Bapak Petrus was an admirable elderly man of Chinese minority descent. He had a generous heart and invited me to live and work in his acupuncture clinic. He taught me more than about Chinese medicine, he taught me about life and humility.
While most of the other doctors in the city of Sinkawang drove nice cars and were dressed in suits, Dr. Tjiptoso was not, though he was by far the most famous and most respected of them all. He drove around town on a motor bike and wore vintage clothes, vibrant hawaiian shirts and flared trousers. He was not interested in flaunting his status. People would come from far in the mountain to receive treatment from him. I saw him do unbelievable things with needles and herbs. One patient couldn’t hear for 10 years then was instantly cured with one needle. Another patient with a broken hip was treated with a herbal paste with astounding results. Scorpions were a common ingredient in the medicinal herb recipes given to the patients suffering from strokes.
Acupuncture was administered with a low electrical pulse to increase efficiency. Most patients were stroke patients and many could walk again after one month after daily treatment at the clinic. Acupuncture is often used in Singkawang and also in China with more confidence than Western medicine.
I am deeply grateful to Bapak Petrus Tjiptoso for giving me the opportunity to apprentice with him at his Clinic. It was an unforgettable experience. He also introduced me to local ceramic artists and I began going to their workshop in the afternoons. It was then that I began to make ceramics again. Bapak also told me about Jingdezhen. He knew China well and had studied medicine there. Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of China would be another location fundamental for my life.
Dr Tjiptoso passed away suddenly after I left Singkawang. His memory and his kindness will always be remembered and his story told.
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