Everything you’ve wanted to know about psychiatry, the asylum & dying

This is a book review of a non-fiction book written to inform the un-informed, about everything you’ve wanted to know about psychiatry & the asylum.

This is a book review on “Fieldnotes of a Psychiatrist”, written by Dr. Chong Siow Ann. He worked in a mental health hospital.

Patients face dying from terminal illnesses. Non-patients may only have brief moments to realise their life is going to be taken from them by calamity, or man made tragedy. In the face of death from either cause, do we go without a fight?

What if the dying do not know their light is withering? Should the healthy tell the dying? Would the dying want to know they are leaving us?

Dr. Chong asks provocative questions as he shares with readers his experiences. There is do definite resolution as he explains how he has regrets on not informing his father of his terminal illness. Even. At the elderly man’s deathbed, Dr. Chong didn’t talk to his father directly about impending death.

The common man and woman on the street think its evil to incarcerate a patient in a mental hospitals, which is actually a thin guise for an asylum. But the stark reality is that there is no other practical way of ensuring the safety of the patient and of the people around them, except by placing the patient under lock and watch. In fact, you can save the patient’s life.

Dr. Chong discusses many questions commonly encountered by patients and doctors. He writes from both perspectives – as a doctor, and as a patient.

It’s an interesting book. Get it here:


If you buy a book from this link, I may receive a small commission.

James Tan wrote and illustrated a graphic novella on dying and palliative care. His booklet, drawn in comic strip panel style, leans heavily towards the choice to die with dignity.

His booklet highlights the story of a terminally ill, old male patient, who expressed his wish to die without invasive intervention to resuscitate him. The elderly man’s family was divided over letting him die gently, versus using. Intervention to prolong his disease laden life.

Mr. Tan interviewed four medical doctors before writing his draft for All Death Matters.

This booklet “All Death Matters” is not for sale. I received a free copy by contacting the distributor, Lien Foundation.


Chong, S. A. (2018) Fieldnotes Of A Psychiatrist. Straits Times Press: Singapore.

Tan, J. (2020). All Death Matters. Lien Foundation: Singapore.