The Childhood Dream

The childhood dream Soo Kim Lan’s earnest dedication to pursue her chosen field, Medicine, was so deep-rooted that by 1916, at only twenty-two years of age, she was working beyond her duties as a teacher. She actively served local communities and charitable causes, and gave public sermons at the Middle Road Methodist Church in Singapore. By all accounts, she was a young lady who had dedicated her life to help others, to make a difference by giving with kindness. In due time, she showed that giving does indeed, open the way for receiving. Soo Kim Lan went on to take the medical college entrance exam and upon passing, she received the Tan Jiak Kim Scholarship on May 30, 1917. She embarked on life as a college student at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in September the same year. 


Dr Soo Kim Lan’s devotion to spend her life in service of the welfare of her community from the onset of her early twenties, is evinced from the preceding articles. These news articles further reveal a profound testimony: as individuals, we are each capable of rising above personal troubles to help lighten the burden of others, regardless of our circumstances. All through the loss of her parents, uncertainties of the first world war, untold trials and trauma heightened by the deaths of her elder sister and maternal grandmother, she revealed a lesson in times of suffering: One may choose to grow bitter, or better and stronger with courage and compassion.

To this day, Dr Soo Kim Lan’s passage across the 1910s, persist in bringing to the fore, the message that anyone can triumph over personal challenges, apparent failures and discouragement, through personal choice and courage. 

We can always choose to see that challenges are not meant to destroy or deprive us in any way, but to spur and strengthen us to achieve ever greater feats for the greater good of everyone in our lives.


Excerpt from Malaya's Grand Lady of Medicine by Jacquelyn Soo, PhD