Cell Wars

Book Review

By Chelvi Murugiah

This review is on a book titled, ‘Cell Wars’ by Dr Teoh Soon Kee, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist with the KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital. He recounts his experience with chemotherapy against the lymphoma cells in his stomach, and healing through his staunch Christian faith.

The book was written to benefit and encourage others with similar conditions, as it includes 11 poems with a lead poem, Cell Wars, highlighting the battle between normal cells and invasive cancer cells.

The author, being in general good health for almost seventy years and, having been used to treating others as a doctor, was devastated when diagnosed with lymphoma in his stomach.

His stories include how his patients remarked about his little change in appearance over the years. His secret, he revealed was not to be “kek sumtam sum and hak sum” (upset, greedy, and cruel) but “hoi sum” (open your heart, that is to be happy)!

Overall, the book maintains an optimistic note, intermittently revealing the doctor’s emotional concerns about his health, in poetic forms. On the other hand, the factual information on the medical procedures and literature on lymphoma and chemotherapy are useful references for those seeking such information.

With the larger portion of the book being a compilation of words of support and encouragement from friends, family, church members, politicians, medical consultants and so on, Dr Teoh appears to have kept himself very busy in finding ways to continue contributing to the community, whether in sickness or in health.

All contributions for this book will be donated to cancer patients.

Cell Wars is priced at RM10 each and is available at: Pustaka Sufes (05 254 8181), 51 Jalan Market and SCC Books & Gifts (05 546 8349), 33 Jalan Medan Ipoh 5, Bandar Baru Medan.

Also at YMCA Ipoh and Dr Teoh’s clinic at KPJ ISH (call 05 255 1406). Message him at 012 530 1515 or email:, and he will send by post FOC. All cheques are payable to Teoh Soong Kee or transfer to his Maybank Account 508010317200.

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