It’s been over four years since we last saw Yvonne Lim on TV as she moved to Taiwan after filming wrapped on Channel 8 drama Blessings in 2014. In the time she’s been away, she’s reiterated her desire to come back to work, and her wish has finally come true this year as she, along with Taiwanese businessman husband Alex Tien and children AJ and Alexa, packed her bags and returned to Singapore.
At the imaging session for upcoming Channel 8 drama While You Were Away, the 42-year-old shared that her return to the small screen was possible because all the stars aligned – AJ is on winter holiday and won’t miss out on too many days of school, and she had intended to come back home for Chinese New Year anyway.
Filming was not the only motivation for Yvonne’s return, nor was it even the main push factor.
“I wanted AJ to attend preschool here so that he can be more fluent in English. The school he’s studying in (in Taiwan) is pretty much a Chinese-speaking environment. When I heard him say ‘yes-si’ instead of ‘yes’, I wanted to faint. I freaked out and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted him to come back. Hopefully he’ll be corrected and he won’t say ‘yes-si’ again,” she said with a mock sigh.
The actress continued, “I uprooted my family – my husband, my two kids, and Alex is officially a stay-at-home dad now. We just arrived in Singapore two days ago and things are still a bit messy. Alex and I are the only ones who know the kids’ schedules, needs and habits and it will take time for the nanny to get used to everything.”
While AJ has been registered in preschool, it doesn’t mean that the family is back here for good. Yvonne remarked that the kids are on a “trial period” and that she will take her kids’ welfare into consideration before she makes any other decisions.
“I hope that they will attend primary school here but I don’t want to force things either. We’ll have to wait and see if they are more suited to study in Singapore or Taiwan before we make a decision,” she said. “At the same time, I’m very worried that I’ll become a tiger mum. Some of my fellow actors said to me, ‘If you want your child to study here you need to start preparing for registration and volunteer work. How old is your son? Four? You need to start now!’ I’m worried about the stress and I really don’t want to become a tiger mum.”
Yvonne’s firsthand experience of the dreaded working mum syndrome
As Yvonne prepares to be sucked into the throes of intensive filming, she’s already been hit with a wave of working mum syndrome on her first day of work.
“AJ is down with a fever and he started vomiting a couple of times this morning. I took him to the clinic and I realised this is exactly what working mums deal with – they have to look after their kids and juggle work at the same time,” she explained. “I really respect all the working mums out there – you guys are really amazing and I now know how difficult it is. I hope that I’ll be able to tide over the next four months smoothly.”
With only a week to spare before she dives into work, Yvonne hopes AJ will recover soon so that she can take him and little sis to the zoo and the aquarium while she still has time.
She shared, “The kids will be with me for two months for now – of course, I hope that the children will be happy and if so, I’ll discuss the extension of their stay with Alex. I’m trying to show them how wonderful Singapore is. I brainwash my kids every day and if you ask AJ where he’s from, he’ll say Singapore.”
Will AJ and Alexa be visiting their mum on set?
The last we checked with Yvonne, she admitted that AJ still doesn’t know what her occupation is, and was under the impression that his mum works on an ambulance after seeing her at Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)’s open house.
Since he doesn’t know that mum is an actress, it could cause problems if he visits her on set.
“I don’t think he even knows what an actor is,” she chuckled. “I thought of taking AJ on set, but Shaun (Chen) is my on-screen husband so it’s unavoidable that we have some intimate scenes. I don’t know how AJ would react to me being close with another man (other than my husband) and he might be shocked when he sees his mum hugging a stranger.”
“I’ll probably look at the filming schedule and find an appropriate time for them to visit,” she concluded with a laugh.
“Coming back to film this drama is a bonus and reward for looking after our kids for four years. Alex knows that I like working and miss it very much, and that it’s my lifetime passion,” she mused. “As for future projects, everything has to align perfectly for it to happen. Maybe the kids won’t need me as much when they grow older and are more independent, then I’ll be able to come back to film.”
Regardless of whether her kids get a Singapore education, moving back to Singapore for good is something she hopes she will eventually do.
“I’ll come back at some point because I hope my children will grow up here,” Yvonne said. “Especially after the experience with the earthquake, I realised how lucky we are in Singapore to be sheltered from natural disasters and have a safe environment to grow up in. At the back of my head I keep thinking about their safety and I’m worried that I won’t be able to reach them in time should something like that really happen in the future.”