The Unexpected Doctor

What was initially far from her mind, brought both Tun Siti and Malaysia far

If you thought that most of the modern world, especially contemporary Southeast Asia, was built by men, or that women only contributed by fulfilling their roles in the home, you wouldn’t be alone.

For a long time, female Southeast Asian leaders have not been in the spotlight, and though there are books on important figures like the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and Mr. Goh Chok Tong, there really aren’t a lot of children’s books on our outstanding women leaders in both the political and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) realms. To contribute to filling these gaps, and to empower and inspire little girls and boys in Asia, and in the world, World Scientific is proud to publish and launch Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali: The Accidental Doctor.

“This is such an important book precisely because of its focus on Tun Siti, a Southeast Asian woman,” said authors Ms Eva Wong Nava and Ms June Ho, in a joint statement, “Her story is not widely known…For instance, did you know that she was the first female Malay doctor to graduate from the University of Malaya?”

Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah would go on to make many positive changes in the lives of women: educating, empowering, and counselling them on health, their rights and a balanced diet post-birth. She also helped prevent many children from contracting severe childhood diseases by vaccinating them.

Launched on 31 August 2020, launch The Accidental Doctor is a story about an ordinary girl, who through hard work and determination, ended up being Malaysia’s first female Malay doctor, and then Malaysia’s first lady. Catch the replay of the launch on

This book is part of the “Woman Who Shaped Asia” series, which aims not just to educate but to also motivate its readers. The series’ stories celebrate the amazing accomplishments of women from the region, their remarkable strength in the face of adversity and sheer determination make it possible for their dreams to be fulfilled, no matter how big! The series serves to remind young readers that great things were accomplished by people who were once little, just like them.

More information and advanced reviews for the book may be found at

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Meet the Creators

The Authors

Eva Wong Nava lives between two worlds. She reads copiously and writes voraciously. She holds a degree in English Literature and Language from the University of Hull where Philip Larkin was once the University Librarian; a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (P.G.C.E.) from University College London where the Institute of Education resides, and a certificate in Art Writing from Sotheby’s Art Institute which she undertook to better understand what the craft entails. She holds a M.A. in Art History and has taught children and adults how they can use writing for communication and play. Eva has been a speaker at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content on writing about diversity and representing marginalised voices. She is the founder of CarpeArte Journal, an online space, where flash fiction meets art. Eva’s flash fiction has appeared in various places and her articles on art have been published in international art journals. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and her debut middle-grade book, Open: A Boy’s Wayang Adventure, was awarded the bronze medal at the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, 2018. Eva is also the author of several picture books.

June Ho is the intrepid wandering Booktuber of The No Bull Channel. She has been using the channel to promote and restore people’s passion for reading, fully understanding how books can change lives. She has interviewed authors, connected with fellow lovers of books from all over the world, while sharing her thoughts on the eclectic mix of books she reads. She also shares her love for travel with her subscribers and is unrelenting in her pursuit to inspire and motivate others. As a motivator and a speaker, with a charming sense of humour, she has spoken in front of audiences about matters on literature, charity and business, among others. She is conscious of her responsibility to help open minds and is never afraid to speak hers. June has also been a teacher and a trainer, constantly determined to make a difference in the lives of those under her tutelage. She believes that life ought to be loaded with love, laughter and literature, and never fails to remind those close to her of the importance to embrace these. June is currently wading through a pile of books that need to be reviewed for her next episode of The No Bull Channel.

The Artist

Debasmita Dasgupta is a Singapore-based, internationally published, Kirkus Best Prize nominated illustrator and graphic novelist. With over a decade-long career in the field of publishing, she has illustrated over 20 picture books, comics & poems for children and young adults. Widely known as an art-for-change advocate and as the Founder of ArtsPositive non-profit, Debasmita tells stories of changemakers from around the world partnering with global non-profits. She is also the Co-founder of Picture Book Matters, an initiative that mentors aspiring children’s book writers and illustrators in Asia. Her art has been exhibited in Asia and Europe, and more than 40 international media outlets have featured it. Debasmita’s debut independent graphic novel, NADYA, published by Scholastic, is critically acclaimed in many countries. Presently she is developing a long-form graphic novel as well as working on a few picture books for international publishers including HarperCollins London.

About WS Education

WS Education (WSE)
an imprint of World Scientific Publishing Co, a global publishing house founded in 1981 by Professor and Mrs K K Phua with the support of two Nobel Laureates. Set up to develop the highest quality children’s and educational print and digital books for children, youth, parents and families worldwide, we focus on three age groups: Children (3–8 years old), Children (6–12 years old), and Youth (12–18 years old) and are passionate about promoting two themes: (a) The Asian Theme: We aim to bring to the spotlight stories and developments from Asia. We want to fill the gap of Asian-themed children’s and educational resources in the English-speaking market. And, (b) The Science theme. We aim to be the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) children’s publisher for Asia. Our books will focus on educating, engaging and entertaining children with STEM themes, in particular, Science and Mathematics. Most of our titles contain Augmented Reality (AR) elements. Children can scan pages in WSE books to access bonus material, quizzes, animation videos and 3D models of the content, hence adding a special dimension to their reading and learning experience.

For more information on WS Education, visit