Sunday, April 29, 2012

PRC makes friends for 利用价直?

Recently, I met up with a couple of friends who worked together on a theatre play last spring/summer.

As we were casually chatting about having lost touch since our previous gathering, the PRC Chinese lady AH declared to group that ethnic Chinese make friends with a purpose in mind.
[Note: I think she was referring to friends who would be beneficial to one's goals, that is 有利用价直。] 
She also claimed that it is rare for an ethnic Chinese, to be like me, who sees a friend as a whole (holistic) person, beyond business and/or networking purposes. And she explained that she compartmentalizes her friends into "for theatre contact only", "for academic studies only", "for business contact only", etc.

I told her that my behaviour could be a Singaporean thing-y -- we mixed around regardless of language, race or religion and the environment that we grew up in wasn't so competitive. I also added quickly that Singapore has changed a lot in the past 20 years.

Frankly, I think my PRC friend/acquaintance was trying to justify her own behaviour and those of the PRCs she know. Haha! :-D Thanks to her candidness and my past dealings with her, I have mentally downgraded her from "friend" to "just an acquaintance". For me, there is a difference between friendship and purpose-driven networking.

IMHO, not all PRCs are like her (thank goodness!). From personal experience, I have had PRC friends who came through for me in times of need/crisis. PRC friends who have interests and pursuits not related to furthering their financial goals or social prestige. I guess "birds of a feather flock together".


[Addendum 01-July-2012]

At the end of a recent gathering for a theatre awards event, AH complained to me and another theatre friend that she had lost quite a number of friends in B.C., Canada, because of her 2 trips back to China. While I don't know about her other friends, IMHO, chances are her friends "left" her not because of her two long periods of absence.

Friday, April 20, 2012

LCY busts the Foreign Talents myth

I just read "Prof Lim clarifies on Economic Restructuring II (ERII)" from The Online Citizen, dated 18-Apr-2012. LCY had written,
"In 1991, our nonresident labour force was 300,800.This shot up to 686,200 in 2001 and to 1,157,000 in 2011. Of this foreign labour population, only 1.7% earned high enough that they are legally obliged to pay income tax."
Let me see, 1.7% of 1,157,000 = 19,669

So out of the 1+ million "foreign talent" (as the PAP government likes to call foreign labour in Singapore), less than 20K are actually "talented" enough to have jobs that require them to pay income tax. What about the other 1,137,331? Talents, really? Myth busted!


p.s. I would like to know, of the 19,669, what is the distribution curve of the top tax-rate that they fall into. That is, for each income tax rate, chart
(a) the number of foreign labour with that tax-rate, and
(b) the amount of tax collected from the group.

How much income tax do they bring to the Singapore government coffers?

You will live to 100

I was reading Gintai's blog post on "Live to a Hundred" and decided to try the "Living to 100: Life Expectancy Calculator". Here's my result.

I am not surprised. My grandparents passed away at age 70+, 80+, and 90+. I live a simple lacto-ovo vegetarian life and try to manage my stress levels (errmm, not very much since relocating to Canada). I try to create new experiences to keep me learning about life.

IMHO, Canada is a good place to grow old in. According to a Yahoo! news article today, the oldest known Canadian just passed away at age 113. It also mentioned that, "According to Statistics Canada, there are more than 6,000 Canadians aged 100 or more." 6,000 out of a population of 35 million.

If the above percentage is translated to Singapore-citizen population of 3 million, we should expect about 514 elderly aged 100 or more in Singapore. SG Girl's comment on Gintai's post raises common Singaporean concerns,
"Who wants to live till 100 when (1) most of your friends (if not all) would be dead; (2) your children would likely be dead too and (3) do you have enough cpf money left to eat 3 meals a day?"
Her concerns are real, albeit they carry some common misperceptions about growing old. For the average Singaporean, concern #3 regarding financial sufficiency during retirement is highly dependent on government policies. I don't have a solution to that, other than emigration. Which reminds me of a recent blog post by LIFT regarding the non-effectiveness of Singapore Day to attract overseas Singaporeans to return to Singapore.

