Rehabilitation: A Life's Work

Harry Fang Sinyang
with Lawrence Jeffery
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Rehabilitation: A Life's Work is the autobiography of a remarkable man and his remarkable career. Sir Harry Fang, a world-renowned pioneer in the development of rehabilitation medicine, tells a fascinating story of his own emergence as an expert in medical practice and the emergence of a whole new branch of that practice. But this book is much more. It is the story of Hong Kong's coming of age. In this memoir, Sir Harry proves to be an insightful and articulate witness to Hong Kong's evolution from colonial outpost to thriving international metropolis. With humour, wit and deep understanding, he brings us a refreshing look, not only at the practice of rehabilitative medicine, but at the politics, economics and personalities that have shaped our times.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-264-1
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    T. L. Yang

    I have had the good fortune of knowing Sir Harry Fang for over forty years. He has always been—and remains—a man of boundless energy and incomparable generosity. But he is so much more than that. Sir Harry Fang is a renowned orthopaedic surgeon, a rehabilitation expert, an organizer, a volunteer, a fund-raiser extraordinaire, a politician, a reformer—and a man with a shrewd eye for a racehorse. Remarkably, Sir Harry also turns out to be a gifted storyteller.

    This is an important book. Not just because of the man who wrote it, but because it is the story...

  4. Introduction: A Moment In Time
    (pp. ix-xii)

    There are moments in our lives that become markers—school graduation, perhaps; the day we wed, certainly; the day when our first child is born. Everything else in life is set in our minds as before, or after, these events. For me, one such day is July 1, 1997. This was, of course, the day of the ʹhandover,ʹ the day when the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong became the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. I remember it as clearly as yesterday—perhaps, at my age, even more clearly than yesterday.

    In my memory, I am in my seat...

  5. Chapter one Hairy Number Four ʹSi Maoʹ
    (pp. 1-16)

    I was born in Nanjing, China on August 2, 1923. By all accounts, my birth was unremarkable. I was, after all, the fourth child in a family that would eventually include nine children. I was born in my parentsʹ home—which was fairly common practice at the time. It was also common practice to have a local midwife assist in the delivery.

    Because there were so many of us, we were often referred to by numbers. I was also a very plump baby and had a lot of hair. These factors prompted my mother to name me ʹHairy Number Four,ʹ...

  6. Chapter two My University Days
    (pp. 17-33)

    The first direct contact I had with doctors and the medical profession occurred in 1938 when my older sister Therese fell ill with rheumatic heart disease. We took her to St. Paulʹs Hospital as it was within walking distance of our home on Yik Kwan Avenue. The senior attending physician was a Dr Bunji. He was a huge man with an even bigger heart for his patients. He quickly became one of my idols. When he came to our home to make a house call, he would hand me his medical bag to carry. One day when Dr Bunji was...

  7. Chapter Three A Growing Family and Expanding Horizons
    (pp. 34-50)

    Our first child was born in 1951. We were delighted that our first child was a boy. We named him Anthony. We chose the name in part because it began with the first letter of the alphabet. ʹAʹ for Anthony. If our second child had been a boy we might have called him Bob. The third, Charles. The point is that we wanted to have many children—twelve would not have been too many—because we both love children very much. Laura and I had both come from large families: Laura is one of eight children and I am one...

  8. Chapter Four A Pioneering Spirit
    (pp. 51-68)

    Whatʹs a pioneer? The word conjures up images of the American West. It speaks of the tenacity required to succeed in a harsh, unforgiving environment. It suggests that intuition, common sense, and the support of friends and family are more important than all the book learning and abstract theory universities offer. And though you may have the support and comfort of close friends and family, a pioneer is always on his own.

    Most hospitals are built and run according to need and available resources. In an ideal world, every hospital would have beds and equipment dedicated to each medical discipline....

