Generations of KKH babies return to set new record

Ms Wee (in yellow) and three generations of her KKH-born family (from far left): Primary 2 pupil Callum Tam, seven; Mr Joel Tam, 41, a creative director; JC 1 student Nicole Tan, 17; Secondary 3 student Natalie Tan, 15; Primary 4 pupil Nadine Tan, 10
Ms Wee (in yellow) and three generations of her KKH-born family (from far left): Primary 2 pupil Callum Tam, seven; Mr Joel Tam, 41, a creative director; JC 1 student Nicole Tan, 17; Secondary 3 student Natalie Tan, 15; Primary 4 pupil Nadine Tan, 10 (the only one not born at KKH); Mrs Melissa Tan, 45, a civil servant; Mr Dennis Tan, 47, an executive vice-president at OCBC Bank; at Bishan Stadium. They joined thousands who were born at KK Women's and Children's Hospital.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Ms Pauline Wee was born at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH). She gave birth to her first child there 45 years ago.

She trained as a midwife at the hospital a year later and stayed on long enough to help deliver five of her grandchildren.

"I was at the bedside of my daughter and daughter-in-law when they were in labour and I helped to dry and wrap their babies," said the 68-year-old, who is now KKH's assistant director of nursing. "I can't describe the feeling."

A total of 2,241 people - all born at KKH - gathered at Bishan Stadium yesterday morning to break the Guinness world record for the largest reunion of people born at the same hospital.

Aged between seven and 84, they had to produce their NRIC as well as their birth certificate.

The feat almost doubled the previous record of 1,221, set by The Medical City, a hospital in the Philippines, in April last year.

KKH previously held another world record for 10 years - for being the largest maternity hospital, with a record 39,835 babies born in 1966.

Some of those "babies" turned up yesterday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the record with a cake-cutting ceremony.

"We are very heartened and humbled by the strong show of support from those born in KKH," said Associate Professor Tan Heng Hao, deputy chairman at KKH's division of obstetrics and gynaecology.

"The encouraging response... is a true testament to their appreciation for the holistic medical care and compassion that we provide to our patients every day."

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo attended the event, which included a community carnival, where families played games such as giant Jenga and target frisbee.

Ms Wee, who worked in the old KKH building when she first joined in 1972, said the hospital has progressed much in terms of technology and research.

"Now, the women have more options to ease the pain of delivery. In my time, it was backbreaking as we could only have injections," she said. Her grandson, Callum, seven, who was born there, said: "It was like a hotel when I was warded for bronchitis. It is a special place."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2016, with the headline 'Generations of KKH babies return to set new record'. Print Edition | Subscribe