Here's my comment in reply to SG Girl on Gintai's blog.
There are ways to counter the issues raised.
(1) Friends: Keep being active in life. Meet and make new friends. More and more of my friends are now younger than (middle-aged) me, some even 20 years younger! I am, in turn, a new friend to some elderly retirees.
(2) [Children would be dead.] Not so if they inherited your longevity genes, healthy lifestyle practices and of course watch out on the road etc so that they don’t langgar. That said, I don’t have any children, so it is a moot point for me.
(3) [No $ for 3 meals a day.] Make enough $ for your own financial independence or migrate to countries where the elderly are better supported. 
I recently nursed elderly who are in their 80′s and 90′s. One 98 years-old lady is still mentally sharper than many young adults and has a positive mindset despite her acute (i.e. short-term) hospitalization. Maybe that she was previously a psychologist helps with preparing her mindset for aging? I don’t know. Nevertheless, having seen how happy healthy-aging can be, I am not afraid of growing old.
p.s. According to "Canadian Fundamentals of Nursing - 4th Edition" by Potter & Perry,
"Most older adults live in non-institutional settings, either with family members or alone (28.9% of older adults live alone). Only 7.4% of all older adults reside in institutions such as long-term care facilities."
Indeed, I often see elderly getting about shopping, strolling, hanging out with friends, while pushing their wheelie walkers here in Metro Vancouver. Sometimes it makes me wonder where have all the Singaporean elderly gone? Not JB, I hope.

GNIE Expenses

I noticed that my top 3 posts are all related to nursing in Canada, i.e. CRNBC IEN SEC and Canadian nursing board posts.

I guess there may be some amongst my readers who are heading for the GNIE program at Kwantlen. If so, here's a heads-up on expected GNIE study-related expenses. All data extracted from the Kwantlen Polytechnic website, up-to-date as of 20-Apr-2012.

Firstly, an overview of the costs for the entire GNIE program. Total of $7,922.46.
[Note: This is not the costs for my cohort but that for the Fall-2011 cohort. I stumbled upon it accidentally and the system did not allow me to chose my cohort.]

Semester 1 cost breakdown is as follow.
Note: "Tuition" expenses are compulsory. "Books" and "Other Expenses" are discretionary. Don't forget to add-on the cost of uniforms which is around $20-$40 + HST per set.

Semester 2 cost breakdown is as follow.

Semester 3 cost breakdown is as follow.

Note: In addition to the above costs, there are some costs related to applying for the GNIE program. I will touch on that in another post in future [click here]. Managing finances to support one's study is a major source of stress for many of my classmates. This is especially true for those who failed to obtain a student loan successfully or the loan quantum is not enough to maintain their current living expenses.

Kwantlen has many awards and bursaries, but the main application deadline is 9th-March, which is already over for 2012. Thus, it is a good idea to plan ahead for the financial aspects of the GNIE program if one is pursuing this option.

Just for your interest, the cost for a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Kwantlen is $29,379.35.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

GNIE: Oh happy day too!

Just finished all final exams for GNIE semester 1 today.

I am very happy. I am happy with my grades. More importantly, it seems like everyone in my class passed our medical clinical posting and both our graded exams. My usual hang-out group was especially happy because we calculated that AP passed the module that she was at-risk of failing. [It was a computerized test, so we got our marks immediately after completing the exam.] AP was so dazed and happy about it that she kept asking, "I passed?!?"

One of my Korean classmates texted me,
"Hi [name], Have a great break and see you next semester!! Thanks for everything."
This classmate had a decade of experience in a specialized area of nursing and was thus rather apprehensive of the medical clinical posting since she felt that she was out-of-touch with acute ward nursing. Fortunately, my clinical days were Wednesdays and Thursdays, and hers Fridays and Saturdays at the same ward. Thus, at the end of my weekly clinical, we would discuss what would be good patients for her to ask for assignments and issues to look out for. Similarly, she would update me with news (or gossips) from the ward regarding my clinical group.

That is what I like about my GNIE class. We are mutually supportive as we head towards our common goal -- to be a Registered Nurse in B.C., Canada.

"See you next semester!", we kept repeating as we hugged each other good-bye for now and wished each other a good vacation. Yes, we are all happy that everyone will come together again in semester 2. There is "no man left behind" indeed.

