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Tribute to a Master Teacher and Compassionate Doctor

Leung Sing-fai story image - medical doctor background

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.

 

 

***********************

 

《快慢人生、梁承暉醫生行述》(梁承暉醫生的生命禮讚紀念册)

See English translation HERE of the Chinese text below

 

"Everything no more than three points."

一句簡潔、直接、精煉的口號,道破了豈止是授予醫學生們在課堂上的學習之重點。這,也反映梁承暉醫生如何解讀及面對生命。人如其言,工作、信仰和家庭,成了他畢生努力、付出心血的三個生命重點。平日工作、教學思考快、走路快、說話快的梁醫生,回到家卻是判若兩人,他從不將工作的煩琑事情帶回家,周末更愛散步來慢慢思考。他就是這樣的一個人。

 

我思,故我「行」

在三十多年的醫途上,梁承暉不只一次跟親友學生們說過,能當上醫生是幸福滿瀉的事,甚至鼓勵學生要將這份幸福與病人及家屬分享。的確,他對醫學的熱誠,豈止限於醫治病人,也投放入教育、研究裏。平日最愛靜靜沉思的他,當看透醫者所遇到的荊棘和美事,又會思考何去?何從?

 

他從不吝嗇地跟學生分享,職場做人的求生點子。由十年多前,只在課堂講授及分析而談,到今天寫成為一份情理兼備的求生指南Survival guide,單純地只為着給實習或初為仁醫的同袍,有多點啟發和頭緒。他多次到各聯網醫院巡迴,辦多場「演唱會」(講座),他都是想將日有所思的理念,用雙手雙腳逐步實踐出來。

 

儘管平日工作忙得喘不過氣,說話也是精簡,字字珠璣,但對於每年每班百多位的醫學生,他總把他們記在心上,不但能叫得出名字,還逐一撰寫評語,給予意見。這點點滴滴的苦心,不求個人回報,純粹希望將心中那份幸福承傳下去、希望活在體制下的醫者們能團結,保持從醫的熱情。也許,一人力量是有限,但他從沒想過放棄,只默默地實幹。他心中的火,大家看得見、也感受得到。難怪十三次獲選為中文大學醫學院最傑出教師獎。但他未見為此而自滿,反之追求學問的心從未鬆懈,2005年更取得醫學博士學位。

 

愛在頃刻是永恆

淡薄名利的他,能有空間思考、能跟生命最愛的兩個女人---- 媽媽和太太,以及家人簡單地吃頓家常便飯,已當作幸福。身為家中長子,出生於廣州,年幼時隨父母遷到香港定居,小學就讀聖保羅小學,中學畢業於英皇書院,從小就很懂事,受父母的諄諄善誘的身教言教,造就了今天的梁承暉。由於他生性聰敏,中學會考獲7A1B成績,又在高級程度會考以3A1C的優異成績考入醫學院。

 

他曾說過最敬佩當教師的媽媽,因她每天從西環到西貢的中學上課,下班回家仍竭力照顧他與父親的起居飲食,卻從沒怨言;而小時候的周末,他就最愛跟爸爸回辦公室,看他工作......小小的他把這一切看在眼裏,故唸書從不讓父母操心。八十年代,他剛當上醫生,買了一棵小小聖誕樹回家。能跟父母擁有這樣一棵聖誕樹歡度聖誕,他不但滿足,也特意把那一刻的溫馨,好好記下來。

 

他爲人簡單樸實,當遇上命中另一半至愛梁太,他沒有花言和巧語,但對愛的表達,就含蓄細膩,意深情長。他曾為討佳人笑而手繪四格漫畫、親自為她挑衣服,反而自己年青時頗不修邊幅。這段超過二十載的婚姻,雙方也坦言很「夾」,他們的相處既獨立又互相尊重,梁太更形容為平淡而溫馨。

 

除跟至愛談情,梁醫生面對學生後輩們,事事也顯出關愛之情。2016年,他因癌腫瘤壓着大腦,需再次入院動手術,碰巧由昔日學生溫子彬醫生負責麻醉。他不但向同袍多番拜託言謝,還寄予信心和鼓勵,希望好叫她安心。他又親自邀請親友舊生來參加他的洗禮,還自掏腰包請大家於當晚吃壽宴。他對人的寬懷胸襟,就像種子般長在別人心裏發芽生根。從前看不透世情的一位學生,今天已成獨當一面的李智威醫生,更有了第二代,並決定師「承」老師的名字,為兒子命名,盼他將來能「承」傳老師的好和待人處事作風。一人的生命,能影響兩代人的未來,甚至更深更遠,相信這是梁醫生畢生最高成就之一吧!

 

 兩段生命的誕生

梁醫生走過59個年頭,他一直思考及尋求生命的真理。自20151月確診患上肺癌,發現時已擴散至骨和腦。作為腫瘤科醫生,他比誰都更清楚自己的病況,但他只花半小時便理清情緒,開始為家人生活、自己的理想及生命意義等,逐一鋪排籌謀。

 

可幸,有着神的看顧,在患病及治療時,梁醫生生活仍如常。他熱愛工作,特別是臨床教授醫學生,更盡量不缺課,直至離世前兩周仍如常教學。疾病雖帶走了他那會腐敗的身體,但也因這病,讓他暫且放下工作,有更多時間探求甚麼是永恆的生命。

 

兩年患病經歷,令他反思良多。從他的受洗見證裏,面對生命意義、活着的無常、上帝賜予人救贖的恩典等命題上,他至終理解到作為受造物,人很渺小,力量如蟻。透過身邊基督徒見證、聖經內的智慧及力量、他身上的奇蹟經歷等,令他明白萬物掌握在上帝手裏。他多次的感恩,也慶幸上帝將太太再次帶到祂的施恩寶座前。他選在1228日自己的生辰來接受洗禮,希望以此紀念兩段新生命的開始,別具意義。

 

在兩位梁太太眼中,梁承暉醫生是好兒子、好丈夫,他也希望大家只記著他歡樂的臉容。離別雖有不捨,但上帝一直守護着他,未受疾病太大折騰,更讓他陪伴太太度過119日的生日,才於翌日(20號)晚上安詳地主懷安息,息了世上的勞苦。

 

恍愡千帆過盡,梁太就以這樣一句:「你人好好!對我都好好!」來總結了梁承暉醫生這段幸福人生。

 

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...