Dr Tan Cheng Bock announced his retirement as a doctor after serving 50-years in the profession on his Facebook page in the last day of 2018.
The former People’s Action Party Member of Parliament and candidate in the Presidential Election 2011 – who nearly won – shared images of his first clinic in Lim Chu Kang and reminisced of his humble beginnings as a village doctor.
Dr Tan wrote,
Practising medicine is one of my great joys in life. I especially remember with fondness, my time as a village doctor in Lim Chu Kang. I opened my clinic “Ama Keng Clinic ” in 1971 in a village of attap and zinc roof houses. Its villagers grew vegetables in small plots and reared pigs in their backyards. Water came from wells and standpipes. Lighting was poor as most homes did not have electricity. Only a single main road was lit. But the villagers managed with kerosene lamps – and I once even delivered a baby in the dim kerosene lamp light.
The villagers were simple, honest people – many struggling to make ends meet. So I became more than a doctor, by helping them in family feuds, land disputes and writing letters to government departments. Those were such interesting times!
Later a big resettlement exercise uprooted the whole village and surrounding areas. The villagers were relocated to many parts of the island. It was extremely traumatic and painful for many, whose only life skill was farming. Countless multi generational households were broken up. They suffered anxiety and depression settling into HDB flats. Now the village is no more and overgrown with secondary forest.
Thanking his old patients who continued to seek his services after moving his practice to the HDB heartlands, Dr Tan shared that many of them had asked what he plan to do now that he has retired as a doctor.
His reply to them was, “retirement is not an option for me I am merely switching my role from serving patients to serving people. I always say that medicine is my love, but politics is my calling.”
Given that Dr Tan ended with saying that the country and the peoples’ welfare are his top priority and that he looks forward to serve Singapore “in a new way in this new season of life”. This seems to confirm his move to move back into politics to contest in the upcoming General Election after two previous bid to contest for the seat of President and being barred from contesting due to the amendments to the criteria of candidates for the Elected Presidency.
Dr Tan had earlier showed signs of going back to politics after turning up at Singapore Democratic’s Party’s meeting where opposition parties met up to talk about a possible coalition. He was also making news when he was seen with Mr Lee Hsien Yang, younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a hawker center.
It is unknown if Dr Tan would be forming a new party or joining an existing political party for the upcoming election in 2019.
In the comment section of the Facebook post, supporters showered the 78-year-old doctor with praise of him being a MP who really cares for his residents. Former patients of Dr Tan also shared their personal experiences on how he had helped them in times of need.