With large scale gatherings suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nurses Day
at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) took on a different approach this
Working around the restrictions, senior management and several doctors in NCCS
came up with the novel idea to put together a sincere tribute to NCCS’ team of
Separated by time and space but unified appreciation and support for their nursing
colleagues, several medical staff sang a special rendition of ‘You Are The Reason’,
with Medical Director Professor William Hwang writing special lyrics that pay tribute
to the role oncology nurses play in their patients’ lives. Senior Resident Dr Joshua
Hoe, contributed to the effort with flawless musical arrangement.
View video here: https://www.facebook.com/55908074413/videos/292291081847986
Music has often been said to be the medicine of the mind and this music video was
certainly a refreshing touch and a lovely surprise to NCCS nurses .We speak to one
of the doctors behind this campaign – Dr Joshua Hoe, Senior Resident, National
Cancer Centre Singapore who put together the music for the video.
Salubris: Hi Dr Hoe, what a heartwarming video, tell us all about it – whose idea
was it and how long did you take to put all the recordings together?
Dr Joshua Hoe: All credit goes to the bosses for the idea! I think it was Professors
William Hwang and Toh Han Chong, as well as Dr Elaine Lim who originally had the
idea. They subsequently shared it with the other doctors. I came into the picture
because they knew I had a personal interest in music. It took me around two days of
recording, editing and video production work with one all-nighter!
Salubris: Two days – that’s a feat considering the number of recordings you had to
edit and clip together. Do you have any prior experience in producing music?
Dr Hoe: I've always loved music, and I think probably since my dad (who is very
much an audiophile) spent every evening blasting Michael Jackson, the Eagles
("Love will keep us alive" is such an amazing song), the Beach Boys and Pink Floyd.
As a child, I used to dance to Michael Jackson’s song in my pyjamas, but please
don't ask for pictures of that!
As I got older, I very much wanted to play the music I was hearing with a guitar, not
least because I hoped it would get me a girlfriend as a teenager. Instead, I fell in love
with music and started playing the guitar. These things are definitely not mutually
exclusive, since I am married now and still play the guitar quite regularly (with
Salubris: How long have you been doing this and what instruments do you play?
Which music genres are you into?
Dr Hoe: I've been playing the guitar for about 15 years and have a small recording
setup at home . I mostly play the acoustic guitar, some electric guitar, some drums,
very little bass guitar, very little keys. I am into recording and audio production too, at
an amateur level. I started to record my own covers and arrangements and have
been posting those on my Youtube, Instagram and Soundcloud page since my
That’s a tough question about music I'm into! My musical heroes of the moment are:
John Mayer, Tommy Emmanuel, William Fitzsimmons, The Band Camino, Hillsong,
Dave Barnes, Ben Rector, Matt Wertz, Scarypoolparty, Gabe Bondoc on YouTube - I
suppose collectively they roughly fall into the pop/rock/blues/acoustic genres.
And if anybody needs music to relax, study or blank out to, I recommend Lo-Fi hip
hop on Spotify or YouTube. It’s fantastic – just search it!
Salubris: Now we’re curious. Being a medical professional often means long
working hours, how do you find time to play and record music?
Dr Hoe: It’s hard! Ever so often I have to re-evaluate how I use my time. But 90% of
the time I don't feel as if they are in conflict. I can't spend all my waking hours
thinking about work anyway as the brain stops being productive after a certain point.
When I play and am in a creative space for a while, it gives me more energy and
drive than before. I'm also very lucky to have a supportive wife, which is a huge
When I was a medical officer, I took leave to busk in the Singapore General Hospital
MUSICFEST event organized by Singtheatre. I went around a few wards to sing and
strum the guitar. I would love to do it again, if there is an opportunity and if I have the
Salubris: Are there other doctors who you play music with?
Dr Hoe: Yes, I had a cover and/or wedding band when I was in medical school and
my band members are also doctors working in public hospitals. And I recently
discovered a great group of doctors who are obsessed about music after I did a
medical humanities event called "A Night To Remember". We’re always talking about
music to each other.
My wife is a geriatrics trainee in another public hospital and I think she probably has
the best voice I've heard amongst people I know in real life. We have some covers
we did together on my Youtube page and we often play for church or at weddings
Salubris: On a final note, share with us what makes music such a special hobby for
Dr Hoe: Playing and making music brings such a rush of emotions every time. The
way I see it, music connects things - it connects the mechanical movement of playing
something on an instrument, with an experience in the mind or intangibles like an
emotional or spiritual experience, and ultimately connects to other people who share
the experience. For me personally, it is intrinsically linked to playing regularly in
church, and it’s also a great reminder to stay fluid and reactive in the moment rather
than overthinking things.
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