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Maureen Koh
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Singapore

Woffles Wu: Cruel comments made me reclusive

The New Paper | Maureen Koh | Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

He has been fined by the courts and censured by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).

But what surprised high-profile plastic surgeon Woffles Wu most was the adverse reaction he got from strangers over his brush with the law.

Said Dr Wu, who was fined $1,000 in 2012 for getting his employee to take the rap for his speeding offences: "I was surprised by the vitriol. It was so distressing because (the comments) painted such a picture of me where I could not even recognise myself."

Last week, the SMC suspended Dr Wu from practice for four months over the convictions.

In his first lengthy interview since the SMC decision, the 54-year-old admitted to The New Paper that he has tried to stay away from the public eye over the past two years.

Said Dr Wu: "I became more reclusive and I didn't attend as many public functions. I just wanted to keep away."

What he could not hide from, however, were barbed comments online.

Netizens alleged favouritism and that he had escaped unscathed because he had connections.

"When it first started, I read the reports and even the comments on the Internet," he recounted.

"It's natural because there was, perhaps, this conscious thing where you ultimately want to present the most positive side of yourself."

But he soon realised that the online world could be cruel.

After a while, he stopped reading the forums or comments that followed online reports.

"It was a bit depressing to read negative comments from people who don't even know me or what I stand for. All they saw was the offence," he said.

The latest decision by the SMC has thrust the plastic surgeon into the spotlight once more.

In its ruling, the SMC said Dr Wu subverted the course of justice through his act of dishonesty, something the medical profession would not condone.

His seniority and standing in the fraternity was also found to be an aggravating factor in the case, and instead of setting a good example, Dr Wu "tarnished the good name of the profession".

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