Poems and Tears for 'Silent Mentors'

A rather nice article I came across. Good insight into the problems and solutions found for medical education on Taiwan.
Linked with authors permission. Very good video and slide show with the article.

Poems and Tears for ‘Silent Mentors’ Spark a Surge of Cadavers in Taiwan
“Medical Students Bond With Families to Quell Traditional Resistance to Donating Bodies”

I’ve taught at the Tzu Chi school at Hualian, and visited their hospital. I saw a presentation on the ‘Silent Mentor’ program, which included viewing their autopsy rooms and crematorium. It’s a fantastic project. Good to see Taiwan in front for a change.

Also good to see a religious organization having a positive influence:

[quote]At first, medical professionals also viewed the efforts skeptically. Tseng Guo-fang was one of them. Formerly head of anatomy at National Taiwan University’s medical school, Mr. Tseng didn’t see the point in the elaborate efforts to treat the bodies with so much respect. But after agreeing to teach courses at Tzu Chi, he came to appreciate it and eventually took a senior posting at the school.

“I was trained as a hard-core scientist and this didn’t make sense to me,” says Mr. Tseng. " But I began to see that there’s more to teaching a student than just technical ability; we need to create compassionate doctors too."[/quote]

Great article!


This is one of those news stories that comes around once a year. In this case I reckon it is a story worth re-telling. Tzu Chi deserve a fair bit of credit for running this program.

I did the translation of an FTV special about the Silent Mentors in 2008 (I think). The original Chinese story was 15 minutes but we had to cut it down to less than 5 minutes for the English News. We normally only show (ahem) items of cultural interest on Sunday.

It was definitely one of those stories that needed and deserved a bit of in-depth explanation, something we normally don’t have the time for on our brief little show.