Murallitharan is a medical doctor from Malaysia and currently a Chevening scholar studying the MSc Health Policy, Planning & Financing, taught jointly by the School and LSE.
Halfway through Reading Week, I sit back and think of the incredible journey that has culminated in my admission to the School as a student this year and am still amazed at how I am living the dream.
As a journalist , I first interviewed Professor Peter Piot, then Executive Director of UNAIDS in Kuala Lumpur, for the health section of a Malaysian newspaper 13 years ago. I remember leaving the interview a changed individual in more ways than one; being inspired by this man who had done so much for science and society; and more so I was impassioned enough to actually change careers to move into medicine, and subsequently into public health.
As a public health physician, my daily work and research revolves around work which in no small way is influenced by research and work from the School and its illustrious staff. As such I am always proud to admit that I am a ‘fanboy’ of the School. However, I never contemplated being able to even consider ever coming to study here, as in my mind I have always considered myself to be ‘not-up-to-the-standards’ to come here to study.
However, as they say, the universe moves in mysterious ways. As a Fellow at the University of Tokyo last year, I had an opportunity to meet Professor Peter Piot again when he spoke there. He was kind to say a few words to me at the end, which I am sure that he does not even remember, but made a world of difference to this ‘fan’: “You should come to study with us at the School”.
This actually spurred me to apply for a Chevening Scholarship, from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which once again, against my wildest expectations, I won. And so here I am at the School… listening to the Director at a Global Health Seminar, meeting Professor Anne Mills, whose written work I can perhaps quote verbatim; and attending Professor Nick Black’s lectures weekly…. Reading these written lines even I realize that I sound like a love-struck teenager but hey, isn’t that what fans are supposed to be at heart? So, here I am at the School. Living the dream. And loving it!