33rd Silent Mentor Workshop 29/11-04/12/2022
Kee Yan Shen (UM_MIA170044)
I have volunteered to help out in this programme since our early years in medical school. As a junior, I was fascinated and inspired by the willingness of past mentors to contribute to the society even after they have passed away. In the past week, I have seen how much a single silent mentor can contribute to the betterment of the medical field and the society and sharing their life wisdom with us. Through this sacrifice of our mentor, I was given the opportunity to hone our procedural skills, build our confidence, and improve our competency as future doctors. I learned a great deal under the careful guidance of our lecturers and doctors. This programme has taught us to never diminish our respect for our mentor. Really appreciate not only the mentors but all the people involved in this Silent Mentor Programme for making the event proceed smoothly and successfully.
Khaw Kar Wei (UM_MIA170045)
I am very grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this Silent Mentor program. After the busy week, I have learned a lot from my mentors, not only surgical skills but also the spirit of contributing to the society through actions even after death. During the workshops, many thanks to the tutors and volunteers, I was able to practice the important procedures, suturing skill and also human anatomy. Throughout the program, I constantly reminded myself the messages from my mentors as my guide in treating patients in the future. I truly appreciate what I have gained from the past week and I will always remember the lessons for the rest of my life.
Tan Jia Jin (UM_MIA170118)
First of foremost, I would like to express my gratitude that I am given the golden opportunity to join Silent Mentor Programme as a participant. I have had experiences in joining as volunteers during the early medical school years, and each time I am given knowledge not only from surgical skills but also the meaning of life. All silent mentors were so selfless and dedicated that they donate their bodies for the advancement of the medical sciences. I am truly grateful for them and I appreciate all efforts by all committee in the Silent Mentor Department. I've learnt a lot about life and I aspire to be a caring, loving yet safe doctor in the near future as what all our silent mentors wished for. Thank you.
Fira Ernieza Binti Abdul Ra’uf (UM_MIA170035)
Nothing made me ready for what was about to come the one week I experienced during the programme. It was more of an emotional and spiritual journey rather than a technical one.
From the first day I was introduced to Mr Hew, day by day I grew to develop genuine love and care for him. Wishing I’ve known him or spoke to him personally prior to his demise.
On the technical side, I’ve learnt so much. A lot of things that we learned theoretically are made more clear through hands on teachings. I personally felt that it will be engraved much more in my mind with real visualization of what is done.
This programme is valuable in its ability to convey many messages. Science intertwined with spiritual fulfilment was able to be reached through this SM programme.
All in all, the privilege I have to join this programme will be one of those everlasting memories that I gain from medical school.
Thank you Mr Sia, Prof Saw Aik and team!
Beh Yan Chen (UM_MIA170013)
Nurdini Ezzatty Binti Mohd Harizan (UM_MIA160077)
In August, we had already met a certain silent mentor. We bathed, cleaned, and put him back carefully in the deep freezer. Initially, I thought that we'll see a different silent mentor for the 1 week workshop. To my surprise we 'meet' again after 3-4 months. I was taken aback and truthfully I was hesitant to continue the workshop. However, after thinking thoroughly and corrected the intention, I pushed myself to attentively attend and participate the workshop.
In short summary, everything we do, we must do with good intention and handle them with great care and empathy. Care for them like we want it for ourselves.
Amanda Ting Yi Jia (UM_MIA170007)
Many say clothes maketh the man, yet through the Silent Mentor program, it has proved time and time again that it's one's action and heart that truly matters. Having witnessed and volunteered in this program throughout the years in my medical school, to finally being a participant, I've been constantly reminded and humbled by the selfless act of our mentors, who even at their final breath, still continually give of themselves to the betterment of society.
Being a participant and getting hands on experience on the various procedures has helped built up my confidence not only in carrying out the procedures taught in the workshop, but also other procedures like NG tube insertion which we as PRINT students are required to do in our various wards. It is true what they say that nothing can beat experience and it is invaluable to our growth as medical doctors. Hence, I am thankful to each and every person that has been part of this Silent Mentor program, from Prof Saw, Mr Sia, Se Woon to our Silent Mentors, Miss Tan Ying, Mr. Hew Wee Sun, Mdm. Ng Sow Har, Mr. Lim Chong Hooi, Mr Chai Choong Lam, and Mr. Gan Loon Chuang.
