As you read this, it’s near the end of the year and the holiday season is again upon us. Time flies. As with all things healthcare in Singapore recently (like Duke, JCI, Residency and Board Exams, the Hobbit goes American and celebrates Thanksgiving. For a start, here’s a recipe for a good Residency Thanksgiving Turkey:
One 7kg turkey, preferably caught from around College Road and slain by brute force with the bare hands of a simple-minded orthopaedic surgeon. If not, then get a frozen one imported from America that is suitably defrosted with naivety and bewilderment. Whatever the case, remember – remove the brain, heart and guts COMPLETELY! If not, this recipe will NOT work.
Juice of 2 BIG Singapore lemons
5 tablespoons of stupidity
5 tablespoons of single-mindedness and myopia
One cup of deafness
One cup of blindness
Mixed the following:
One cup of hubris
One cup of white flour (Made from pure American Wheat)
Common Sense, boiled for 2 hrs, cooled, peeled and then finely chopped
National Pride – pounded violently and minced to paste
A finger of Local Tradition, grated to a fine dust
A sprig of parsley
One carrot finely chopped
One onion diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
A sprig of acceptance
A stem of blissful ignorance
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
2 cups of water
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Clean turkey. Remember to remove guts completely. Squeeze juice of two big Singapore lemons into cavity. Season skin and cavity with stupidity, single-mindedness and myopia. Stand for 30 minutes to soften muscle. Rub deafness and blindness onto skin and cavity liberally. Stand in roasting dish for 3 hrs in the DARK. This is to ensure that when the bird is cooked, it is soft, compliant, tasty and quite divorced from reality.
Stuff Turkey with Stuffing. Close neck cavity and tail openings with string (not Prolene sutures, you idiot!).
Line roasting pan with lots of grease, preferably from Chicago or North Carolina. Roast Turkey in pan (breast-side down, to restrain/contain national pride). For a 7kg turkey, 200C (or 400F, for the residents familiar with the American way of measuring things) for the first 30 minutes, then reduce to 175C (or 350F) for 2 hours, then reduce to 110C (225F) for next hour to hour and a half. Then raise temperature to 260C (500F) for 5 minutes to brown skin.
Remove bird to cool. Collect Oil and drippings into saucepan, add cornstarch and other gravy ingredients, flavor (Not “flavour”) with ignorance and acceptance. Bring to a boil and over low heat, reduce to a suitable opaque consistency.
Note – Residency Turkey usually tastes better when carved by senior medical administrators on footstools (never both feet on the ground). So do invite them for your next Thanksgiving Dinner!
Things to give thanks for over the Residency Turkey Dinner
We give thanks for
The fact that, like their American counterparts, our house officers (or R1) can only work continuously for 16 hours (i.e. no more over-night calls) and other residents will be entitled to 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. They can only clerk several cases a day on call. In other words, they will probably stop work at 3pm when their quota is filled up.
And for all this, they will not get a pay-cut
We also give thanks that somehow with the residency programme, productivity and efficiency will seemingly be unaffected and healthcare costs will not go up, even though USA spends 16% of their GDP on healthcare and we spend 4%. Presumably, consultants can pick up the slack for free.
Finally, we also give thanks to the British training system that had more or less served us well but can now rest in peace.
Footnote: This article was actually written one year ago and submitted to SMA News but never published. Now published on FB – One-up for social media.