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Impact 0400: Living a life with love

Tay Kuang Teck · 28 February 2022
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Tay Kuang Teck is a 25-year-old currently working as a junior doctor in SingHealth. He  attended to his doctorial duties by serving patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. He aspires to work in the palliative care field in future as he wants to take care of patients with life-limiting diseases. 

Previously, he used to volunteer as a befriender serving palliative patients and nursing home residents. He also had the privilege of contributing to Project Happy Apples, a student-initiated NUS Medicine Palliative Care project. His passion lies in building deeper relationships with the people around him — spanning from mentoring peers and colleagues in medicine to growing in faith within his Catholic community. Today, he shares with us about what he does!

Tell us more about what you do!

I spend a great deal of time getting to know people better on a personal level – knowing who they genuinely are. I work within a healthcare team that supports patients with diverse medical issues that helps them and their loved ones navigate through the healthcare system during their hospital admission. 

I am also part of a research-based mentoring programme, which aims at developing evidence-based solutions to improve medical education in Singapore. I learn and grow alongside like-minded peers and colleagues in this programme and support one another in developing our identities as medical doctors, mentors and researchers. 

Outside of work, I enjoy praying and reflecting about my life, as well as reminiscing all the moments I share with various people. I’m part of two Catholic communities, where we share about our faith in God with one another. My life revolves around deepening relationships and journeying together with people.

What inspires you to do this?

I suspect the joy of knowing and seeing people live their life to the fullest stems from this deep-seated desire to love and to be loved. I uncovered this innate desire along the way as a medical student. 

While befriending patients with life-limiting diseases, I was grateful for the precious moments I share with my patients – sharing about my ups and downs for the day, making handicrafts and gifts for other patients in my free time, and grieving over the losses experienced during the final days of my patients’ life. 

These volunteering experiences reminded me of the hope of living every moment of life to the fullest despite its difficulties and uncertainties, and the power of love and companionship with one another through the journey of life. Hence, this conviction fuelled various passions that I hold dear to till today.

Have you faced any challenges so far? How did you overcome it?

Love requires sacrifice and commitment. The uncertainty of life and the seemingly limited capacity as a human being in relation to the vast problems of the world makes these ideals difficult to live out wholeheartedly. 

I often find myself drained and tired while serving others, especially when I occasionally become prideful and start foolishly counting the impact of my services for others as if they were all attributed to my work. I clearly remember grumbling to my colleagues about difficult conversations I had with patients and their families, and complaining about seemingly unreasonable expectations set by my superiors during stressful days at work, especially during the peak periods of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What helps me is to reorientate the focus of my life away from myself. This includes being genuine about my struggles and shortcomings with my loved ones, as well as being humble and open to accepting kindness from the people around me.

If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow youth, what would it be?

Always seek to understand ourselves better, to uncover our innate identity as a person, and align our lives as best as we can towards that unique and precious identity. I strongly believe each of us has an irreplaceable place in this world.

What is your hope or plans for the future? What do you want to see or perhaps do?

My hope for the future is for people, regardless of our peculiarities and differences, to grow deeper in love for one another. In little ways, I aspire to continue to live my life journeying with people around me in whatever capacities (small or big) that life offers, as we support one another in uncovering our unique identities.

On a tangible level, I aspire to become a palliative care physician, a teacher, and a better friend to the people around me.

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