I'm grateful and thankful for each and every one of the mentor I have encountered through the years, and I hope some times in the near future, I may return to give a hand to impart this love they have given to us to the next generation of medical practitioners. No amount of word would be able to express our mentors' gift that keeps on giving, other than what I can give now which is, "Thank you."
Chee Ann Gee (UM_MIA170018)
Before joining Silent Mentor Programme, I expect to learn not only about medical skills and knowledge but also about life and death. Throughout the programme, I felt I was more emotional than I expected, overwhelmed with gratitude on the sacrifices our mentors made in order to let us learn. And also on the initiation ceremony, seeing the family members see their loved ones for the last time. I have learnt a lot from our silent mentors, not only medical skill and knowledge, but also about life and how a person’s selfless act can bring positive impact to others lives. I am beyond grateful to have the chance to participate in this programme. I will try my best to be a good doctor who is empathetic and kind in the future just like how our mentors hope we would be. Thank you to all silent mentors for everything, their family members, all lecturers and staffs of Silent Mentor programme. This past week was undoubtedly one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in my medical school journey. Once again, thank you all.
May Esther Wong Sze En (UM_MIA170135)
I have never been more grateful for the opportunity to take part in such a meaningful programme. It was not just a programme with workshops. It was a journey. From the first moment we accepted the body of our silent mentor to the final send-off, each step had a profound influence on me. This programme has taught me much, but nothing impacted me more than the principle of respecting our patients and maintaining their dignity even after death. Thank you for this incredible journey.
Kong Ing Xian (UM_MIA170046)
因缘具足 第三十三届无语良师工作坊 圆满落幕
Teh Chui Jiun (UM_MIA170124)
Tee Khai Shin (UM_MIA170123)
Clara Wong Zi Yi (UM_MIA170025)
Nurin Azizah Binti Ismail (UM_MIA170093)
The 33rd Silent Mentor Programme gave me a once in a lifetime experience and exceeded my expectations. Coming into the programme, I only thought on the clinical aspects but it was much more than that. I learned a lot on humility and empathy, especially as our mentors was unable to express when they felt pain etc, we had to be more mindful and still show our utmost respect to all our patients from the young to the old and the newly born to those who have passed. Truly, our patients are the best of teachers.
Nur Rafiqah Binti Mohd Rosdi (UM_MIA170091)
The 33rd Silent Mentor Programme (2022) has been very meaningful for me. I am very grateful for the once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in this workshop.
I was able to practice and enhance my clinical skills with hands on practical. This experience has certainly made me gain more confidence in performing these fundamental procedures. Hence, I am eternally grateful for the truly precious contributions of the Silent Mentors and everyone who have been involved in making this meaningful programme a success and invaluable experience.
Syifa Binti Ahmad Faisol (UM_MIA170114)
From this experience, I have learnt the importance of appreciating the life of our loved ones, and each life carries different values for different individuals. By learning about the life history of our Silent Mentors, I hope that I can become humble for every life being that I encounter on the daily basis, including all patients whom I’ll be treating in the future. Each patient needs to be treated with care, empathy, and love. I will be always thankful for our Silent Mentors who have dedicated their bodies for our learning purposes. Not to mention, much gratitude towards the family members, lecturers, doctors, staffs of Silent Mentor Centre, as well as my colleagues who have been helping me throughout my journey as a participant in this program.
Lee-Boey Jian Wen, Samuel (UM_MIA170050)
William Osler once said, : "He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all." The 33rd silent mentor program perfectly reflects this statement. For the past 2 workshops, I was able to better appreciate medical procedures and dissections of the human anatomy. What I have been reading, has now come to life! Not to mention, the silent mentor program has adequately exposed me to what surgery looks like. If only these classes were taught prior to my surgical attachments, I would have better appreciate the procedures observed in real life. I am forever grateful for this opportunity graced by the mentors, their family members and the lecturers. I am inspired to become the best version of myself to serve in the community.
