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Dr. Ganesh Ramalingam of G&L Surgical on why giving back to society goes beyond attending charity galas

Dr. Ganesh Ramalingam merges medicine and philanthropy in his practice.

Ever since he was in primary school, Dr. Ganesh Ramalingam knew he wanted to do good. Growing up on a farm in Jalan Ulu Sembawang in the early ‘80s, the young scout already understood the gifts that a pair of helping hands could bestow — from fetching water at the well to plucking rambutans for his friends and family. His formative years would eventually lead him to become a doctor with a difference, merging both medicine and philanthropy into his practice.

Dr. Ganesh heads G&L Surgical, one that he founded to specialise in gastrointestinal and laparoscopic procedures. After graduating from the National University of Singapore in 1997 and completing his post graduate training and fellowship with the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, Dr. Ganesh worked in government hospitals before moving into private practice. Situated in Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Novena, the clinic was built on an ethos of getting to know each patient in a holistic way.

(Related: Dr Ganesh Ramalingam,a General Surgery Expert)

Dr. Ganesh Ramalingam of G&L Surgical

Dr. Ganesh Ramalingam of G&L Surgical

This relationship-building nature is something that’s extended to his work in philanthropy, too. One of the early ways he applied his medical expertise was to serve as a Commando Medical Officer during National Service. A love for football then evolved to a service he provided as a match doctor for the Singapore National Team. Working with the Football Association of Singapore Medical Committee for the last 15 years, Dr. Ganesh’s scope of work also involves drafting proposals on medical and safety measures.

Society’s trappings soon found him sponsoring tables at charity gala dinners where glitz and glamour convene to raise funds. That definition of giving back, he realised, was not for him. Now, he prefers a more human-to-human approach by getting into the thick of things, both locally and abroad.

Volunteering at the aftermath of the Banda Aceh tsunami in 2004 and Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006 opened his eyes. “It changes your universe,” reflected Dr. Ganesh on his time providing medical care to victims. “When they have nothing — not even a house — they’ll still give you gifts,” he shared of the humbling experience. “Not only are you helping them, they’re helping you. They opened my eyes to the most important thing in life: Family.”

(Related: Singapore’s elderly couldn’t go to the eye clinic, so he brought it to them)

Closer to home, he rallies his staff to join him in giving back. Volunteering with a church that helps orphans and children from single-parent households, Dr. Ganesh provides free health and inspirational talks in addition to conducting games and events. Together with his wife and two-year-old daughter, they distribute meals with A Packet of Rice, a movement that helps needy residents and senior citizens living in rental flats.

Besides working on medical projects such as the Global Polio Eradication Initiative as a member of the Rotary Club, Dr. Ganesh also donates to environmental initiatives such as the clean water program. At the clinic, he regularly adopts ways to reduce the amount of plastic by finding alternatives where he can.

Staff at G & L Surgical

Staff at G&L Surgical

The doctor hopes to make a bigger impact by educating the younger generation. “You might not make a change today or tomorrow, but you’ll see it in years to come,” he shared. “Same with the environment. One less plastic cup is not going to save the world, but if I can influence one person to stop using it, that person will influence another in a ripple effect. That will change the future.”

For more information, visit Dr Ganesh Ramalingam, Gastrointestinal , Bariatric, Advanced Laparoscopic and Endoscopic Surgeon and Director of G&L Surgical, 38 Irrawaddy Road, #05-23, Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre Singapore 329563. Tel: 6255 1234. www.glsurgical.com.sg

— Brought to you by G&L Surgical —