Blog auto-deleted?

Just a moment ago, I entered this blog's url and I got a small shocked when "Blog is deleted" appeared. Apparently my blog was auto-deleted by Blogger "for unusual activity" and needed my Canadian phone number for verification. Hmm, I wonder why.

I managed to login to my Dashboard and revived my blog. Then I checked my "Stats" and "Comments". Nothing unusual found. Except that I've been getting some hits from a strange server.

From the URL nomenclature norms, it looks like an in-house server (possibly related to Blogger), and from the "Stats - Audience" page I deduced that the server is based in Russia. [WARNING: Do NOT do what I did here!!!] If one types in the above URL, one will get the "404 Not Found" error message, i.e. the landing page (a.k.a. "homepage") for this server is not set-up but the server exists.

[WARNING: Do NOT do what I did here!!!] If one enters http://www(dot)savegco-antivir(dot)com (i.e. drop-off the secure communication pathway)
One would find that this domain name does not exist and/or there is no server for it.

Has anyone experienced this before?


[Addendum 20-Apr-2012]

See comment from CK below. Quote from StramaXon to beware of this and several related sites:
"the site is an spam site and contains Malicious viruses"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Motorbike ride

Yesterday, a friend came by on his way back to Vancouver from USA and offered me a ride on his motorbike. We rode around the neighbourhood. Sun, wind, freedom! Fabulous!

I had previously rode as a pillion rider in both Ho Chih Ming City and Ha Noi (Vietnam) in 2006. It wasn't so fun. We were paying our drivers to get us to our nearby tourist destinations as quickly as possible, but the traffic was rather slow because of the crowded roads.

[Addendum on 15-Apr-2012] I remember as a child, my siblings and I would be the "goods" on the back of my dad's Nissan pickup truck. We would watch the night sky, street lights and wind gushing past us as we travelled home from weekend visits to our grandparents'.

After yesterday's ride, I think I'll add "getting a motorbike licence" onto my bucket list.

Had a happy Friday 13th today. Finally got my lazy ass to download and organize some GNIE course contents.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Artist Trading Cards

I attended MOSAIC Culture Connections night today (Wednesday 11-Apr-2012 evening). Today's activity was Artist Trading Cards. [Click here or here for more about ATC]. I made 2 cards today, see below for photos of the cards on a grey grainy tabletop. At the end of the session, I traded both my cards away, each with the 1st person who wanted it.

My 2nd ATC, a black-and-white hand-drawn illustration

My 1st ATC, a collage work

MOSAIC Culture Connections night is a monthly gathering of newcomers and Canadians at a MOSAIC office. It is a free and family-friendly social gathering. At each gathering, participants mix and mingle over an activity or a theme, and simple drinks and snacks. The organizer mentioned that the May gathering will be a potluck. Previous potlucks were particularly successful and popular, so I believe the next gathering would have a good crowd too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Medical tourism - Canada vs Singapore perspectives

Here is an interesting piece of Metro Vancouver news. Bold sections highlighted by me.


[Extracted from Vancouver Metro on 10-Apr-2012]

Medical tourism.
Researchers want feds to track Canuck patients

A group of SFU researchers is calling on the government to start tracking Canadians who go abroad for medical care.

"There is literally no way to know how many people are doing this," Valorie Crooks, a leader of SFU Medical Tourism Research Group (MTRG), said.

Though it is impossible to know exactly how many, large numbers of Canadians are receiving medical and dental procedures in countries like Mexico and India, which often advertise specifically to Canadians.

The effects of this practice can be far-reaching.

"You have patients being exposed to different diseases and hospital environments around the world," Crooks said. "We've seen that through the spread of NBM-1 from India to other countries, in part by medical tourists."

Critics also say that medical tourism diverts resources away from the local populations, lures health workers in these destinations away from the public sector, and subjects patients to medical standards that are well below those in Canada.

Americans and Canadians look beyond their own borders for a multitude of reasons, including prices, wait time and access to experimental drugs or procedures.

By Graham Templeton/For Metro


See the bolded sections above. Yet, the Singapore government promoted and is still promoting Singapore as a "Medical Hub" to medical tourists from the region. IMHO, in its healthcare philosophy, the 1st-world Singapore government is no better than 3rd-world countries like Mexico and India cited in the above article.

