Why Mum Is The Queen Of Our Hearts

Leadership

May 14, 2017 | BY Chong Seow Wei

Four Gen.T listers on the women who have shaped their lives.

Image: Courtesy of Sonny Liew
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Sonny Liew, cartoonist

“My mum is definitely superwoman. She would go to lengths to take care of my sister, dad and I. When I moved to Singapore with my sister to study, my mum would make weekly seven-hour trips down from our home in Seremban, Malaysia via train to see us. She still does this, but by bus now, and never fails to bring me a box of my favourite tau sar piah.

Also, I can trust her to always believe in me, even when reality suggests otherwise. Recently, when she asked if I’d ever win the Nobel Prize for Literature, I told her it was close to impossible. But with a wry smile, she said, "You never know."

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Why Mum Is The Queen Of Our Hearts
Image: Courtesy of Benjamin Kheng
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Benjamin Kheng, FLY Entertainment artiste

“I’ve been so blessed to have two mums in my life—my biological mum and my stepmum.

My mum was a creative—she was always either painting ceramics, drawing, singing or journaling. Our house was a beautiful mess of colours. She showed me that there was no greater privilege in the world than to love, even if not returned. She also taught me to not be selfish about my music—always think about why, and for whom. 

If my mum taught me 'why', my stepmum taught me 'how'. She’s incredible with numbers and super meticulous; there’s nothing she doesn’t know or can’t find out about. That’s both amazing and terrifying. She showed me a spirit of excellence and how to fight against my darker emotions. She inspires my daily routine.”

Anthony (extreme left) and family; Photo courtesy of Anthony Chen
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Anthony Chen, filmmaker

“There was a time when many around me were rather disapproving of my pursuit of filmmaking (I made that decision when I was 15 years old). However, my mother was extremely supportive and would say, ‘You can do whatever you want, but always be the best at what you can be.’

She’s also the person who keeps me grounded. I remember in late 2013, Ilo Ilo was Singapore's submission for the Foreign Language Oscar. I knew many people who were rooting for it, but unfortunately, it didn’t make the cut. When the result came out, my mum rang me from Singapore and said, ‘I'm glad your film didn't get nominated, because you’ve already gotten so much [attention] for it; Cannes, Golden Horse… what else would you have to work for if you get an Oscar nomination as well?’ And I agree with her completely.”

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Why Mum Is The Queen Of Our Hearts
Image: Courtesy of Nicholas Ng
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Nicholas Ng, social entrepreneur

“My mum has always been our family’s pillar of strength. Since a young age, she taught me to respect my elders, as well as the importance of family and being involved in charity. She also taught me that money is nothing if hard work wasn’t put into obtaining it. Looking at where I am today—married with two beautiful daughters of my own and running a non-government charity organisation, Foodbank Singapore, with my sister—it’s clear how much influence she has in my life.

The funniest lesson she taught me, however, has got to be about the birds and the bees. When I was studying abroad, she got worried about me getting to know more girls. So she kept reminding me to respect them and use “umbrellas”! And as a mother who couldn’t bear to lose her son to another woman, she kept telling me that the girls “were just friends”. Now that I’m a father, I can understand where she was coming from.”

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