Lessons from TCM

March 17th, 2007   •   9 comments   •   Author: Walter Lim   

Our new ritual every Saturday noon is to drive up north to Yishun to visit a popular Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shop there. My wife has been going there quite regularly lately, upon the recommendation of her boss, and has also brought my son to treat his runny nose and cough.

Despite the place being fairly ulu (out in the boondocks) at Yishun Street 71, there was already a queue when we went there recently.

As you can see from this photo, the shop front looked pretty simple and nondescript. The interior of the shop looked even worst. It was somewhat dark and dank – like a prison cell! Still the crowds kept pouring in.

So what are the lessons that one could learn from the success of these TCM practitioners?

1) Be Remarkable. The Chinese doctor there was uncannily accurate in his diagnosis. For example, he was able to tell that my wife had lower back and shoulder problems, coupled with sensitive nose, just by looking at her! He needn’t even take her pulse (a method of diagnosis in TCM). I heard that once he could even tell that a lady had a miscarriage through this diagnostic method!

2) Be Scarce. Unlike other TCM chains like Ma Kuang, Eu Yan Sang and others, there is only one medical hall here manned by two brothers who are doctors. They obviously didn’t look like they were going to open franchise or chain stores!

3) Be Focused. I noticed that the core competence of these Chinese physicians were in treating patients, not in selling products. There wasn’t a single poster in the shop touting the virtues of any “miracle” pills.

4) Be Holistic. In this day and age, people are increasingly jaded by quick fix medicines which can only treat the symptons but not the root. This is why more are going for traditional therapies like homeopathy, ayurveda and of course TCM. I like the focus on holistic healing which the doctors here emphasise on each time. They prefer not to be drug dealers but health helpers.

Of course, my son Ethan enjoyed the visit in more ways than one, as you can see above!

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  1. Chris
    posted on Mar 18, 2007 at 3:42 AM

    Hi Walter, yes the wonder of TCM. Sadly, the CS never recognises MC from such establishments. While there’s no denial the advancement in western medicine, sometimes, it’s not a “for-all-cure-all” remedy. I think it’s high time the gahmen gives due recognition to TCM….

  2. posted on Mar 17, 2007 at 11:57 PM

    Wow, I didn’t know that there’s such a good TCM fairly near my workplace…

    I guess it helps for all establishments to have something interesting for children nearby. Afterall, it is likely that those with children would have to take their children along due to lack of alternative childcare arrangement.

    Tell me if the TCM is effective for your son’s cough, please?

    By the way, I am not tagging you for the meme, so you needn’t feel obliged to do it….unless Eastcoastlife has tagged you?

  3. posted on Mar 18, 2007 at 4:38 PM


    Glad to see you today at eastcoastlife’s place. So far so good, the TCM seemed to have worked something on my son’s cough and he appears better. Of course, if he does eat more rubbish he will still get into coughing fits. Trying to stop a 3.3 year old boy from eating his favourite candies, chocolates and biscuits can be quite a difficult matter as you would have guessed.

  4. posted on Mar 18, 2007 at 4:39 PM


    good to meet you today! agree that it would be nice if TCM physicians could also be recognised. i firmly believe that their principles of curing diseases and improving health have alot of merit. Western medicine can be detrimental to health if you take too many antibiotics and pills to kill the germs in your body.

  5. ComfyRest
    posted on Mar 19, 2007 at 12:53 AM

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  6. posted on Mar 19, 2007 at 3:10 PM

    What risk? Comfyrest sure sounds like a spammer.

    When my mother was still around (she passed away in 2003), I used to drive her into JB town to see a sinseh in a TCM shop. My mum had painful joints, probably rheumatoid arthritis. The sinseh was quite popular and he was recommended by a friend.

    TCM is more slow acting and hence usually do not provide instant relief like western medicine can.

  7. posted on Mar 20, 2007 at 5:38 AM

    Hah.. nvr mentioned my dad owns a chinese medical hall in Bukit Batok.
    After downing 4 bottles of cough syrup within 3 mths, i decided to seek for the chinese physician’s help. So far (three days) i notice a significant improvement and i hope the coughing could really subside this time rd. =)

  8. GL
    posted on Nov 10, 2007 at 9:01 AM

    Can you tell me which doctor at Sin Nam you are writing about? There are two doctors there and I would like to know which one I should consult with. Thanks!


  9. niceguy
    posted on Apr 11, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Thanks for the note on the TCM.

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