HERE’S WHY I DO WHAT I DO
If you’re interested to know the woman behind the doctor, you can read my story below.
My mother was the first generation of women to go to school in her family so excelling in my studies was non-negotiable. From a young age, my mother would compare me to others which I know was her way of encouraging me but as a young girl, it made me very self-conscious and felt what I did was never enough.
It didn’t help that I was a little on the heavy side and had dark spotty skin which were two combinations that are frowned upon in Asia. I was bullied in school as I tried to fit in and constantly seeked approval. As a result, I developed an eating disorder and was self-harming in my teens.
I always felt like the odd one out. I didn’t see myself as beautiful so decided to strive as a doctor to get recognition through my brains instead. Being the eldest child, I saw it my duty to do my parents proud to choose a profession that was highly regarded.
As hard as my mum was, she was my inspiration.
My mother suffered from terrible skin problems – acne, eczema and psoriasis. I remember my mum proudly telling her friends I was in medical school and I would help her clear her skin issues when I graduated.
She was an amazing woman. A great mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. She was highly intelligent (helping my father build his business when he started with nothing at these of 16 years old), highly motivated (started several businesses when she was a stay-at-home mum), highly creative (learned to play the flute and speak Mandarin at the age of 40 years old), highly optimistic, and lived her life with vitality, health, laughter, love and family ties.
Sadly….. I lost her when I was 19 years old.
3 weeks after helping me settle in London for the start of my medical school, I had a call from my family saying she was not well and in 24 hours, she was gone. It was 28th October 1997 and she was 46 years old. She left my dad with 5 children. I was the eldest at 19 years old and my youngest brother was 9. I grew up in my 20s without a female role model.
Losing my mother was hard but her memory definitely shaped the woman I am today.
I graduated from Guy’s, King’s and St.Thomas’ Hospital, London in 2002 and completed my postgraduate qualifications with the Royal College of Surgeons. I started my earlier training specialising in general surgery and plastic surgery before embarking as an aesthetic doctor.
However it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer at the age of 30 years old that led me down the path of wellness and alternative medicine. I furthered my studies in USA, acquiring new knowledge and experience in functional medicine, nutrition and natural hormone balance.
It gave me new respect and appreciation for our skin, body and health.
My work has evolved working with different women and going through different seasons of my life.
Currently I’m in my mid-40s so I’ve seen and experience a lot of things, not just as a doctor but as a woman in this modern age.
My favourite people to work with are women who are hard working, committed, determined and want more out of life. They have a feisty warrioress spirit, yet are kind, gentle and thoughtful. But somewhere along the way, they somehow lost themselves, either to their job, relationships or “assigned” roles.
I’ve been in their shoes losing myself as a mother, a wife and in the wrong working partnership. I went through 2 burnouts, moving countries for my family at the height of my career and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
I worked hard to move through all these seasons, recover and thrive in my health, making sure I was not ageing prematurely with the right mindset and support.
With the experience I have, I want to help women understand their skin, hormones and health so they can fully take charge of the way they age, restoring their confidence, looking and feeling their best, in years to come.
Quirky Facts About Me & Current Goals
I’ve lived in the UK for almost 20 years. I am married to a South African Chinese who can speak African. We met through online dating but found out I knew his mother and she wanted to match make us 2 years ago but it never happened. So you could say I was 50% approved by his parents before we even met.
We have a gorgeous 8 year old son who’s the sweetest boy and we love him to bits! He came out 3.5 weeks early and my active labour was only 3.5 hours. I was hoping for a water birth but I had him in the triage room because I was already 8cm dilated by the time I got to the hospital. He definitely came out fast and furious.
In my free time, I enjoy listening to audiobooks, podcast on personal growth and creativity, reading, writing and doing arts and crafts. I’m a big fan of journalling, BodyCombat and weight training.
If I didn’t become a doctor, I would probably go into the arts, most likely a dance teacher. In Malaysia as I mentioned I was considered big so my ballet teacher used to ask me not to be such a hippopotamus. Plus my second toe is larger than my big toe so wearing those hard pointed ballet shoes was a killer.
However, it didn’t stop me from being a dance coordinator for The Music & Dance Society in College where I organised shows and started the first ballroom classes. I also performed a lot in University. My biggest moment was choreographing “Big Spender” by Shirley Bessey for the annual dance show, teaching a group of dancers including the rugby team. If I had the opportunity, I would love to travel the world to learn different dances.
I’m the eldest of 7 and one of 63 grandchildren (and that’s just my mum’s side). I love foods from all around the world but don’t like to cook myself. My favourite foods are Japanese, Malaysian, Vietnamese and Korean.
With age, I love my space and quiet time. I love going on solo-dates – watching musicals, theatre, visiting art galleries and writing in a cafe.
- Helping as many people as I can to feel more confident either through treatments in the clinic, virtual consultations and online programs.
- Passing on my knowledge and experience to the future generation of aesthetic practitioners.
- Writing more books (I currently have ideas sharing my experience moving through my 40s, recovering from burnout and a book for teenagers on skin health, skin care and being healthy – to prevent acne and weight problems which often leave lasting scars both internally and externally).
- Moving to a home that we can adopt a little dog. I couldn’t conceive a second child so my son has accepted that he will be getting a fur sibling instead.
- Building my physical strength and mental fortitude in preparation for my 50s.
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“Reflections of an Integrative Doctor”
This is where I share personal insights and tips on growing younger, feeling confident and loving the skin you’re in.