Lim Kha Ing (UM_MIA170054)
Heng Wei Yang (UM_MIA170038)
No words can describe how grateful I am to my beloved silent mentors, their families, the Silent Mentor Centre committee, the lecturers, my team members and all volunteers involved. We have thanked our silent mentors and their families during the ceremonies, and though never enough, I would like to focus more on the other aforementioned people. Thank you so much for this opportunity and because I believe that making promises now do not warrant fulfilling it, I will keep them to myself and engraved everything I have learnt, be it the science, art or the humane touch of the programme in my own heart and carry them with me while I embark on this lifelong journey. Our beloved silent mentors and their families’ wishes and legacy, now coursing through my veins, will be the embodiment of my practice from now on. Thank you.
Muna Syazriny Bt Izhar (UM_MIA170076)
Joining this Silent Mentor Programme is the best decision I have made this year. From the home visit to the sending off ceremony, I have gained a lot of knowledge and new experience. Apart from the medical skills that are undoubtedly beneficial for my future job, I also learned to appreciate the importance of compassion, love, respect and empathy.
It really touches my heart knowing that all our silent mentors had selflessly donated their body for the betterment of medicine though they do not gain anything from it. Their altruistic act comes purely from love and kindness in their hearts.
This programme does not only focus on the practical skills but also teaches us to show our respect to the silent mentors via the ceremonies conducted such as the sending off ceremony.
To conclude, this programme had opened my eyes to other important aspect of medicine which is to treat a patient holistically and not just their disease. I hope I would be a compassionate and empathetic doctor in the future and relay these values to other people as how the silent mentors’ have done to me.
Amelia Marie Theseira (UM_MIA170008)
I’ve been observing seniors participating in the previous silent mentor program and during those times, it felt very rewarding and hence, I wanted to join this program as well. Finally, it’s my turn and it happened to be after our final exams, where we could really be in the present with the program as there was no stress and etc.
Participating in this silent mentor has given me a lot of insight. During the home visit session, my silent mentor and his family seemed to be very close. His family members were also very welcoming and warm people. I pay a lot of respect to our mentor and his family members are they supported this program wholeheartedly and that was certainly a brave and selfless decision. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to accept it as well because the body needs to be donated right away after passing on. During this session as well, I felt the love of the family towards Mr Lim. At the time of the initiation ceremony, we’ve saw all the family members of all the mentors. Some were calm and some were very emotional. It was very heartbreaking to watch and made me tear up a bit as some of the family were reluctant to leave after the last viewing of the mentors.
The workshops we had with the mentors were the most rewarding ones. Aside from the procedures we’ve been exposed and learnt, I think the greatest lesson to achieve from the workshops was to be consciously respectful towards the mentors. As they lie on the trolley so vulnerably, it was very easy to treat the body as just a body, ignoring the fact that they donated their body for us to learn and to be our teacher. This also taught me to be very empathetic towards our patients. It was also important to treat our patients with kindness and respect and let go of our ego of ‘doctors know the best’ and listen to and understand their concerns.
During the coffining session, it was some sort of a closing ceremony to me, and it was like the deed was done. During the session, I thanked our mentor for the week he has given to us. I was very grateful for the experience I have gotten throughout this program. I got slightly emotional as it felt like this whole week has given me a kind of connection towards our mentor. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this program those any medical student not only to experience the procedures, but to also feel what this program can teach us on an emotional level.
Subashini A/P Ambalahen (UM_MIA170111)
The workshop was such an eye-opening experience for me. It was one week of learning valuable Clinical Skills that can never be learned from any textbooks. Furthermore, this workshop taught me about live values and love for other human beings. It helped me to grow as a person and not just as an aspiring doctor. After this I feel more confident in performing the learned procedures on real patients. I am able to empathize with my patients and their family more as well. I hope more students will benefit from this workshop in the future.
