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District Grand Lodge of the Easter Archipelago

Kuala Lumpur , January 2022

W Bro Dr Jagdev Singh Badhesha, (PDGSW) is probably the world's oldest serving civil aviation chief medical assessor and medical examiner, since 1976, retires

The District Grand Lodge of the Eastern Archipelago’s Ashlar newsletter is proud to include an article extracted from NST announcing that one of our very own, Worshipful Brother Jagdev Singh Badhesha, Past District Senior Grand Warden and Past Master of Klang Lodge No. 3369 and Fidelity Lodge No. 8649 , who has served Freemasonry faithfully and long, has at the age 90 plus years marked another significant milestone in his long and fruitful life when he retired as civil aviation chief medical assessor and medical examiner.

His singular Masonic career in Malaysia is as long and as distinguished as his professional life.In tribute to their Dad hisfamily so well depicted their immense pride for all of his life’s achievements in their “Dad’s 90th Birthday” Newsletter to him. Now his many accomplishments are well captured in the public arena by the NST article.

W Bro Dr Jagdev initiated into Freemasonry in 1966 and was installed as the Worshipful Master of Klang Lodge No. 3369 in 1975 and once again in 1998.

He later went on to be installed as the Worshipful Master of Malaysia’s premier research lodge, Fidelity Lodge No. in 2018.

EC Jagdev Singh is a Past 2nd Assistant Sojourner for the District Grand Chapter of the Eastern Archipelago,holds Grand Rank in the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, SEA,Royal and Select Master Grand Lodge of SEA, the Grand Conclave of the Order of Secret Monitors SEA, and other appendant orders.

Awarded the Districts Meritorious Service award in 2012 he is well known figure throughout our District, and is deeply respected by all within our close knit circle of Freemasonry throughout South East Asia in all aspects of his life, professionalism and the manner in which he carries out his Masonic duties. So Brethren, we hope you enjoy this article that illustrates our dear Brother’s Dr Jagdev’s accomplishments as a Man and a Mason.

While the writer starts off his article with “Its curtains down….” Some may see it as the end of a performance, but for us, his Masonic Brethren we see as the beginning of the next Act.

NST by Adrian David - January 7, 2022 @ 4:32pm

It's curtains down, finally for Dr Jagdev

PUTRAJAYA: Capt (Rtd) Dr Jagdev Singh Badhesha is probably the world's oldest serving civil aviation chief medical assessor and medical examiner, since 1976.

Dr Jagdev, who will turn 91 years on June 27, has served the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) for a commendable 45 years!

He finally called it a day by officially retiring from regular practice as CAAM's chief medical assessor, on Dec 31 last year.

And that does not include his tenure of two and-a-half-years as a medical doctor with the armed forces, specialising in aviation medicine to screen aircrew and air traffic controllers for the Royal Malaysian Air Force, plus decades in private practice – to become the nation's pioneer aviation medicine doctor.

In total, Dr Jagdev served the aviation industry for 60 amazing years.

CAAM chief executive officer Capt Chester Voo Chee Soon said that he was just one-year old when Dr Jagdev was recruited by the then Department of Civil Aviation (now CAAM) in 1976.

"I have worked closely with Dr Jagdev the past one and-a-half years and found him a very kind person, with a deep human touch.

"He has set the landscape for the aviation industry.

"The number of aircrew medical licences he has approved is countless.

"His tireless years served will not be forgotten and we greatly appreciate his immeasurable expertise, dedication and contribution to the country," said Voo at a simple farewell retirement ceremony for Dr Jagdev at the CAAM headquarters.

Present were Dr Jagdev's wife Neeta Badhesha, CAAM flight operations director Capt. Norazman Mahmud and Dr Jagdev's successor Dr Ng Ling Seow.

Voo, who was appointed to helm CAAM on June 1, 2020 added it was experts like Dr Jagdev who ensured safe flight operations with stringent medical examination of aircrew - especially pilots - serving with airlines, air charter companies and general aviation.

"Dr Jagdev is a rare breed, as just one of 28 accredited aviation medicine doctors in the country – serving an estimated 3,900 licensed pilots and nine certified flying schools in Malaysia.

"To me, people like him are a gem in the industry.

"I wish him a happy retirement that is everything that he has dreamt about.

"We are eternally ever grateful to him," said Voo, who previously served with Malaysia Airlines for 15 years and then AirAsia for 12 years with his last appointment as its flight operations director.

Voo recounted an episode of a recalcitrant airline pilot who regularly reported for work sick.

"We had to seek Dr Jagdev's magical touch, to carry out a thorough medical examination on the pilot.

