David Bowie has passed on

david bowieI grew up in the 1980s in Hong Kong when Cantopop (Cantonese pop songs) was the ‘in’ thing. Many Cantopop songs simply used popular song from the west and gave it a new life with Cantonese lyrics. This was a fast and economical way of acquiring a local following.

David Bowie was an exceptional entertainer. He passed on not too long ago. He had a very interesting style and personal life. His ‘Modern love’ song was converted into a rather unpopular song called (黑的幻覺) sung by Hong Kong singer, Danny Chan (陳百強), in 1984. That was the time when I was preparing for my A-level examination and I was trying to get into dental school.

I remember watching David Bowie’s ‘Modern Love’ music video – it was a song with a powerful but pleasant melody. He was swinging his microphone back and forth dancing away on stage. Man, he could perform but man, his teeth were bad!

Yes, I remember people’s teeth better than their face and names!

When I was at UCLA, I was trained to deal with cancer cases. I remember my boss, Dr. John Beumer, was treating a very extensive (difficult) case the day I had my interview there –  the patient was missing 95% of his upper jaw due to a nasty tumor. I was very impressed clinically with how Dr. Beumer and his team handled the case using dental implants while showing a sizable dose of TLC and personal touch. Dr Beumer was not treating a ‘case’ – he was treating Mr. N as a personal friend!

Later on when I was working there, I realized that Mr. N was only about 3 years (56 back then) older than Dr. Beumer, even though they were patient/doctor acquaintances, they clicked like old pals and addressed each other on a first name basis. Another senior clinician in the team passed a comment that the two of them probably identified with each other because of their similar age and Dr. Beumer (a world renowned professor) showed his soft-spot.

I recently saw a patient with some denture problems. He said he could not eat at all and he is now down to only 4 teeth each on his upper and lower jaw. He is a soft-spoken gentleman with silver hair and he came to our clinic with his grown up kid.

Upon examination I saw a very sorry state of dental condition – not only was he missing his teeth, his jaw bone were all resorbed away due to gum disease. When I looked at his chronological age, he was only 4 years older than me!

Life is not fair. I have a clean bill of health from my recent medical check-up. I routinely run with teenagers and love the fact that we out run one another from time to time. I have been having a great time with the school boy/girl runners in our Flexifitness running group. On the other hand, I am seeing a patient, similar in age with me but he is surely ageing much faster.

Now I sort of know how Dr. Beumer felt.

Miyamoto is a Japanese family name but it always reminds me of the phrase ‘mere mortal’ – we are all mere mortals.

I am not being morbid here but it is a happy note. Bhutan is known for their ‘Gross National Happiness’ Index. When asked why the Bhutanese are known for their happiness and contentment, my friend Kingley told me this – “We are happy because we think about our death many times daily. This frees us up. We are Buddhists.”

Happy New Year 2016 🙂

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