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Singaporean connection to Chinese Medicine Culture

2019-June-6       Source: Newsgd.com

TCM has built a bridge, allowing more cooperation and exchange between Guangdong and Singapore, and has pushed Chinese medicine culture into a wider international arena.

 "Mint is one of the main ingredients of Singapore Axe Oil,” says Tanny Kong, a fourth-year student of Chinese medicine from Singapore walking through the Botanical Garden of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, has been a master of all kinds of herbs.

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Ms Kong said she hopes to be able to learn Chinese medicine in Guangdong and master the knowledge and skills required to return to Singapore to open a Chinese medicine clinic and promote TCM culture around the world.

Over the last few years, other young Singaporeans, like Kong, have chosen to study in Guangdong Province with the dream of a career in Chinese medicine. As a result TCM has built a bridge, allowing more cooperation and exchange between Guangdong and Singapore, and has pushed Chinese medicine culture into a wider international arena.

Tanny Kong observes herbs at the Botanical Garden of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. [Photo: Steven Yuen]

Young Singaporeans Studying Chinese Medicine in Guangdong

After four years studying in China, Tanny Kong, 22, is now a health consultant for her family and friends. She herself administers acupuncture to her father to help relieve the pain of his arthritic shoulder. Her friends often ask her for advice on how to keep healthy.

In Tanny Kong's opinion, Chinese medicine has an almost magical charm. Born into a family with a background in Chinese medicine, Tanny Kong admired the traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis method of "seeing and hearing" from an early age. When it came to choosing a major in college, she had already made up her mind to study Chinese medicine, and studying in Guangdong, where TCM has a long history, seemed clearly to be the best choice.

Having come to Guangdong, Tanny Kong expresses that something else she has benefited from is gaining an understanding of the characteristics of Lingnan culture, including a diet based approach and herbal tea.

After graduating from a five-year undergraduate program, Kong plans to continue to study postgraduate studies at the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. She will return to Singapore to open a Chinese Medicine clinic to help more needy people through her professional knowledge of TCM and Guangdong’s dietetic culture.

William Yuen is in an interview with Newsgd.com. [Photo: Steven Yuen]

William Yuen, another Singaporean who majored in TCM at Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine seven years ago, has now entered the second year of his Acupuncture and Massage Postgraduate Studies. William Yuen has obtained licenses to practice medicine in both China and Malaysia respectively, and he plans to pursue a career in TCM education in Singapore in the future.

While Singapore also attaches great importance to Lingnan's acupuncture culture, Yuen said, little is known about the high efficacy of acupuncture, however.

Guangdong and Singapore have similar climates, and so Yuen believes Lingnan acupuncture will be suitable for most Singaporeans. At present, Yuen’s mentor is considering setting up a Lingnan Acupuncture Workstation in Singapore to spread awareness of the treatment.

In addition, in the era of mobile interconnection, William Yuen also wants to expand into this arena back in Singapore, noting that Guangdong is at the forefront in this regard. Patients seeking treatment for TCM, most of the time since then can be quickly screened through doctors using smartphone apps with doctors prescribing prescriptions, and the medicine simultaneously being prepared and finally sent directly to the patient's home. The whole process is very convenient. Yuen hopes to bring the idea to Singapore in the future so that more people can experience the benefits of Chinese medicine in a streamlined way.

Tanny Kong (L) and her friend are jogging in the University Town Campus of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. [Photo: Steven Yuen]

Platform for Cooperation

In recent years, Guangdong and Singapore have worked closely on training, academic exchange and scientific research. Since 2006, the Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine have jointly offered a seven-year bachelor's degree programme in Chinese medicine. From 2016, a five-year full-time bachelor's degree course, a master's degree course and a doctoral degree course in Chinese medicine were jointly offered. For the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, the average number of international students from Singapore is between 50 and 70 a year.

You Jiang, dean of International College of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, noted that after completing their studies at the university, most Singaporean students either return to Singapore or head to the United States to practice medicine. They first obtain a local medical license, however, and some former students are currently engaged in education, trade, health care and other related industries.

Reported by Simon Haywood, Monica Liu

Edited by Wing Zhang

Video by Li Jiangrui

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Editor: Monica Liu

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