Iffah Zaharah Bt Mohamad Izhar (UM_MIA170040)
Silent Mentor was a program I was looking forward to since my first year of MBBS. I was always fascinated by the idea of gaining hands-on knowledge through surgical simulation but I never knew how much preparation and effort went in to create a meaningful program like this. The entire week of Silent Mentor, we were given the opportunity to not only improve our confidence in our clinical skills through the workshops, but we were also given the trust to care for our mentors. We depended on our mentors to provide us the best learning experience and our mentors trusted us to treat their body with respect and learn as much as we can.
By the end of the week, my team and I felt an attachment towards our mentor and felt the grief of losing a friend during the gratitude ceremony. Not only did this program enhance our surgical skills, but it also made us more empathetic, compassionate and respectful, which is something textbooks can’t teach.
Our Silent Mentors’ selfless contributions will always be appreciated and we as students have the responsibility to honour their sacrifice by being a good doctor in the future. This week has undoubtedly been the most rewarding experience in MBBS so far and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
Melvin Liew Zhen Da (UM_MIA170063)
Through the workshop, I have not only gained the medical knowledge and skill sets but more of a personal growth in term spiritual and my outlook to perceive life. I have witnessed the selflessness and love portrayed by the mentors and their respective family. Their actions have helped so many clueless medical students or even house officers etc.
Also, as a participant, I have personally enjoyed how each cadaver is treated with dignity and respect. Outsiders might think that we are just utilizing the body for learning but in fact every session is coupled with mentors’ life introduction and moment of silent to show our respect and subsequently ended with proper cleaning and suturing back all the incision site. Every mentor is treated respectfully from the beginning till the end.
This is lifetime experience that will stay in my brain for forever and I’m grateful to be a part of this project.
Chan Kwan Heng (UM_MIA170017)
To give is to love, to receive is to be blessed. Silent mentor has taught me a few different perspectives in life that I held a different principal in. To start with, I was rather intrigued by the existence of individual who so passionate about doing goods even if they have to sacrifice a lot on their side. For example, my silent mentor, Mr Lim, had to give up on seeing his son prior on his last breath, in view of unable to donate his body due to COVID. This struck me hard as for me personally, family is always my priority, and I know how hard that is. That said, I did learn a lot from the workshop session. With much gratitude to the silent mentors, I have learned that there are many different ways to contribute to the society.
Ong Yi Shi (UM_MIA170138)
感恩有幸参与第33届无语良师工作坊，为毕业在即的我们画上了意义非凡的句号，更为即将踏上行医生涯的我们提了个醒：莫忘初心，善待他人。五年前还是个懵懵懂懂的大一生，被课业的压力和行医的使命感压得喘不过气，总是担心自己将来无法担起“医生“这个头衔所承载的使命。真的非常感恩及庆幸，当时因为机缘巧合，让我有机会以志愿者的身份参与第22届工作坊及送别仪式，并深深地感受到了来自无语良师、家属及志愿医生无私的奉献与大爱，从此在心里立下了大学毕业前的to-do list: 以participant的身份全程参与无语良师工作坊。真的非常幸运，因为疫情而暂停了将近两年的无语良师工作坊，最终我们还是非常有幸能有机会参与第33届无语良师工作坊，更庆幸的是能在没有考试压力的情况下全心全意地投入准备阶段、家访、工作坊、感恩与送别仪式。坦白说，一开始有点担心自己无法克服对死亡的恐惧，在第一次见到大体老师之前有点担心无法正视老师，但是当真正见面时，心里充满了满满的感动与感激，只想好好珍惜这位为我们奉献自己最重要的身躯的老师。后来第一次在影片中见到老师生前的样子及温柔的嘱托与鼓励，更是让我更加珍惜我们伟大的老师。老师说：不要害怕犯错，就算是在我身上割一千遍一万遍都没关系，只要你们能从我身上学习到你们需要的，未来一定要成为一名好医生！苏毅教授在闭幕词分享的一席话深深地铭记在我心里：在现实生活中，我们的病人不会希望/容许我们犯错，但是我们的老师会。亲爱的老师，谢谢您们愿意将自己最重要的身躯交给我们，谢谢您们愿意忍受千刀万剐以栽培我们成为好医生，谢谢您们用无私的爱为我们点亮前方的路！老师，我们一定会谨记您们的教诲， 善待我们的病人，为他们带来希望！
Cheah Jia Hooi (UM_MIA170143)
Nehemiah Tan Shin Yong 郑颂扬 (UM_MIA170077)
