Oncologist Chadchapol “Aew”Kiatikajornthada, 38, better known for his best-selling popular science book, Ruenglao Jakrangkay (“Stories from your Body”), is releasing its sequel Haitpol Kong Thammachat (“Reason of Nature”) at this year’s Book Fair (5-16 Oct).
- By Monruedee Jansuttipan
- | Oct 06, 2011
I became a doctor because I didn’t know much else when I was young. I grew up at a hospital. My dad, Narongsak Kiatikajornthada, who runs Samitivej Hospital, is a doctor, while my mom is a nurse.
There was lot of pressure. Everyone said that I would be a good doctor, like my father, who specializes in cancer.
I rid myself of that burden when I turned 26. I slowly established my own identity and started to ignore other people’s expectations. I started doing what I wanted to do.
Luckily, I still love being a doctor. You interact with people and help them. You can talk to patients and see the results of your treatment.
I went to the US to study more about medical science and evolution. It made my vision clearer, both in terms of knowledge and my thinking process. I couldn’t help but ask why I hadn’t been taught these things.
After studying and working for five years, I was compelled to write books to express what I had learned.
I never thought writing would be so fascinating. I can communicate with a huge group of people and explain things that can’t be covered by just talking or teaching.
I decided to put my medical practice on hold because I would never finish my project if I continued as a doctor. Being a specialist is a hard job with long hours. You don’t even have the time and energy to go out to eat.
There are some people who are skeptical about my writing ability. They feel I might be too young and that I should go back to work to gain more experience. But I strongly feel that I want to tell my story.
Being a writer is very liberating. It’s like you have your own institution, you can say what you want to say.
My books aim to make people see science differently. Science isn’t just about technology or difficult jargon. Science has to do with evolution and the laws of nature. It’s the key to make us move forward. It’s not just something to study for exams.
We don’t have as much innovation here as in developed countries because our education is too focused on memorizing facts, instead of questioning and debating them. We lose the ability to invent things, just so we can remember some facts and get a good grade.
We have to advance regular people to keep up with the world’s geniuses. Geniuses can’t work here because there is no place for them to use their talents, or work with people at the same level. So, they go abroad.
Thai people are obsessed with health, maybe like the US trend. The truth is that there is no country more obsessed with health than the US, but they also have the highest rate of sick people. We are living longer, and that means people potentially getting more diseases. That makes us more cautious.
The B30 health-care system isn’t sustainable. We are still buying expensive medical technology from other countries, because we can’t develop it ourselves. So it’s like buying a Mercedes and selling it for B100,000. Our budget will never be enough to support the system.
We’re exhausting our resources, like rice, fruits and soils, to buy these technologies. It’s time to save our resources and develop technology ourselves.
I credit my genes and my lifestyle for the fact that I look young at 38. I make time to exercise. We have to remember, that we are animals who used to run in the jungle to find food.
For me, love is partly science because it’s a result of both instincts and actual chemistry. But there are lots of complexities and feelings that make up love. I still believe in destiny, even though I can’t find the right person for me right now.
I love seeing romantic drama movies. I used to enjoy action films, too, but that’s getting boring. Watching alternative cinema, like Cinema Paradiso or The Chorus, makes me feel good and I learn from people’s lives, too.