Saturday, February 20, 2016

Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou

I now see a daily dosage of advertisements from this hospital in the guise of testimonies from patients. You can’t possibly miss them; they are inserted between the breaking news of the day.

The first question that I ask is on the name. Is this a modern hospital for cancer? Or it is a hospital for modern cancer? This is just my tendency to split hair with many things that come out of China.

I see that the hospital is basically a commercial undertaking – a joint venture between Singapore and China investors. They even have offices in cities like Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila, etc to facilitate visitations.

If it is that good, do they have to advertise themselves in such a fashion?

I grew up with full faith in traditional Chinese medicine. When I was not well, Mother would take me to see Sin-seh[1] Lau, who looked very ancient to me at that time. He was kind and gentle. Mother would thank him with a small angpow. We would then head to the medical hall which we usually patronize to pick up the herbs.

The medicines were usually too bitter for youngsters like us; we usually gulped them down in one go, with fingers pressing hard against our nose. Later my second sister married into a family that ran a successful medical hall. Her husband soon started another one in town. Soon my eldest brother-in-law decided to work for him. When my second brother-in-law decided to call it quits, my eldest brother-in-law inherited his entire fit-out and inventory and relocate the business to a small town near Muar. He is still running the business now.

I remember when I was in Standard Four, I broke my leg. We were playing hide-and-see, I fell and an older boy in hot pursuit couldn’t stop in time and landed hard on my upper left ankle. I had to be immediately rushed to the local sin-seh who specialised in fractures. After making sure that the fractured parts had been correctly aligned, she tied bamboo strips around the affected area. Seeing that I was still not able to use it after a month or so, Mum sought out a “secret formula” from a fellow villager. It really did wonders. I was able to walk normally a day or two later!

Father had also kept a number of medical classics. Those by HuaTuo () and Li Shizhen (李时珍) were usually consulted.  And we literally believed all those tall tales carried in sword-fighting books – about heroes’ ability to achieve fantastic feats after accidentally consuming some outlandish flora and fauna.

However, as we entered into adulthood, we began to count more and more on western doctors. Notwithstanding, we would still stock some ginseng at home and my wife would from time to time steam it with chicken for everyone to take.

My faith in TCM began to take a beating after my visit to China as a tourist. We seemed to be taken to endless outlets that hawked Chinese traditional medicines in the most aggressive manner. Their effectiveness would usually be exaggerated beyond beliefs. The sales people donned themselves with white overalls. But they looked so sloppy!

The straw that broke the camel’s back was my visit to a hospital in Guangzhou where one of my former bosses was recommended to undergo a kidney transplant surgery. The surgeon, who was said to be a senior professor, did not impress me at all. The new kidney was rejected by the body ultimately.

Coming back to this Modern Cancer Hospital, all the testimonies are simply too glowing to be genuine; they must have been supplied by the hospital. (Their English speaks volumes!) I tried to surf for reviews; there were not many really. There was none from the mainstream medical profession.

They better be good, lest truth will catch up with them ultimately.

[1] Traditional Chinese medicine practitioner


  1. Kidney transplant in China amounts to a lucky draw. I have a close friend who underwent a kidney transplant at the Guangzhou People's Liberation Army Hospital more than 11 years ago and is still alive today. I will not venture to say that he has returned to lead a normal life but he was able to participate in casual golfing until three years ago. I rate him as among the lucky ones. I wish all other patients also share his good fortune.

  2. hi can i ask if is really worth it ? as my dad is about to go there soon