My GNIE classmates (Graduate Nurse Internationally Educated) told me from experience that in some Indian hospitals, the shortage of staff was so acute that relatives of patients have resorted to bribing nurses to take care of their loved ones. Such bribes add-on to the nurses' take home pay, not unlike waitresses' tips. I hope that healthcare in Singapore will not descend to that level.

As it was, I had observed while working in a private Singapore hospital, some nurses fawning over specific patients whose relatives bring goodies (e.g. basket of fruits, cakes, desserts) for the nurses during the patients' stay. Once, it was even daily goodies from the family of a patient. Sometimes, I laughed it off and joked that we were hungry ghosts [餓鬼]。 Other times, one wonders when/where we cross the line between being polite by showing appreciation for the gifts, and showing preferential treatment to a patient.

Once a rich Bruneian attempted to reward/bribe me for the nursing care that I gave to his child. Initially when I turned down the money, he thought that perhaps the amount he offered was too little, so he took a thick wad of notes from his pocket and pulled out more notes to make another offer (and to be honest, my eyes opened big when I saw his wad of notes). I firmly turned down his offers and suggested that he filled up a hospital feedback form to express his satisfaction instead. Let's just say that from his pleasantly surprised reaction* (and from some murmurs I overheard), I was not the first at that ward to be offered money but perhaps the first to resolutely decline it.

*Note: The Bruneian was so impressed that instead of just filling in the feedback form, he personally spoke to the ward manager about how happy he was with my nursing care and work attitude.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GNIE: Oh happy day!

Just finished the last school day of my 1st semester of the GNIE course today. The final exams will be in a week's time.

This period, just before exams, has always been my favourite, even from primary (elementary) school. No homework, and thus having time to idle, play and enjoy some distraction (ok, and squeeze in some studies to assuage my guilt). This is because I am not particularly ambitious about getting A's. Although I occasionally aim to get them when I think they are well within reach, I won't stress myself over them; i.e. I don't believe in using 80% effort chasing the final 20% score. I would much rather spend the remaining 80% effort to enjoy life!
Obviously I'm not the royal flush straight-A's scholar type. You can tell from my undergraduate grades, ranging from D's (just pass those subjects that I don't care for) to A's (for those subjects that I'm interested in).
That said, the 1st semester of GNIE has been particularly enjoyable for me, thanks to a confluence of factors.
  1. Fun-loving and generally collaborative, rather than competitive, classmates. Yes, there is 1 super-kiasu person, but everyone kind-of avoids her now precisely because of her attitude. As for me, after the initial couple of tests when it was leaked that I was one of the top performers, people used me as a benchmark and kept asking me how many marks I got after each test result is released. Eventually I was annoyed and I complained to my classmates IJ about the "sense of competition building up to an unhealthy level". Somehow (I suspect IJ did something) people started to cool down on the marks comparison thereafter.

    I think my Singaporean readers already know from experience how kia-su and competitive the typical Singaporean classroom setting is, so I won't elaborate on it. For those who need a clue, Goggle for "Singapore education kiasu", OR read blog entries on the Singapore education system by Yawning Bread or LIFT OR read my comment in another of LIFT's blog entry (click here) on my experience of "teamwork" with some of these kia-su folks.

  2. Major difference between nursing culture in Canada vs Singapore regarding the consequence of making mistakes.

    Right from the start, my GNIE lecturers kept emphasizing that "You won't fail the course just because you made a mistake in clinical", "No one loses their RN license because of a single medication error", and "If an RN tells you that she has never made any medication error, [then] either she is lying or she has never worked before". Therefore, it is part of the CRNBC professional standards for the nurse involved to report his/her own mistake, so that the system can be examined to prevent similar mistakes in future. Ya, I can speak from my student clinical experience here that one can actually cite one's self-reporting action after making a mistake as meeting the CRNBC's standard of "Responsibility and Accountability"!

    That doesn't mean that Canadian nursing students don't fail clinical, of course. We were told that students generally fail clinical when they make the same mistake repeatedly despite being given advice, warning and guidance repeatedly.

