The country of Malaysia, in addition to being known for its beaches, rainforests and the mixture of cultural roots from China, India and Europe, it highlights its people who are in search of knowledge.
A clear example of this is Dr. Ashwini M. Madawana, also known as Dr. Ash of 30 years of age, who represents her country proudly through her passion and love to her work as she continues to grow as a dentist, influencer, soprano and writer.
As a young lady, Ash was very observant and curious, she wanted to know how and why things worked that way they did and how she could make them better. As the only child and surrounded by adults at an early age, she quickly grew up making her the woman that she is today. In an interview with perlarico.com, she tells us her unique story.
1. Let’s begin in your high school years, we know that you were one of the best in your class, how did you manage to become the Valedictorian of your high school class?
Ash: Thank you Perla for having me. Yes, my parents gave a lot of emphasis to my studies. They were teachers and they were the sole reason for how far I have come in my life and I owe my success to them. During my high school days, I used to be active in public speaking, I was the President of the English Society Club, I was active in the Red crescent Society (even up to date). My parents tirelessly guided me through the 11 subjects I took for the SPM (Malaysian Certificate of Education).
2. Why did you decided to study pediatric dentistry?
Ash: I saw my calling in life when I lost my father due to late detection of Cancer. Up to this day, I feel the sorrow of no longer having him beside me. I would not wish to anyone to undergo the pain my family and I went through. I was not able to do anything as I watched my father succumb to death right in my hands.
Dr. Ash recalls,
“Since that day, I decided that I needed to dedicate the rest of my life to research and early detection of cancer. What was a better place to begin with if not from the womb? Hence Pediatric Dentistry. One in four Malaysians including children have the risk of developing cancer throughout their lifetime and this has to change.”-Dr. Ash, dentist, influencer, soprano and writer
3. That’s very admirable. Aside from being a dentist, you have also created a podcast of Stigma Slayers. What is it about?
Ash: It’s an Organization where I gather my battalion of like minded people to address social stigmas. I realize that I could relate to this age group since I have faced many stigmas in my life and at my workplace. At that time, I had no one to talk to and I wanted to be there for those who need a shoulder to cry on and listen to them regardless of been there in person or via virtual means. So, when I went to Clubhouse (a social network application) I realized that there were so many out there who needed help but they were afraid since they did not want to be labelled by their community as troublesome people.
Ash continues, “People in my battalion find it easier to communicate and pass their messages across to the community via my podcast on Spotify. The podcast usually consists of 60 second messages from me or less than 10 minutes interviews with invited guests. Stigma Slayers is a non-profit Organization and anyone that wants to speak out could just reach out to me.”
4. It’s great that your helping your community fight stigmas such as these ones. Not just that, you’re a jack of all trades because you also know how to sing. When did your passion begin towards music?
Ash: As a child I hated being dragged to Carnatic Singing lessons on Sundays, as it was my day off from school. Soon after when I started singing on stage, it helped me with my stage fright and when I sang at religious functions people used to come up to me and thank me for singing. Later on, I continued with the regular western music and having crushes on Boy Band members made me venture further. My father noticed that I could re-create music with my recorder right after listening to the melody when I was young. So, he kept gifting me with other musical instruments. I learned to play the guitar, violin, clarinet and the keyboard. As I started working, I joined the Broadway theatre Music Society and my vocal coach introduced me to the ESTILL Vocal Training Programme. After that, I start venturing into western music.
5. Due to the pandemic many people reinvented themselves, including yourself. Tell us about your Shoutcast Project and talking about important topics such as COVID-19?
Ash: Shoutcast Project was done during the start of the pandemic when people weren’t too bothered on how virulent and dangerous the novel coronavirus was. I had patients demanding aesthetic treatment and yelling in my clinic when we told them about the danger that they could face due to aerosol generating procedures in the dental clinic. Social distancing, hand washing and face masks were labelled as “troublesome”. I wanted to create awareness throughout the world so that we would curb the spread of the virus. It was also an indirect way to increase public awareness and help the Ministry of Health in having a two-way, that is patient-doctor approach in reducing the transmission of virus.
6. You have written three books, what can you tell us about Utthiram, Sensei and Beyond School Gates?
Ash: After my father passed away, I believed that it was my responsibility to publish his literature. Utthiram, was an incomplete book originally written by my father about a sage who guided him through his spiritual path. Sensei, it is a compilation of another literal work by my father and mine where we talked about Aikido, the martial arts that I studied as a child. Beyond School Gates, was my inspiration for my taste in the field of pediatrics. So when I ventured out, I realized that special needs was an area that was always left in the dark and that all children should be emphasized in regardless of their conditions. All of these books can be found on Amazon.com (both e-books and paperbacks).
7. Is there anything you would you like to tell our readers?
Ash: I would like to tell the readers to not give up when you’re thrown to the wolf pack but to come back leading it. There are going to be many instances where people put you down and life seems to be horrible. Life is the best teacher, the people that surround us sometimes makes it a living hell.
Dr. Ash concludes,
“Do not ever let anyone label you or define you. Your existence on Earth was not a mistake. You were personally chosen by God and the universe to be here. Find your true calling and build an empire out of the stones they throw at you.”-Dr. Ash, dentist, influencer, soprano and writer