How do I connect with a group of undergraduates who are
at least 26 years older than me? I would say that this
group of 3 vet students would be from 22 to 24 years of
age and I am 3 times older and how should I carry on an
easy conversation with them?
A common interest in veterinary medicine mixed with a
sense of humour is the key to interactions during a
meal. But it is not easy to make the young adults feel
that there is a two-generation gap between them and me
making their acceptance to a farewell lunch a boring
event with an old foggie.
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and this Northbridge
Chinese Restaurant in Perth was packed. We were given a
smaller room away from the noise of the main eating
area. The others at the two tables in this room were
It happened that one of the 3 vet students was not aware
of my concept of a veterinary talk show that I deemed
great for one of the vet students (not present at this
lunch and whom I will name as Boo for the purpose of
this story) I had shared with the other two yesterday.
A talk-show vet
So I told him to further elaborate my concept.
"You know," I said to this serious young man whom I
shall call Ashton. "The name of the veterinary clinic
should be 'Boo Clinic.' Dr Boo would host the veterinary
talk show in Singapore. There would be an audience of
pet owners at the show. One of them would ask her pet
care questions related to a theme, for example skin
diseases. She would examine the pet and give her
"After that, the audience will clap their hands in
appreciation. Dr Boo will stand on a stage and sing a
love song of unrequited love in English and Cantonese.
That will make the young girls in the audience weep
since she is such a good songstress.
"Soon a group of dancers will
appear as she sings and they dance rock and roll.
"An intermission. Phone calls from pet owners come in. 5
questions about pet care are answered.
"Another singer who is starting up in the music business
appears. He or she has a duet with Boo. There is more
dancing. The "audience" claps their hands on cue in loud
The young man's eyes opened wide and shook his head as if he
was saying: "What sort of whacky concept is that?"
I continued: "The veterinary clinic should be named
"Peek-A-Boo" as it is such a good name to remember.
classmates will work in the background to do the
surgeries as Boo will not be able to cope with more pet
owners coming to patronise this clinic. No need to
solicit or worry
about no business as more veterinary clinics are opened
every year in Singapore. Boo's fame brings in the
hold a mask each to peek at each
other. They turn to face each other in two rows. Music
starts. They hold hands, curtsey and bow. They dance.
A peek behind the mask, a boo to the opposite partner
when they meet again.
The young man's two classmates laughed loudly for
reasons I still do not fathom even as I write now. "I don't want to be
associated with your scheme!" the young man
"In talk shows, an audience clapping in applause
may be faking the applause,"
I explained to this young man. "They clap on cue
and this is common in the talk-show business."
I looked at this young man who did not reply. He had had
been well brought up by the missionary school teachers
during his formative years. The values of integrity,
honesty and duty mean much to him, I presume.
It was a fun lunch with the young adults who were 2
generations younger than me. It is change from talking
to silver-haired generation who sometimes talk about
impending death. I was glad that these young people
laughed a lot and did not take me seriously. Vet
students are not taught to do other things than practise
veterinary medicine when they graduate. But there are
professions that make much more money than veterinary
medicine and a successful vet-talk vet is richer than a
P.S. I read a newspaper article about a U.S medical
talk-show that is going international to China.
Therefore, the doctor involved will be much richer than
seeing patients one by one.