Dr.Richard Teo Keng Siang had everything he ever wanted by the time he was in his 30’s – millions of dollars, a flourishing medical practice, expensive homes, sports cars – even a Ferrari 430! But he is not happy – here’s why:
In one of his testimony this famous millionaire surgeon shared:
“I am a typical product of today’s society. From young, I was told by the media… and people around me that happiness is about success.”
And that success is about being wealthy. With this mind-set, I’ve always been extremely competitive.
I went on to medical school, graduated as a doctor. Ophthalmology is one of the most highly sought after specialities. So I went after that as well.
In the process, I was given two patents, one for the medical devices, and another for the lasers. And you know what, all this… did not bring me any wealth.
So once I completed my bond with MOH, I decided that training in eye surgery is just taking too long.
And there’s lots of money to be made in the private sector… in aesthetic medicine. So I quit my training halfway and I went on to set up my aesthetic clinic… in town, together with a day surgery center.
You know the irony is that people do not make heroes out of average GPs, family physicians. They make heroes out of people who are rich and famous.
People who are not happy to pay $20 to see a GP, the same person will have no qualms paying $10,000 for a liposuction, $15,000 for a breast augmentation.
So instead of healing the sick, I decided that I’ll become a glorified beautician. Business was good, very good. I employed one doctor, a second doctor, third doctor, fourth doctor. And within the first year, we’re already raking in millions.
I started to expand into Indonesia to get all the rich Indonesian tai-tais who wouldn’t blink an eye to have a procedure done. So life was really good.
So what do I do with the spare cash? How do I spend my weekends?
Typically, I’ll have car club gatherings. I take out my track car, with spare cash I got myself a track car. We have car club gatherings. We’ll go up to Sepang in Malaysia.
We’ll go for car racing. And it was my life. With other spare cash, what do I do? I get myself a Ferrari.
It’s time to buy a house, to build our own bungalows. We mix around with the rich and famous… Miss Universe… an Internet founder.
So this is how we spend our lives, with dining… all the restaurants and Michelin chefs. I was at the pinnacle of my career. I thought I was having everything under control.”
After all he has gone through, he thought he was in control. Unfortunately, in March 2016 he developed a backache. He had an MRI to check if he had a slipped disc or anything. Then, the sad news came – he had Stage 4 Terminal Lung Cancer. Ironically, he has all the success in life, money, cars, trophies, home, and everything – but they did not bring him happiness. His physical possessions failed to bring him joy.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being successful, the only problem he said is that it was way too much he could not handle it. He became obsessed that nothing else mattered to him. In his last days on Earth, God intervened and showed him what matters most in life. He professed two things – trust in the Lord your God with all your heart, and love and serve others, not just ourselves.
He even further shared his last words of wisdom:
“When I faced death, when I had to, I stripped myself of all stuff totally and I focused only on what is essential. The irony is that a lot of times, only when we learn how to die then we learn how to live.”
Dr. Teo passed away Oct 18, 2012 at the age of 40. But his legacy moves one.
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