SINGAPORE (Nov 25): There is something about Dr Jimmy Lim Wei Kheong — ophthalmologist and eye surgeon with his own practice, JL Eye Specialists, at Gleneagles Medical Centre — that puts one at ease immediately. It could be his excellent bedside manner, or perhaps that he is soft-spoken, considered in his words and quietly contemplative.
The calmness about him may be explained by his 5am routine of meditation, exercise and mindfulness practice — something the good doctor needs to have in his incredibly busy, full life.
A father of three — two boys aged 10 and five and a girl aged three — Lim and his wife (an aesthetics doctor who runs her own practice) plan their schedules around their children, in addition to their jobs.
When he is not seeing patients, Lim, who is also chair of the Healthcare Taskforce in the Bukit Batok community, helps run healthcare screenings, carry out health promotion and provide assistance for the community. They are mostly elderly and male, often the ones who are least likely to see a doctor, he adds.
Lim is also working on a Healthcare Township programme in the community with the National University Health System to assist those who have not been screened for their health conditions, and to create awareness of health and healthcare practices. The township programme trains “health volunteers” who provide health services and promote healthy habits and assistance whenever the need arises. He has also been actively involved in these community activities in Bukit Batok for about seven years now, something that is clearly close to his heart.
It is also clear that Lim is motivated by his family. Without much prompting, he talks about his family, speaking at length about spending time with his children despite his busy schedule.
“Parental participation is very important. All parents want their kids to do well, but sometimes [as parents] we impose our own standards on them without really understanding who they are and what they do, somehow taking them as an extension of ourselves,” he muses. Though they enjoy the privileges of living in a society like Singapore, he would like them to understand that nothing comes easy and that success comes with grit and perseverance.
This is why he does his best to lead by example with his work in the community. “It is too easy to become segregated and get out of touch with your community if you stay in your own environment all the time. I guess I want to show them that it’s interlinked — that community work, community services and caring for your fellow human are extremely important.”
He smiles as he admits that perhaps he is a little selfish in wanting to do his bit for his community. “I am very proud to say I have a lot of good friends who support me and inspire me every day to move and push for the good to perpetuate,” he says. “It is important that we contribute, to ensure the whole place functions — in a hospital, for example, as doctors we have to contribute and do our best, so the hospital thrives and is of good repute. It’s never an individual thing, because it’s not possible to survive and thrive if others don’t do well.”
“That’s a bit of a selfish note, but it’s true. I draw strength and inspiration from the smiles and the hellos, and that is enough,” he adds. “How can we thrive as individuals if we do not thrive as a community?”
To Lim, sincerity is the word he tries his best to live by. “If you ask me what the best advice I’ve ever received is, there would be too many to tell you, as I’ve had so much support and inspiration from good friends and neighbours. I would say, always do your best for your fellow man, and the rest will fall into place. I think sincerity is key to everything. It is something that you can never buy.”