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She encourages young women to march to the beat of their own drums

Dr Tan Siew Pin, founder of the Olive Tree Baby & Kids Clinic, is HCSA Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre’s paediatrician. All the girls who enter Dayspring go to her for a health screening. We chat with Dr Tan on her work as well as her hopes for young women wanting to find success in their lives.

Q: Thank you Dr Tan for being one of Dayspring’s most generous supporters with your voluntary paediatric services! We really appreciate it. Could you describe your work for Dayspring?

Dr Tan: I do a general body check-up for every Dayspring girl and fill in a form that I’ve been given to highlight important clinical findings. In particular, I will note any evidence of injuries or scars. The girls then go to another healthcare professional for their psychological assessment.

Q: You’ve been volunteering in this capacity for Dayspring since 2011. That’s a total of 10 years! How would you describe your journey with Dayspring?

Dr Tan: Yes, it’s been quite a while! It’s wonderful working with Dayspring since its beginnings. 

I came from a sheltered, conservative family background. Since I started volunteering for Dayspring, it has been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve met many brave girls who are going through so much in life at such a young age.

Just seeing their scars and countenance, I can sense sadness, pain, confusion, fear, a lack of self-esteem. There is bitterness also: a girl once lashed out in anger and kicked a chair in my clinic.

There are scars that we cannot see in their souls and I’m just relieved that these girls are going to get good help at Dayspring.

It has been a joy to see them transform, emerge from the ashes of their past and begin to flourish.

Q: How would you encourage the girls if you sense sorrow in them?

Dr Tan: I want to make them feel comfortable. I try not barge into their private space, so I don’t ask them in detail about the trauma that they’ve gone through. The psychologists and therapists at Dayspring will take care of that very well.

What I would do at the end of the consultation is give them a little gift. This usually brings a smile to their faces! I also assure them that the past is a closed chapter – we can start new chapters and write these chapters ourselves, and hence write hope into our lives.

Q: How and why did you decide to become a doctor specialising in paediatrics?

Dr Tan: I’ve always felt that this is a meaningful vocation, and I’m open to offering my healthcare skills to those in remote or poorer countries when I can. I decided to specialise in paediatrics because I enjoy working with children so much!

Q: As a female who has found success in the workplace, what advice would you give to young women who are finding their place in the world?

Dr Tan: To be honest, I was actually a really average student! Somehow, a path in the medical field opened up for me. As a Christian, I believe the Lord called me to medicine and to paediatrics. I see His hand of provision and guidance in my personal journey.

It’s important for young women to build personal identity in healthy ways. Valuing yourself is a must instead of relying on others to validate you.

Never live according to someone else’s expectations. You have your own unique personality, passions and dreams – explore these and march to the beat of your own drum! 

The other crucial aspect, at least through my lens, is centring one’s identity in Christ because of His good teachings. Each person is ‘handcrafted’ by God and given special talents and gifts. The journey of life is to discover and use these talents to walk into our destiny and live out our life purpose.

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