i've encountered of late. i considered them expatriates only because they are foreigners & are paid better than the locals. however, the similarity to my earlier description ends there.

their attitude to work is generally lackadaisical, they shun responsibilities, teamwork is an alien concept (pun definitely intended) to them & they are certainly not top performers in their chosen field of work.

unfortunately, they are here to stay, just like their fellow workers who are in construction, cleaning & domestic help services. as long as there remains a void left by the locals who seek their fortune elsewhere, as long as there is a desperate demand for their substandard services, they will continue to torture be around for some time to come.

so, i grit my teeth & try to bear with it.


Reanaclaire said...

Tolerance.. perseverance.. :)

Yvonne Foong said...

The expatriates who do cleaning and construction are LOWLY paid, right?

I hope we don't gave such expatriate doctors. One thing I don't understand is that recently, Najib announced that there will be a John Hopkins University set up here to teach medicine. Why would John Hopkins want to come here?

Anonymous said...

Expats also have attitude problems like most of us :) No one is immune to bad attitudes.

doc said...


patience of the saints as well!

doc said...


JH won't set up a med school & hospital here unless they have something to benefit & i'm sure the govt would have dangled a really juicy carrot for them to agree.

from m'sia's view point, we get to blow our trumpet to the rest of the world about our education hub...blah...blah.

so far, monash & newcastle have branch med schools here.

doc said...

Mei Teng,

true & it's dreadful to have to work with people with bad attitude.

missyc said...

When my late sis-in-law "famed" oncologist 'fled' the country, she & others were left in a lurch as there were no one to takeover his job. She was finally attended to by a expatriate oncologist at another private hospital. A wake up call in healthcare industry.

I had a not so nice encounter with expatriate TCM lady doctor who spoke in her high & mighty tone, with nose in the air Mandarin. Despite telling her I don't speak her lingo & being told she could speak & understand English, she refused. Probably looking down at me for being a Chinese but cannot speak the lingo! I refused to go back to her & sought a local TCM who charges even cheaper & can do the same job at the same hospital.

doc said...


not surprising at all about the state of our healthcare - our govt spent USD300 per capita on health in 2007 while US spent USD6000 & s'pore USD1800.

the recent fiasco over the construction of the shah alam hosp is testament to this.

Unicorn Girl said...

but then again , not of all them are like that - rite ??? there are 1 or 2 saints amongst them.....

doc said...


yeah, there are a few good ones, but too few & too far in between.

house-tai said...

My family and I are "expatriates" ourselves in Saigon, Vietnam. But since the husband is working for a S'porean company, lackadaisical attitude + etc that you described will certainly not be tolerated. I suspect that the expats you had met are mat sallehs, who fortunately enjoy much more perks and benefits (as expats) worldwide by the virtue of their genes.

From what I heard, the expat doctors in Saigon are not great really, although they are french, russians, americans, brits, japs, etc. And worse, the "normal minimum" price to see a GP is USD 100-120, even for something as simple as flu or tummy upset. But business is still good for them, since there's no way that foreigners like us will go see Vietnamese doctors!

doc said...


thanks for your comment.

you may not believe this but vietnamese surgeons are some of the best trained in laparoscopic surgery in southeast asia. some of my colleagues go there for exposure & experience.

the expatriates i referred to are from india.

house-tai said...

wah la la! ahnehneh...i rest my case. (i know, racist comment, u don't need to publish this in ur blog if u don't want to)

i'm sure there are excellent vietnamese docs around, the ones i'm referring to are the type in hospital kerajaan vietnam, serving hundreds on patients a day and getting paid USD300 a month.

interesting blog u have..subscribed.

doc said...


sounds very much like our young doctors in govt service!!

kc said...

expats also have diff grades... and you can more or less know which grade they are on where they stay - those klcc ones, the bangsar/kiara ones, the cyber ones, and even puchong ones...!

doc said...


thanks for your comment, esp more so as this is an old post.

does your grading of expatriates follow that stated order of prestige/importance?