We love hearing the stories of people living in Singapore! Skye Dental’s ANDREW DOIG is a Scot with a Singaporean/Norwegian wife, May. We spoke with him about his journey here, his family and what he’s looking forward to this year.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up.
I come from a small village on the west coast of Scotland called Inverkip, so I am very much a country boy at heart. My parents were both teachers, my mother a classically trained musician and my father a man of science. I have older brothers but I was the one more interested in science, so I think my father was proud when I told him I wanted to go down that route.
Did you have a plan for your life when you were young?
Not initially; I always just worked hard to achieve good grades. I was torn between my love for music and my intrigue in science. My teeth were always good, but a small incident resulted in my two front teeth being broken. I was amazed when my dentist magically repaired them – this inspired me to study dentistry, to help others achieve great smiles.
How have those plans unfolded? Any detours along the way?
I had never imagined being a business owner or where I am today, but I’m thankful for it. My plan to be a dentist certainly happened! I did almost follow my other passion and divert down the music route during university when I became a drummer in a band, but one day I had to make a decision, and I chose the more stable career pathway. (It’s okay, the band didn’t become big!)
Where did you meet May?
I met her at university, studying dentistry. We didn’t really chat much during our first year but when we were grouped together for a class of anatomy dissection, we hit it off. Ha ha, so nerdy! After a couple of years of friendship, we grew closer. I knew she was the one, so I gathered the funds (borrowed money from my dad and used my student loan) so I could buy an engagement ring. We got engaged during university and then waited until she graduated before marrying.
Tell us a bit about her background.
May is half-Singaporean Chinese and half-Norwegian. Her parents met in Singapore in the 1970s when her father came here for work. May went to local school as her father was keen for the kids to study Mandarin, and they would visit Norway every year to meet up with family and friends.
May did her IB in Norway before she left to do Dentistry at Glasgow Uni. She had always wanted to do Orthodontics but hadn’t realised it would take so long to specialise! Like me, May had had a really positive experience with her own orthodontist when she was young, and that inspired her!
How did you end up living and having a business in Singapore?
Being May’s home, and a second home away from the UK for me, we wanted a fresh start, having studied and worked over there for more than a decade. We also wanted to start a family and we knew May’s family would be a strong support group for us in Singapore, especially babysitting!
In terms of my own business, it wasn’t particularly planned until some life-changing events prompted me. I had become stagnant in my career, with no prospects of achieving my dentistry goals or happiness working for others. The sudden death of my father during COVID in January 2021 spurred me on to become something my dad would have been proud of, so I decided to set up Skye Dental. My wife was taken a little by surprise, but we knew we wanted to do it at some point, so it was now or never. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith.
What do you like about Singapore?
I used to like it for the weather, its position as a hub in Asia, the food… But having children changed my likes about Singapore; now I appreciate its infrastructure and stability, the safety record, the education system. I just can’t live without British music and culture, so I always find a way to tap into those.
What’s it like doing business here?
There are great business advantages in Singapore compared to other parts of the world. For day-to-day business, my wife and I have always done it with our British style and training. We just focus on what we think is important for our patients – quality.
Any plans for the future?
We’re excited about the prospect of travelling abroad for dental courses and conferences again – and growing Skye Dental.
What are you looking forward to in the next 12 months?
We’re looking forward to taking our two boys out of Singapore for the first time in three years; it will be an adventure for them!
This article first appeared in the June 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!