Dr Tony Chua: Passing on the inheritance of Chinese medicine
20 Feb 2017
When it comes to Chinese medicine practitioners, most people think of an elderly person with greying temples and a solemn countenance. However, sitting before me is Dr Tony Chua, a vibrant young man who looks just like any other fresh graduate. Tony jokes that due to his young age, his medical expertise has been queried by patients. He simply laughs off these doubts and proves himself with his performance.
In secondary school, Tony was passionate about singing, drawing and photography, and the thought of taking up Chinese medicine as a career didn’t occur to him. He entered the profession purely by chance. “Knowing that I love helping people, my classmates suggested I enrol in HKBU’s Chinese medicine programme when I was about to pick a university major in Form 7. That’s how I added this subject to my shortlist of majors.” It was not until he joined the School’s summer camp and witnessed his seniors’ passion for Chinese medicine that his interest in this subject was aroused.
Nevertheless, Tony’s path towards a career as a Chinese medicine practitioner was not smooth at all. Despite his outstanding academic performance in school, he met his waterloo in the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination as his English proficiency failed to meet the minimum requirement. The next year, he enrolled in an associate degree programme in Chinese medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong -- Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Community College as it was then known. That was his major turning point, where he could reconsolidate his foundation of English language and also got to know the inspiring Professor Jiang Yuanan. “I was moved by Professor Jiang’s determination and perseverance in practising Chinese medicine. Seeing that both he and his wife Dr Zhang Qingling were bent on coming to Hong Kong from Mainland China at all costs to pass on the inheritance of traditional Chinese medicine, I made up my mind to apply again to HKBU’s programme in Chinese medicine and became committed to follow and fulfil their goal of passing on Chinese medicine knowledge.”
Over the years, Tony worked hard to pursue further studies, equipping himself well with knowledge of both Chinese and Western medicine. He earned a PhD in Traditional Chinese Medicine and an MSc in Stroke and Clinical Neurosciences. He is also a registered Chinese chiropractor and hypnotherapist. He says, “I have always believed that for human beings, the body, mind and spirit are closely interconnected. All the subjects that I studied may seem unrelated, but they are in fact people-oriented and can complement one another.”
Since his days as a Chinese medicine student, Tony had already been conducting “free medical consultations” for his friends. He had also been a member of the Auxiliary Medical Service for over a decade, serving the public on the medical frontline and promoting collaboration between Chinese and Western medicine. In addition, he got a chance to learn martial arts, and was chosen to be an heir to his master’s Chinese medical expertise, inheriting Wong Fei-hung’s bone-setting skills.
With respect to Chinese medicine, Tony has his own principles. “I’ve been upholding the principle of using Chinese medicine as far as possible. What can be cured by Chinese medicine should not be treated with Western medicine. That’s my requirement for myself. As for patients, I consider their needs and budget before deciding whether to incorporate Western medicine into the treatment provided. When passing on knowledge, I believe that one should learn and understand the nature of traditional Chinese and Western medicine before combining both in clinical practice.”
Tony is now working at HKBU’s School of Chinese Medicine as a Technical Instructor, assisting teachers and pursuing his dream of teaching at the same time. He firmly believes that “a good medical practitioner can help dozens of patients while a great medical teacher hundreds or even thousands.”