Starting a practice in Singapore in 1992 was certainly a challenge as I was new to the country and the Singapore government was very unfamiliar with chiropractic.  There was only one other practice here that was started 1978.  However this clinic not about to help their first competitor set up his office. Fortunately I knew a few people in Singapore and I was told that the best way to start would be to register a limited company and employ myself as the managing director.  After a few failed attempts and about 4 months’ time, the Singapore government finally issued me an employment pass.  I found a small office, a receptionist to answer the phones and set out to build a practice.

 Sometimes in life we get a lucky break and early in 1993 someone referred to me one of the most famous Singaporean athletes.  His name is Ang Peng Siong and at the age 31 he decided to make a comeback with his swimming career in order to compete in the 1994 Asian games in Hiroshima.  At the US Swimming Championships in 1982, Ang won the 50 meters freestyle in 22.69 seconds, a world best time for that year.  Ang represented Singapore at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where he was the winner of the ‘B’ consolation final for the 100 m freestyle. Unfortunately he was not able to compete in his best event, the 50 meters freestyle as it did not become an Olympic event until 1988. Perhaps if he had the opportunity he might have been Singapore’s only Olympic champion. He held the fastest time in 50 meters freestyle time in Asia until 1996.

When we first met he was looking for financial sponsorship so he can train full-time, compete in international events and get ready for the Asian games.  The press in Singapore ran stories about him and suggested that he is too old and should retire.  However Mr Ang believed that he could still compete and win in his favorite event the 50 meters freestyle.  When he came to me he was suffering from a chronic back problem that plagued him for years and was now interfering with his training.  My diagnosis of his condition was sacroiliac joint syndrome. After hearing his story; I offered to be a sponsor and gave him as much treatment as he needed at no charge.  In my youth I was also a competitive swimmer so I had a soft spot for Mr Ang and I did believe that he was not too old to follow his dream.

In June of 1993 the South East Asian Games were held in Singapore and Mr Ang represented his country in the 50 meters freestyle. Fortunately by that time he was much better with his low back condition and was in good shape to swim.  Competing against much younger men, many at least 10 years his junior, he won the event by a considerable margin. After his swim the press approached him for an interview.  At the time I was standing close by as I attended the event as well.   The man from the press talked to him for a few minutes. Soon afterwards, Mr Ang pointed me out to the interviewer and said that I was the person who helped him the most to win.  The man interviewed me as well and a few days later there was almost a full page article about Mr Ang and a smaller one about me at the bottom of the page.  Ironically, despite his great performance at the SEA games, Mr Ang was not able to get the sponsorship he needed and never made it to Hiroshima to compete.

This one event was instrumental in me getting known in Singapore and certainly helped with my practice.  In fact shortly after the Sea Games, I was contacted by the chairman of the track and field association to join the medical committee which I served on for several years as the chairman.  In 1996 I was asked to be the team physician for one of the professional soccer teams which I gladly accepted.  I also volunteered at American School working as the field physician during the football season and served on the gym committee at the American club.

All of these volunteer positions were very instrumental in helping me get established in Singapore.  I recommend that all chiropractors and especially new graduates volunteer their services in the community.