Sunday, February 3, 2013

In Memory of BG (Ret'd) Associate Professor Dr Lim Meng Kin

Singapore's defence medical community is saddened by the loss of Brigadier-General (Ret'd) A/Prof Dr Lim Meng Kin.

He died on the last day of January 2013 at the age of 62, having accomplished a distinguished career in military medicine that saw him lead the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medical services to a higher ops readiness and deployment tempo in the 1980s and 1990s.

Three medical support deployments in support of the SAF were executed under his leadership - Ops Foxtrot (1986), Ops Nightingale (1990) and Ops Thunderbolt (1991).

This blog understands that BG (Dr) Lim was diagnosed with colon cancer last year. Two months ago, the cancer was found to have spread to his lungs. This required aggressive treatment with drugs administered via chemotherapy.

Despite putting up a fight, BG (Dr) Lim succumbed to complications from the chemo treatment.

Operation Foxtrot
A Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) officer, BG (Dr) Lim is remembered for his role coordinating ground and heli-evac medical support during the Hotel New World disaster. The six-storey hotel collapsed suddenly in March 1986 with 50 people inside the building. The disaster claimed 33 lives and trapped 17 others, triggering Singapore's first inter ministry urban rescue.

The RSAF's 120 Squadron, flying UH-1H Hueys, performed round-the-clock heli-evac duties from the nearby Farrer Park. These mercy flights were codenamed Operation Foxtrot.

For his distinguished role in the Hotel New World rescue and work excellence, BG (Dr) Lim was conferred the Public Service Star in 1986.

As Chief of the SAF Medical Corps from 1986 to 1995, then Colonel (Dr) Lim was instrumental in paving the way for SAF doctors and medics to support the development plans under SAF 2000.

Operation Nightingale
That period was marked by the first Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medical mission to the Gulf in 1990, codenamed Operation Nightingale, which saw the SAF deploy a medical team to support the international effort to free Kuwait.

The mission could not have been executed without the support of RSAF C-130 Hercules tactical airlifters from 122 Squadron. The Singapore to Jordan leg was then the longest mercy mission flown by 122 SQN.

Operation Thunderbolt
During the period, the SAF Headquarters Medical Services (HQMS, now HQ Medical Corps) supported HQ Commando in the lightning raid to free aircrew and passengers from the hijacked Singapore Airlines Flight SQ 117. The raid, codenamed Operation Thunderbolt, was accomplished with all civilians accounted for safe and sound although one Commando was slightly injured during the mission rehearsal.

Groundwork laid by BG (Dr) Lim and the 1980s and 1990s batch of doctors and medics from HQMS put the SAF in a stronger position ahead of the SARS crisis in 2003.

BG (Dr) Lim is survived by his wife, Lim Sook Cheng, two sons, Kenneth and Derek, and grandson, Michael.

His funeral service will be held tomorrow (4 Feb) at 10am at the Garden of Remembrance, Chapel, followed by the burial at Choa Chu Kang Christian Ceremony at 11am.

Academic/Professional Qualifications
Source: National University of Singapore:
■MBBS (1974); MSc (Occupational Medicine)(1982), National University of Singapore

■Diploma in Aviation Medicine (1977), Royal College of Physicians of London

■MPH (Health Policy and Management) (1990), Harvard University

■Fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore; Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association (1993).

■Academician, International Academy of Aviation & Space Medicine (1994)

Awards/Honours (Post-PhD):
■Public Service Star (1986); Public Administration Medal (Silver)(1994); Bailey Memorial Medal (1973);

■Fellowships by distinction: Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (1994) and Faculty of Occupational Medicine, UK (2000)

■Andre Allard Lecturer, International Academy of Aviation & Space Medicine(1998);John Lane Lecturer, Aviation Medical Society of Australia & NZ (1999)

Career History:
■Senior Medical Officer, RSAF & Head, RSAF Aeromedical Centre (concurrent) (1982-1986)

■Chief of Medical Corps, Singapore Armed Forces (1986-1995)

■Director, Defence Medical Research Institute (1995-1997)

■Chief Executive Officer, Health Corporation of Singapore (1997-1999)

■Part-time Lecturer, National University of Singapore (1985-); Adjunct Associate Professor (1995-1999); Associate Professor (1999 to date)

Administrative Leadership:
■Board of Directors, S'pore General (1992-1999);Tan Tock Seng (1997-2000); Changi General. KK WCH, SNEC, AMKH, NNI, NHC (1997-1999)

■Vice Chairman/Council Member, Singapore Red Cross (2000-2010);Member, Workplace Safety & Health Council (2005-2010)

■Director, Office of Alumni Relations (2010-); Director Public Health, APRU (2007-10); Academic Coordinator, MMed (Public Health) Program (1999 -2007)

Professional/Consulting Activities:
■Consultant for WHO (2000 to date), World Bank (2000 to date), Asian Development Bank (2001), Applied Research Corporation (1999).

■Honorary Consultant to Singapore Armed Forces (1996-), Republic of Singapore Air Force (1996-) and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (1978 -).

■Scientific Committee, International Academy of Aviat & Space Medicine (2001-); WHO Western Pacific Advisory Committee on Health Research (2000-2005)


Paul Ananth Tambyah said...

Thanks for posting this. BG Lim was a hero in many ways even beyond the Hotel New World crisis. In 1975, when Saigon fell, more than half the medical school graduating class went to Australia to get registered with the Australian Medical Council "just in case" including several WHs. Lim Meng Kin went the opposite direction and signed on with the SAF! He gave up a then-prestigious internal medicine traineeship for an uncertain career in the fledgling medical corps. A true son of Singapore.

Unknown said...

Quite a number or doctors including former senior minister of state, Dr. Balaji Sadasivan who died from colon cancer. Not sure if it is the increased use of fluoridated waters or bad filtration. Some states and county in US and Canada have voted against fluoridation. Anyway, it had been proven that cancer like colon and breast can be easily cured with baking soda. Not sure why we continue to promote expensive cancer treatment.

Unknown said...

Mr Boey, as a postcript to you excellent article on Meng Kin, He was my Medical Officer at what was then known as Kangaw Camp II. I was then a young 2LT and he was one of my mentors on how to be the "Salt of the Earth" even in the tough environment of the SAF in the 70's