Spirit Of Being

Where are you originally from and how long have you been living in Singapore?
I grew up in the United Kingdom and moved to the Middle East later on, and just five years ago, I relocated again to Singapore with my family—my husband and two children aged 7 and 10.

What has it been like raising your children in different countries?
As a Chinese family, the biggest change we’ve faced since moving from the Middle East to Singapore was the shift from being an ethnic minority to a majority. The kids are amazed to see so many familiar faces that look like them.

I’m glad to have come to Singapore as I’ve never lived in Asia myself. Being able to give my children a chance to experience life here as Asians and to enjoy all the amazing food has been wonderful. Plus, we moved from the desert to this beautiful greenery, so to us, Singapore is not too hot at all! (laughs)

We hear that you’re a breast cancer survivor. Can you walk us through your cancer journey?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a shame that my family couldn’t make a trip to Singapore during this time because of the pandemic—most of them are split between Hong Kong and the UK—so I really had to rely on my immediate family and friends here.

All things considered, I’d say that I had a good experience with breast cancer thanks to my supportive friends and family and great doctors that I had.

Now, I see things in a different perspective. I’ve learnt that the things we worry and stress about are not a big deal at the end of the day, so we’ll all be happier people if we don’t carry this emotional baggage with us and live life to the fullest—it’s something I remind my family about everyday.

I’m also loving my short hair. I’m always tempted to go back to a buzzcut because seriously, you’ve not lived until you’ve tried it! (laughs) You might think “Oh, I can’t because I’ve got a weird shaped head,” but trust me, everyone looks beautiful with a buzzcut!

What spurred you to start advocating for sustainability?
I started my sustainability work when I moved to Singapore because I find the country to be a good greenprint for others to learn from; it’s small and compact but that really works for sustainable living.

How do you practice sustainability at home?
Like most people, I started small with simple actions like reducing my use of plastic bags and using reusable cups and lunchboxes. Once my family got into it, I educated myself on the topic, joined interest groups, and connected with like-minded people. There are so many small eco businesses and consignment shops in Singapore so it’s easy to start being more mindful.

For me, composting was a major milestone that I wanted to achieve. It took me four years to get started because everyone, including me, was like “Ugh, composting,”, but the surprisingly, I’ve found that it really works for my family. Even my husband agrees on this.

What does your wardrobe look like?
Since moving to Singapore, I’ve curated a neutral wardrobe where every piece can work for any occasion. I also mostly shop for secondhand clothing. My family and friends know that I don’t mind pre-loved stuff, so they’d pass on hand-me-downs for the children too.

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