A sympathetic ear and the ability to relate to patients are qualities every doctor should have, according to Dr Ronald Leung Chung-chuen. When he was young he suffered from asthma and allergies. Today Dr Leung is a specialist in respiratory medicine. After graduating from Pui Ching College in 1984, Dr Leung studied medicine at Melbourne University in Australia. He said he wanted to be able to help others suffering from allergic diseases. 'It's really difficult to enter as we overseas students have to pass a more critical entrance requirement,' Dr Leung said. He managed to make it through six tough years of study because he really wanted to be a doctor. 'Once a doctor, always a doctor,' he said. Before he started his own clinic, Dr Leung worked in Australia and returned to the SAR to teach at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Although Hong Kong and Australia are different, the doctor's attitude to his patients should be the same. 'You have to always think as if you were their relative, then you will always make the best choice for them,' he said. Being a doctor was not easy - you might not be able to do a patient any good, but should not do him any harm, he said. While James Bond gets a licence to kill, a doctor gets a licence to cure, jokes Dr Leung. 'If you don't enjoy coping with people and listening to them and their needs, you are not qualified to be a doctor. 'The best relationship between doctors and patients is that of friends,' he said. Dr Leung said many students would like to be doctors because they thought it was a way of earning a lot of money. 'This concept is not applicable nowadays. Hong Kong is facing recession and there is huge competition in the field. The quality of public hospitals is improving, therefore people would rather wait for a while to pay lower fees rather than go to clinics,' he said. If students decide to study medicine, it should be because they want to help people, not because of money, he said. A doctor should always be aware of medical developments throughout the world and continually upgrade his knowledge, Dr Leung said. 'It's a life-long learning career.'