  9. Chapter Five Rehabilitation: Care and Concern for the Patient
    (pp. 69-90)

    I opened the doors of my private practice in 1961. In those early days, when I was young and full of energy, I would conduct surgery in the mornings at St. Paulʹs Hospital or the Hong Kong Sanatorium and see patients at my office in the afternoon. I also taught university students as an honorary lecturer. And I ran the orthopaedic departments in Tung Wah Hospital, Grantham Hospital, as well as the Childrenʹs Convalescent home, and the Kwun Tong Margaret Trench Rehabilitation Centre.

    There was no direct public transportation to the rehabilitation centre, so I had to get up very...

  10. Chapter Six A Public Life
    (pp. 91-107)

    One morning in the spring of 1974, I received an urgent phone call. I was seeing a patient at the time. When I picked up the phone I immediately recognised the voice of Governor Murray MacLehose. His voice was steady but grim. ʹMy daughter has just had an accident in Scotland. Sheʹs paralysed. Sheʹs also five months pregnant. I need some advice. Could you help me?ʹWithin the hour I was at Government House.

    The governor explained that his daughterʹs car had collided with a car driven by an American driving on the wrong side of the road. He went on...

  11. Chapter Seven Returning to My Homeland
    (pp. 108-137)

    When Deng Xiaoping became Chinaʹs paramount leader in 1978, he introduced two visionary policies that transformed Chinaʹs society and its economy. The first was the ʹOne Child Policy.ʹ Couples in China today are only permitted to have one child. The regulation is not so rigorously enforced in the countryside, where populations are not so dense and children are required to help tend their parentsʹ fields. The purpose of this policy is to slow population growth. Chinaʹs history is full of catastrophic famines leading to the deaths of millions. Deng felt that the only way to avoid such catastrophes in the...

  12. Chapter Eight The Story of My Hotel in Beijing
    (pp. 138-153)

    On a cold winter weekend in February of 1987, I received a phone call from some friends of mine seeking advice on a project that they were hoping to develop in China. We agreed to meet later that week to discuss the matter further. The project they were trying to develop was a hotel complex in Beijing. They wanted to construct a home away from home for Hong Kong citizens visiting Beijing.

    The Beijing government liked the idea but were unfamiliar with my friends. The government suggested that they might be more comfortable if they had someone like me involved....

  13. Chapter Nine The Handover
    (pp. 154-163)

    Many of us thought David Wilson would be Hong Kongʹs last governor. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had appointed him in 1987. Wilson spoke Mandarin fluently and had spent many years in the Foreign Service.

    During his term, Governor Wilson oversaw the colonyʹs first truly democratic elections. On September 15, 1991, Hong Kong citizens went to the polls. Of the eighteen seats open for election in the Legislative Council, twelve went to the United Democrats. Three others went to parties allied to the Democrats and three to independents. None of the Chinese-backed candidates was elected. Of the remaining forty-two legislators, half...

  14. Chapter Ten Looking Forward
    (pp. 164-171)

    In 1998, I made a research trip around the world to study care for the elderly. I found that we have nothing that compares with the best facilities in North America, Australia and Europe. Their facilities put both Hong Kong and Mainland China to shame.

    It is very important to be aware and informed on the conditions affecting life for the elderly. Today, most people retire at sixty or sixty-five. They may have another twenty to twenty-five years of health and vigour. An active person is not going to do well in an environment that is not both physically and...

  15. Epilogue: A Diary of My Illness
    (pp. 172-205)

    It is certainly ironic that an able-bodied man who has devoted his life to care and concern for the disabled should find himself—at the end of his life—benefiting from some of the programmes and facilities he helped create. However ironic it is, it has helped me to be aware of the needs of the disabled and fully understand the contribution I have made to so many lives.

    I have decided to include this diary of my stroke and rehabilitation for two principal reasons. First, I want the general public to beaware of the symptoms that I ignored. If...

  16. Appendices
    (pp. 206-216)
  17. Index
    (pp. 217-222)