    Now compare this to my Singapore nursing student experience. Right from the start, we were warned to be careful about making mistakes in clinical. Even as "matured learners" (that is what the "career conversion" students are sometimes called), we were given solemn warnings and examples of how so-and-so students were failed by their clinical instructors (CI) over one medication error or an incident that requires reporting. In fact, recently I had a friend who underwent that torture of facing possible failure. Fortunately for my friend, a nursing manager from the ward pleaded on his behalf and he passed.

    [Click here and here for my rants on the issue of how nursing mistakes are swept under the carpet in professional clinical settings in Singapore.]

    You know what the Singapore nursing clinical system breeds? It breeds kia-su & kia-si students who are NATO -- no action, talk only. It is easy to score points with a CI using "beautiful" detailed nursing care plans and "in-depth" research on the patient's diagnosis; and by avoiding ("siam") the actual nursing tasks, the chances of an implementation mistake is minimized. E.g. I heard from my fellow classmates that a classmate SD who won the distinction award for excellence in clinical is an archetype NATO student nurse. Since I didn't work closely with SD on clinical settings, I initially put it down to idle green-eyed gossip. Some months after graduating from nursing school, I heard another gossip about SD. Apparently, SD couldn't deal with the actual RN work at her originally assigned acute ward and had to be transferred to another department (a simpler, less busy, day-clinic role) to serve the remainder of her training bond.

    Btw, GNIE students are not graded on their clinical performance, just a "Pass" or "Fail". IMHO, given the huge variety of clinical settings that students are assigned, there really isn't an equitable ground for comparative grading.

  3. [Addendum on 12-Apr-2012] Major difference between Canada vs Singapore in handling workplace bullying.

    I will delve more into this in future with its own blog entry. Suffice to say for now that in Canada, workplace bullying is illegal -- not only will the offending person potentially lose his/her job, the organization that allows workplace bullying to happen repeatedly will be dealt with by the law. [Click here and here for B.C. policies.] In Singapore, workplace bullying is often swept under the carpet or, worse, rationalized as the "right" way!

  4. Enforced cross-cultural interaction. We were not allowed to form our own groups in my class. The lecturer assigned us to groups with the intention to mix students from different countries of origin. This brings variety to our group discussions and teaches us to practice respecting each other's differences.

  5. Enforced use of English. We were threatened by our lecturer right from the 1st lesson that we could be expelled from the course for speaking in our "native languages" while on campus ground. It forces everyone to keep practising their English and one can see significant improvement in oral English for those who were weak in the beginning. IMHO, an important part of assimilating into the Canadian society is being enforced here.

    According to my classmate IJ (who works part-time as an LPN, a.k.a. Assistant Nurse, in a hospital here), one can lose one's nursing license if one is caught repeatedly speaking in non-English to colleagues while at work. It is disrespectful to others who do not understand that spoken language, and thus breaks the CRNBC "Provision of Service in the Public Interest" professional standard by failing to "communicate, collaborate and consult with nurses and other members of the health care team about the client's care". I am not sure if this is true. If so, I would deem it positively because I have personally witnessed foreign-trained nurses in Singapore ganging up to bully a specific target (who is usually not of their nationality or ethnicity) by speaking in their own language at work.

  6. Fun revision classes that wrap up a semester of fun-filled lessons. At Nursing Theory class, the lecturer played a modified game of Jeopardy with competing teams of students. At Pharmacology class, the lecturer went through general study and exam strategies.

    In Singapore, the "revision class" is often a review session focused on giving students "tips" about what would likely appear as exam questions. To those unfamiliar with the Singapore tertiary education, I kid you not. You see, if too many students didn't pass because "there was too much to study" or if too many kia-su "must-get-A's" type of students complain that the exam was too tough, the lecturer has to write a justification for "why so many students failed" and/or "why no one got an A", "bell-curve" the results to shift the passing mark and grades, and perhaps set a re-test.

  7. Instructors treat us with respect as adult learners. In fact, some instructors told us that they specifically chose to teach GNIE students. E.g. An often cited reason was GNIE students bring into the classroom a vast range and amount of clinical experience, diversity of culture and backgrounds, which contribute to interesting discussions. E.g. One said that she liked the GNIE students because the motivation to succeed is already there, i.e. the "lack of motivation" is hardly ever an issue for the GNIE students. Yup, for many of my classmates, their quality of life in Canada depends heavily on them entering the nursing profession here successfully. Thus, the motivation is strong, alright.

