Real dentists take on oral humour to raise funds

Real dentists (from left) Jeremy Sim, 25, Alvin Lee, 35, and Mehek Kalra, 34, are among National University of Singapore dentistry graduates who will be performing at Oral Humour - The Show With Bite.
Real dentists (from left) Jeremy Sim, 25, Alvin Lee, 35, and Mehek Kalra, 34, are among National University of Singapore dentistry graduates who will be performing at Oral Humour - The Show With Bite.PHOTO: JONATHAN LIM

A group of dentists are getting out of their clinics and onto the stage to raise funds for a new oral health centre at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The 16 graduates from the university's dentistry faculty, who call themselves The Real Dentists, will perform or help behind the scenes at Oral Humour - The Show With Bite, an 88-minute variety comedy taking place at the Esplanade Concert Hall on Sunday.

The proceeds will go towards funding various programmes at the National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore, slated to be completed in 2019.

They include oral healthcare innovation and research, oral healthcare programmes for the elderly and people with special needs, as well as financial aid for needy students pursuing dentistry at NUS.

Headed by endodontist Terence Jee, 35, The Real Dentists are made up of members in their mid-20s to late 30s. The group was formed when Professor Patrick Finbarr Allen, dean of the NUS dentistry faculty who is organising the fundraiser, approached Dr Jee. Dr Jee then reached out to fellow alumni.

  • BOOK IT / ORAL HUMOUR - THE SHOW WITH BITE

  • WHERE: Esplanade Concert Hall, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Sunday, 7pm

    ADMISSION: $150 ($300 and $500 tickets are sold out). For tickets, call the NUS Faculty of Dentistry on 6772-5970 or 6772-4937 or e-mail denvnair@nus.edu.sg or denltas@nus.edu.sg.

    INFO: www.facebook.com/ NUSDentistry/#OralHumour

All the members have some performing experience, as the NUS dentistry faculty has an annual competition during which undergraduates put on plays.

Dr Jee says: "We owe it to the faculty to be where we are today, so it's time to come together and give back. We secretly want a taste of stardom - something a dentist can never have."

Dr Alvin Lee, 35, agrees: "For most of us, this is the only time to be on such a big stage, have fun and raise money at the same time. Besides our daily job, this is the only way to have such a big impact on society."

The group's 15- to 20-minute segment includes snippets of an undergraduate's life at the faculty of dentistry and spoofs of some of their professors.

They will also dance to songs with the original lyrics tweaked to fit the dental theme. For instance, the line in Swedish group Abba's popular disco hit Dancing Queen - "you can dance, you can jive" - has been changed to "I can floss, I can brush".

The rest of the show will comprise performances by actors such as Hossan Leong, Koh Chieng Mun, Yeo Yann Yannand Sebastian Tan. Some agreed to do the show for free, while others were paid a token sum of appreciation.

Prof Allen reached out to Ms Andrea Teo, vice-president of entertainment at Resorts World Sentosa, to produce the show.

The NUS alumnus, known for creating comedy television series such as Phua Chu Kang and Under One Roof, brought in theatre practitioners Jonathan Lim to direct and Desmond Sim to write the script.

The dentists point out that their segment was written by themselves, with only minor tweaks by Lim and Sim.

Dr Jee says: "The professionals can see aspects that we don't see, such as comedic timing and technical aspects, so we are learning a lot."

Since the end of June, the group has been meeting for rehearsals every Monday and Thursday from 7 to 10pm.

Prof Allen says: "Support for the show will go a long way towards helping NUS achieve its goals of transforming dentistry and bringing oral healthcare closer to the community. Beyond fund-raising, we hope the idea of putting oral health centre stage will help raise awareness of its importance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2016, with the headline 'Real dentists take on oral humour to raise funds'. Print Edition | Subscribe