Low Yee Ling 刘谕岭 (UM_MIA170059)
Ng Siew Yoong 黄绣榕 (UM_MIA170078)
最后的最后，感谢主办方Mr Sia 和 Se Woon ，以及所有参与的志工，医生教授们，谢谢他们的付出让我们能够参与到这个那么有意义的活动，谢谢您们为我们准备的每一餐，让我们饱腹有力气去学习，谢谢您们确保每一个环节都井然有序，成就了这一届无语良师的成功。
Fam Sze Khiong 范斯强 (UM_MIA170032)
Just as a drip of water can resonate a boundless ripple across a vast lake, an act of unconditional selflessness can resonate a gratitude of a lifetime. My first contact with the silent mentor program came during my first year when I participated as a volunteer. Being a naïve freshman then, I was emotionally touched with the expression of care and gratitude shown towards the silent mentors during the gratitude ceremony. Fast forward to the current when I am due to graduate in 2 months’ time, this programme couldn’t have come at a better time to remind me that medicine is not only about knowledge or skills, but also an art to acknowledge that each patient is not just a bed number or a case, but a living human who has much more issues than those that meets the eye. It is our profession as doctors to treat the patient and not the disease. To the silent mentors and their families, your selflessness, compassion, and kindness will never be able to be repaid even with infinite number of thank you. Do be assured that each cut and suture made on the respectable silent mentors will shape us into safer and more competent doctors in the future. Once again, thank you for this valuable lesson which will last a lifetime.
Lim Xin Liang 林欣亮 (UM_MIA170056)
Ng Wan Ting 黄婉婷 (UM_MIA170079)
Prasath A/L Selvam (UM_MIA170099)
What a week it's been. Silent Mentor is more than a programme; it is a journey of love and self-discovery. From getting to know my mentor, Mr Gan Loon Chuang and his family up till his last breath, I learned how he was such a selfless person, always thinking about the well-being of his family and others. In silence, Mr Gan has taught me the lessons of life that is forever engraved deep in my soul. Words cannot express how thankful I am for his generosity and his self-sacrifice. I will make certain that the knowledge I have gained is passed on to those who come after me, and I will also let them know how grateful I am for this knowledge, which came from my silent mentor who sacrificed himself. I cherish the experienced gained from Silent Mentor and will forever remember. Please accept my deepest gratitude, my Silent Mentor.
Jeffrie Bin A Ghani (UM_MIA170041)
Experiences come and go no matter where you are, what you’re doing, and with who you’re getting that experience with. The silent mentor program has indeed been a unique experience throughout my five years here in medical school. From the initial moments of getting to know our mentor, their family members, to the point where we had the final moment with our mentor. A blessing indeed.
Nursarah Fahmy Mahadzir Fahmy (UM_MIA170094)
This Silent Mentor Programme (SMP) was one of the most invaluable experiences throughout my 5 years of medical school. This opportunity was truly a golden one as no other workshops that I have been in provided me with as much exposure as this SMP. Not only was I able to have an up close, hands-on experience into the procedures, but I also am able to learn regarding the true meaning of sacrifice and kindness. I feel lucky, grateful, touched and truly humbled by the willingness and selflessness of the mentors and their family. Even in their dying breaths, they still wanted to make a contribution to the betterment of society. Their nobility and sacrifice are truly admirable and the only logical and sensible form of repayment is to carry out their dying wishes – to be better doctors. Surely, this programme is a sweet gift to mark the end of my medical school journey. Although it was run in a week, the memories are etched forever in my mind and will be replayed countlessly.
