On 19 May 21, World Family Doctor Day was celebrated around the world. Just three days later, ‘social influencer’ Calvin Cheng puts out a Facebook post in response to a statement released by 12 doctors.
The Facebook post stated, “What are GPs?
They are general practitioners who got a degree in medicine, who then either chose not to specialise in a certain field, or were not good enough to be chosen to be specialists. So they became GENERALISTS.
They look after small every day illnesses, and once an illness or disease is too complex for the, they refer them to the real experts, a specialist”.
First, let’s get back to the original statement put up by the 12 doctors. The statement questioned the safety of mRNA vaccines, in particular, for children; and advocated the use of “killed” vaccines instead. The statement was frankly, not based on current evidence and without much merit. In any case, the proper and usual word in this context for “killed” is “inactivated” or “deactivated”.
Next, there are specialists in the list of 12 doctors, including specialist physicians and surgeons, and also GPs.
So plainly, Calvin Cheng got the facts wrong.
By Calvin Cheng’s measure, GPs are GPs either by choice (“chose not to specialise”) or they were not good enough to be chosen to be specialists. They are also not “real experts” and only look after “small, every day illnesses”. In other words, to him, GPs are inferior doctors by choice or by lack of ability.
Well, that would mean the following people are inferior doctors:
- Our Manpower Minister, Tan See Leng, was a GP for many years. And a very well trained one, with a M.Med (family medicine) and FCFP, the highest academic qualification given by the College of Family Physicians Singapore (CFPS). He went on to run IHH, one of the largest listed companies in Malaysia and Singapore with a market capitalisation well in excess of S$10B.
- The founder, and Chairman of Raffles Medical, Dr Loo Choon Yong, is a GP. He is a veritable billionaire, owning about half of Raffles Medical. The market capitalisation of Raffles Medical is currently about $2B.
On the other hand, the company Calvin Cheng co-chairs, Retech Technology Co Ltd (listed on ASX, the Australian Stock Exchange) has a market capitalisation of about A$65 to A$70M. The company was listed a few years ago at 50 cents. It is now languishing below 30 cents.
So who is Calvin Cheng?
Here’s what can be found about him from publicly available sources:
- He is 46
- He was educated at Oxford University
- He started his working life by running model agency franchises, and later founded an agency called Looque Models Singapore
- He was also President of Association of Modelling Industry Professionals Singapore (AMIP)
- He was a Nominated MP from 2009 to 2011
- He was appointed a member of the Ministry of Communications and Information’s (MCI) Media Literacy Council (MLC) in 2012. He held this appointment for four years (two 2-year terms). The MLC is supposed to “promote civility and responsibility on the Internet”.
In 2011, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) fined 11 modelling agencies for price-fixing; according to the Wikipedia webpage for Calvin Cheng (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvin_Cheng#cite_note-14): –
“On 23 November 2011, several model agencies, including Looque Models, were fined for price fixing. Cheng profited from the higher agency commissions, claiming in defense that the goal was to raise wages for models. The CCS ruled that Association of Modelling Industry Professionals Singapore (AMIP) engaged in anticompetitive price-fixing, resulting in customers paying more and having a considerable and adverse impact on the market. The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) noted in its decision that as president of AMIP, Cheng played a central role by instructing AMIP members how to mask the collusion to evade detection and complaints. Cheng appealed, claiming that statements in the decision were damaging to his character; the appeal was dismissed because he had not been personally fined”.
For a more detailed account of this distasteful affair, one can go to:https://redwiretimes.com/former-nmp-calvin-cheng-accused-role-price-fixing-scandal/
And despite this incident in 2011, he was appointed to be a member of a prestigious government committee, the MLC, in 2012. This shows Singapore is indeed a land of second chances. But he didn’t take the appointment well. This can be seen by the fact that he later made some very controversial comments about terrorists’ children while he was a MLC member. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/calvin-chengs-killing-children-remarks-insensitive-and-inappropriate-mlc-chairman
So as you can see, we really don’t have to take this chap seriously. Even though he was a NMP and a MLC member. This hobbit would like to suggest that deep down he knows that after being a NMP, he has become a serial nobody. So he tries to get attention by passing provocative comments in order to generate attention and responses from the community he attacks. In other words, he is a troll. He is a discredit to the parliamentary institution of NMP. As for his Oxford pedigree, well, Oxford also has a tradition of producing comedians, like Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Grant. Calvin Cheng is still a comedian, albeit a bad one.
Anyway, today, an unusual letter to The Straits Times Forum has been printed. It has no less than five signatories, although only two were featured: MOH and CFPS. The other three signatories mentioned were SMA, Academy of Medicine Singapore and Chapter of Family Physicians. The letter was meant “to address the misinformation in recent social media posts containing inaccurate statements about general practitioners”.
The letter went on to describe how GPs are trained and Family Medicine is recognised as a proper clinical discipline, and how GPs play essential roles in healthcare.
More damningly, the letter ended with this paragraph, “When writing about issues in the public sphere, we expect effort be made to check the facts. In a civil discourse, this is the responsible thing to do”.
Most readers will suspect strongly who this letter is referring to: – the person who was propagating misinformation in an irresponsible way as part of an uncivil discourse. Interestingly, the letter did not mention a person’s name. This hobbit thinks there is a reason for this: the letter is referring to a serial nobody whose name is not even worth mentioning.