‘Covid-19 doctor’ unveils family roots in new book

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Dr N. Ganabaskaran gained recognition as the “Covid-19 doctor” during the peak of the pandemic, but his journey in the medical field has roots that span across multiple generations.

The former Malaysian Medical Association president will unveil this illustrious story in a soon-to-be-published book which tells the tale of three generations of his family contributing back to society.

Dr Ganabaskaran told Sunday Star that the journey of his grandfather, Rengasamy Chettiar, and father, Nadesan Chettiar, in becoming leaders in the local business sector, politics and public space inspired him to write the book, Legacy of Time: Tale of Three Generations.

The book chronicles how Dr Ganabaskaran’s family began to make their mark in Malaysia, specifically in Johor.

“My family immigrated from India through my grandfather, who arrived in 1912 from a small village in Tamil Nadu.

“At the age of 16, hoping to seek his fortune, my grandfather started working as a labourer in Kedah and later found his footing in business in Johor,” he said in a recent interview.

In the book, readers will learn how Rengasamy fell in love with Malaysia and decided to live here with his family, though it did lead to a “secret marriage” to another woman back home in India.

Launching today: The cover of Dr Ganabaskaran’s book, Legacy of Time: A Tale of Three Generations, which is due out today.Launching today: The cover of Dr Ganabaskaran’s book, Legacy of Time: A Tale of Three Generations, which is due out today.“The book will detail his journey into becoming one of the leading Indian provision shop owners in Johor Baru, which started in 1932.

“Later, he became one of the main operators of a grinding mill in Jalan Ah Fook, which is now known as Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, alongside my grandmother.

“My grandmother also played an important part in building the business. She poured in her savings and sold some of her gold as seed money to begin the business,” he said.

The book also chronicles Ganabaskaran’s father, Nade-san’s, political journey, where he later became not only a leading business figure but also Johor’s prominent political figure under Johor MIC.

“Before joining politics, my father took over the family business and diversified into various other areas, including the wholesale trade market, by manufacturing curry powder, ghee and other items.

“Since he was involved in business, my father was pulled into the Indian Chambers of Commerce and began to be active in MIC, first as Johor Baru branch chairman, then vice chairman of Johor MIC and finally, he was appointed as a central working committee member,” he said, adding that he took five years to write the book.

The former vice president of the Commonwealth Medical Association also included his journey not only in the medical field but also in politics.

He hopes his book will inspire other Malaysians to write similar stories about their families to show how much they have contributed to the country as well.

“This is not just a story about my family, and I hope other Malaysians who had their families immigrating here and have become citizens themselves for generations will take the opportunity to tell their family’s journey,” he added.

The book will be launched today at the NLFCS Plantation House (formerly known as the NUPW Hall) at Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur.

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