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They grow facial fuzz to create buzz on men's health

2,000 men skip shaving this month to raise funds for cancer society.
November 30, 2012
By: Melody Zaccheus
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They grow facial fuzz to create buzz on men's health Mr Newcombe (left) and Mr Kang kept their moustaches to raise funds in an initiative by Movember Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

MR MATTHEW Kang has not had a kiss from his wife since he grew a beard this month.

But the 52-year-old senior director of financial services feels that the sacrifice is worth it.

He is among 2,000 men whose efforts to stay unshaven have raised more than half a million dollars for the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS). Mr Kang himself raised more than $10,000.

They took part in an initiative by Movember Singapore, where, for the month of November, participants grew a moustache to raise funds to champion men's health issues.

The main goal: to get more men comfortable to speak about their health and go for regular check-ups.

Movember, an international campaign which started nine years ago in Australia, was launched here this year. The money raised will go to prostate cancer survivors from SCS.

Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer among men in Singapore. Almost 600 men are diagnosed each year and more than 115 die from it annually.

The top fundraiser, Briton Robert Newcombe, 40, who has been clean-shaven all his life, grew a moustache to raise awareness and funds for the cause among his network of contacts.

"I've been updating my profile on Facebook and the official site of Movember Singapore since the start of the month with photos of my progress so that they can have a laugh and donate through the site," he said.

"It was extremely itchy in the first week. Now it has taken shape and I've a nice-looking trucker," added the equity derivatives salesman, who has raised almost $13,000. His moustache resembles an upside-down U.

Describing himself as a walking billboard for the cause, he said his facial fuzz has been a head-turner. He has been stopped many times by curious strangers on the street and in lifts and taxi queues.

"I encourage them to donate and tell them that every dollar helps. It's the least we can do for cancer sufferers," he added.

Mr Albert Ching, SCS chief executive, hopes the campaign will promote private and public conversation about the often- ignored issue of men's health.

"The SCS hopes that more men begin to think more about their health, in particular, cancer risks, early detection and recognition of signs and symptoms," he said.

For Mr Kang, he is looking forward to getting a peck on the cheek again from his wife tonight. "I will probably get my first kiss this month after I shave off my moustache, beard and sideburns," he said.

melodyz@sph.com.sg

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