Our Fond Memory of
The late Dr. Sir Albert Rodrigues (1911-2006)
M.B.B.S. C.B.E. E.D. L.L.D. J.P.
Chev. Leg. d’Hon. Kt GC (St. Syl.) O Ord Christ
Founding President (1965-75)
The Federation of Medical Societies of Hong Kong
Sir Albert Rodrigues peacefully passed away on 5th February at the age of 94. He was the Founding President of the Federation of Medical Societies of Hong Kong for ten years and contributed significantly to the medical and health professions as well as the community of Hong Kong. He will be greatly missed by all members of the professions and all citizens in the HKSAR.
Sir Albert received his secondary education at St Joseph College and was admitted into the Medical School of the University of Hong Kong at the young age of 15 whereby he had a very vibrant undergraduate career with outstanding performance in scholastic achievement and in hockey talents. After his graduation in 1934, he furthered his specialty training in obstetrics and gynaecology. During the Second World War (1942-1945), he was imprisoned at the war camp whereby he continued to make use of his art and science of medicine in the quality care of his fellow soldiers within the camp. He successfully combated an endemic of diphtheria during this time and was subsequently awarded MBE in recognition of his contribution during this difficult period of Hong Kong. He resumed his private practice after the war and had been Medical Superintendent of St. Paul’s Hospital ever since. As a gentleman of high virtue and integrity, he never forgot the good education he received from his alma mater and contributed significantly to The University of Hong Kong serving in various capacities at the top management level bringing the University to the present state ranking as one of the top institutions in the world through his great leadership and dedicated hardwork.
In the late 1950’s, Hong Kong was striving to regenerate the many community services which has either stood still or only slowly developed during the War. The medical and health services were the foremost with the return of many practitioners to resume their medical practice. Many others went for further studies and returned with specialist training and grouped together in their medical specialties. It was felt that the formation of a Federation of these groups would help them to develop more properly and efficiently. The idea was first conceived by Sir Albert Rodrigues and received enthusiastic support from the late Professor C Elaine Field, President of the then Hong Kong Branch of British Medical Association (BMA) and the late Proefssor G. B. Ong, President of the Hong Kong Chinese Medical Association (HKCMA) which later became our Hong Kong Medical Association (HKMA) today. The enthusiasm of these pioneers pervaded through the ranks of their members and the Federation of Medical Societies of Hong Kong was inaugurated on 18th February 1965 with Sir Albert elected unanimously as Founding President and fourteen member societies present at the time of the First Annual General Meeting. Throughout his presidency for ten years, Sir Albert set up robust structure for the Federation and successfully published our First Issue of the Medical Directory of Hong Kong on 23rd December 1971 with Professor Sir Harry Fang as Editor-in-Chief. In order to have a visible icon for the Federation and to have a meeting place for professionals to interact, Sir Albert ably negotiated with the Hong Kong Government for land allocation and effectively raised funds for the building cost of the present Federation premises whereby we officially moved in by the year 1975. Through the good infrastructure built up by Sir Albert, the Federation continued to flourish to the present 125 member societies: a unique big family for all medical, dental, nursing and allied professionals in Hong Kong. This was the vision Sir Albert initiated and dedicated to promote. The present day achievements of the Federation are fruits bearing witness to the success of his endeavours over the past four decades. Sir Albert’s blessing to the medical profession does not stop at the Federation, he is also patron of many medical specialty and subspecialty societies, such as the Hong Kong Paediatric Society (1964-1993), whereby his patronage is not only limited in name but also with close attention to the daily activities for all these societies. To all these societies, he is a man of words and actions and a great gentleman of wisdoms and advice.
Besides his contribution to the medical profession, Sir Albert is a prominent society leader in Hong Kong. He had been Council Member of the Urban Council in the 1940’s, Legislative Council in the 1950’s, Executive Council in the 1960’s, and Chief Council Member of both the Legislative and Executive Councils in 1970’s until his glorious retirement in 1974. He was knighted by the Queen in 1971 in recognition of his immense contributions to the community of Hong Kong.
We are all sad that Sir Albert has left us. To the profession, we have lost a visionary pioneer, a respected senior, a close friend and a great multi-talented colleague. To the community of Hong Kong, we shall forever remember this great leader who has devoted his lifetime to the welfare and health for the citizens in our community. He has established a strong infrastructure for his successors to promote and demonstrated clear directions for his colleagues to follow. He will be eternally remembered by us all at the medical and health professions. On behalf of the medical professional may we offer our deepest condolences to his family!
Dr. CHAN Chok Wan
Federation President (1991-2003)