Lim Pei Thong 林培栋 (UM_MIA170055)
Ong Ee Zhen (UM_MIA170096)
Lee Cherk Yun (UM_MIA170048)
Vincent Tan Xiang Pin (UM_MIA170127)
This is the first time i joined as a participant in Silent Mentor Programme. As previously, I was only a volunteer to the programme, everything was just a whole new experience for me. Starting from receiving the “mentor” from the family and cleanse it with alcohol, paying a home visit to the family members, cleansing the “mentor” almost every morning of the week, initiation ceremony before we did any procedure to the “mentor”, 2 workshops in 2 different days (having hands-on experiences to the procedures), coffining process, and last but not least, the gratitude ceremony which all family members pay the very last visit to the respective “mentors”. All of the events happened last week were all new to me, which I never done before in the past. I was very grateful to all the mentors, especially my mentor’s Miss Tan Ying, who selflessly signed up the programme and donated her body to the programme so that all of us were able to learn what we unable to learn or experience by reading textbooks or watching simulated videos. It is always not easy for the mentors and their respective family members to make this decision. The programme itself is very meaningful not only to the medical field but also to the society. I hope this programme can get even more attention from the public, not only in Malaysia but also other countries as well.
Chuah Ming Li (UM_MIA170023)
After participating in this workshop, I learnt to be more empathetic. From the home visits to the funeral on the last day, it was indeed a meaningful and eye-opening experience for me. There are more meanings to life than what I have understood thus far, yet the sacrifices made by the silent mentors and their respective family members are noteworthy and praiseworthy. It was love beyond boundaries!
Mashithah Binti Ahmad Faiz (UM_MIA170062)
It was the most valuable experience in my life. Through this program, it gave me the opportunity to learn outside of textbooks and to apply what I have learned in class so far. It also gave me a lot of courage and confidence to do procedures on real patients now. Not only that, it taught us valuable lessons that all lives are important whether alive or passed away, and to treat everyone with care and respect. The selfless contributions made by the mentors for the advancement of the medical field will always be remembered.
Belinda Nicole Aloysius (UM_MIA170014)
It's the end of the silent mentor program, physically I'm exhausted but I've never felt more alive mentally and I feel the flame of passion in my pursuit of medicine has been reignited after so long. Ever since day 1 from the home visit I've felt this sense of great admiration towards my mentors family and volunteers who are willing to give it their all, all for the sake of pushing the next generation of medical doctors to the best of their abilities in the procedures we were able to perform on and raise our spirits and confidence in what we do. There was a moment where after our performance an audience shouted Jia You, that moment felt like the whole hall were cheering for us, like saying we believe in you, you can do it! Our family member has given their everything to you, now go forth and be the best doctor you can be. My heart has never felt this weight of responsibility but at the same time the fire within to push on.
Taasha Kunalan (UM_MIA170115)
The Silent Mentor Workshop was definitely one of the highlights throughout my 5 years in medical school. When I first signed up for the Silent Mentor Workshop, I saw it as a great opportunity to enhance my hands-on skills. As a medical student, we are constantly told to be careful and to not make any mistakes on our patients. We are always reminded that we cannot make a single mistake as it may cost a life. But through this Silent Mentor Workshop, I was given the opportunity to practice, make mistakes and learn from my mistakes.
Every morning, we would be assigned to clean our Silent Mentors bodies respectively. Their bodies were so cold. At that moment, I realised that our Silent Mentors are truly selfless and kind. They donated their bodies for us medical students and doctors to learn from it.
I am so grateful to be able to practice my suturing techniques and chest tube insertion on actual human flesh, performing orthopaedics procedures as well as endotracheal intubation on my Mentor. On the second day of the workshop, we were given the opportunity to view the organs in their anatomical positions not just in textbooks but in actual bodies!
Words cannot describe how thankful I am to be a part of this program. I will always remember how selfless our Silent Mentors are. This journey shall be one that I will forever cherish. Thank you, Silent Mentors!
Teh Ru En (UM_MIA170126)
The Silent Mentors were truly inspiring. Because of their courage and benevolence, there was advancement among the medical fraternity in terms of clinical skills.
