By Ashley Irwin
You may have heard of Dr. Ming Wang, as he has become a notable eye surgeon in Nashville, but you may not know much about him. One thing that may surprise you is that Dr. Wang grew up in Communist China during the Cultural Revolution, a moving story he tells in his autobiography From Darkness to Sight.
The Cultural Revolution in China was a time of great suffering. Over 10 years of violence and horror, the Cultural Revolution in China destroyed the lives of 20 million young people (Source). Schools were shut down and more than 16 million young people were deported to the countryside to endure a lifetime of hard labor and poverty. At 14-years-old, Dr. Wang received his deportation letter.
“It was a moment of desperation,” he said at a Brentwood Rotary Club event where he shared his story.
To avoid deportation and poverty, many children learned to dance, play music and other forms of cultural entertainment.
“Turns out, if you could play an instrument or dance you could be in the Communist propaganda troupe, because they needed that to keep their power,” Dr. Wang added.
He learned to play musical instruments and the art of ballroom dance, talents he still uses to this day.
Although learning to ballroom dance was a survival tactic for Dr. Ming Wang, he says he finds that the skills required to dance benefit him today in his medical profession.
“Ballroom dancing has served a much bigger purpose in my medical career…it has taught me how to better connect with my patients.”
Although enduring the hardships of the Cultural Revolution was difficult, Dr. Wang believes that his suffering allows him to empathize with those who are suffering now. Because of his experiences, he devotes as much time as possible to charitable causes and when people ask him why he does it, he says “I want to help these people who are suffering because I once suffered myself.”
On Thursday, Nov 3rd, you can learn more about what it was like for Dr. Wang to grow up and escape the Cultural Revolution at his book launch party. The event begins at 6:30pm at Generations Church at 408 Church St. in Franklin. Register for the event here. At the event, there will also be a drawing for a free 3D LASIK performed by Dr. Wang. Patrons can also enjoy food, drinks, and music. All proceeds will benefit the Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration, which has helped patients from over 40 states in the U.S. and 55 countries with all sight restoration surgeries performed free-of-charge.