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The Story behind the name “Kin Mun”

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Once in a while our patients and friends would ask us why our clinic is named Kin Mun. So to put everyone’s curiosity to rest, I write this blog. Another reasons for writing this is because it is often misspelt with more than one ‘m’, where the ‘n’s are supposed to be, such as Kim Mun or Kin Mum.

Kin Mun is 健民. It means “health of the people”. Its Chinese romanization (pinyin) is jiàn mín. However it was the Cantonese romanisation (jyutping) that was used: gin6 man4, though “Kin Mun” was how it was spelt in the end. 健民 is a Chinese boy’s name, though it is rarely used. However, there are some famous persons with this name including 熊健民 a Chinese doctor of education, 周健民 a Chinese politician and 陳健民 a Hong Kong TVB News Interview Director.

Above: My father, Dr Victor Wee, circa 1968.

Why this name for our clinic

So who named the clinic and why?

My paternal grandmother, the mother of our founding doctor, Victor Wee, was the one who named the clinic. My father cannot recall why his mother chose that name other than the fact of its meaning.

Perhaps she admired one of the famous personalities who bore the name.

My Reflections

Above: Dr Victor Wee during his lunch break goes home upstairs of his Toa Payoh shophouse, circa 1969. From left to right: Dr Victor Wee, my sister, me.

As a teen, I used to wonder why our clinic did not have a cool English name. At the time, Singapore was proud to have English as a first language so we could communicate with the rest of the world. An unfortunate consequence was that I remember feeling a tinge of embarrassment telling friends the name of my father’s clinic.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate the name that we have.

Firstly, it bears the mark of our Cantonese roots.

My paternal grandmother was Cantonese. The clinic started at a time when business-owners' identity was very much tied up with their dialect group. Each culture in multi-cultural Singapore, though friendly with the other cultures, was proud of its own heritage, whether it was Eurasian, Malay, Indian or Chinese. Today, as a cosmopolitan city, this sense of our roots is gradually diminishing, with more of the younger generations not being able to speak their dialect. Though the sense of fraternity with our fellowman is essential, I think something of our identity is diminished when we lose touch with our roots.

Above: A young Dr Victor Wee volunteers at a free clinic run by the Catholic church, 1975. He never lost sight of his role as an instrument of healing for all.

Secondly its meaning is ever-relevant.

A deep passion for the “health of the people” is what continues to drive us despite the clinic’s evolution over time. Starting off as a neighbourhood clinic, Kin Mun Clinic took on corporate clients in the 80s and 90s as the selected clinic to treat the staff of large organisations such as General Electric and Public Utilities Board.

Above: Kin Mun Clinic 2008; affordable treatment for common skin conditions in the heartlands

In the last few decades we have gained a reputation for affordable skin treatments.

For some of these clients, other than physical needs, we notice the additional difficulty with mental health, such as low self-esteem, even depression. This is seen more frequently in persons suffering from acne or scarring.

We want to help them overcome the hurdles they encounter and grow in self-confidence, so that they can be free to achieve their unique life goals.

2022 Electrosurgery in session

This awareness is an additional motivation for us to meet the highest standards of professionalism.

The best help we can give is therefore to give the best results in the shortest time possible, such that they can move on with their pursuits.

As such, providing ongoing exceptional outcomes is a key priority at Kin Mun Clinic.

Conclusion: What is in a Name

Signature SkinCare Range

It has been over 50 years since our humble beginnings.

Even though our focus has changed over the years, the reason for our existence remains the same: the total wellbeing of our clients.

The care we provide is always customised to the unique circumstances of each one. It includes accompanying them through the various phases of life, from the teen years to work-life, marriage, pregnancy, and maintaining great skin beyond age 40.

For our clients who have been with us for decades, the glow on their skin and the smile on their face says it all. They remind us that the passion we feel has always been about the health of the people... indeed, the well-being of each and every one.

Writer: Marjorie Wee

Marjorie has a business degree (NUS, Singapore) and runs Kin Mun Clinic. When she is not holding brainstorming sessions with the team to improve customer outcomes, she can be found giving a skincare workshop, chatting with a client or analyzing skincare products and treatments. She is a mother of seven.

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