1) How did you decide on your career choice?
Ever since I was in primary school I thought about being a doctor but of course, I was too young to understand what the life of a doctor would be like. In junior college, I studied in the science stream and after I completed my A levels, I worked part time as a primary school teacher and realized I enjoyed working with little children. When the results of my A levels came out, I was very pleased to be able to apply to medical school and plan B was to be a teacher should I not get a place.
2) What is the compelling reason for your work as a Paediatrician? Any insights or experience that you can share about your practice?
In the course of medical school training, I enjoyed Paediatrics a lot and that was the dream I first had of being a Paediatrician. I find children so disarming and adorable and took it as a challenge to get through to connect with them, past their fears, shyness and insecurities. I have also had many good mentors who inspired me in the practice of Paediatrics. What is distinctly different with paediatrics is that you actually need to address the concerns of the whole family as well, although your primary patient is the child. That is why I also enjoy my work as I play an important role in recognizing the fault lines in the family unit, especially between the parents. I can share with them my insights about parenting, beyond the physical issues that they brought the child to see me for. It’s this holistic factor of Paediatric practice that motivates me and gives me joy and meaning behind what I do.
I recall several conversations where my input regarding their marital problems or parenting challenges was able to throw a different perspective to their issues and made a difference in helping them get back on their feet, find hope and overcome them with a positive outcome. That gives me tremendous joy and satisfaction in what I do.
3) It is obvious you have a real passion for children and in particular, for children with special needs. How did you go about putting your passion into action?
Together with a friend, almost 20 years ago, I started a parent support group for parents with special needs kids. Most of them have children with autism, a few with Down syndrome kids, but it’s open to any parent with kids that don’t follow the normal developmental growth. It’s been a wonderful journey to see the mums grow in their capacity and capability to witness breakthroughs in their children’s development. A lot of the amazing stuff we see, we attribute to God’s work to intervene in their lives as the mums pray together in this group as well. Several years later, my husband left corporate work and started a therapy Centre for these children with special needs.
My other big desire is to see a culture of life in Singapore, expressed in the fostering and adoption movement, to address the unwanted babies who would otherwise have their lives shortened by abortion. It’s a matching of these unexpected or unwanted mums to the many parents waiting to foster or adopt, for whom having their own children is not possible.
4) What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
I can’t put my finger down as to the biggest challenge I have faced but perhaps to highlight the unique difficulties I faced as a working mum with 4 children. It was not easy to juggle the responsibilities and needs that I hold both as a mum and as a doctor. Thankfully I enjoy both and desire to do well in both the hats that I wear. I must say it would not be possible to push on to aim to excel in both arenas if not for a supportive husband, family, helper, community of friends and neighbours and most of all my faith in Jesus. I look to the Bible for wisdom in my work and parenting.
5) What is your goal or dream for children in Singapore?
I hope to see a Singapore where kids can thrive in their family and school because they are appreciated for their unique personality, talent and passion even if they face challenges in development. Disability is not a word to be used but ability, which is seen from each child given the space and time to grow, develop and be nurtured in a loving environment where parents treasure their kids and believe that the sky’s the limit and are ready to run alongside them to see their dreams fulfilled.
6) What does thriving mean to you?
Thriving for me is likened to continual growth in the face of different seasons and challenges in life which strengthens, enlarges and anchors one so deeply that the result is fruits of overcoming the seasons and harvesting the good outcomes out of them all.