Angry Doctor

Friday, May 15, 2009

SMA taken over in "coup"

angry doc notes that proposed amendments to the SMA Constitution tabled for the latest AGM were not discussed due to "the lack of of quorum", which of course gives him an idea...

Bogus Story

Unknowns knock out veterans at SMA polls
Caught off-guard by big turnout, longtime members lose to fresh faces

Singapore - The Singapore Medical Association (SMA), the national medical organisation representing the majority of doctors in Singapore, has seen a dramatic changing of the guard - which some members are describing as nothing short of a leadership grab.

When SMA held its annual general meeting on April 5, everyone expected the usual: No more than 30 or 40 members would turn up at its College Road centre, and a prepared slate of candidates would be voted into office easily. Instead, more than 100 people came, the majority of whom had joined SMA only in recent months.

And when the election of office bearers began, almost every position was challenged by new faces, who won by wide majorities.

In the end, nine out of 16 council spots went to the newcomers.

Outgoing president Dr Wong Chiang Ying, said: 'There were many faces I had not seen before, and I found that very strange.'

'In previous years, even if there were new members, they would be known to one or more of the older members.'

The first indication that something was afoot came when Dr Wong, who has served on the SMA council since 1995, was challenged and defeated handsomely by new member Dr Ang RY.

'It was alarming,' said Dr Raymond Chua, the outgoing Honorary Secretary.

'How could a new member who had just joined for a couple of months, and whom we knew nothing about, be picked over someone who has been with SMA for more than 15 years?

Some of the older members immediately began checking the attendance list.

Dr Chua said: 'We found that about 80 of the 102 who turned up were new members who joined between January and March this year.'

As it dawned on them that a leadership grab was imminent, some older members at the AGM tried asking the newcomers who they were, what they stood for, and why they wanted to be in charge. They got only the briefest answers, they said.

Dr Wong said he tried suggesting that new members serve a stint on SMA's various sub-committees before standing for election to leadership positions. But such suggestions went unheeded as the election proceeded, with more newcomers winning executive committee positions by landslide margins.

Dr Chua said: 'We were simply outnumbered. Technically, they got in legitimately.'

He added that the way the election proceeded was so unusual, it was hard to imagine that the takeover was not a planned effort.

Older members were keen to know if the newcomers shared SMA's vision and values, including fostering and preserving the unity and aim of purpose of the medical profession as a whole. But almost a fortnight into their new roles, the new leaders of SMA were not entertaining calls from the media this week. New President Dr Ang told The Straits Times a press release would be issued 'in a few days' together with the new council's 'scientist mentor' Dr Lim LH, and added that until then, the council would not answer any questions.

A check showed that Dr Ang had previously authored a blog and had written posts criticising the SMA's support of non-evidence based therapies.

In reality SMA's constitution has enough safeguards to make sure that something like that cannot happen, but if you are a doctor who thinks that the SMA should take a more pro-active stance in promoting evidence-based medicine and combating quackery, do leave your contact details in the comments section and angry doc will see if we can work something out...



  • *lol* Makes me want to re-join SMA again...

    By Blogger Gerald Tan, At May 15, 2009 11:43 pm  

  • Actually, with the current changing 'demographics', I can forsee foreign-trained doctors taking over the SMA and using it to campaign for equal rights for all doctors...

    By Blogger angry doc, At May 15, 2009 11:55 pm  

  • hehe....I really liked the bogus story there.... Almost had me fooled, because maybe it was so close to the truth.

    The SMA has been such a bloody useless organization much as AWARE had been. Old, complacent and irrelevant. A takeover may not be such a bad thing.

    But I wouldn't think about paying up the membership dues to rejoin even if it were to support a 'takeover'.

    By Blogger gigamole, At May 16, 2009 10:28 am  

  • Actually, would it make a difference to anyone's lives I wonder?

    By Blogger blacktag, At May 16, 2009 10:46 am  

  • Haha, we are being so unkind to SMA.

    I think AWARE has done a lot for women, but I am not sure we can say the same for SMA.

    SMA has a difficult job, as described here by the outgoing president:

    I guess one of the problems is the lack of a culture of activism in Singapore. Perhaps it will take a crisis of sorts to stir doctors into action, but I am doubtful - the withdrawal of GOF and the change in HOTA have not provoked an increase in membership or public pressure from doctors as far as I know.

    Maybe I should plot a coup just to wake everyone up...

    By Blogger angry doc, At May 16, 2009 12:00 pm  

  • Aha! I knew that "Doctor" Lim LH was up to no good ever since I saw his mug on page 73 of a Kokoro Dreams catalogue...

    By Blogger The Key Question, At May 16, 2009 11:26 pm  

  • Unfortunately, sceptics, like atheists, are like a herd of cats. I am sceptical of your chances of success in rounding up a flock =)

    By Blogger blacktag, At May 17, 2009 12:13 am  

  • Good grief. What's everyone doing staying up so late? Don't you guys have to go to church in the morning?

    By Blogger angry doc, At May 17, 2009 12:47 am  

  • And dammit, blacktag - let me access your blog!

    By Blogger angry doc, At May 17, 2009 1:01 am  

  • Love your bogus story.

    I don't belong to any of these organizations any more. They charge ridiculous membership dues and not sure that I ever got anything out of them.

    By Blogger Grumpy, M.D., At May 17, 2009 11:33 am  

  • My blog was last updated a year ago, the security imposed is essentially meant to take it offline, nothing more than that.

    By Blogger blacktag, At May 17, 2009 9:00 pm  

  • Hello Doc:

    You really blogged about it?! Hahahah Dr Ang RY!

    BTW, how come you call yourself angry doc? Any particular reason?

    Sincerely yours,
    Kelvin Teo

    By Anonymous Kelvin Teo, At May 22, 2009 3:05 pm  

  • The handle came from my persona in the eraly days of the blog; I've removed most of the posts from that era though.

    By Blogger angry doc, At May 22, 2009 4:47 pm  

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