日曜日, 7月 17, 2005

Scire usum medendi

it was 10 years ago today that i walked through the hallowed arches of king's hall for my congregation. the faculty of medicine in those days always had its congregation on the 2nd wednesday in the month of july at 5 pm.

i remembered that it rained a little in the morning but came 4 pm, it was gloriously sunny. as it was day one of a four-day convocation, the newly-mowed grass on the quadrangle of what was king's college of the university of durham was ours to enjoy. not to makan lah. i donned my black suit together with a crisp white shirt and the faculty tie to boot. my arwah mom wore her best kebaya and songket selendang whilst my dad looked (and felt) really good for the occasion (he postponed a CABG and opted for a coronary artery stent only weeks before!). our biggest disappointment was that my brother couldn't be with us due to his classes at university. there were only four malaysian families that afternoon and we spent the entire one hour post-ceremony taking photos. one thing i liked about our university congregation attire - no frickin' mortar boards!

it was the shortest congregation ceremony i've experienced (i've not been to any other actually!). we were ushered into the hall whilst someone played a classical organ piece. the graduands each had their hood with the colours of the faculty (lavender, scarlet and white) slung over their right forearms and are called by name (it was great to hear the long malaysian names being pronounced rather accurately) after being 'hooded' by the hooding marshall. the applause we received was non-stop from A to W (we had no X, Y or Z in our year). the VC gave a real heart-warming speech about the medical profession and then there was more organ music whilst we were ushered out of the hall. all that in less than one hour.



my emotions were mixed on that day. there was relief, as i have finally finished a long 5-year haul slogging my ass off. there was joy, as i was with my family (minus one, unfortunately) to commemorate the occasion. there was also apprehension, as in about two weeks after that day i was to be let loose on the wards together with those from my year.

there was a handful of us whom i'd probably refer to as 'casualties of war', who weren't there with us to share this joyful occasion. as painful as it must be, they marched on and proved their worth, albeit six months later. ten years on today, i'm sure these guys are doing what they do best (and most likely better than the ones who survived that summer) and nobody would probably even remember whether or not they were there that sunny july afternoon.

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Scire usum medendi [latin: To know the art of healing] was the original motto of the Durham University College of Medicine, founded in 1834.