Make us stronger, make you better, make PT leaders!

  • 2019-04-17 21:22:38
  • 作者 Sam


Student representatives from Taiwan and the former president of APTSA


“Make us stronger, make you better, make PT leaders!”

Back in year 2008, several faculty members (including our chairperson Dr. Suh-Fang Jeng, Dr. Huei-Ming Chai, and Dr. Pei-Fang Tang) and students (I-Shan Liu, Chih-Hsuan, Emily, Chou, and Nai-Ho Yin) from our department came up with the idea of establishing an international student association for the Asia Pacific region and with their devotions and dedication, Asia Physical Therapy Student Association (APTSA) was officially founded in July 2010 with its first annual conference hosted and held by National Taiwan University. The mission statements of this non-political student association are: 1) to promote regional cooperation and interactions among physical therapy students in Asia, 2) to expand physical therapy students’ horizon and to improve the environment of PT education, and 3) to enhance unique regional characteristics and international competitiveness for PT students in Asia. It’s been more than two years since we first started APTSA here in Taiwan and with the great success from the first two annual conferences hosted by National Taiwan University (Taiwan) and Kyoto University (Japan) in 2010 (Taipei) and 2011 (Kyoto), this year we had the opportunity to go to the University of Santo Tomas located in Manila, Philippines for the 3rd annual conference of APTSA.

“We had a great time and a wonderful experience” and that’s my perception in short. You can read the review about this conference in detail from the other article in this month’s issue but I’d like to share some additional thoughts from my observation regarding this conference in The Philippines. This conference was a huge success and we’d like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Association of Philippine Physical Therapy Students (APPTS), University of Santo Tomas, and the Philippine Physical Therapy Association, Inc. (PPTA) for their hospitality and enthusiasm for hosting such an extraordinary event, and to all the students participating in this conference for teaching us something even more valuable in education.

“Education is a privilege, don’t take it for granted”. When we visited Manila, we had a huge cultural shock with the appearance of this capital city. Poverty is a critical social problem there in current days and over one quarter (26.5% in 2009) of its population falls below the poverty line in The Philippines. The daily minimum wage from government regulation for a common Filipino is 426 Philippine Pesos (which is equivalent to approximately 303 TWD) and according to the locals there, the minimum expense for a family there would be around 900~1,000 Pesos per day (just FYI, a common McDonalds meal will cost you around 160 Pesos). And guess how much the tuition would be like for their college students? The answer would be 280,000 Pesos for 5 years total with their PT students and this is a country with its 30th – 40th percentile citizens earned an average of 13,000 Pesos per family of 5 per month. I’m not trying to make the argument about who pays more or earns less on education and daily living, but what surprises me was the attitude that students showed when I was there.

“Receiving higher education and achieving excellence are the best ways getting out of poverty”. With a room packed with over two hundred students and that one distinct message I received from them was “do you know how to make us more competent in learning and practicing physical therapy”. Their curiosity, motivation, and concentration already gave them a good starting point to move towards this goal and the desire to succeed was unparalleled. There are all kinds of reasons why the country is in such condition including social, political, economic, etc., but the more their environment challenges them, these young and brave souls are constantly seeking for solutions to get them out of this mess. I think with the right timing and maybe a bit help from the government or the international society, they’d be back in the game competing for leading position in no time. The energy expressed by their younger generation already pre-qualified them to compete in this global village and not to mention that English is one of their official languages.

To our dear students, fear of poverty might not be the haunting ghost in your head at this time, and the uncertain physical therapy job market status in Taiwan nowadays may not be as bad as some other professions nor an immediate threat to you, but what we’d really have to ask ourselves is “does the friendlier socio-economic environment and relatively easier approaching college education really make you achieve more than your age equivalents in other countries?”. You all are brilliant students with not just outstanding academic performance but exceptional extra-curriculum activities, and who also were the ones that will become the primary strength to move this profession and nation forward in the near future. The desire to succeed and to achieve excellence should not be any different from others and they will eventually become the drive to make necessary changes that lead to a better future not only with a better income, but a greater sense of achievement for us all. Competitions coming from other regions or countries around the world will be good stimuli and nutrients to facilitate and ensure one’s proper growth.

“Make us stronger, make you better, make PT leaders!” was the slogan we came up with couple years ago for APTSA and like the old saying “All great things start from small beginnings”, we wish that the influence of APTSA could initiate essential changes starting from individuals, through education system, and eventually to our profession. If we’re craving for a better physical therapy practicing environment and higher socio-economic status in the future, maybe it is time to make some changes to ourselves first to skyrocket our energy for making the big breakthrough and to keep the momentum of evolution going, and what about you?



The Main Building of University of Santo Tomas (Almost 100 years old inside this 400 years old university)  


Look how happy we are ~~ 
(Group photo of the attendees for the 3rd annual conference of APTSA)