What is “enough”?

In my job, I always question what is enough.

My first scenario involves the times where I question myself whether I have done enough for my clients. You see, in a community services job, it’s hard to measure success. Ultimate success means that a family exits our system, and be independent without too much external support. But for a family to jump out from what I see as a “shit hole”, it takes enormous amount of time.

Our job often involves intersecting a family’s life for a very very short moment. It’s like having a flu, you would see a doctor to get help, but eventually you would want to be independent and away from the doctors and medications, because you know you can’t rely on them. I am essentially the doctor here. The community is the medications. My focus is not about the medications, just the doctor. As a doctor, when a patient begins engaging with you, you would start to think, have you done enough to make sure you can confidently discharge them. You would hope that the discharge plan can fully support the patient. I believe that most doctors are confident with their plan. However I’m that doctor who is worried about my plans, worried that they will relapse and end up overdoing as a doctor. I seem to unconsciously hoping to see the patient recover before they are discharge completely. But the reality doesn’t work this way. It seems to be a dead end for me. So I turned to my mentor, the senior doctor here. I need to thank my mentor for her words. She said our job is to plant the seeds and hope that the clients would flourish. Unfortunately, we are not at the position to see the flower blossom, but with the clients not coming back to see us, the doctors, this is the best we can achieve. I can’t agree more to this.

The other scenario involves whether your client has done enough themselves. You see, some patients would go to the doctors for whatever they experienced, even a tiny glitch of any kind. Some clients rely on us to support their every step, and eventually they are reliant on us. As a doctor, you cannot refuse to see them because it’s unethical. But what can you do? The best thing to do as a doctor is to empower the patient, and knowing your boundaries as a doctor. Sometimes if you spend too much time with a client, other clients would be neglected. Therefore, boundaries must be set. Learn to say no (which I’m still learning). Another thing I do is to positively reinforce their behaviour and empower them. Of course, it must be situational appropriate. But that’s the best I can do. I have other lives to save, and it’s time for the clients to slowly get back on their feet and continue their journey.

You see, what does it mean by “enough”. To me, it means that I strive to plant as much seeds as possible. But it depends on the seeds themselves to blossom. I would be sure to stand at the end line to take a beautiful picture of these fully blossomed flowers.


(Belated) Recap of 2017

2017 has been an exciting yet exhausting year.

It’s exciting because there were a lot of changes throughout the year. I have re-taken my PhD studies; I have transited out of a part-time casual job (which I love so don’t get me wrong!); and I finally received a full-time permanent position at the organisation I currently work in. This is kind of the life I have been looking forward to since finishing my undergraduate degree. Although I did not see myself doing a PhD back then or work in the job I am in currently, I did wish to work full time in Australia and continue some form of education. In terms of that, I think I did achieve this tiny wish.

Year 2017 has been exhausting because of several reasons. I have been through times of uncertainty (I still am sometimes), where going nowhere is right. The road in front is too hazy that I do not wish to walk further. During 2017, I have been exposed to a side of human life that I would never imagine myself being exposed to. Working in child protection is not fun. It is meaningful and purposeful. But it is tough. It challenges your belief in humans. It challenges your faith in humanity to be honest. You start to wonder how could parents do such things to their precious child. (More about that in future posts). This constant battle between your emotions and professionalism is the most tiring part. Sometimes you wonder how to “self-care” when you see so much negativity every day, and when the children’s lives are on the edge every day.

I did not intend to write a long post. But I just wanted to say, each year, I am becoming more and more grateful for what I have in my childhood, and I hope to not fail my child(ren) in the future.

Giving a Value to Yourself

I always question myself, what are the values of having me on the team? What can I bring to the team that others probably cannot? If I were to leave this environment, would people remember me etc…

To be honest, I don’t know. My attention to details? This is a ‘value’ to describe me in all my cover letters. However, sometimes I feel that because of this attention to details, I am trapped in a lot of negative thoughts. Because I believe that all actions have an antecedent to it. Therefore, when I see something weird with my clients, I would go on to this negative thinking mode where everything is wrong. I cannot see the strength in people’s environment.

The other day I was talking to my dad, I was saying that how this job made me cherish different things in life and made me recognise how privileged I was as a child. Despite the ongoing difficulties in my family’s life, my parents soar through without laying a single stress on my shoulders. But he reminded me how I was when I was younger. The younger me always complains about how privileged my friends are. And now, I am the one noticing how my life is much more privileged than my clients’.

