11/15/2014, 00.00
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Singapore, for Catholic doctors medicine "is not profession but a vocation"

John Lee, father of eight children, appeals to younger colleagues in Singapore to “change your approach to work". Since last October, he is the head of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC). It is a great "honor", he says, which leads to a "great responsibility".

Singapore (AsiaNews) - Being a doctor is not just a "profession", but also - and most importantly - a "calling", a service to others. This is why he has launched an appeal aimed particularly at young people, to "change" their approach to their job and to consider it a mission in a society that in many cases marginalizes those who have nothing, those most in need.

This is how John Lee, a Catholic doctor originally from Singapore, describing his profession and the ideals underlying medicine. He is the father of eight children, six boys and two girls between 16 and 29 years of age, a certainly uncommon  family in the city-state, where the birth rate is at its lowest levels in years and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has called young couples to have more children.

Last October, on the occasion of the 24th international conference that was held in Manila (Philippines), John Lee was named president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC); He is the second Asian to hold the highest position in the prestigious institution, founded in 1924 and active in coordinating the activities of the Catholic doctors and spread the Christian principles - even in medicine - worldwide.

A former teacher at the Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore, he also holds the positions of chairman of the missionary movement A Call to Share (Acts), which he founded and contributed decisively to.

"It's a great honor," says the Catholic doctor, of his appointment as FIAMC president, but "at the same time a bit of a shock because I did not expect it". He adds that he accepted the position so as not to betray the trust "of those Asian countries that elected me," and now will be at the helm of the movement for four years. He will have to get used to travelling with frequent trips to Rome, but will not change his vision of a profession, that of the doctor, which he says first and foremost is a "vocation".

Among the first projects, the creation of a "Committee against human trafficking," he says, following a theme dear to Pope Francis. He then intends to provide greater weight and voice in the most topical issues, such as issues relating to human life and ethics, along with a stronger presence in the media. Citing the famous line from Spiderman's Uncle Ben, he concludes that "with great power, comes great responsibility."

More than 200,000 Catholics, or about 5 per cent of the total population, call Singapore home.Buddhism is the city-state's dominant religion with 43 per cent of the population, followed by Christianity (18 per cent), Islam (15 per cent), Hinduism (11 per cent) and Taoism (5 per cent).  At present, the local church is going through a phase of growth and dynamism, which has led to the recent opening of a theological seminary, a real "milestone" for the local community.


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