Name: Chow Tak-ching Age: 65 Occupation: Chinese 'doctor' for Kiu Kong Medicine Company and Wu Chun Yuen Medical Company. Career path: I was born in China and my father was a Chinese doctor so I started learning this profession when I was very young. I finished school at about 14 and started working full-time with my father in his shop. It took me two years to learn the names of all the Chinese herbs and to recognise the ingredients we use in our medicines and at least another three years to be able to diagnose patients and prescribe appropriate medicines. Chinese doctors are able to diagnose an illness from feeling a patient's pulse, but this is very complicated and takes a long time to learn. For years, my father would instruct me as he let me feel the pulse of his patients and I would come up with a diagnosis and prescription. When I was 19, I came to Hong Kong to work in a friend's medicine shop and I've been here ever since working as a consultant for pharmacists here. Chow's day: I work seven days a week, spending my morning at Kiu Kong Medicine Company in Wan Chai and then at Shau Ki Wan in the afternoon. I sit at my desk in the front of the shop so that people can see me. When someone sits down at my desk, I listen to their story and feel their pulse. Then the pharmacist prepares my recipe. People of all ages come to see me, including children. Many young working women patients come in their lunch hour. In more than 40 working years here, I have built up many loyal customers and quite frequently see three generations of one family. I would say that Chinese medicine is as popular as always with the Chinese except many now try Western medicine first and when they find it doesn't work, they come to me anyway. Chinese people's internal systems are very different to Westerners, which is why Western medicine doesn't agree with us. All my prescriptions are based on ancient Chinese remedies I have committed only to memory. I once had more than 1,000 ingredients at my disposal, but now there are only a few hundred because of tighter regulations on medicine and restricted availability. Mostly I see and am able to cure common ailments like coughs, colds and tummy problems, but I do also treat major illnesses like cancer although I am not always able to cure them, but just make patients feel better. My consultation fee is HK$30 and the medicine usually costs the patient around HK$40. Salary: Around HK$30,000 a month. Ambition: People respect me and look up to me for doing this job because there are few Chinese doctors trained the old way. I am satisfied with this. Name: Peter Chow Age: 45. Occupation: Registered pharmacist and owner of Family Centre Pharmacy in Wan Chai. Career path: I was born and raised in Hong Kong, but like many young people wanted to go as far away as possible to study. I knew that I was interested in doing something related to the medical field, but it wasn't easy to be accepted as a foreign student in Canada in those days. In hindsight, perhaps I should have done medicine, but I was accepted to do pharmacy which was good enough. I spent four years at the University of Halifax in Nova Scotia and got a Bachelor of Science pharmacy degree. I worked in Canada for five years before returning to Hong Kong to start my own pharmacy. Chow's day: I am the only pharmacist in the shop and I also have administrative and management tasks so I am very busy. I would say that the majority of my time is taken up answering clients' queries and handling prescriptions. I also offer advice about over-the-counter medicines for minor ailments, but I don't hesitate to send a customer to the doctor if I think they need to go. I only deal with Western medicine in my pharmacy and from what I can see it is widely used by Chinese of all ages in Hong Kong. I think educated people realise that the real advantage of Western medicine is that it is strictly regulated, has undergone clinical trials and is safe taken correctly. New immigrants from China and older people still tend towards Chinese remedies, a lot of people try both, but I am very busy and see a wide cross-section of the population. The one demanding aspect of this job is that my learning is never done. A four-year degree just gives one the basic training, but I need to constantly learn about new drugs, new findings and so on. I avidly read all the journals relating to my field, but I also go on continuing education programmes and seminars whenever I can. I like my job, it's never boring because I see different customers with different problems every day and the world of medicine is always changing and advancing. I work hard, but it is a good business. Salary: More than HK$40,000 a month Ambition: To stay in Hong Kong. This is an excellent place to work.