    This is similar to my nursing student experience in Singapore as a "career conversion" nurse-to-be. My lecturers also felt that we "matured students" were a highly motivated group and treated us differently from the usual teenage Polytechnic nursing students. We were trusted to self-supervise for a lot of tasks and were given more leeway in various activities. I have my lecturers and the nursing school's support staff to thank for that.

  8. I've moved out of the Maslow's levels of survival needs, given my low-cost simple lifestyle. From kindergarten to my undergraduate days, my main goal was to get a degree and use it as my ticket out of the poverty cycle. [Note: I first graduated in the early 1990's when a degree was still a door-opener to well-paid jobs.] Thus, like it or not, there was some amount of self-directed pressure to ensure that I met the requirements to get onto the next rung, all the way to a Bachelors. Whereas now, I can enjoy a simple life here in Metro Vancouver even as a minimum wage worker. Thus, I don't feel as much pressure as some of my classmates to do well in this course. It is mostly personal satisfaction that drives me to complete the course and give a good shot while at it.

  9. Much of what I have learned in my Singapore basic nursing training is applicable in the Canadian context, with some minor differences. Thus, this semester's classes feel like one big revision for me. Some of my classmates are not so fortunate. E.g. Some did their basic nursing training more than a decade ago, and generally nursing training has changed greatly since. E.g. Some were surprised that they have to learn about "Professional Communication" in Nursing Theory. E.g. Some were disappointed that their experience in delivering babies as part of their basic nursing training -- a component that they viewed with pride -- is not valued here.
So I am happy and relaxed, enjoying the warmth of the spring sun and the freshness of spring blooms. Simple bliss! Ahhh, contentment once again!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku

I went to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival's Cherry Jam Downtown Concert yesterday with a friend*. I heard about the Haiku Invitational there and was inspired on-the-spot to submit an entry related to immigrants. Here's my haiku below:

Cherry blossoms
Eastern roots western blooms

Here's a Chinese translation of my haiku above (with words added to meet the traditional 5-7-5 haiku form):


If you're interested, please click here or the URL below to submit your entries (limited to 2 per person). There are 5 categories of entries: Youth, B.C., Canada, United States, and International.

Click here for photos of the Vancouver downtown celebration from CTV. I am in one of these images, albeit small and blur. Btw, the creator of the popular California maki is the Japanese chef in white uniform with a white cloth band tied around his head.


*My friend is a refugee from Middle East. That's what I like about my life in Metro Vancouver. I get to meet and befriend a variety of people from different backgrounds.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Nursing in Singapore: What did you learn?

This post was originally a reply to LIFT's "Avinology and NS in Singapore: What did you learn?" It exceeded the 4,096 characters limit of Blogger, so I'm posting my reply below.



I didn't go through NS but observed during my university days the effects NS has on the young Singapore-citizen male undergraduates of my cohort. There is a lost of idealism, passion, increase in self-presevation, etc.

I had a similar rite of passage through my nursing training and work in Singapore. I shall share 2 examples here.
1. Rationalization of workplace bullying
2. 自扫门前雪 [Sweep one's own doorway of snow]

I received similar advice (more than once), as you did, when I was a relatively new nurse in Singapore. To paraphrase your advisor, "Listen, the hospital is not like in school, we could get a patient who is really sick, and I have to give orders to get things done quickly, or the patient may possibly die. These new nurses are so green, they don't take seriously consequence of their actions and delays - maybe they're so pampered at home that they don't know what it is like to have to take orders. So our job is to break down their egos, teach them how to function as a unit, within a team, so sometimes, yes this kind of technique which you call 'bullying' is necessary - but it's not bullying really" and ending with "it weeds out the weak".
Please bear in mind that when I heard such rationalization for workplace bullying (click here and here for examples of workplace bullying), I was in acute medical/surgical wards, NOT in intensive care or the emergency departments.
Yes, such "army-style" attitude exists amongst some old-style nurses from the historic "School of Nursing" and is also common amongst those foreign trained nurses who received the same shit in their own homeland. Ever heard of "nurses eat their young"? Yes, that's nursing in Singapore, and I know that I'm not the only one who experienced such bullshit. [Click here for a blog entry by another nurse who had left Singapore for Australia.]

