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
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
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