One dentist + 2 patients = big bucks

One dentist + 2 patients = big bucks

When a patient asked dentist Wong Keng Mun if he wanted to strike out on his own, he expressed the usual fears about risks and the lack of start-up cash, but the idea was planted.

Dr Wong recalls: "I told her I couldn't because I have no money, my parents are poor, etc.

"Then, she asked me, 'If you had all the money in the world, can you achieve what you want to do?' It made me think about it over a few weekends."

She and another patient believed in his vision and lent him the money for his T32 Dental Centre business, which has an education arm at its Camden Medical Centre base.

"Money is of course important, but spending on the right cause is more crucial. I am willing to invest in education," says Dr Wong, the company's managing director.

It helps that the education business, which trains dentists in fixed prosthodontics, restorative dentistry and so on, also pays well.

"In dentistry, the income that you are earning is limited by the hours and the number of patients you can treat.

"One pair of hands can't treat 50 patients at a time, but with one pair of hands, I can teach 50 people. So, within an hour, I can get better income," says Dr Wong, 40.

But before you start to think that money is everything to him, he says: "When you don't see so much money, you will be okay. When you see a lot of it, you may become greedy and keep chasing after the numbers. Right now, whatever I earn, it's good enough."

More importantly, he gets to use his money to further his vision for his business. "Being happy is doing what you enjoy doing, and hopefully, along the way, get compensated for it. With the money, you bring happiness to people around you."

His wife Widya Soejanto, 40, is a financial analyst. They have two daughters - Zhi Ning, seven, and Zhi Le, two.

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