Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum, Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia.


Activities - April 2017

April 2017
The Impact of Tan Sri Dr Wong Soon Kai on me and the health care scene of Sibu

For the past few days I have received calls regarding my reactions from colleagues and patients alike on the passing of beloved Tan Sri Dr Wong Soon Kai.

We love, adore and respect Dr Wong as a doctor, politician-statesman and as a person.

Reasons are many.

As a doctor and politician, his deeds/thoughts/dreams were recorded in many places.

My personal experiences/images with him, of him and about him were partly recorded in the book I edited “Brief Historical Notes on Lau King Howe Hospital”.

Quotes and images are in these pages especially:

Pg 4: “It is to remember, perpetuate and propagate the “Spirit of Lau King Howe” – his sincerity, “inner goodness”, benevolence, generosity and profound love for the sick, poor and the disadvantaged. It is at the core of “Spirit of Sibu” a combination of good virtues and practices of many in Sibu……. In a way, the reminiscences of several writers including that of Dr Wong Soon Kai were living examples of the propagation of this “Spirit” in adapted form…..”

Pg 12 Dr Wong’s advice on Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum.

Pg 18-26 Dr Wong reminiscences and his thoughts as a doctor.

Pg 105, 107, 108, 109, 115 His guidance and political influence as a minister doctor in charge of health care.

He told me that as a doctor, one could care for many. But as a political figure, one could possibly influence more. At that stage, he instructed the then Divisional Medical Officer to take up the post of Malaysian Medical Association chairman with me as the deputy. Subsequently, I succeeded the DMO as chairman and steadfastly remained so for more than 10 years. In this capacity, he encouraged me to be more active in leading health care providers in Sibu in public health care especially. He sincerely persuaded, guided me and signed me up as a SUPP member. He put me in Bukit Assek as publicity chief with encouragement to serve and lead more in health area such as dengue control efforts. I remain as a SUPP member till today, mainly because of his teaching and strong imprinting in mind. I remember his advice of always steadfastly remain faithful to one’s belief and ultimate loyalty to party. It was his very example of deep loyalty and truthfulness that I followed and try to emulate. In public service area, he encouraged and nominated me as a member of Board of Visitors of Sibu Hospital more than 10 years ago. I was approved by the subsequent Federal Health Ministers as such. Subsequently, I was elected chairman. In this capacity, I try my best to serve and help in all ways for health care effort providers and receivers. I remember his sincere urgings and try to be sacrificial and of service as was exampled by him.

Dr Wong not only cared broadly about public health care, he cared deeply about private health care.

He originally had a grand plan for a private hospital / nursing home project with Rimbuan Hijau. I was his “messenger/leader” for this “endeavour”. He had this far sight and dream of Sibu being a premier provider of advanced heath care for Sarawak. He said we had to be vigilant and proactive to move with time and always be the pioneer of every effort in this field. This was put aside after his defeat in Bukit Assek– “I could not guide and act without authority”. Nevertheless, after his political defeat, he still helped and encouraged the developments of Rejang Medical centre (of which I am a shareholder and director) and Sibu Medical Centre (subsequently known as KPJ Medical Centre).

Thus we can see Dr Wong was never stagnant in his ideas and actions in best health dream, action and reactions. He was a true doctor till the end, through personal sacrifice and dedicated service. He wanted to help all, especially the poor, through the many ways he could, personally as a personal doctor and as a politician. For this, he always occupies a special place in my heart, just like in many people’s hearts. His historic, ‘heroic’ actions as a doctor can be seen in his now famous photo in the museum. This will always be a truly memorial part of history of SIbu in particular.

In many ways, he was a legend in total. Just like Lau King Howe in spirit and action. We must celebrate and cherish/remember the contributions and selfless love of both.

I remain perpetually grateful for his gentle guidance, example setting and caring nurturing of my character and career.

I am sure we will always respect, cherish/love /miss him. He was an illuminating part of Sibu history of considerable note and lasting endurance.

Dr Hu Chang Hock
Malaysian Medical Association Sibu Ex-chairman and advisor