Lessons from TCM

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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