Dr Wilkinson Tan completed his MBBS at the International Medical University in February 2012 and was awarded the inaugural Aflame Student Award in the same year. He was featured in the IMU News when he won the award and we are pleased to catch up with him in January 2017 when he returned to IMU as one of our distinguished panel of judges for final selection of this year’s Aflame award. Dr Wilkinson Tan is currently a medical officer in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sabah Women and Child Hospital, Kota Kinabalu, which serves as a referral tertiary hospital for Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding districts. He hopes to complete his training in the future, to become an Obstetrics and Gynaecology Specialist and to continue using his vocation to serve those in need. “Since I graduated from university, I have been a member of the Rotary Club. During my 2 years as a house officer at Taiping, I was a member of Rotary Club of Taiping. Following my transfer to Kota Kinabalu, I am now a member of the Rotary Club of Likas Bay. Rotary Clubs are local clubs of Rotary International, a worldwide charity and fellowship organisation. Our members gather our resources and expertise to help the local and international community.” “In the local setting, we aid the local community by providing basic sanitation, medical aid, clean water, food and clothing for the less fortunate. In the international setting, we are working closely with WHO through our international body, Rotary International and its Rotary Foundation to eradicate polio worldwide. There are also programmes focusing on healthcare, education and sanitation. Collectively, we are making our local and world community a better place to live in. I was honoured to be recognised as a Paul Harris Fellow for contribution made to the Rotary Foundation.
|The Rotary Foundation uses its resources to initiate and fund projects around the world. Members who make monetary or in kind contributions to the foundation will be recognised by the foundation as a fellow. It recognised the contributions that members have made and encourages members to continue to do good for the world community. It serves as a positive reinforcement and recognition to members contributions.|
“Unfortunately the limitation of time has not been on my favour, needing to divide time between work, studying for my post graduate training and personal life with community services and service to the people. I am currently a member of the Rotary Club of Likas Bay and the Scout Leader for Kota Kinabalu C Rover, an open scouting group for adults under the patronage of the Malaysian Scouts Movement, Persekutuan Pengakap Malysia. The motto of adults in scouting is “Berkhidmat” which aptly explains our objectives, to serve the community.” “We do so by direct and indirect means. Service to the community is in the form of community works and projects and also in training the future generations to become better citizens of the world. We work together with school based scout groups and scout leaders to train our younger members on the importance of becoming a good citizen of the world and to foster peace and friendship. This is very much similar to the qualities recognised in recipients of the Aflame award, the practice of instilling humane values in our community.” Receiving the inaugural Aflame Award 5 years ago was a tremendous honour and a positive reinforcement for Dr Wilkinson Tan. “It reminded me of who we are and how we can all play a part in making the world a better place. Therefore, the invitation to be a judge for the very same award that I received 5 years ago from my alma mater has been a mixture of joy, excitement and honour. It is also humbling to realise that there are many others who have done significantly more but yet has received much less recognition. I hope I will be able to inspire a new generation of IMU alumni with a heart for humanity and to be a gift to the world alike.” To Dr Wilkinson Tan, the most important quality that a winner of this esteemed award need to have is a genuine belief to do good for others. This sense of responsibility is not something that can be taught easily and must come from within. It must be done in the belief that it is the right thing to do, “
We are all part of a big family, we are the citizens of this earth. Regardless of our nationality, colour, class nor creed, we are ultimately of the same race. Therefore, our daily activities and vocation should exemplify the qualities of humanity, equality and humane practices without prejudice nor discrimination. I think the true value of humanity is to help others without any hope for rewards or recognition regardless of the origins of the recipient.”
Dr Wilkinson Tan also had the opportunity to serve as part of the International Service Team at the 23rd World Scout Jamboree held in Japan in 2015. This event is held every 4 years since 1920. “It is attended by scouts from all over the world and serves as a gathering of scouts from around the world to foster friendship and to instill important qualities of global citizenship among members. At this 2-week long event, we are all brothers and sisters of a larger global community, working together, learning from each other’s cultures and meeting new friends.” The last Jamboree was attended by 35,000 scouts comprising 27,000 participants aged 14-18 and 8000 adult volunteers. The adult volunteers are known as the International Service Team, facilitating in the running of the gathering by helping with food preparation, security, water and sanitation, science and cultural activities and all the other services needed to successfully organise an international camp for 35,000 people.
“I was the team leader for a first aid station serving 8,000 participants in one of the 5 sub-camps of the jamboree. My team comprised of scout leaders from around the world with both medical and non-medical background. There was a nurse from Germany, a medical student from Austria, an accountant from India, an emergency response team specialist from Taiwan and a radiographer from the UK.”
“This experience has taught me about global citizenship. We come from different countries with various cultural backgrounds, but in the end we are all one big family. At the event, there are participants from 1st world country with better equipment and better funding, while some may barely have enough to make the trip. Nevertheless, in the end, everyone goes back with the same experiences. At the jamboree, everyone is treated equally regardless of which country we have originated from. We sleep at the same camp site, we eat the same food and we all work together for a same greater cause. This is global citizenship. We treat everyone equally and fairly without discrimination of country, class or creed.”
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Dr Wilkinson Tan for taking time out for this interview. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours. Related articles: A Doctor with a Kind Heart Medical Housemanship in Malaysia: An IMU Alumnus’ Experience