9 Jul 2009


Last month, our Departments of Surgery and Medicine provided the final year medical students with the “refresher course”. The original intention was wonderful. The students may have forgotten some clinical skills learned two years ago and would have difficulties catching up with the teaching in the final year. We should help.

When the final program was announced, however, the frontline teachers were amazed. The students were asked to attend six to seven one-hour lectures per day for four weeks. Instead of refreshing the clinical skills as originally stated, each lecture was didactic and covered broad topics like “common diseases in hepatology”. (Yes, I dare not comment on other topics.) In effect, we were asking the students to download the whole year’s curriculum within four weeks. How effective could it be?

When it came to my turn, I could not help but start my lecture with a short story.

“In Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (倚天屠龍記), Xie Xun (謝遜) wanted to teach his godson Zhang Wuji (張無忌) his superb martial arts. Instead of showing him how to fight, Xie Xun forced Wuji to recite all the martial arts scrolls. As expected, Wuji had a hard time memorizing the words because he did not have the slightest idea what they meant. Wuji’s parents also thought it was a silly way to teach martial arts.

As the story unfolded, Xie Xun did not actually plan to stay with the Zhang’s family for a long time. He just hoped that Wuji could learn martial arts by himself when he grew up. Some of the teachings were indeed useful during Wuji’s future adventures.”

Dear students, unless I die after the refresher course, I would not want to be Xie Xun. I am more than happy to show you martial arts in the coming year and long after your graduation.

P.S. I learned Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms from my Boss, Heaven and Earth Great Shift from my mentor, and Nine Swords of Dugu from Szeto. In the end, all I could master was the three simple moves that Sha Gu (傻姑) learned from Huang Yaoshi (黃藥師).

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