I must be losing it. I double booked myself into 2 conferences this weekend, both of which I really wanted to attend. This kind of slip up is getting more frequent and may be symptomatic of an overloaded life or just poor calendar management. I think it is probably a combination of busyness and forgetfulness, which can either be cured by getting a PA or cutting back my schedule so that I actually have time to make calendar entries.
Which brings me to what needs to be prioritized in our lives. At one of the conferences I attended this weekend, the key speaker was an 81 year old lady. You would not have guessed her age from her posture, her energy or her passion. When I watched her on the stage I said to myself that “I want to grow up to be that!”.
The other conference I attended this weekend was the Wong Hock Boon Paediatric Masterclass. I was one of the last doctors taught by the late Professor Wong Hock Boon, the father of Singapore Paediatrics. He taught well into his 80s until a stroke made it impossible for him to keep up his schedule. He used to take us on 2 sessions a week, one a journal club review and the second a case-based teaching session. Both sessions were scheduled at 7.30 am in the morning and we used to hover around outside the meeting room trying to peek in through the window – this was because even if one person walked into the room, Prof Wong would start teaching and because he often finished teaching in 10-15 minutes, latecomers would often miss the whole session. What not many people knew was that Prof Wong, to make it for the teaching sessions on those mornings, would come to hospital 11 pm the night before. This was because although he had a chauffeur to drive him to work, he did not want to trouble the driver by making him get up early to bring him to work. He would sit in the paediatric office and read medical journals and sometimes nap in a chair, waiting for the morning. This went on for quite a while until one of the consultants found out about it and bought a large armchair for him so that he could rest more comfortably.
Anyway these older inspiring individuals remind me that to live well and long we should know what our one driving force and passion is and to pursue it. And for our longevity and ability to follow our passions for the long haul we also need to think about how we live. Which is why out of a bit of guilty conscience I have posted my healthiest recipe to date, a gingko nut and cucumber salad. Gingko nut is a highlight in Chinese dishes especially in desserts. It is supposed to be particularly good for respiratory ailments and has anti-aging properties. I suspect that for the gingko nut to have the touted memory boosting effects that I would probably need to eat a bushel, but I thought that the antioxidants and vitamins from the vegetables would also count for something!
Gingko Nut and Cucumber Salad
- 1 japanese cucumber, cut into small cubes
- 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 10 gingko nut seeds, precooked
- 2 shallots, finely minced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar substitute
- 3 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
- Pinch of ground white pepper
- 1 tsp chopped coriander leaves
- Place the cut tomatoes, cucumber and gingko nut seeds into a bowl. Scatter the coriander leaves on top.
- In another bowl, mix the shallots, lemon juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and pepper. Whisk till the dressing is emulsified.
- Pour over the salad and toss. You may use less dressing than in this recipe and keep the remainder aside for other salads.