To look at Patrick Tan you see a Chinese man in his fifties – but he looks very healthy – because he has learned to use the life-force present in all of us known as chi.
A soft-spoken, modest man who prefers to stay away from the limelight, Tan was born in a small town in Malaysia about 250 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur.
He’s not in private practice in healing, nor does he accept money for what he does. His day job is Chief Representative in Cambodia for Moet Hennessy, one of the most favoured names in Champagne, brandy and other beverages – yet Tan himself very rarely drinks.
He’s learned to politely refuse to join groups in rounds of drinking – which is difficult to do – especially in places he visits like China – in favour of his health. Yet he’s the kind of man who can easily do it.
Quite separate from his working life, Tan helps people heal themselves by using his own chi together with acupressure points to help people get over problems like migraine headaches, digestive problems and other common aches and pains.
Tan took hold of my hand and looked at me intently, but kindly and applied pressure from his thumb into the space between my thumb and index finger.
“What do you feel?” he asked.
Beginning with a study of Taoism when he was a teenager in Malaysia, he became interested in Buddhism at age 18 when he met his guru, a famous monk from Thailand.
“He taught me prayer and meditation,” Tan said; “I saw him do healing.”
Over the years Tan has taken what he learned from that Thai monk and combined it with study of acupressure in China as well as reading and watching documentaries about healing and has come to his own special way of helping people.
“In your heart you must not ask for returns or be greedy. You must have a compassionate heart to heal others,” he said.
Tan is not making healing his business. It is just something he does to serve a larger purpose – helping people who need his skills.
One man with migraine headaches came and Tan was able to find pressure points and relieve the pain.
“We use the four elements: earth, water, fire and wind. These four make up our body and when you don’t have balance you get sick. What we do with the pressure points is try to balance the four elements and make the toxins get out from your body.”
At age 53, Tan has three daughters and one granddaughter, all of whom, along with his wife, live in Malaysia. Tan spends most of his time in Phnom Penh, but makes regular trips to see his family – and has among his patients in healing, his own mother.
“I help my mother too – she’s 80-plus years old.”
As far as his healing philosophy is concerned, Tan does not make success his first priority.
“When you do that, you might not succeed,” he says.
“You just have to show your true heart to help people without thinking you must make success. You must do it from your passionate heart.”
Sometimes people suffer from kharma-related ailments that are beyond Tan’s ability to heal. In these cases, people suffer from what they already caused themselves to have according to their own actions.
“Sometimes you can deduce it. If you have normal sickness which is not kharma sickness, then it will be easier to heal,” he said.
The most important thing for Tan is the energy of a concentrated mind.
“You use your mind to create the energy. You mind must think of a good way. If you think of good things, good things will happen.”
In what is learned and what is practiced, according to Tan, the top priority is helping people.
“You can’t help everybody and you can’t cure everybody. What I’m doing is trying to offer the energy – and during that moment you have to concentrate your mind and try to give the patient your energy.
“In my mind when I do it I try to create an emptiness,” he said.
“This is not for business and I certainly am not asking for any returns.”
When he does massage, Tan says, most patients think he’s just doing massage, but what he’s really doing is the movement of his own healing power of chi for the benefit of others.