Prof Feng Pao Hsii, Father of Rheumatology in Singapore, passed away yesterday. His contributions to rheumatology and medicine in general are many, as this citation by Dr Bernard Thong for Prof Feng’s conferment of the Singapore Medical Association Honorary Membership in 2014 clearly shows.

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Prof Feng Pao Hsii at the 5th Western Pacific Congress on Chemotherapy and Infectious Diseases held in Singapore, December 1996 (credit: Dr Brenda Ang)

There will no doubt be many better eulogies and accolades in the days that follow. But I would like to touch on an area that is less well known – his contributions to the field of infectious diseases in Singapore.  Without his active support and contributions, it would have been much harder for the specialty of infectious diseases to be established and to flourish in Singapore. He was also the founding president of the Society of Infectious Diseases (Singapore).

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Minutes of the inaugural meeting of SIDS on 12 January 1990 (credit: Dr Brenda Ang)

It is worthwhile noting that the inaugural meeting of the Society (SIDS) occurred on 12 January 1990, at a time where infectious diseases was not a recognised medical specialty in Singapore. The executive committee of the day comprised a rheumatologist (Prof Feng), microbiologists (Dr Jimmy Sng and Dr Tan Ai Ling), a dermatologist (Prof Thirumoorthy), and public health professionals (Dr Edmund Monteiro and A/Prof Chew Suok Kai). Dr Edmund Monteiro was then director of the Communicable Diseases Centre.

RIP, Prof Feng.

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