NEWSPersonalities

Live Life to Serve

By See Foon Chan-Koopen

Dr Shan Narayanan credits a near-death experience, widely known as an NDE, as the motivating factor that drives him to keep the punishing schedule that he maintains today.

It happened in 2012 when an infection in his leg spread into his blood developing into septicaemia. As a result, he developed severe pneumonia leading to Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. As he was ventilated not knowing if he would recover he saw a yellow light and heard the Maha Mirtunjya Mantra. He recovered miraculously to the delight & surprise of his doctors and family. He subsequently saw this same yellow light again in both the Shirdi Sai Baba centre in old town and at an Amman temple in Sungai Siput.

“God gave me a second chance. Therefore I want to give back”, he declared.

“I was not so confident as a young man, owing to the fact that I had various bleeds which I only knew it was due to a very rare condition called Factor XIII deficiency at the age of 19. This had a significant emotional impact on my early life,” he said.

“Since the NDE I have been driven to help others which led me in 2015, to start training as a Life Coach with the Corporate Coach Academy, a coaching school recognised by the International Coaching Federation.” he enthused.

Since then he has had his plate full.

As the newly installed 41st President of the Rotary Club of Kinta, Dr Shan not only has a goal of inspiring youths during his term but will focus on personal development and developing leadership skills in them. This is in addition to his full-time practice as Consultant Pediatrician at Hospital Fatimah and his work in Life Coaching.

So how did this Ipoh boy who spent all his school years at ACS from kindergarten to 6th form, getting his first medical degree at the University of Malaya, followed by housemanship in Penang, then working 6 years in Kuala Lumpur at the National Blood Bank and Hematology Centre, end up being a passionate Life Coach?

His interest in Hematology got him a Fellowship in the International Hemophilia Training Centre in Sheffield, UK, under the guidance of Professor Preston whose dedication and passion awoke in Dr Shan a desire to study Pediatrics as most of their patients were children.

Under Professor Preston’s tutelage, and given wide exposure, Dr Shan, over a period of 10 years in the UK, developed an interest and passion for helping children with special needs, especially those with autism and learning difficulties.

Returning in 2001 to nurse his father, “My father is my hero,” Dr Shan then worked for two years in the General Hospital after which he set up his private practice, initially in Ipoh Garden and subsequently in 2006, moved into Fatimah Hospital where he has been ever since.

Here he kept up his special interest in special needs children and still to this day has a Child Development Clinic on Wednesdays. He was the co-founder of the Autism Support Association for Parents and in 2008, helped to open a school for school-age children with autism in Tambun.

In 2010, Dr Shan co-founded Autism Aspergers Help Association; now known as OHANA. He was the founding president. OHANA runs an early intervention programme for children with special needs. He donated RM10K and organised the first ‘Walk for Autism’ in Ipoh to raise a further RM20K to set up this centre.

Dr Shan is no stranger to charity work, as volunteerism is in his blood, beginning in his student days in ACS as President of the Benefit Society raising funds for poor students for uniforms, books and other basic school necessities. He is an active member of the Hemophilia Society of Malaysia and co-founder of a subgroup in 2015 for women with bleeding disorders known as KHWAN or Kelab Hemostasi Wanita, developing an awareness that hereditary bleeding disorders occur in women too. Ipoh Fine Arts Society supported this cause and raised RM10K for KHWAN.

It was in 2015 that Dr Shan decided to expand his already impressive repertoire of helping skills by enrolling in the Corporate Coach Academy and became a Life Coach. He felt that coaching skills would enhance his work with special needs children and their families. Coaching is a powerful tool to create self-awareness, which is the precursor to empowerment that instils personal power. Personal power gives one the control of one’s life even in adversity.

He had a wish to bring coaching to the medical establishment and began with a Workshop on Coaching For Nurses at the AR-Ridzuan Hospital attended by 40 nurses from various hospitals. The workshop focused on enhancing interpersonal skills through self-awareness and active listening.

Through Rotary in 2017, when he was the Director of youth services, and now the President, he organised the Interact Leadership Training Seminar along with three other certified coaches for the four interact clubs sponsored by Rotary Club of Kinta. The seminar focused on role training, self-confidence and teamwork activities.

This year, the Malaysian Medical Association Perak Branch, organised the 7th House Officers Essential Skills course. It was attended by 62 housemen. Dr Shan was shocked to realise most of the attendees were in the medical profession at the request of their families.

Dr Shan with three other coaches conducted a half-day session on “Finding your Purpose” as part of the course. This session helped many of the young doctors find their direction in personal and professional life.

When Dr Shan expounds on his passion for coaching, he shares that he can take on all his various tasks and achieves his goals because his wife Sumathi is his pillar of support.

As Dr Shan moves on in his new calling and having set up his enterprise called Able Coach, Ipoh Echo wishes him much joy in his paediatric and coaching journey. With the backup of Rotary’s ideal of service behind him, Ipoh will benefit greatly.

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See Foon

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has been writing a food column called Musings on Food in the Ipoh Echo since 2009. It is widely read both in print as well as online which receives more than 1 million hits a month. Her forte is in communications, having honed her skills after graduating from the University of Singapore where she worked for the Straits Times Group and was a food critic for the New Nation. Her knowledge of food and cooking come from more than 30 years in the hotel industry based in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and subsequently Kuala Lumpur. During this time, she has travelled all over the world and eaten at the best and worst restaurants. She is totally intimate with the subtleties and nuances of most cuisines of the world having been involved in opening over 50 hotels throughout the Asia/Pacific region and China where she helped to conceptualize Food and Beverage themes and critiqued on food quality. SeeFoon calls herself a global citizen and now chooses the serenity and friendliness of Ipoh to the bright lights of the many cities she has lived in. She also loves the food in Ipoh and is passionate about telling the world about it.

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