Thursday, April 06, 2017

A Son's Ode to His Father


(1927-2017)

You walked with youthful steps,
resounding to a hopeful future,
supporting me as I learn to walk,
looking up I see a giant of the land.

You struggle uphill in halting steps,
against prejudice and bigotry,
discouraged but never beaten,
bettering yourself inch by inch.

You took a tumble in your steps,
when you reached too far,
fell, broken but not cowed,
to start afresh once again.

You took exile in your steps,
to walk in strange countries,
for work not available at home,
to feed and clothe your family.

You walk slowly in halting steps,
time and age finally took its toll,
reached the undiscovered country,

standing tall on a chariot of fire.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Reading at x1.5 Speed





I am a strong advocate that while we can live busy lives we do not have to live hurried one. Technology is to be embraced to make our lives better, it does not make us its slave. There are many ways to read a book. As a famous British philosopher Sir Roger Bacon once said,


 Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention


 What he was saying was that not all books are to be treated as equal. Hence the way we approach and read them should be tailored to their value. I often interpret that he also implied the reading speed. This is only an implication as most readers in Sir Roger’s time read moving their lips. Hence, the speed at which they read is limited by how fast they can mouth the words. It is only in the late 19th and 20th Century do we read without moving our lips. We do appreciate what he is saying that some books are to be read slowly to savour them, while others deserve to be skimmed through. Modern ‘speed reading’ is mainly skimming.

Recently, technology has introduced us to the audio books and videos. Videos are a form of visual books. Now, freed from being bound to a single locale, I can listen to audio books while driving, doing housework or exercising. I also watch videos while on my treadmill. Aside from providing this means, technology also provided an interesting trick. The speed I can listen or watch these books.

Now I find that I can adjust the speed at which I listen to audiobooks or watch a video. With a hardcopy book, how fast I read is dependent on my ability to read and comprehend. With audio and video, the delivery may be adjusted to my receiving and comprehension speed. I find that listening at x1.5 speed, my comprehension is as good as listening at x1.0 speed. This is the same for watching videos. Of course, I can always adjust to x0.5 speed when I find the text difficult to understand, repeat and replay. In video, I can speed through the hesitation between the speaker’s words. Now I can listen to more books and watch more videos than before! For audiobooks, I normally use x1.5 for nonfiction and x2.0 for fiction. For videos, I use x2.0 for lectures and sermons and x1.5 for movies.

When books are made easily available by the technology Gutenberg printing press, we read by moving our lips as we read word by word. With training, we are able to read faster by skimming. Now with digital technology, we are able to read faster audio and visual books. Do not be alarmed by this. 




Actually, the art of reading is not the speed but getting the main thesis or message of the book whatever the format. I will estimate that 80% of any book is padding and the gem is in the 20% if we can find it. The 20% contains the heart of the whole book. It does not matter at whatever speed we read, only that we discover this gem at the heart of the book. If we then we slow down to savour, reflect, and assimilate, then we would have read that book well.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Christ-Centered Doctor














What is in the center of our lives determines our worldview or how we view the world. It influences what we perceive and how we react to this perspective. It determines the ways in which we act and react to the external world. In all of us, as we develop from a newborn baby, we have been slowly developing our own self as the center of our lives. Our id, ego and superego becomes the framework in which we perceive our world and create our own reality. When we become doctors, we are centered in a Cartesian humanistic worldview. As a Christian, we have the additional dimension of being Christ-centered. Being Christ-centered allows us to perceive the world through His eyes. He allows us to perceive reality as it really is. This reality is more than just Cartesian humanistic. I love these Nathan Hale's paintings in his Medical Collection.

Paul, writing to Timothy highlighted that the time have arrived about 2000 years ago when we are enabled by the incarnate Christ. Christ allows us into the true reality by providing us access to God.


Not only have Christ enabled our access to God, He came Himself to dwell within us, hence enabling us to be Christ-centered.

How to be a Christ Centered Doctor

  • ·       Called to a holy life
  • ·       Called to a holy purpose
  • ·       Called to be testimony to the gospel





Paul’s emphasis here is on a holy body and a transformed mind. We are called to be living sacrifices who are free of blemishes and defects. We should be holy as He is holy. So we should work hard to study the Word, saturate ourselves with prayer, seek to live in His presence and making Godly choices in our ordinary everyday life. A holy body and transformed mind are the foundation of a Christ-centered doctor.



Our primary calling (vocation) is to love God. This is a call to accept Him as our Lord and Master. Our secondary calling is to serve Him with the opportunities given to us. We are privileged to be doctors. Doctors have a special place in society because we have the opportunity to meet both our patients’ physical and spiritual needs. We need to use the teaching environment to learn to be equipped to function as excellent doctors. We also need to be trained to be priests. One of the tenets of the Reformation is the priesthood of all believers. We are ideally situated to fulfill this role.



As doctors, we are missionaries and curiously, the Ministry of Health is our sending agency. In government service, we are often posted to various parts of the country. Wherever we are sent, that is our mission field. Our hospitals and health centers are our mission compounds. As professionals, we may not be allowed to verbally share our faith. We share by our lives, as living testimonies of our Hope. That may be more powerful than many of our words.







Soli Deo Gloria


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