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Israeli takes up acupuncture science in Taiwan for love of Chinese medicine

‘I could be a Taiwanese in my past life,’ said Gil Elazar Ton

Gil Elazar Ton (Edited photo by CNA)

Gil Elazar Ton (Edited photo by CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An Israeli national gave up his cozy life as a doctor in his homeland three years ago to pursue an unlikely profession in Taiwan – becoming a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.

Gil Elazar Ton (唐吉利), 34, had served as a paramedic in the military for three years, during which he found his calling and was determined to go into medicine. Discharged from the military, he spent a few years traveling to India and Beijing, where he fell in love with Oriental culture and developed a yearning to visit Taiwan impressed by a classmate who kept pitching for the beauty of the country, reported Liberty Times.

With the assistance of Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, Ton received a scholarship from Ministry of Education and embarked on a new life taking up acupuncture science at China Medical University in Taiwan.

Unintimidated by the abstruse and obscure terminology of acupoints and their respective applications written in Chinese – knowledge even locals find daunting – Ton said he has enjoyed acquiring Chinese language through studying the alternative medicine and even called it an “enthralling” experience to break down the components of Chinese characters, each of which has its own story, the report quoted him.

According to Ton, life in Taiwan has been convenient and safe, while people here are known for their warm-heartedness. The expertise he has picked up also allows him to treat family members who fall ill, for example preparing plain congee with goji (枸杞) for them as breakfast.

Currently working on a PhD in acupuncture, Ton has set his mind to pursue a career as a Chinese medicine practitioner and shows interest in the research of laser acupuncture and facial paralysis treatment, said the report.

Learn more about scholarship opportunities at the website of Taiwan Scholarship and Huayu Enrichment Scholarship Program.