My Day in the Sun
Dr MARK YOI SUN SOO
29 Jul 2013 10:30 AM –
29 Jul 2013 12:30 PM
Bilik Mesyuarat Dekan II, FSSS, UM
In My Days in the Sun, a distinguished radiologist presents a candid self-portrait of his first 40 years. Mark Y.S. Soo was born in 1933 into a Cantonese family who divided their time between business interests in Malaya and Hong Kong. As a precocious child, Mark was an eyewitness to the Battle of Kampar, the Japanese occupation of Malaya and the post-war trauma of the late 1940s.
A graduate of Hong Kong University in 1957 and the Lysholm Department of Radiology in London in 1967, Mark Soo reflects on his intimate acquaintance with mentoring surgeons, eminent professors and pioneering radiologists, and offers privileged glimpses of the work practices in prestigious teaching hospitals in four different countries.
The humanistic philosophy of the Chinese sage Mencius, memorized at a young age under his grandmother’s watchful eye, made him a compulsively ethical practitioner in a moneyed profession. Ever the keen observer of life’s subtleties, Mark recounts many of the lessons he learnt, both moral and practical, during his time as a young medic in the Colony’s hospitals, a struggling general practitioner in Ipoh, a mature student of radiology in London and the first Asian Head of Radiology at University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, just before the riots of 13 May 1969.
Married with four children, Mark moved to Australia in 1971, where he still resides. From his traditional Chinese upbringing to his embrace of modern life as an immigrant of Australia, Mark Soo’s memoir conveys the sense and sensibility of an overseas Chinese who has lived in interesting times and memorable places.
About the speaker
Mark Yoi Sun Soo was born in Hong Kong in 1933. He spent his childhood moving back and forth between Hong Kong and Kampar, Malaya, where his father’s family herbal medicine business was headquartered. In both locales, Mark witnessed firsthand the devastation of the Second World War and its aftermath. After attending Melaka’s Anglo-Chinese school, Mark returned to the city of his birth to study medicine at the University of Hong Kong, earning his degree in 1957 and meeting his future wife during his internship in neurosurgery at Queen Mary Hospital.
In 1962, Mark moved his young family to Ipoh, Malaysia, where he worked as a general practitioner for a New Village population impoverished by the hardships of the Malayan Emergency. In a career-defining decision, Mark decided to pursue specialist training in radiology at London’s Royal Free Hospital, studying in the Lysholm Department of Radiology under the profession’s most renowned doctors. Upon completion of his training in 1967, Mark returned to Malaysia to work for Kuala Lumpur’s newly established University Hospital. In the aftermath of the 1969 race riots, Mark and his family decided to migrate to Sydney, Australia, where he worked as a staff radiologist at Concord Hospital. Seven years later, he relocated to Westmead Hospital, eventually becoming Head of Neuroradiology and Director of MRI. Mark briefly returned to Kuala Lumpur in 1998–2000, to serve as Visiting Professor of Radiology at the University of Malaya. He retired at the age of 70, but continues to consult part-time.
This article first appeared on 29 July 2013 on the Universiti Malaya website