Apart from that, the one-week silent mentor programme conducted in University Malaya has taught me the importance of giving. We should inculcate the habit to contribute back to the society no matter in life or death.
Acts of sharing love and spreading kindness to others are priceless. We will never know how much a little act of goodwill could make a big impact to other people’s life.
Besides, I also learned that “no man is an island”. Without the cooperation among Prof. Saw Aik, Mr. Sia, Se Woon, teammates, staffs and volunteers of the silent mentor workshop, the programme will not be a success.
Furthermore, the organisers’ persistence in coordinating multiple Silent Mentor Workshops to fulfil the wishes of the volunteers to ‘turn losses to gifts’ for the past decade was absolutely admirable.
Although it has been an exhausting week for me as the seven-day workshop required us to wake up during the wee hours of the day and return home late at night on most days, it was also an extremely rewarding and memorable experience for me.
My biggest gratitude goes to the Silent Mentors, their family members, the organisers, sponsors and everyone who has made the entire workshop a success.
Pang Yong Chiang (UM_MIA170098)
There were certainly many things that I’ve learnt from this current Silent Mentor Program, but none of them give as much weight as this: Learning the value of life and death.
I would describe myself as somewhat agnostic. I place no particular attention in faith, but yet I was brought up as a strict Buddhist. There were times I ponder the strength of faith, and there are times I disregard its existence in my life. But nonetheless, never in my life up to this point where I was forced to reflect on my view of religion, and its role in a person’s life. Before this, I was as cold-blooded as to disregard the complexity and tediousness of funeral, to me, it makes no sense to stretch the sorrow and grieve of one’s death by performing a longwinded and elaborate ceremony such as a funeral for a person who had just passed away. I’ve witnessed many death of those dearest to me, with some of them being my grandparents’. I think that the formality in the longwinded funeral ceremony organised and practiced in my family for the departure of both my grandparents are unnecessarily stretched; we took a whole week plus months of repeated ritual in order to complete our send off for them. At some point, my immature mind even thought that it was stretched to a point that I think it is cruel to us as we are forced to be constantly reminded of their death as we practice our ritual that takes ages to complete.
I do sound insensitive, do I? I’ve hated formality and its added pain to be always thinking about their death.
But something in me clicked after participating the elaborate formal ritual and ceremony in Silent Mentor Program. Seeing the departure of our beloved Ms Tan, my Silent Mentor, and by talking to her family and by immersing in her life story, I’ve also noticed and feel the sorrow, grieve, and most importantly, love that her family had for her. Despite the lesser resistance from her family that her body will be used for teaching and practice by us students after she passed away, I do acknowledge that it was never easy for anyone to agree to any sort of manipulation of a loved one’s body after they passed. And such counter argument to that disagreement would be that they donated their body out of the love they had for us students, and the love to their future generations in order to be successful in life, i.e. a much more skilled doctor or surgeons. From the warmth of love enumerated by my Silent Mentor, I’ve once again been reminded to the death of my recently deceased grandmother. I had no time to completely process her departure from my life as I left earlier for study, only a few days after the actual day of her death. I saw her death as a loss, and that must’ve twisted my emotions and made me grieve even worse every time I was reminded about her. But this time, it’s different. Once Ms Tan taught me that there are more to only loss and grieve in death, I’ve opened my eyes to accept that there are also good things that come along. For Ms Tan, she gets to donate her body to teach future doctors, and for my grandmother, perhaps because I had always been blinded by sadness and grieve before, I now notice that it had indirectly reunited all of her children when they all came together to each other’s aid when she passed away. Maybe in a nonsensical way, that’s her way of turning death into a gift: her love and wish for her children to be reunited came true. And I’m so glad I see it now. And from all the early morning and late nights we spent cleaning Ms Tan’s body and performing ceremonies for her family members, I’ve now seen the importance of funeral: it is as much a ritual for the living as for the dead. Funeral is a way for the living to show love one last time to their departed loved ones, as elaborate and longwinded at times, they were all ways for the living to extend their final love messages to the departed. And nonetheless, it is also a way for them to cope with grieve, and to provide relieve and a peace of mind to their otherwise traumatised mind having to lose someone that was once so dear to them.
