“Many of my peers, who used to be inventors, have chosen to sit back and enjoy their retirement,” added the 73-year-old award-winning inventor, who shows no sign of slowing down.
From surgeon to award-winning inventor
Siow’s enthusiastic and forward-thinking character has always been reflected in his scholarly achievements and accomplishments in medicine.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from Fukushima Medical University, Japan, in 1971, Siow furthered his studies to obtain a Degree in Anaesthesia in 1974, and was awarded a PhD by Fukushima Medical University in 1978. The following year, he attended the Beijing Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine to study Professional Acupuncture and went on to complete his qualification in plastic surgery in 1985.
Siow combines the sciences of Western medicine and traditional Chinese acupuncture in his practice, but his innovative persona is not limited to medical knowledge. Finding inspiration from simple everyday experiences, needs and observations, Siow channels his resourcefulness to invent devices that would enhance the field of medicine and daily living.
Siow bagged three golds for his inventions
One of Siow’s inventions is a multifunctional hygienic smart cap – a creation inspired by the sight of whizzing houseflies around open soy sauce and condiment bottles at hawker stalls.
“I often eat out and I always notice houseflies around the condiment bottles at hawker stalls, which is quite unhygienic,” Siow said. “That’s where I got the idea of inventing smart caps that close and open with the bottle’s movement. The cap also prevents the liquid from dripping and trickling down the outside of the bottle.”
The smart cap swings open when the bottle is tilted, self-shuts when the bottle is upright and also has an internal lock that prevent ants from crawling in.
He has also invented a dispenser which measures and dispenses the exact amount of liquid required.
“It is faster and simpler to use, and can be custom made to dispense any amount of liquid,” he explained, adding that the dispenser is suitable for elderly patients. “It is vital that patients receive the right dosage. With the dispenser, even parents do not have to worry or fuss over pouring the exact volume for their children.”
Another one of Siow’s inventions is a drinking bottle auto cap, which automatically opens and closes after drinking, and is suitable for vehicle drivers and other individuals who are on the move. For his innovative creations, Siow bagged three gold awards in the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva – one for each invention.
No plans to retire anytime soon
According to Siow, his inventions can benefit various industries other than the field of medicine, such as cooking and cosmetics.
“I was truly honoured when the judges at the exhibition commended my small but important inventions, which will help improve the quality of life,” he said.
In the meantime, Siow has no plans to stop exploring and inventing new devices, and has urged the younger generation to be more proactive in coming up with innovative ideas. His advice is to persevere and not give up when encountering a hurdle, revealing that he had to study and research technical aspects such as air pressure and movement of liquids in order to perfect his inventions.
“I started late, at age 60, but that did not stop me from making mistakes and learning new things,” he said. MIMS
Medical icons of Malaysia: Datuk Dr Manickavasagar Balasegaram
Medical icons of Malaysia: Dr Wu Lien-teh
Joshua Tan: Malaysian scientist renowned for malaria research