Who is he?
Dr. Richard Teo Keng Siang (1972 – 2012) from Singapore was a 40 years old millionaire cosmetic surgeon who was at the peak of his life. He was a very active man and for those who had chance to know him, he has personified someone who was a remarkable all-rounder, good in sports, studies, have great leadership and matured beyond his years. But on that fateful day in March 2012, he went to check a persistent backache and a a PET scan turned his world upside down: He had a stage 4B terminal lung cancer. The acceptance did not come easily but later he has made peace with it and left behind some speech. One of them was recorded in Jan 2012, talking in Class D. In this very meaningful and deeply inspiring speech, a man looking right to the face of death shares his thought of life, wealth, success and happiness.
The message is simple and powerful: Life is to short to neglect the real sources of happiness and those people around you. Unfortunately, one’s ears are completely closed to this simple truth until he faces the death himself.
Dr. Richard Teo passed away on Oct 18 2012. R.I.P.
Transcript of a speech as per recorded during a presentation in front of a medical school at Singapore
Hi good morning to all of you. My voice is a bit hoarse, so please bear with me. I thought I’ll just introduce myself. My name is Richard, I’m a medical doctor. And I thought I’ll just share some thoughts of my life. It’s my pleasure to be invited by prof. Hopefully, it can get you thinking about how. as you pursue this. embarking on your training to become dental surgeons, to think about other things as well.
Since young, I am a typical product of today’s society. Relatively successful product that society requires. From young, I came from a below average family. I was told by the media. and people around me that happiness is about success. And that success is about being wealthy. With this mind-set, I’ve always be extremely competitive, since I was young.
Not only do I need to go to the top school, I need to have success in all fields. Uniform groups, track, everything. I needed to get trophies, needed to be successful, I needed to have colors award, national colors award, everything. So I was highly competitive since young. I went on to medical school, graduated as a doctor. Some of you may know that within the medical faculty, ophthalmology is one of the most highly sought after specialties. So I went after that as well. I was given a traineeship in ophthalmology, I was also given a research scholarship by NUS to develop lasers to treat the eye.
So in the process, I was given 2 patents, one for the medical devices, and another for the lasers. And you know what, all this academic achievements did not bring me any wealth. So once I completed my bond with MOH, I decided that this is taking too long, the training in eye surgery is just taking too long. And there’s lots of money to be made in the private sector. If you’re aware, in the last few years, there is this rise in aesthetic medicine. Tons of money to be made there. So I decided, well, enough of staying in institution, it’s time to leave. So I quit my training halfway and I went on to set up my aesthetic clinic… in town, together with a day surgery center.
You know the irony is that people do not make heroes out average GP (general practitioner), family physicians. They don’t. They make heroes out of people who are rich and famous. People who are not happy to pay $20 to see a GP, the same person have no qualms paying ten thousand dollars for a liposuction, 15 thousand dollars for a breast augmentation, and so on and so forth. So it’s a no brainer isn’t? Why do you want to be a gp? Become an aesthetic physician. So instead of healing the sick and ill, I decided that I’ll become a glorified beautician. So, business was good, very good. It started off with waiting of one week, then became 3weeks, then one month, then 2 months, then 3 months. I was overwhelmed; there were just too many patients. Vanities are fantastic business. I employed one doctor, the second doctor, the 3rd doctor, the 4th doctor. And within the 1st year, we’re already raking in millions. Just the 1st year. But never is enough because I was so obsessed with it. I started to expand into Indonesia to get all the rich Indonesian tai-tais who wouldn’t blink an eye to have a procedure done. So life was really good.
So what do I do with the spare cash. How do I spend my weekends? Typically, I’ll have car club gatherings. I take out my track car, with spare cash I got myself a track car. We have car club gatherings. We’ll go up to Sepang in Malaysia. We’ll go for car racing. And it was my life. With other spare cash, what do i do? I get myself a Ferrari. At that time, the 458 wasn’t out, it’s just a spider convertible, 430. This is a friend of mine, a schoolmate who is a forex trader, a banker. So he got a red one, he was wanting all along a red one, I was getting the silver one. Continue reading