Ancient and Mystic
Who will not look at other avenues for cure?
We did. And he came heavily recommended. One touch at the pulse, one look at the throat and the extended tongue, and he will know what is wrong with you. At least that was what we were told.
He was Dr. Tan Ci Shou and he practiced traditional Chinese medicine. A healer (there are many accounts from friends and strangers that make him sound larger than life).
I have no knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine. Or what I think I know, I learned from some Chinese movie (or is it from a Korean tele-series?) and novels (Amy Tan?). But it is fascinating and enchanting and carries more charm than the synthetic (non-natural and expensive) medicine of the west.
And okay, we were something short of desperate – as the pronouncement from our three doctors did not sound very promising.
So one Sunday afternoon, we meandered along the streets of Binondo to Fu Yong Mansion, Ongpin corner Teodora Alonso Street. It was there that we found him, at a nondescript, decaying building, two fu dogs guarding the entrance. We were excited to meet our alternative (also scared).
He was wearing white and sat at the corner of a box-shaped room, flanked by a female assistant and 5 other people. We sat and waited for our turn (hand on the camera – I originally wanted to document the experience but did not because I got shy). I imagined how this office must look like on a regular day (not on a Sunday at 4pm), when a line would snake out from the room, down the stairs and onto the hot, busy street, everyone sharing their stories (or not), while waiting for their 5 minutes with Dr. Tan.
Because really, that is all it takes.
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