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Thursday, Mar 30, 2023

Friday Beyond Spotlights - Professor Bian Zhaoxiang: Modernising Traditional Chinese Medicine and Practice

Friday Beyond Spotlights is an informative yet light-hearted talk show airing every Friday at 8:30pm on Hong Kong International Business Channel (#76). The English language program features the most prominent guests who share their insights into current affairs, business, innovation and culture, as well as their ingenuity, passion and grit which forge their Lion Rock Spirit.
The show is hosted by businessman and philanthropist Patrick Tsang On-yip, lawyer and lawmaker Nick Chan Hiu-fung, and seasoned business maverick Herman Hu Shao-ming.

Hosted by Herman Hu, episode 9 of Season 2 presents Professor Bian Zhaoxiang, the Associate Vice President of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). He is also the Director and Chair Professor of the Clinical Division of the School of Chinese Medicine and the Director of the Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Clinical Study Center at HKBU.

Professor Bian says although traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine both deal with the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of diseases for patients, they are two totally different systems. “The difference is that Chinese medicine is holistic, which is natural and individualised; whereas Western medicine is organ-based, which is not individualised but standardised, not natural but chemical-based.”

“In Western medicine, they want to standardise everything, but the problem is that for human diseases, you cannot standardise every person’s disease as the same type, because different people may have different characteristics, different appetite, and different lifestyles; and the disease base is also different. Therefore, when we treat diseases, we focus on individualised other than standardised treatment,” he explains.

Professor Bian points out that TCM has been developed in China for a very long time and its effectiveness is globally recognised. Sharing examples, he says TCM was first introduced to Europe, Germany has established its Chinese Medicine hospital in 1991, Australia has incorporated TCM in their national education and healthcare systems with local government-funded universities providing full-time TCM courses, and the US National Institutes of Health has set up complementary medicine with the majority being TCM.

In Hong Kong, the government is building a Chinese Medicine Hospital in Tseung Kwan O which will be operated by the HKBU and is scheduled to serve the public in 2025. “This hospital will be the flagship for the education, services and product development of Chinese medicine, not just for Hong Kong but also the Greater Bay Area and many countries,” says Professor Bian.

He says Hong Kong is in a unique position to work closely with institutions in Mainland China and around the world to develop and promote TCM. “Hong Kong is in a very good position to combine the benefits of Chinese medicine with Western medicine systems. We can develop a new modal of medical systems that serves not only Hong Kong but all over the world.”

In the program, Professor Bain shares with audiences a Chinese couplet poem that has inspired his Lion Rock Spirit. Originally from a Buddhist temple in Chengdu, the poem suggests that if you realise something that needs to be done quickly, just do it, let it go, and don’t think about it anymore; and that wisdom stems from tranquillity, in which you can find eternal peace in life. “I like this poem very much. It gives me lots of inspiration and lots of thoughts in my daily life. Sometimes we need to make very quick decisions, and we need to take very quick action too. Do it or not, either way you can let it go. So just do it.”

To give an example, Profession Bian says during the fifth wave of Covid-19 when Hong Kong was at a critical moment with a dramatic increase in new cases, some patients came to HKBU’s Chinese medicine clinics looking for help. Professor Bain’s team needed to make the quick decision of whether they would support them without affecting the daily operation and other patients at the clinics. “We discussed internally and quickly made the decision that we need to help those patients calling in. With the support of the senior manager at the university, the clinics started providing telemedicine services to Covid patients the next day. Tele-Chinese Medicine was a breakthrough at that time although it has become more common these days.”

The same poem was also used by Professor Bain as a prescription for a patient who suffered from serious insomnia due to constant stress. “Before coming to see me some 20 years ago, the patient had seen many Chinese and Western medicine doctors but all treatments did not work. On his second visit, we talked about his problems and how he could deal with those issues, and I prescribed this poem to him instead of any medicine. About two months later, the patient came back totally refreshed and charged. He then hanged this poem on the wall of his home as his philosophy,” says Professor Bian, “In our daily life, we need to find ways to deal with the problems by ourselves, and there are things that you have to let go to reduce our stress. This is a very important.”

To watch the video, visit Friday Everyday YouTube Channel – Friday Beyond Spotlights Season 2 Episode 9 l Bian Zhaoxiang

Episode 9: https://youtu.be/M8eHm2ioHUQ

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