Have you ever seen the autumn sky? The sky seems high with no clouds. What beautiful autumn leaves there are! The maple trees turn a lovely red all over the mountain. It is one of God’s blessings to see autumn scenery.
However, some people are not blessed with this view. With medical technology’s improvements, many people, who have eye problems, can get treatments. However, there are people who cannot afford to get treatments, and live with blindness. They cannot enjoy all of God’s autumn blessings.
For them, eye doctor Choi Kyeong-bae volunteered to help. Choi Kyeong-bae provides cataract surgery free to poor people in Asia. The Chung-Ang Herald’s news reporter Lee Ja-in met him to hear the story about his praiseworthy deed.
Choi Kyeong-bae started this missionary work in 1999. Choi Kyeong-bae started in Cambodia, and was shocked. The people were so poor. Children were raised by children and begged for money. Therefore, Choi Kyeong-bae decided to provide serves to this community in an undeveloped country.
When I heard that Choi Kyeong-bae did cataract surgery for the poor, I wonder what happened to people who have cataracts, so I asked Dr. Choi about the harm of cataracts. Choi Kyeong-bae explained that the symptoms of a cataract are several headaches, and eventually people can become blind. It is a painful disease. Many poor people cannot get treatment because they do not have medical insurance, and surgery is expensive about twenty times the salary of the country’s university graduates. For people who do not have anything to eat, it is a luxury for them to get an operation. However, Choi Kyeong-bae has provided them free surgeries.
Without money, how can Choi Kyeong-bae continue his work? What value does Choi Kyeong-bae get through helping the poor through his medical treatment services? Choi Kyeong-bae answered that he felt fruitful when people thanked him for being able to see and go out into the world. If they can see the world clearly, their life can change. People can live without headaches and darkness. Choi Kyeong-bae gives light to them.
One of Choi Kyeong-bae’s most unforgettable patients was a boy, who looked to be about five years old. Choi Kyeong-bae was afraid to operate, but visited him with his mom. Finally, Choi Kyeong-bae agreed to do the surgery, and the boy could see the world.
Choi Kyeong-bae holds firm to treat only patients who are in pain from cataracts. In most cases, volunteers, who do medical treatment services, treat all eye diseases.
Choi Kyeong-bae deeply studies about how the operations can be done faster and more suitably. As a result, Choi Kyeong-bae can perform the operation in five minutes. Usually cataract surgery takes twenty or thirty minutes. Choi Kyeong-bae’s record was to take care of 48 patients in one day. On average, Choi Kyeong-bae looks after 30 patients a day.
Choi Kyeong-bae is eager to give services. Why does Choi Kyeong-bae do these favor? The goal he says of his services is to preach the gospel before everything else. Additionally, his medical treatment services can make people of undeveloped countries think of Korea as a country that does a favor. In another country, the Republic of the Philippines, he has a goal to take operations for about a thousand people. During the Korean War in the 1950s, the Republic of the Philippines sent about a thousand military personnel. Choi Kyeong-bae said cataract operations cannot replace a soldier’s breath of life but with his talent he wanted to repay them for their kindness.
What about Choi Kyeong-bae’s life as a student?
CAH: I heard that you were sick in your youth, during hard times what made you study hard?
Choi: I contracted tuberculosis when I was young. Bronchial trouble and respiratory ailments are in our family history. Therefore, I was weak in my youth. In addition, when I was a high school student I had a brain fever. I was sent to the hospital and at that time, I was fascinated by the scent of the hospital. I decided to be a doctor and I studied very hard. I stood up only when I went to the bathroom. My grades went up to around the 200 rank.
CAH: What is your advice for university students?
Choi: I want to emphasis that our time as youth never comes back. Time flies so fast. You cannot live in the past so you have to be faithful in the present.
I have two pieces of advice for my juniors. First, you have to study English. Most Koreans have difficulty with English. However, English is one of the most important skills, so practice English everyday. Secondly, it is important to exercise. Health is the most important thing. Health is a basic element. I am a second grade fencer. Fencing is good for quickness and health.
Choi Kyeong-bae also advised to be ambitious. Dream a huge dream. Have a vision. Make a clear goal.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >