Interview of Prof Joseph Sung – Hong Kong SARS Epidemic Ten Years On

As consulted with the Commercial Radio of Hong Kong (香港商業電臺, the Cantonese to English transcription of the interview does not breach copyright law.

Interviewers: May Chan, Loh Fai (transliterated)
Interviewee: Dr Joseph Sung (沈祖堯), vice-chancellor of Chinese University of Hong Kong
Date: March 9, 2013

Interviewer: Good morning. (Good morning) Mr Loh, things changed a lot in ten years. It has been ten years since the outbreak of SARS epidemic. And for Hongkongers, the ten-year mark means differently to them. I remember ten years back we were interviewing Dr Sung, then serving at CUHK Department of Medicine & Therapeutics. When SARS broke out at the 8th floor of Prince of Wales Hospital, and we interviewed Dr Sung. And about same time ten years later, we are again interviewing him. But he is of different status today.

Interviewer: Today Dr Sung is the vice-chancellor of CUHK. Good morning, vice-chancellor. (Good morning, vice-chancellor)
Interviewee: Good morning to both of you.

Interviewer: Prof, on what matters do you feel very deeply, when looking back at SARS epidemic ten years ago?
Interviewee: Recalling ten years back, it was as if I had had a dream. Within such a short period of time, a large number of individuals fell ill, many among them were our own friends and colleagues. And there were medical staff members who died in the course of performing their duty. I saw Hong Kong society suffered from a severe setback. Looking back right now, it is as if something happened just yesterday.

Interviewer: Do you still recall the incident in these ten years? Even if you are not yourself recalling the matter, other individuals and media members would have mentioned it to you.
Interviewee: Yup. The matter is still much talked about among the public. And I myself still keep in touch with the patients back then, and some of them have become my friends. Some of our students fell ill during the outbreak, and some of them are now working as doctors or even consultants. Some of them would say:“Oh ya, back then I was lying on the hospital bed.” People still recall of those memories.
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