Our members have provided valuable services to our nation ever since the SPA was founded 30 years ago. They were applauded for their distinguished service. Together with other eminent Singaporeans, they were accorded the National Day Awards:

  • Ms Geraldine Tay (Left, sitting) : Efficiency Medal 1979
  • Ms Lim Peck Ngoh (Right, standing background) : Public Administration Medal (Bronze) 1985; Long Service Medal 1988
  • Mr Albert Lee (Left, standing background) : Public Administration Medal (Bronze) 1986
  • Ms Chia Swee See (Left, standing foreground) : Efficiency Medal 1987
  • Ms Chua Soon Choo (Second from left, sitting foreground) : Efficiency Medal 1991

Reflections from Past Members

I remember… staying up all night so that I could record my bid (on SPA’s behalf) for APA’s Off-Shore Conference to be held in Singapore in 1981. It was finally quiet enough at 4am to record my voice on a tape, which was sent to Sydney for the presentation. We were overjoyed when we were told that we had won the bid. I remember… how Ann and I worked so hard to get a grant from the Commonwealth Foundation (through the Singapore Professional Centre) to run the first course by an overseas expert. That one week Neurology Course by Miss Margaret Draper of Christchurch, New Zealand, was the forerunner of many more to come. I remember…the delicious annual barbecues Swee See and her “merry band of helpers” used to prepare, the very enjoyable Car Rallies that Peck Ngoh and I used to organise, and above all, the huge support that all our Social Events enjoyed from the doctors we worked with and the members of SPA. – Gerry Tay, SPA 13

What did we do in those early days? We looked forward eagerly to the monthly lectures conducted by doctors or overseas speakers en route to the West. These lectures were the only means of acquiring new techniques and keeping us informed of recent advances in the medical field. Then there were the annual SPA dinners and barbecues. These functions were quite an attraction. The attendance at these functions was excellent – Medical Directors, doctors especially our Orthopaedic friends and other medical staff were present.
Chia Swee See, SPA 007

My work in the Physiotherapy field over the past 30 years has been very enjoyable and to the envy of many guys. In the early days, Physiotherapy was taken up mainly by the ladies and I was the only man in my class for a while. This has its privileges and disadvantages as well… I was the brunt of most crude jokes!! I am glad that nowadays the public can sympathize with me that the profession needs more men. In NYP I am of course happy to see that men are continuing to take up the challenge in the field of Physiotherapy.
Albert Lee, SPA 17

As one of the founder members of the SPA I have played an active role as Secretary and Committee Member. It is quite gratifying for me to see that the SPA has progressed to what it is today. SPA being our professional body, it is the duty of each and every physiotherapist to give continuous support to the SPA. ‘Ask not what SPA can do for you but ask what you can do for SPA.
Ramany Sivanandan, SPA 13

The SPA has grown, from its humble beginnings 30 years ago, in both membership and in its range of activities. The academic and social functions organised not only cater to the ever-increasing demands of its members but also create opportunities for interaction between staff from all areas of work. The establishment of the SPA today would not be possible had it not been for the foresight of the founding members and enthusiasm of the council members. Three cheers for those who have given their time and dedication to achieve the objectives and aspirations of SPA!
– Chua Soon Choo, SPA 6

I remember with nostalgia sprightly and enthusiastic Peck Ngoh packing half a dozen of us in her Fiat 600 and zooming us to the off-beaten track to Yew Tee Home. We went as unofficial representatives of the SPA bearing gifts of towels, soap and biscuits (what luxurious commodities!!) for the residents of the home. We went because we cared; we went because we wanted to help. That was the modest beginning of community service of the SPA. Today . . . we have indeed come a long way and still show ourselves to be caring professionals. Many of our SPA members are serving as volunteers with several voluntary organisations, the National Council of Social Services and the Community Chest of Singapore. Another 30 years on . . . I can still see our members as caring volunteer professionals taking a greater stand In the community. Dr Albert Schweitzer wrote . . . “The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
– Anna Liu, SPA 15

Recently in Sydney, I met an Australian manufacturer of physiotherapy equipment who commented: I don’t understand why anyone wants to be a physiotherapist. Looking back at my life as a physiotherapist for the last 30 years, it brought back many pleasant memories. I remember the few of us locals working among the expatriate physiotherapists. We were then the most popular group of paramedicals. We were invited to participate in many of the hospital social activities as a group and as individuals. From this social beginnings we spread to fulfil educational needs of our members. We had talks by medical specialists who were invited to speak. We then decided to start a newsletter to disseminate information among our members from the simple method of telephonic communication. It was an in-house newsletter with personal chit-chats included. The biggest event that happened was when Singapore was chosen to be the venue for the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s overseas conference in 1981. The Acupuncture Seminar following the conference for the Australian physiotherapists was organised by SPA with the Singapore School of Chinese Physicians who cooperated by providing lecturers and teaching materials. From the income derived from this popular seminar SPA finally had the first source of substantial capital to call its own. We indeed have come a long way and congratulations to all PHYSIOS who have done their bit to see all this evolution. We have a labouring VOCATION and we are needed!
– Ruth Chia, SPA 22

1963 – 1964 are years I would not forget. Young, idealistic and full of energy to spare, I was hauled in as Honorary Secretary of our national professional body in the founding days of SPA. Again in 1991 and 1992 as Vice-President and President, when the profession experienced a historical phase during which the government decided it was timely to train our very own physiotherapists on home ground – the development of Nanyang Polytechnic where Physiotherapy and other Health Science professional diplomas are offered. Being a part of this development in SPA’s short thirty years history is profoundly satisfying.
– Chew Swee Liang, SPA 89

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