PETALING JAYA: Instilling in his four sons his own passion for medicine, a father inspired them to become doctors. That done, he went about putting himself through medical school.
Today, at the age of 59, he is Dr Chew Eng Khuan, the oldest person to graduate from the School of Medicine of the Angeles University Foundation that was established in 1984 in the Philippines.
The single father saved up enough so that his sons could study medicine. However, three received their scholarships, leaving the kitty virtually untouched.
So, five years ago, the former lecturer packed his bags to study medicine in the Philippines, using the funds his children did not need.
“I am very thankful to my children because by studying hard, they financed their own education,” said the divorcee.
He received his medical degree on April 22.
Chew grew up in a village in Sungai Petani, Kedah. His adoptive parents were poor immigrants from China but they understood the importance of a sound education.
“I was an abandoned baby –imagine having ‘unnamed’ written in your birth certificate,” he said.
“All that has changed. I am blessed to be where I am today,” said Chew, who already holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry and a Diploma in Management Practice.
Despite scoring seven distinctions in the MCE (now SPM), he was offered to study science at Universiti Malaya, instead of medicine. Though heartbroken, he never gave up on his dream.
“I realised then that if I wanted to be successful, I would have to do it on my own,” Chew recalled. “In life, there will always be challenges. How you perceive and deal with them are important.”
Chew switched to lecturing at age 37 because he wanted to spend more time with the family and has no regrets sacrificing a lucrative corporate career to raise his boys.
Chew’s daughter-in-law is a doctor, too.
“My sons advised me against doing the housemanship programme because of my age. I hope I can get a scholarship to do my doctorate in healthcare management abroad,” he said, adding that setting up a Chew family clinic was an ambition.
His children Chang Eek, 31, Chang Chuan, 28, Chang Feng, 25, and Chang Fu, 23, are in Kedah, Sarawak, Negri Sembilan and Russia respectively.