Professor Dr. G. Suresh Kumar is not only a tropical medicine and parasitology
professor from Universiti Malaya with 11 awards to his name but a social worker,
playwright and management consultant.
But in 1980, things did not look good
for Suresh, who was studying at Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur. He had
failed his Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examination, with very poor
results in Mathematics and Chemistry. He sat for the examination again and
'My career guidance counselor told me never to take up science as my results
were so poor. He asked me to try law, accountancy; any other course except
science. Everyone else discouraged me. Some asked me to work and others said I
was a total write-off.'
The turning point in his life came when he returned home one day and opened
the door to his father P. Govind's room. 'I saw him crying. I was the eldest in
the family and he had always wanted me to be a doctor. I closed the door
silently. I went out and did some soul searching. I decided then that I would
make sure my father would have the opportunity to call me "doctor".'
Suresh knew that he had to do something. He had to start somewhere. After
consulting some family elders, friends and classmates, he enrolled himself at
Tunku Abdul Rahman College. He had decided to do his diploma and then his
bachelor's degree in science. After obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree, he
joined the Institute for Medical Research. At the institute, Suresh was assigned
as research assistant to Dr. Mak Joon Wah who was his parasitology teacher.
`He was the one who taught me about parasites. He was an inspiring figure and
I became interested in the field.'
Dr. Mak sent Suresh to do his postgraduate diploma in applied parasitology
and entomology. Suresh studied hard and received a scholarship as the top
student to pursue his master's at University Malaya. Then he received another
scholarship to do his PhD at the National University of Singapore. In Singapore,
Suresh did not just bury his nose in his books. He was involved in social work
in the evening. He taught in teen youth classes and conducted drama workshops.
`I began to realize that the more I got involved in service work, the better
I became in my field. Only when you serve and help others do your brains get
Then came the greatest moment of Suresh's life: his parents came to attend
his convocation. 'I think any child can do anything he wants, but to fulfill the
ambition of your parents is the greatest satisfaction. That was a moment in
eternity when my parents were sitting there in the convocation hall and I went
to receive my scroll. When I placed the scroll at their feet, they were in
Suresh, who is the deputy president of the Sathya Sai Baba Central Council of
Malaysia, has written more than 70 sketches and plays which reflect values,
unity and integration as well as the promotion of culture and tradition. Why did
he get involved in this? 'It gives you purpose and meaning. It gives much more
depth to what life is all about. I have more than 180 publications and papers,
and not one can I take with me when I die. No one really bothers what you
believe in. What really matters is what are the consequences of that belief.'
Suresh said his group was also working with the Unity, Culture, Arts and
Heritage Ministry to organize an inter-religious youth camp. Besides writing
plays, Suresh has also authored four management books. He has just recently won
the Malaysian Toray Science and Technology Award for his 17 years of pioneering
work in the field of Blastocystics. Blastocystics is a protozoan parasite known
to cause diarrhea, stomach bloating and other gastro-intestinal symptoms. Suresh
had also won the Geneva International Innovation Gold Medal for developing a
diagnostic test for Blastocystics.
So, what is Suresh's message?
`Nobody in this world is stupid. No one in this world needs to feel that they
are underprivileged or marginalized. If a hapless individual like me could pick
himself up and do it, anybody can. Just believe in yourself. There are three
simple formulas to follow: love and serve your parents, use every talent and
skill to serve society and love all without differentiating between them.'