And yes, I will always miss my grandmother, but I’ve now have a more positive outlook to death, and I’ve gain respect to all the different ways people who are still alive grieving and coping with the loss of a loved one.
Tan Chee Yang (UM_MIA170116)
Initially I was only interested in joining the Silent Mentor Workshop to learn and practice procedural skills, but the programme gave me so much more than that. The workshop opened my eyes on selflessness, encouraging words from the silent mentors and their family members warmed my heart as I am preparing for the next part of my journey in the medical career. I was also reminded of the inevitability of death, the limitations of modern medicine and the importance of embracing death, when it eventually arrives. My silent mentor started a ripple in the act of giving, I hope to continue it.
Wong Win Yi 黃穎而 (UM_MIA170130)
Rochelle Dawn Augustin (UM_MIA170103)
Love is the only language that the blind can see and the deaf can hear...a quote by a famous American writer. If I could sum up this Silent Mentor Programme in one word it wud be exactly that, LOVE. Our silent mentors were so loving to give us the chance to enhance our medical skills through their donated bodies. It was such a priceless experience to actually apply what we learnt in our textbooks on real human bodies. We also learnt to love the life we have and to appreciate the gift of life. The presentation on our silent mentors were testaments to the love they had for their lives, so much so, that they made sure their lives were always purposeful in serving others and by putting others' needs before themselves. Our selfless mentors truly inspired us to leave a mark in our society especially through charitable works. Last but not least, we learnt to love our family and friends deeply and to treasure all the moments we have with them. During the initiation ceremony our heartstrings were tugged upon seeing the tears from our mentors' family members. We also hope that we can treat every patient we treat with love as if they are our own loved ones. I would like to end with a quote from the Late St Mother Teresa, not all of us can do great things but we can do small things with great love. God bless u all!
Desmond Lee Ngee Heng (UM_MIA170027)
Lim Wei Hang 林偉航 (UM_MIA170053)
Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is a love of humanity. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from this SMP is to not forget about being respectful, grateful and most importantly, love the people around us. Thank you Prof Saw and all the trainers, Mr Sia and his crew members, for this memorable event. Great understanding and support too from the family members, as the deceased can’t feel, but the living ones will bear all the pain. Lastly not to forget all the silent mentors, they had shown us a great love of humanity.
Shaidatul Aqeela (UM_MIA170092)
The past one week was hectic but safe to say the most memorable moments of my life. I couldn’t describe with words how grateful I am to be able to learn and perform all the procedures first hand. I am also grateful and mesmerized by the fact that I get to experience other cultures knowing that I probably would be able to have that anywhere else. This whole program not just making us better doctors with good skills but also enhance our empathy towards our future patient which really lacking within doctors now. I will forever remember my mentor as someone who is very honorable and what she had did for us is truly noble.
Faqihah Majdah Binti Johari (UM_MIA170033)
Given the chance to join Silent Mentor Workshop had me eager and enthusiastic to learn the medical procedures that I have learned in the textbooks throughout my medical school journey. To tell the truth, the only thing that I cared about was about the experiences of performing the procedures before I had to do it on alive patients. Being involved in this programme, although for a short duration, I realised that apart from providing good care and treating your patients right, the most important lesson throughout this workshop is about the moral values of the silent mentors and the importance of spreading kindness and love among humanity. Despite the busy schedule arranged for us, I am very thankful for the opportunities given to me. It is an experience that I am not able to gain from elsewhere. Having known my silent mentor from the home visit and caring for her throughout the week, it is as if i have known her for a long time, her kindness and generosity has touched my heart and taught me an important lesson in life and especially in my journey to be a doctor who treat patients as a whole, not just the disease.
Tang Ching Wen (UM_MIA170122)
Silent Mentor Programme is the epitome of humanity. The idea of trusting strangers with your body after death for the purpose of medical advancement is not an easy decision. I’m super grateful that I’m a part of this programme and the journey of taking care of Madam Ng throughout the week.