Laugh and Tough it Out: How Sam Underwood met triumph and disaster in a distinguished medical career in Malaysia

Inspirational – lots of laughs – provocative

About the book:

Sam Underwood was born into a Tamil family in the old Ceylon. He grew up at Penang in the old Malaya under British rule and dreamed of becoming the best medical doctor he could possibly be. His life was dramatically changed by his very personal encounters with the Japanese Occupation during the War and by the Communist insurgency after the War. His life too was vitally impacted by the remarkable transformation of the old Malaya into the fully independent nation of Malaysia in 1957.

Despite the odds stacked against him and several remarkable escapes from the jaws of death, Sam went on to master seven languages and to become the royal physician to three successive Sultans. He also received the highest awards from the Sultan of Perak and the Emperor of Japan for his remarkable humanitarian work.

Sam exemplified this immortal line from Kipling, “If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same…”

From a most unlikely source – a Japanese military officer – Sam was inspired by the motto, warai ganbare (laugh and tough it out), no matter what the circumstances of his life. It is for this reason that this inspirational little book about his remarkable life is sprinkled with a lot of Sam’s laughter and jokes. This eminent octogenarian is not riding  peacefully off into the sunset, however, because some of his reflections on racial and religious issues are provocative.  Sam’s only daughter and grandchildren are Australians.

Read an excerpt of the book

Buy this book