The Curious Adventures of a Doctor from Jaffna: From Old World Charm to Majulah Singapura
From a childhood spent playing marbles and climbing trees in Ceylon to a medical career in bustling Singapore, Dr K. Puvanendran’s experiences have been rich and varied. A leading neurologist, he counts kings and presidents among his former patients. This charmingly written autobiography traces the trajectory of his life against the changing landscapes of two vastly different countries.
As a boy in Jaffna, Dr Puvanendran found imaginative ways to fill his time. He recounts with great relish the carefree pranks, adventures and school experiences. Woven into the evocation of these simple pleasures are also sobering glimpses of the darker periods in Ceylon’s history.
After attending medical college in Colombo, Dr Puvanendran stayed in Ceylon to work before accepting a position at Outram Road General Hospital, now Singapore General Hospital, in 1971. As the narrative unfolds, we read about the roots of his interest in neurology, the highs and lows of his career, the doctors who inspired him and the most memorable medical cases from his fifty years of practice. Some of these intriguing cases include sleep-related crimes, for which he has testified in court as a local pioneer in sleep medicine.
Dr Puvanendran’s story takes us through the old world of Ceylon and into the heady post-independence days of Majulah Singapura (“Onward Singapore”, as the national anthem proclaims), offering along the way a successful doctor’s take on the study and practice of medicine.
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A vanishing old world charm
Thus I came
Schooling in Jaffna
Exciting moments of a relaxed life in Jaffna
My father and some of my siblings
To Colombo to study
Royal College of Physicians in London
Medical students and doctors
We need to be the authors of our own life
The days of the efficient civil service
Research and discourses
Of amorous palms and human lives
The old Tan Tock Seng Hospital days
Medical college days
My other siblings
Down to serious work
My interest in neurology
How I came to Wonderland
The perfect theme for Alice in Wonderland
University department of medicine MU1
Life is far too important to be taken seriously
Neurology in 1971