Now I am able to say, the value I can bring to the team is that because of my attention to details, I am able to see through my experience of working with a diverse range of people, understanding the needs of different levels of our society. I hope that one day this could be fully applied to my work.

Mamma Mia!

My partner and I went to watch Mamma Mia at the City Theatre yesterday. The moment Sophie sang “I had a dream…” My tears were hanging there. There are several meanings to me.

Firstly, watching a Broadway show reminds me of my family. I remember how our family would attend Broadway shows in UK and USA, where my parents would stand up, sing and dance to the music. I miss them, and I do miss spending time with them. Being abroad, away from home is always tough. It’s like you are unable to share your growth and happiness with them. But this makes me cherish our time together even more.

The other reason for the tears is… What happened to my dream? What is my dream? I read something about quarter-life crisis lately. I think I am going through it. It appeared that I am trapped in this vicious cycle of questioning my existence and the purpose of my life.

Working in the community sector, you see the darker side of the city. The side which not everyone would be able to see. At the end of the show, the crew advocated for the campaign of ‘violence against women’. They noted that the average age of a kid who is suffering from domestic violence is 2.5 years old. My heart is broken in pieces (not that it hasn’t already been broken). Looking at people who are privileged to watch the Mamma Mia show, and thinking that children might be exposed to domestic violence at any second during this show is painful to think.

Some might say that there are only so much we could do in our work to help these children, and I should take care of myself better to make sure that if I can continue my work in the sector. But it is a difficult time when you first begin the job. You have a whole world of compassion, but you only have very limited power.

My colleague once said that I am a very privileged person, which I think I do, and that it might be tougher for me to get my head around the daily issues I face at work, which is true as well. I only hope that the work I am doing is meaningful and helpful to different populations of my city. This is my current goal. To master my job and to help the little ones in our society. Although I cannot help to challenge myself from time to time about what my dream really is, the only thing I can do is to think about it less, and hope that it doesn’t interfere my mental health as much as possible.

Thought of Today

I was reading this article today…

[Racism is real, race is not]


This article noted how race is a social a social construct. “The category of the “racialised group” can be of great value, politically. It offers a way for those who have historically been treated as members of “inferior races” to assert and defend themselves collectively, while distancing themselves from the negative and misleading associations of the term “race”. “Race” is not needed for purposes of social justice.”

This made me think of some of the research I was doing… I was triggered by the word “inclusion”. In our public education system, we often discuss how we should be “inclusive” of every child. As they are all entitled the right to access education. However, in order for “inclusive education”, one must first be excluded. This resonates to the above point… For political purposes, some groups are deemed to be “inferior”. Just like our education system. There are different groups of students. Some are privileged to access education, others need to fight or advocate to access to education.

This is just a thought… But a thought that’s worth our time to explore further.

Random Act of Kindness

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Princess Diana

This week has been pretty hectic at work. There is not much time to reflect on the little things happen in my day to day life. This morning I decided to walk to the local cafe. While reading the book: Doin’ Time by Rachel Porter, I was able to slowly reflect my practice at work and whether I have been striving hard to become the person I wanted to be.

At work, we are bounded by many rules and boundaries, but within our work, there is always time to execute a random act of kindness. I believe that the reason for someone not to do it is because s/he believed that it might not be witnessed and acknowledged by someone else. However, you got to ask yourself whether you are doing this so that people can evaluate you or are you doing this because you actually want to do it.


“Life is unpredictable and you never know what is coming next. Don’t ever get too comfortable. Always be ready for changes.”

This week has been a bit hectic…

When I thought I wouldn’t get sick, my partner got sick, which I was affected slightly.

When I thought that my car is perfectly fine, the battery went flat twice this week.

When I thought that work is stable, someone decides to not cooperate.

When I thought I have sent my completed job application, I forgot to attach my resume.

Besides life’s unpredictability. I want to write down my greatest problem. My goal has always been seeking the next comfort zone to reach. But after I entered a comfort zone and if the next comfort zone is not easily reachable… I tend to let loose. This is not good. I am not ready for changes. Especially changes in my habit. When we are younger, we were taught to delay our gratification, we often have to work hard to reach a reward for ourselves. But as we grow older and more independence was given to us, it is also easier for us to be distracted and seek for other gratifications.

Self-discipline has never been so difficult when you became an adult. It takes extra effort to remain goal-oriented and delay our gratification even longer.