To Singaporeans reading this, think hard about the effect this has on your hospital treatment. How would you like to be the patient involved in a medication error where the system is not improved to prevent future errors because real culprit escapes corrective action through bullying another nurse to be the scapegoat? [Click here and here for examples.] It happens more often than you think, it's just that we (new nurses) have learned to suck it up and move on.

While in nursing school, I experienced your example of "You and I never had this conversation, is that clear?" too.

One day, my main nursing lecturer J called me to her office to discuss something serious. One of my subject lecturer R was accused by an anonymous student of being bias in his selection of students for an overseas nursing trip, and using the school-funded trip as a Christian missionary trip. It was made known to J that I may be the student who lodged the anonymous complaint to the school's administration. J asked me some questions, to which I answered honestly: no, I do not know anything about the complaint prior to J telling me about it; yes, I did ask R to join the trip; yes, I know that I was not selected; yes, I know some of my classmates were selected (mostly all Christians, except for 1 Muslim guy); no, I didn't care if I was selected (I didn't mention it but I had since signed new IT contract work with my clients then, so I had my hands full during the school break). At the end of our session, J advised me, "You and I never had this conversation, is that clear? I don't see, hear, or know anything. You don't see, hear, or know anything either, okay? If I were you, I wouldn't say a word to anyone."

Stupid me was naive and didn't want to see others get into trouble. So I told TT, who was one of my Christian classmates selected for the overseas trip, in confidence about the matter. I ended our conversation with, "Look, R is a good guy. Don't get him into trouble."
Hey, I used to work in IT and I consider most of my colleagues good guys. In fact, I even praised my colleagues in front of their respective partners that their husbands/fiances/boyfriends were good guys or great colleagues. Such is the trust and rapport between us that occasionally when my colleagues were too absorbed in their work to answer their partners' call, their partners would call me to help them check what's up with my colleagues.
Subsequently, it was announced that R would be removed as our subject lecturer at the end of the semester and transferred to teach other students. He would replaced by another (humorous) lecturer. My classmates didn't want to lose R who gave tips before tests. Thus they cajoled me (as one of the known outspoken students in the class) to speak up on their behalf for retaining R as our subject lecturer when the Course Manager was scheduled to meet the class. Frankly, I didn't care either way, but thought it would be good to help my classmates voice their preferences, and so I did.

2 years down the road just before I migrated, I returned to the nursing school to visit my supportive lecturer J once more. J told me in confidence that there was a rumour that I was in love with R and that's why he was removed as our subject lecturer. I replied, "Could there have been a mistaken identity? Are you sure that the student in the rumour was me?" several times, and she replied in affirmative that I was the protagonist in the rumour. I was thinking, "WTF!" So much for being an open, honest and helpful person. So much for "good" Christians not spreading lies too. Yes, I have since learnt to "sweep my own doorway of snow" [自扫门前雪].
Coincidentally, as J spoke to me while we were walking to a school canteen, R and the humorous replacement lecturer were walking towards us along the same corridor. We exchanged banal pleasantries when our paths crossed, all while my mind was still flummoxed by being the star of a 2 year-old rumour. Yes, I am a good actress.
Sorry I digress... but nursing in Singapore opened my eyes to the ugly side of human nature of some in the "caring" profession. Army is supposedly a "kill your enemy" profession (whether conscripted or sign-on), so I don't expect people inside to be any different or better.

p.s. Yes, I also learned about avoiding the tall poppy syndrome from my Singapore nursing experience. In fact, I was so good at pretending that my English was poor that my nursing colleagues were surprised by my IELTS result.

p.p.s. As for pleasing people and saying what they want to hear, I learnt that in my first career -- I was in the banking and financial services sector too. That said, if you read my blog, you'd know that I am selective about who I please. E.g. I couldn't care less about paper tigers like ADON G, but I sure gave 101% face to my DON and the other ADON S!