Leung Sing-fai 梁承暉(1957-2017) MBBS 1982
Obituary by Medicine Class of 1982
In memory of Professor Leung Sing-fai (1957 – 2017)
It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved classmate, Professor Leung Sing-fai, who passed away peacefully on January 20, 2017 at Prince of Wales Hospital. He was a great friend, a compassionate oncologist, and an excellent teacher, husband and son. He offered his life fully to educating young doctors and surely will be remembered for generations to come.
Sing-fai was born in Guangzhou, China in 1957 and moved with his parents to Hong Kong when he was a child. He attended St. Paul’s Primary School and King’s College for his primary and secondary education. Growing in a loving family, he was very independent in his studies and caused no worries to his parents. He worked hard and attained excellence in his examinations, with a 7A1B in the Hong Kong Certificate of Secondary School Education Examinations and a 3A1C in the Advanced Level Examinations. He completed his medical education at the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong and attained an MBBS (HK) in 1982.
Despite his outstanding academic results, he was an extremely humble person and led a life of low profile. He talked little and always tried to help others. After his internship, he decided to pursue his career as an oncologist. He obtained specialist training at the Department of Oncology, Prince of Wales Hospital. In those days, oncology was an underdeveloped specialty and was regarded as a waiting post for other more popular specialties. Sing-fai saw the future of this important field and committed himself to it from the very beginning, making it his lifelong career.
He was not just an excellent doctor fully committed to the best care of his patients, his dedication was evident in his working late into the nights and on weekends. He also saw the need of providing quality education to the next generation of doctors in order to provide continuous quality service to society. He spent enormous time and effort in teaching his students, not just through imparting knowledge but also by being an exemplary role model. He was voted the best teacher fourteen times and broke all records in teaching excellence at the Faculty of Medicine of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
He deemed himself a lucky man with a loving family who fully supported his outlook on life. It may be difficult to put these abstract notions into words, but Sing Fai did it just a few months before he passed away in an inspirational and enlightening letter to one of his old classmates. The following is an abstract:
“When I was first told of the diagnosis a year and nine months ago, one of my first reactions was to look back at my life and the immediate conclusion was obvious. I have been a fortunate man, very blessed and I have been given so much in my life for which I am really grateful. I was born to loving parents who are open-minded intellectuals and I received much guidance and a good education. I also have a wife who understands and shares my views of life to the extent that she complements me.”
“I entered a profession that offers broad and tremendous opportunities to some of the greatest experiences in life: the experiences of being a doctor participating in important moments of other people living together with their families. I easily find meaning in my daily work and a large community of fellow health care workers from different disciplines gives me the opportunity to establish lots of personal and professional relationships.”
“I have an academic appointment and it allows me to broaden my horizons by knowing a community of professionals through research. I have also gained the thrilling experience of making some contributions, however small, to augmenting current knowledge. Academic achievement per se was not the main driver for me to enter academia but rather it was teaching. I see my unique role and contributions in making the attempt to shape attitudes in budding young minds to become a professional as well as a person. This demands time to establish a trusting relationship with them through initially demonstrating the skills of doctor-patient interactions, giving guidance on how to assimilate medical knowledge without being overwhelmed and further mentoring on more general issues. Although any impact on these young people could only be gauged after many years, I have been consistently impressed by their immediate and positive responses.”
“I am blessed with many interests that add a lot of colour and enjoyment to life. I am a very “down-to-earth” creature and I enjoy almost everything in daily life. The perusal of interests gives me energy. Although I am very much interested in arts, my most important interest is interacting with people.”
As a testimony to his popularity, the remembrance ceremony at the Chinese University of Hong Kong was well attended by many relatives, medical students, medical practitioners, colleagues and classmates who filled three large lecture theatres, thus requiring real-time broadcasting. Different groups of people reflected on their relationship with Professor Leung and the event was filled with a mixture of respect, admiration and gratitude besides grief.
In this increasingly competitive world where universities could be paying so much attention to the principle of “publish or perish”, Professor Leung’s insistence on the priority of being a role model for the next generation was indeed a much needed breath of fresh air that no educator should ever forget. Our society, which some may find increasingly self-centred, has much to learn about the importance of reviving generosity for a more harmonious co-existence. As his classmates we feel our alma mater should know and remember that our University has contributed to fostering such a generous and inspirational son.
Despite his disease, Sing-fai never assumed a sick role in front of others. He continued to work and teach as far as his health allowed, met his old classmates and friends, chatted in social groups when he was less inhibited by symptoms from treatment. He led a full life till his last breath.
Sing-fai has lived a full life on earth and completed his journey well. The following Bible verses may provide a good footnote to him:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Sing-fai, we all miss you. You will be fondly remembered by all of us. Take a good rest. We will meet again in heaven.
See English translation HERE of the Chinese text below
"Everything no more than three points."
Despite his disease, Sing-fai never assumed a sick role in front of others. He continued to work and teach as far as his health allowed, met his old classmates and friends...