By Loshana K Shagar
PETALING JAYA: Christina Fang lists her hobbies as singing and playing the piano, which makes her sound almost like any other young person.
However, the Johor Baru lass is actually a fully-qualified doctor who entered medical school in 2005 at the tender age of 15 and made history six years later by graduating at 21.
“After secondary school in Singapore, I sat for the O-Levels as a private candidate and later spent about a year doing Australian matriculation.
“My parents wanted me to return to my tanah air (home country) to study, so I joined the International Medical University (IMU) here for the first half of my degree,” she said in a telephone interview recently.
Her parents, both Malaysians, had moved to Singapore when she was young to develop their careers as remisiers.
Dr Fang, who is now 23, said she first harboured the ambition of being a doctor at age 12 when she witnessed her late grandmother’s struggle with cancer.
“She had to be frequently hospitalised. Although we knew there was no cure for it, the proper medical attention she received allowed her to live her final days with dignity.
“That was when I resolved to become a doctor so I could also help provide good medical care to patients. Even if I cannot completely cure them, I can at least help improve their quality of life,” she said.
Describing her stint at IMU as a “fun and challenging two and a half years”, Dr Fang said she never felt intimidated studying with people older than her.
“I never actually realised the age gap because we never brought it up. I was treated like any other student,” she said, describing the experience of her final three years at the University of Manchester in Britain the same way.
After her graduation, Dr Fang did a year of housemanship at the Furness General Hospital in the country before returning to her family in Singapore.
However, Dr Fang is insistent on returning to Malaysia and serving her fellow countrymen.
“I want to first further my studies and specialise in a particular field, but after that, I will surely come back to Malaysia,” she said.
Dr Fang is quick to assure anyone who assumed that she had “sacrificed” her childhood that she had not “missed out on anything”.
“When I embarked on this, I had already finished secondary school so I consider myself grown up enough to take on the challenge.”
The trained singer and pianist added that she had also performed in university events and has uploaded videos on YouTube. – Star