Great Singapore family makeover

A family that nips and tucks together, stays together.

At least, that applies to the Ng family, who say that undergoing plastic surgery has brought them closer together.

Youngest daughter Veronica Ng, 22, was first to head to South Korea for the operation last September.

Mum Mary, 57, liked how her daughter turned out after the procedure so much that she went under the knife in February.

Then Miss Ng's older sister, Elizabeth, a 27-year-old finance officer, decided that she, too, would like to enhance her looks and had plastic surgery in June.

All three went to the same clinic in Seoul.

It all began when Miss Ng, a freelance make-up artist, wanted to mark her 21st birthday last year with a fresh start.

She says: "I think at that time, subconsciously, I wanted tosomething to break away from my rebellious past, to start anew as an adult."

She picked South Korea over Thailand because "everyone has heard of the (South Korean) surgeons' skills".

"I've heard of how good the Korean doctors are and I was really curious," she says.

The country's stable of gorgeous "and no-secret that-they-have-gone-through-plastic-surgery" stars was another reason.

"Look at all the (Korean) female stars. They look so good."

Miss Ng then asked her parents for permission to undergo the operation and both were supportive.

Her mother advised Miss Ng to get more details on the best options available.

Mrs Ng, who helps his husband in his bakery business, says: "I felt it was okay just as long as the job is done properly and well.

"Plastic surgery is not something to be shameful of."

Returning home a different women

Returning home a different women

Dad, who declined to be named, agreed to pay for the $6,000 operation.

Doctor-patient communication was one of the factors that Miss Ng took into consideration.

She says: "It was very important because I wanted to be able to ask questions (directly to the doctor) and get the answers I want without a translator.

"Details could be lost in translation, which could lead to problems later."

She decided on Item Clinic after meeting the doctors, Dr Kim Jin Sung and Dr Chung Woo Jin. The English-speaking doctors were in Singapore to meet potential clients.

"Other than being able to give me more details, I also felt that I was more comfortable with them. And that again was important," Miss Ng maintains.

"They were patient and took the time to listen to my needs. They also didn't mind answering all my questions."

Miss Ng had wanted to just do her "naturally big but only single eyelid" eyes.

She then added rhinoplasty (nose job) to the list.

In September, she flew to Seoul and returned home a different woman.

Miss Ng does not remember much about the pain after the three-hour operation. She said she was focused on wanting to see her "new face".

She spent 19 days in Seoul, and even did some shopping while recuperating from the operation.

Miss Ng says: "I think it helped that I had the support of the family as the recovery period takes a while and can drag you into depression. They kept my spirits up over the phone.

"Your face will be all swollen and you really look terrible to some extent."

Not everyone approved

Not everyone approved

But not everyone liked her new face, she adds.

She had told her close friends that she was going for surgery, but they were not really supportive.

"Many of my friends told me that they preferred the old me and that I looked better before the surgery," she reveals.

"But to me, I definitely look better now."

After Mrs Ng saw the success of her daughter's plastic surgery, she was also tempted to go for it.

She says: "I'd accompanied my daughter to some of the consultation sessions and became quite interested."

After her daughter returned, she approached her husband, to whom she has been married since 1983.

"I told Daddy (her pet name for her husband), what about me?" she recalls.

According to Mrs Ng, he said: "Of course, I'm okay... Why not, if my wife can look prettier?"

Mrs Ng left for Seoul to get a full face lift and liposuction in February. Mr Ng paid $11,000 for her package.

Next up was Miss Ng's older sister, who went to the same clinic in June. The older Miss Ng, 27, is getting married next year.

Miss Ng says: "My sister was in two minds at first, but she was finally convinced after she saw mum's and my results."

Not the only nip-and-tuck family

Not the only nip-and-tuck family

Her sister went for a double eye-lid operation, lower eyebag removal and liposuction to her arms and thighs. The procedures cost $9,000, again paid for by Mr Ng.

The younger Miss Ng smiles and says: "Dad's a happy man because all the women he loves are prettier and happier.

"And I think what's really important, we are all closer now after being there for one another."

They are not the only nip-and-tuck family.

Mr Teoh Nam Rui, his wife, Madam Christina Ho, 52, and their daughters, Cammie, 25, Carrie, 23, and Cassie, 21, have all had work done on their bodies.

Mr Teoh, 64, a businessman, says: "Aiyoh, it's not a big deal, lah. But we thought it would be fun to go for plastic surgery together during the holidays."

He spent nearly $65,000 in all for the 12-day trip in January, which took them four months to plan.

But he asks that we do not give away too many details about his family other than their ages. He also declined to reveal more about their procedures.

Says Mr Teoh: "I'm okay, lah, but I think all my girls (including his wife) are still getting used to their new lives and faces.

"But really, it's not a big deal. People go there (Seoul) to ski, we went there for plastic surgery."

What he feels is more meaningful is "the fact that we finally found something we enjoy doing as a family", he adds.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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