Friday, 25 May 2012

The roles of kings and queens in medicine

I was wondering why a king's name was attached to the medical school in Singapore. I read about King Henry III, Edward VI and Edward VII. I watched RTM TV1 about Queen Elizabeth I and why she was called the Virgin Queen. My aunt had mentioned the Church of England. I used Google Map and located the St Mary's Cathedral near Padang Merdeka in KL. A lot of my friends said they were of Roman Catholic faith. I put everything together, and what do I get?

It seems to me that long long ago in history, a Moroccan man had gone to Britain, to seek help from the British monarchy, for protection against Spanish attacks. Britain aided Morocco. The Spanish armada attacked Britain but lost - Britain became supreme control of world power under her queen, Elizabeth I.

With so much power, Britain was able to control world voyages and trade missions. Britain was rich with all the assets amassed from the Far East (that's our home). 

At the turn of the 20th century, British doctors were already here in Malaya and Singapore. Old photos showed them in white uniform and pit hat. The medical school began. King Edward VII donated a part of his wealth for the largest building - the College of Medicine building. It must be the most expensive building at the time and outside Britain. If you look carefully at the facade, you will see some statues and a Roman eagle. What influence did these have on the nature of medicine taught then?

Now, who attends to religious affairs in Britain? The British monarchs do. They are in charge of religious affairs, economy and the nation's wealth. They have the Church of England and also the St Mary's Church. Read more about the British monarchs and religion at Wikipedia.

How did medicine reach Britain from Spain, Morocco and Rome?
How did religion reach Britain from Rome? 
How did religion reach Kuala Lumpur from Britain?

Queen Elizabeth I
St Mary's Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur

What is medicine?

If I asked you 'What is medicine?', what would your answer be?

My answer would be: A world of statues and sick people! Look at these pictures and you'll see why. That't a child's perception of the field of medicine.

I would still say that people still find it hard to define what is medicine today for a 9-year old child. How do you define medicine today?

Imhotep, an Egyptian doctor of the Pharaohs.
Egyptian surgical instruments depicted on papyrus.
Asclepius, a Greek god of medicine, holding his magic stick (rod),
with a serpent wrapped around it.
Hippocrates, a Greek physician and Father of Greek medicine,
made famous by his Hippocratic Oath.

Ibnu Sina, a Persian doctor and Father of Persian medicine

A Caucasian doctor deep in thought while attending to a sick
Caucasian child at home, whose family is grieved over her illness.

More photos and stories at Wikipedia

Who is the Father of Malay medicine?
Who is the Father of Malaysian medicine?
Do we have answers to these questions?