Dear Friends,

The impact of a medical school is seen in the work of its graduates, staff and students. While their contribution to improvements in a nation’s overall health and well-being can be measured in many ways, it is what Shakespeare called “the quality of mercy” – in this instance, the compassion and professionalism expressed and displayed through the delivery of care – that most evidently touches and improves the lives of people.


Through the 113 years of the NUS medical school, our alumni and staff have consistently endeavoured to live up to this tradition of service. As we begin a new year, we pause to pay tribute to one of our finest – the late Professor Chia Boon Lock, who passed away in December last year at the age of 78.


Prof Chia graduated from the University of Singapore in 1963. He joined the University of Singapore from the Ministry of Health as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Medicine in 1972. He was appointed Professor of Medicine in 1981. Prof Chia was awarded the title of Emeritus Consultant by NUH in 2005 and was conferred the title of Emeritus Professor by the University in 2006. He continued to teach, mentor and practice until 2017 when he retired.


Prof Chia was a master clinician, a skilled clinical cardiologist who could interpret any cardiac murmur unerringly and an unsurpassed master in analysing ECGs. It was in the area of electrocardiography or ECG that he established his metier, with published novel ECG findings in the diagnosis of acute inferior myocardial infarction, acute pulmonary embolism and heart failure. Prof Chia was also one of the first two cardiologists to introduce echocardiography and the first to introduce ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in Singapore. He published extensively, writing 158 scientific papers and publishing two well-known and well-loved books (Clinical Electrocardiography and An Atlas of Two-dimensional and Doppler Echocardiography).


An indication of Prof Chia’s popularity as a much sought-after expert may be seen in the various appointments he held, such as being President of the Singapore

Hypertension Society, Chairman of the Ministry of Health Workgroup for the Clinical Practice Guidelines on Lipids, Member of the Workgroup on Hypertension, President of the Singapore Cardiac Society and Chairman of the Chapter of Physicians, Academy of Medicine (now the College of Physicians, Singapore).


He was also a caring and inspirational teacher, a favourite with generations of NUS medical students as well as registrars training in Cardiology. His steadfast dedication led NUS to confer on him the title of Emeritus Professor in 2006. A year earlier, he had received the Lee Foundation-National Healthcare Group Lifetime Achievement Award.


The medical fraternity recognised Prof Chia’s decades of service by awarding him Honorary Membership of the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) in 2008. Asked once to reflect on his life-long career and how he would like to be remembered, he replied: "As a teacher and friend, and also as someone who has contributed to the success of cardiology in Singapore". Rest in peace Prof, we will always remember you as a great teacher, as a friend and as the ‘Father of Cardiology’ in Singapore.


To honour the legacy of this much-loved man, who will be sadly missed, and to perpetuate his passionately held beliefs about the practice of medicine and the education of Singapore’s doctors, we are establishing the Chia Boon Lock Memorial Fund at NUS Medicine. [If you would like to support this initiative, please contact Ms Valerie Lee at or 6772 3786.]


In this issue, we also salute Dr Wee Teck Young. Like Prof Chia, the MBBS Class of 1993 alumnus has followed his calling and spent the past decade in Afghanistan, serving first as a doctor and now as a volunteer with an NGO dedicated to improving the lives of Afghans. Far from the comfort and convenience of Singapore, Dr Wee says he is very much at home among the people he works with. Prof Chia’s distinguished service to the profession and Dr Wee’s devotion to a humanitarian cause remind us all of the fundamental reasons for the School’s existence, inspiring each of us to help make the world a better place.


Happy reading!


Khay Guan