Singaporean man goes to Thailand for surgery to get C-cup chest

*Update: After a series of fights and confrontations with his mother and father, security guard and aspiring Singaporean singer Kurt Tay finally decided to attend counselling sessions with his parents.

Read more here.

SINGAPORE - Money can just about get you anything. Fancy cars, nice watches and all the toys that catch your fancy.

Security guard Kurt Tay, 27, has money and wanted something to boost his confidence - breasts.

Not a fake chest to bypass the exercise route, but breasts as in mammary glands. C cup, about the size of a grapefruit, no less.

It's Mr Tay by the way.

When doors slammed in his face here, the Singaporean, who is 1.68m and weighs 60kg, packed his bags and left for Bangkok, Thailand, on April 5, for the $4,100 procedure.

This is double the monthly salary that he draws as a security guard.

When he returned to Singapore after completing his surgery on April 5, Mr Tay even uploaded a YouTube video, showing off his newly acquired breast implants.

The video, uploaded on April 11, has since garnered more than 10,000 views.

His parents were disgusted with him but he handed down an ultimatum: "Would you rather see me happy or unhappy?" So they caved in. (See other report)

Doctors, psychiatrists and counsellors are also not sure if he should have done the procedure.

Even transgenders said they spend years struggling with identity issues before going under the blade. Unlike Mr Tay who is doing it because as he put it, he's vain.

He said he is straight and hopes to marry a Vietnamese woman one day. As long as he proves his love with his actions, his looks shouldn't matter, he argued.

Extreme requests not unusual

He had envied well-endowed girls since secondary school.  By contrast, his "flat chest" gave him low confidence.

"Ever since I was a kid, I have always imagined what it would be like one day if I had breasts," said Mr Tay.

But he was worried it would affect his chances with girls, and his desire to be a singer or an actor.

The turning point came when he realised his attempt to break into the entertainment industry was futile: despite releasing his debut EP last June, he failed to pique any recording label's interest.

He was also down on his luck with girls.

So he decided to get breast implants at Yanhee Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, on April 5.

"I had nothing else holding me back. I thought, since these two aspects are not working out, why don't I just go ahead with what will make me truly happy?" Mr Tay told The New Paper.

He said he chose to go to Bangkok instead of doing the operation here as it is much cheaper to do it overseas. He said that a breast implant surgery in a local Government-run hospital would cost him about $10,000, while doing it at a private hospital would set him back a whopping $16,000.

In contrast, breast implant surgery in Thailand costs an average of $4,000 to $5,000, he said.

The silicone breast implants, which were used on him, brought him from a flat chest to a C cup.

Though his confidence is up, he thinks he can do more.

No less a man

"I intend to go back in a year to increase my bust size to a G cup. I don't just want to have breasts, I want to have big breasts," he said.

He revealed in a YouTube video that he originally wanted to get a 522cc (D-cup size) breast implant. However, the doctor advised against it as his skin would not be able to stretch to cover such a large implant. He told Mr Tay that the maximum size he could insert were 400cc implants.

Mr Tay finally settled on 385cc implants as they were $600 cheaper than the 400cc implants.

Having breasts by no means makes him less of a man, added Mr Tay.

He said his "feminine" side was already apparent anyway: he finds flat chests unattractive, shaves his legs regularly and applies foundation to his face before going out.

"Some people think I want to become a transgender. But I still want to get married in the future.

"I will find a Vietnamese wife once I have saved enough," said the security guard who earns about $2,000 a month.

However, in his latest Facebook update, Mr Tay has expressed reservations about further increasing his bust size. He said he is under pressure from his parents not to disgrace them any further and that he does not want to upset them.

"My parents, especially my mother say she don't know how to face her relatives. It makes me depressed to see my mother heart-broken," he wrote.

He explained that his parents don't want him to be neither a man nor a woman in his actions and appearance. They are also worried about his career as his boss may fire him over this episode.

Extreme requests not unusual

Experts say...

So what do the professionals think?

Dr J. J. Chua said he would never do such a surgery, calling Mr Tay's request "neither here nor there".

The plastic surgeon who runs JJ Chua Rejuvenative Cosmetic and Laser Surgery added: "A sex change would comprise the chest area as well as the private parts. I only want to assist patients when I know it will help them.

"If you have a female upper body, then you must have a female lower body too, right?

"In my opinion, his assessment of himself is wrong, there's no halfway with this kind of thing."

But such extreme requests are not unique.

Mothers have no qualms about taking their teenage daughters to a cosmetic surgeon to fix their hang-ups too.

Dr Andrew Khoo, a plastic surgeon in private practice, said he has rejected cases he calls "extreme".

Dr Khoo said: "To me, extreme cases are the ones which involve those who are not perhaps full adults yet. I've had mothers bringing their teenage daughters here for breast enlargement jobs or liposuction.

"I advise them to wait for a few more years, till their daughters are fully developed, before going under the knife. "

Dr Khoo considers anyone 21 years old and above a "full adult".  But then like Mr Tay, some take their business elsewhere.

Thailand's top private hospital, Bumrungrad International, did cosmetic surgery and aesthetic treatments for more than 3,800 Singaporeans last year, up from about 2,800 in 2010.

South Korea, another choice destination for nip and tuck procedures, saw 468 medical tourists in 2011, almost double the number in 2010, figures provided by the Korea Tourism Organisation (Singapore) showed.

Psychiatrists are worried that with aesthetics procedures becoming so common, patients may jump into them, only to regret later.

Psychiatrist Munidasa Winslow said: "When they regret it, they usually suffer from depression after that.

"I think there's a good possibility that (Mr Tay) will regret it, but at least implants are reversible."

He also raised concerns that he would go to such extreme measures.

"When you undergo surgery, it's potentially lethal. You're putting yourself at risk, for what reason?"

"If you're going through with it just because it's aesthetically pleasing, we don't know how long that 'pleasing' feeling is going to last, especially when it's something that's so out of the ordinary."

Said Dr Chua: "Some doctors may agree to these kinds of surgeries. But I think about the patient and what's best for them." "If he changes his mind he can remove them. We do have patients who change their minds halfway through a sex change and get the implants removed," he said.

"There's no halfway with this kind of thing"- Dr J. J. Chua on Mr Kurt Tay choosing to go for a breast implant surgery.

Additional information by YourHealth, AsiaOne.

tnp@sph.com.sg


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