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Chase the dream: R. R. Pravin

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He once dreamt of getting his books published. Today, he is an accomplished writer who aims to spread the message of palliative care for children through his writings.

In primary school, his teachers criticised his inability to properly express himself and disapproved of the creative language he wrote in. However, R.R. Pravin stayed true to his writing style and continued to express himself innovatively.

"I did not fall into one of those cookie-cutter writing styles in primary school," said the 23-year-old, who is a final year student at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in National University of Singapore (NUS).


AN AUTHOR AND A FUTURE DOCTOR, PRAVIN ALSO SERVED AS PUBLICATIONS DIRECTOR
FOR THE 65TH MEDICAL SOCIETY IN NUS

It was in Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) where his life would be entirely transformed. In 2008, Pravin's life shattered when he lost his father to a medical tragedy. This was a year after he wrote African Girl, his first novel-to-be that follows a young girl and her struggle with slave trade of the yester years.

"Having lived with my dad, who struggled with a chronic medical condition, allows me to understand the patients better," said Pravin, whose personal experience helped him relate better with his patients and their family members.

Despite receiving multiple rejection letters from publishers, Pravin did not give up and strove to fulfill his father's dying wish: to have his book published at all costs. Eventually, African Girl was published with positive reviews and nominated as a finalist for the USA Best Books.

Today, an imminent change is on its way. Pravin, who has since written and published five books, aims to raise awareness of children's palliative care locally by getting his messages across through his writing.


PEEK-A-BOO: PRAVIN DRESSED AS A GIRAFFE DURING A 'PROJECT GIVE' EVENT

Palliative care for children – providing support for children diagnosed with serious or life-threatening conditions − is not a medical realm that most Singaporeans are familiar with.

"It was during my second year in NUS when I developed a zeal for children's palliative care," said Pravin. He was also inspired by the palliative doctors he met while in medical school, and the volunteering stints he did in outreach programmes for children receiving palliative care.

While earlier publications shone a light on the emancipation of women and children, his latest book, Caught In The Mo(u)rning Rain, is an anthology of poems dedicated to children and their families in paediatric palliative care.


PUBLISHED IN 2014, CAUGHT IN THE MO(U)RNING RAIN IS PRAVIN'S DEDICATION TO
PAEDIATRIC PALLIATIVE KIDS & THEIR FAMILIES

In Caught In The Mo(u)rning Rain, Pravin wrote that he will not be "going to rest till this ship sees shore". During our interview, he re-emphasised his determination to raise awareness of children's palliative care in Singapore, and hopes to increase the number of services available to them eventually.

"I hope that these children will have a better tomorrow," said Pravin.


PRAVIN WITH HIS MENTOR WHILE ATTACHED TO MONTREAL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

The youngest ever recipient of the National Tamil Language Literary Award for Literary Accomplishments – he won the award when he was 17 – is now working on a new book that will shed more light on paediatric palliative care.

"It is hard to tell as it is still in the stages of infancy," said Pravin, who hinted that he might be collaborating with his medical professors in school for his new book.

Perhaps, youths who are facing difficulties might be motivated and encouraged by the ups and downs of Pravin's life.

Follow Pravin's Children's Palliative Care (CPC) page on Facebook for updates and information.