Chinese medicine degree course admits first non-Chinese student
First non-Chinese student to take university's traditional medicine degree starts his studies
Taimoor Khan will be spending the next five years at Baptist University studying the centuries-old practice of traditional Chinese medicine.
The 21-year-old Pakistani is the first non-Chinese student to take the course, for which 70 students were enrolled this year. Only one in 35 A-level candidates who applied got a place.
Khan knows his foreign face may not instil confidence in his future patients, but said he would try his best to be a good doctor.
"Maybe it's because I am not Chinese, and Chinese medicine has been handed down since ancient times, so Hongkongers might doubt if I am better than other local practitioners," he said in fluent Cantonese. "I'll have to use real and successful cases to convince them."
Khan has lived in Hong Kong since he was three. As a small child, he had always wanted to be a doctor to help the sick, he said.
But it was not until severe allergic rhinitis struck his mother seven years ago that he took the initiative to learn the many advantages of Chinese medicine over Western treatments.
"Chinese medical science takes a holistic approach," Khan said. "It does not seek to treat only the part that is ill, but makes the entire body recuperate … unlike Western medicine. Cancer drugs, for example, may have side effects and cause problems in other parts of the body."
The course involves Chinese philosophy such as yin and yang and the five elements of metal, wood, water, fire and earth. It also requires a good command of Chinese ancient writings in order to read classic books about the discipline. Khan said he was prepared for the challenges.
He hoped to promote Chinese medicine to fellow Pakistanis, he said, but would take heed of the use of medicinal ingredients that were forbidden in Islam, such as tortoise plastron.
Baptist University, which started the course in 1998, is one of three city institutions of higher learning to offer traditional Chinese medicine for undergraduate studies. The other two are the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University.