The Mission of ‘One’

To achieve “success” beyond the conventional definitions, there has to be a deep inner calling to make a difference. The rest falls into place because you attract like minded people who will join you & help you achieve “success”. It’s just a matter of wanting to make a difference. This is the story of a dentist who wanted to achieve “success” beyond what is conventionally defined as success.

the mission of oneOn sizzling-hot summer days in Hong Kong, most people seek air conditioned shelters. But Matthew Yung, 50, squats beside the road and chats to a pavement-dweller, undaunted by the scorching sun or the curious glances of passers-by.

Yung, a dentist, has helped many unfortunate people over the years. During his employment at a government clinic from 1969 to 1971, he spent his leisure time providing dental care for lepers. By mid-1971 he’d saved enough to set up his own clinic in Yau Ma Tei, an impoverished part of Hong Kong. Yung also started providing free care for those in desperate need.

On the way to his clinic every day, Yung saw many people sleeping on pavements or under high-way flyovers. “Hong Kong’s Pavement dwellers are the poorest of the poor,” he says. Determined to help, Yung would ask the Social Welfare Department to take care of those he had met on the streets.

But the more he got to know those people and understand their problems, the more he realized he wanted to help them himself. So in June 1987 Yung joined an action committee to aid pavement dwellers. Since then he has taken an active role in several charitable projects. While helping to distribute food and some daily necessities to the poor around Yau Ma Tei, he noted that many suffered from untreated illness. So, in July 1987, with the help of five other doctors, he inaugurated a free medical programme for residents of charity hostels. Later that year he held free one-day health check-ups for the homeless. Yung is now planning to carry out a program in the hostels to help alcoholic pavement dwellers kick their habit.

What drives Dr Yung to devote his time to helping the poor instead of pursuing a lucrative dental practice? “I believe everyone has a mission,” he says. “I don’t know what will happen to me tomorrow or the day after, so I must grasp every day to serve Hong Kong, the place where I live.”

By Serena Chan, Reader’s Digest 1998