"It turned out to be a case of play acting and we managed to discipline him," said Voo, adding that thousands of the nation's civilian and military pilots might not have continued flying, if not for people like Dr Jagdev.

Dr Jagdev said although he found it difficult to leave his 'CAAM family' after so many years, he had to move on with life.

"I found it the right time to officially retire, and am confident my successor and his team are capable to handle the task.

"Age has caught up and I wish to spend more time with family and friends.

"But of course, I will continue to advise and render my expertise to CAAM or others if called upon, when necessary," said Dr Jagdev.

He added that many pilots had considered him strict.

"We have a job to perform and do not unfairly 'ground' them as its their passion to fly.

"On the contrary, we attempt very hard to resolve their medical issues and help them remain in their seats (by continuing to fly)," said Dr Jagdev.

He reminisced how life had been very tough upon him in earlier years.

"Life was challenging since young, when I had to struggle from humble beginnings to supplement my family's income by delivering milk on the bicycle to the police barracks before morning classes (at King Edward VII School of Taiping, Perak between 1941 and 1950).

"Then, I endured the Japanese Occupation (during World War 2), and later the May 13 (1969) riots where my medical expertise was summoned upon.

"Frankly, what I am today, I owe it to my parents and grandparents – for their strong longevity genes - who nurtured and groomed me through the rough shackles of life to become a success story.

"It was a tough journey all the way and I have no regrets until today.

"They grilled me through the mill so that as a well-fed milk boy, I did not end up a sloppy, pot-belly 'Billy Bunter' (a fictional obese schoolboy comic character)," said Dr Jagdev, who is blessed with daughters Kiren, Sharan, Nisha and Nimmi, and two grandchildren Sunaina and Jayraj.

On his longevity, Dr Jagdev said that he practiced a healthy lifestyle with a moderation of food and beverage consumption, plus regular exercise and a good rest.

He added that his experiences and hardship during childhood inculcated a sense of discipline and a steely resolve to pursue his dream to become a doctor.

"My life has been very fruitful as I grabbed whatever opportunities that came along to move on successfully," he said.

After completing his Senior Cambridge (Form Five), he left home in 1951 to continue his pre-university studies at St Xavier's Institution in Penang.

From 1952 to 1957, he pursued medicine at Australia's Adelaide University, graduating as a doctor in 1958.

"I then had to do my housemanship at Royal Adelaide Hospital for a year, and then serve as a medical officer at its maternity and children's wards.

In 1961, Dr Jagdev, returned home to begin his compulsory government service at Melaka Hospital.

Six months on the job, he was seconded to the armed forces as a military doctor for two and-a-half years, with the rank of captain.

Dr Jagdev briefly served as a medical officer at the Port Dickson garrison (in Negri Sembilan), before being sent for basic aviation medicine training at the Royal Air Force base in Singapore the same year.

"I returned to take charge of aviation medicine at the RMAF base in Sungai Besi (Kuala Lumpur).

"Very much later, the Institute of Aviation Medicine was established there as a proper aircrew screening centre," said Dr Jagdev, who had served under the country's first army chief General Tan Sri Tunku Osman Mohd Jewa and its first armed forces chief Lieutenant-General Tan Sri Sir James Newton Rodney Moore.

He explained that he decided not to extend his rather short military service, owing to better opportunities in the corporate sector.

In 1963, Dr Jagdev joined Drs Young, Newton and Partners clinic and rose to be its principal partner in Kuala Lumpur until 1980.

During this time, he provided service to workers at estates, mines and offshore oil rigs for companies like Shell.

After retiring from Drs Young, Newton and Partners in 1980, Dr Jagdev served Esso (later Exxon-Mobil) as its medical director until 1997.

During his long sabbatical leaves, he took the opportunity to first pursue public health advanced diploma at University of Singapore (1971), then occupational health diploma at Dundee University (1974), followed by aviation medicine certificate at Farnborough in England, (1975), became a Fellow of the Australian Faculty of Occupational Medicine at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (1989) and attained Membership of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, UK (1995).

Dr Jagdev even served as a 'flying doctor' in Kargoolie, Western Australia, during another sabbatical in 1966.

"I was among the first to propagate the cardiopulmonary resuscitation technique and advanced cardiac care to many industries, and later helped formulate the country's Occupational Safety and Health Act for the Human Resources Ministry," he said.

The burly Dr Jagdev was also a talented hockey and cricket player for Perak, Selangor, Melaka, the armed forces, his club, university and the country, later on.

He had at one time captained the national cricket team during his prime, where he was a top bowler.


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