First Chinese Nobel Prize Laureate: Chinese Dream & Pride

Source:, BBC News Beijing & Wikipedia

Tu Youyou
Tu Youyou

The honour of being the first Chinese Nobel Prize winner goes to a lady Youyou Tu who won half of the Medicine prize with the other half shared by two others William Cambell & Satoshi Omura.

William C Cambell
William C Cambell
Satoshi Omura
Satoshi Omura

Tu was awarded half of the prize for discovering artemisinin, a drug that has significantly reduced the mortality rates for patients suffering from malaria.

“It’s a virtue to remain indifferent to honor or disgrace.”
The old Chinese saying should be the best footnote on the landmark chapter when Tu Youyou became China’s first Nobel Laureate in medicine. This Nobel Prize that the Chinese have dreamed of for so long is an important international recognition of Chinese medical staffs’ contribution to the world, so the Chinese have good reason to be proud of it. Tu was awarded the prize because she discovered Artemisinin in a health project, Mission 523, in the 1970s, which effectively helped the worldwide battle against malaria.

As a medical researcher without a doctor’s degree, international experience or the title of academician, Tu was first to bring Artemisinin to the project, first to extract it and first to carry out clinical tests.

The academician system has made a major contribution to China’s economic growth, scientific and technological progress as well as the development of the defense industry. And China has advanced in research on quantum communication, neutrino, stem cells and high-performance computers, no matter whether Nobel Prizes are awarded to Chinese or not.

The amazing thing is that Tu Youyou is not a medical doctor, nor is she a Ph.D. holder or has any international research qualification or credential. The point to emphasise is that Tu Youyou was helped by ancient Chinese remedy in winning this Nobel Prize in Medicine

The United Kingdom, United States, Russia and Sweden have academician systems much longer established than China. Many don’t have a chance to stand in the spotlight as a Nobel Prize winner, either. But that doesn’t hinder them to make great achievements in their own countries.

The Nobel Prizes always spark controversies because of the committee’s “secret selection procedures” and according to many renowned scientists the awards, established in 1895, can’t match the rapid development of science today.

Ironically, the questionable award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama has proven to be the greatest controversy.

Image copyright
The 84-year-old’s route to the honour has been anything but traditional.

Tribute should be accorded to Tu Youyou for her knowledge & relentless research in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which is fast claiming its rightful place & recognition in the field of medicine.

Tu described as being modest was born in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China on 30 December 1930. She attended Xiaoshi Middle School for junior high school and the first year of high school, before transferring to Ningbo Middle School in 1948. From 1951 to 1955, she attended Peking University Medical School / Beijing Medical Collage.Tu studied at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and graduated in 1955. Later Tu was trained for two and a half years in traditional Chinese medicine.
After graduation, Tu worked at the Academy of Chinese Medicine (now the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences) in Beijing. She was promoted to a Researcher (研究员, the highest researcher rank in mainland China equivalent to the academic rank of a full professor) in 1980 shortly after the Chinese economic reform began in 1978. In 2001 she was promoted to academic advisor for doctoral candidates. Currently she is the Chief Scientist in the Academy.

As of 2007, her office is in an old apartment building in Dongcheng District, Beijing.
Before 2011, Tu had been obscure for decades, and is described as “almost completely forgotten by people”.
Tu is regarded as the Professor of “Three Noes” – no postgraduate degree (there was no postgraduate education then in China), no study or research experience abroad, and not a member of any Chinese national academies, i.e. Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering.Up until 1979, there were no postgraduate degree programs in China, and China was largely isolated from the rest of the world.

Tu is now regarded as a representative figure of the first generation of Chinese medical workers since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. – (Source: Wikipedia.)

Inspiration Vs Perspiration

Inspiration Vs Perspiration

(By Paul Chong)

ATT00059A scene of beauty could be an inspiration for an artist or writer

On our Sydney/New Zealand cruise in December 2008, I saw a TV documentary on Alexandra Nechitaone of the most famous artists alive today. That’s quite an honour for one who was then just 12 years old. The story of Alexandra’s journey to where she is today takes on a storybook aura, starting at age four when her parents noticed Alexandra’s abstract and Picasso-like styles with four-eyed, two-faced figures. She saw Pablo Picasso’s work for the first time at the Los Angeles County Museum, where Alexandra’s first art exhibit came on April 1, 1994, when she was only eight years old, in a community library. Whoopi Goldberg may have explained Alexandra the best in just one sentence: ‘The thumbprint of the Great One is on her.”

There are many other child art prodigies like Nechita, but the profound thing about her when asked how she did it, she said,“I saw visions . . .” Now, would you call that divine inspiration? The age-old famous story of Thomas Edition, the greatest American inventor ever, had this to say: ”1% inspiration & 99% perspiration” on his success.

What constitutes inspiration? It’s defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something. It can come from anywhere – a person, an event, an environment, but essentially, if you believe, from God. Your mindset must be such as trained or equipped to be receptive, able to discern, seize & act upon the opportunistic insight without any tint of doubt & delay. It’s found to be most evident & powerful when the recipient has a deep rooted desire or is frustrated by tragic attempts of failure or similar.

In all these, there’s inherently a mix of the element of perspiration, which at the end of the day contribute proportionally more to the question of success. Inspiration is that little iota trigger shot that sets on the motivation. Ultimately, what ensue will need the interactive play of persistence, perseverance, tenacity, courage to bring on the final positive result.

Perspiration hence is the process of sweating it out. As life does not come by in a bed of roses, there will be thorns that prick causing pain & ache. In the field of human endeavour, the mind has to remain focussed & at peace & harmony with your thoughts and emotion. Any thought of seeking publicity or longing for the trappings of success will mean distraction more than motivation.

In the final analysis, nothing worth achieving come by in an easy way. Former Senator George Mitchell, the newly appointed US Envoy for the Middle East peace negotiation, is acclaimed for his negotiation skills in the peace settlement of Northern Ireland where the historic bombing & killing nearly broke his vast patience. He attributed his success to having the ability to outlast the 700 failures in the negotiation.

Yes, success will demand that special “Second Effort” as put forth by Vince Lombardi, the famous coach of Green Bay Packers.

Paul Chong

A Chinese by Descent

An Australian by Consent

Wednesday, 4 February 2009