Abraham Augustus Clemwood Fung-A-Fat is a retired medic from Guyana. Here he remembers his time as a student in 1960s Edinburgh and tells us about his many accomplishments since graduating.
|Year of Graduation||1962|
At the moment
After my time in Edinburgh, I returned to Georgetown, Guyana and started my medical practice. I turned 85 last year and due to the pandemic, I decided to retire. Now I spend most of my afternoons enjoying a drink with the boys at the Squash Club where I used to play.
Your time at the University
I came from a British colony called British Guiana. I wanted to study medicine because my father was a pharmacist at the village hospital and he wanted one of his sons to follow in his footsteps in the medical field. I applied to several universities but having studied the arts (Latin, literature and history) most of them did not accept students without a science background. Edinburgh was one of the few that accepted me because they appreciated a student with a rounded background.
I had the opportunity to meet students from all over the world and cement a lot of friendships. I gravitated towards my Caribbean colleagues and shared several ‘digs’ with many of them. We bonded over card playing, listening to Caribbean music and cooking Caribbean cuisine.
For the first year, I struggled with the natural sciences because of my lack of a science background. I befriended a Jamaican student by the name of Robert Gray who was a Jamaican Scholar and later became a professor for the University of Jamaica. He was not challenged by the material because he had done it before. He agreed to tutor me and we worked together for six days a week for the first year.
In particular, I fondly remember my Physics professor, Dr. Dainty, and Anatomy professor, Dr. Romanas, for their brilliance and how engaging their lectures were.
I later did my internship at Stirling General Hospital and Bangor Hospital and remembered it being hard, long hours. I grew to love the fact that I was able to help and serve sick people.
I also represented the University Cricket Team and the Combined Scottish University Cricket Team for six years.
In those days, the only means of transport back home was by ship, and the journey took 21 days. I couldn't afford to visit home during my entire nine years of being in Edinburgh and so spent my summers working odd jobs and playing cricket.
I applied to several universities but having studied the arts (Latin, literature and history) most of them did not accept students without a science background. Edinburgh was one of the few that accepted me because they appreciated a student with a rounded background.
Your experiences since leaving the University
I became a cofounder and shareholder of a private hospital called Woodlands Hospital and practiced for more than 50 years.
During my time in Guyana, I served in parliament for a term in 1992. Later in my career, I was awarded two National Awards for Service, The Arrow of Achievement and The Cacique Crown of Honour, for my commitment to practicing medicine and serving Guyana.
I also began playing squash and ended up representing Guyana for the over 40s and 50s national team in the Caribbean Championships.
Life during Covid-19
In March 2020 Guyana had it’s first case of Covid-19. I stopped going to work because I didn’t want to risk contracting the virus at my age, as well as expose my family. As a result of being away from my practice for almost a year, I had time to consider my stage in my life and realised that it was a good time to retire.
I encourage my fellow Edinburgh graduates to work hard and serve humanity.