As someone who grew up paying more attention to sports and other activities that fascinate energetic young boys, Dr Lau Chee Chong never imagined that he would one day become an ENT specialist with a successful private practice.
However, his father firmly believed that being a physician was not only a worthy profession, but one that makes a direct and positive impact on many people, patients and non-patients alike. Due to his love and respect for his father, Dr Lau buckled down and focused on his studies, and that was the first step on the pathway that led him to the prestigious Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, where his practice, Ear Nose & Throat Centre CC Lau, is located.
"It was my father who wanted me to become a doctor," admits Dr Lau.
That was not a surprising position for the older Mr Lau to take. After all, he was a director of a medical supply company, with a lot of contacts with the medical profession. Dr Lau remembers him as a quintessential Chinese gentleman. "He would tell us, ‘Saving lives, healing people — it's honourable and meaningful work'," says Dr Lau. "It was his dream that all of his children would become doctors."
However, in his youth, Dr Lau did not display any sign that he was interested in the rigours of academic work that would lead to a career in medicine. "When I was a schoolboy, I never really thought about what I wanted to do when I was older. I was having too much fun being carefree — cycling around, discovering quarries and fishing ponds, flying kites and catching spiders. I looked ahead only to the next day, and then only to wonder whether it was going to rain," Dr Lau reminisces.
He also directed his energy towards the formal and organised structure of sports. "I represented my school in football, softball, swimming, badminton, ping-pong, athletics and volleyball," he reveals. "Not only did I enjoy all these activities, I was also very happy that I could miss a lot of classes with impunity!"
As the youngest of five children, Dr Lau felt duty-bound to fulfil his father's wish after his siblings decided that medicine was not their calling. "I became his last hope," Dr Lau says with a smile. "I loved my father very much. I must admit that my decision to concentrate on my schoolwork and try to get admitted into medicine in Singapore was largely to make him happy."
However, he is quick to add that he does not harbour any resentment at all. In fact, he feels that his father had chosen well for him. "What I didn't realise then was that, in pushing me towards medicine, my father had chosen exactly the right career for me," he surmises. "Being a doctor is everything he predicted. Saving lives and healing people is indeed honourable and meaningful work, which I look forward to every day. I cannot imagine any other job as satisfying. Thank you, Dad!"
What My Father Told Me
- "The most valuable thing you have to offer your patients is your utmost honesty. Treat your patients the same way you would treat your own family. The only consideration is what is best for the patient."
- "Your reputation and the trust of your patients and colleagues are your greatest assets."
- "Know your work well. Also, know your limitations. Be committed to the continual updating and upgrading of your skills and knowledge. Medicine is constantly evolving and advancing, and you need to evolve and advance with it."