Charlie Yeung contemplates death and preparing for her kids’ future as she talks about her upcoming movie. Read more about it here.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Charlie Yeung on planning ahead for her twins
- Lessons on facing death and being fair to her kids
In Chinese culture, death is kind of a taboo topic. Call it blind superstition, but the older folks tend to wave away any mention of death as they think it’s bad luck.
But for Singapore-based Hong Kong actress Charlie Yeung, she’s not afraid to think about it. In fact, the 47-year-old has already discussed it with her husband as they need to plan for their twins.
Charlie is married to Singaporean lawyer Khoo Shao Tze and she gave birth to twin boys Aloysius and Ignatius in 2017.
Speaking to AsiaOne for her upcoming film Hello! Tapir, Charlie said in Mandarin:
“My kids are very young, they’re only four. Then what can we do [for them]? We buy their insurance and we make sure our insurance is settled. Some might also find this excessive, but my husband and I were asking each other, ‘Should we get our wills done?'”
She added it might be a topic that people don’t dare to talk about but it depends on how you approach it. If it’s to protect the kids, it’s better to just face it, Charlie explained.
In Hello! Tapir, Charlie plays the estranged mother to a young boy Keat. They’ve both suffered a tragedy as Keat’s fisherman father went out to sea and never came back.
With the adults withholding the truth from him, Keat learns to cope with the loss by seeking out the mythical tapirs which, according to a fairytale his father told him, eat people’s nightmares.
It wasn’t hard for Charlie to relate to her character’s grief because she lost her father a few years ago due to old age and sickness.
“What I related to [was that] no matter how emotionally prepared you are, no matter how much you understand about death, it’s still very painful to face it,” she shared.
Guilt was another thing that made her empathise with her character, who left the family and only returned after the death of Keat’s father.
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“Now that I’m a mother, I cannot imagine what it’s like to leave my children. I bring them wherever I go. But in the show, the mother has her reasons and her relationship with the father has broken, so the child is left with his father. These are quite realistic things that happen in life.”
Being fair to her kids
Singapore is a place that holds many happy memories for Charlie. After all, she had her wedding here and her children were born here. Giving birth is the most mind-blowing thing in life, she confessed.
But, she recalled telling her husband that their next lesson in life is to learn how to be fair to both of them. Charlie explained:
“Because there are two of them, how do you be fair to them and not compare them to each other so they can develop individually?”
When it comes to raising them, she thinks it’s better to guide them instead of just teaching them.
“After having kids, I realised that it’s not necessarily just us teaching the kids. Sometimes, through our interactions, kids can teach us a lot of things,” she said, adding that it doesn’t take a lot for kids to be happy and they give her a lot of positive energy.
She also pointed out that kids can learn and infer a lot from their parents as well.
Charlie recalled an incident where she once let out a sigh as she was agonising over something. When her kids asked her about it, she told them she was okay.
She was surprised when, sometime after that exchange, her kid fell down and when she checked on him, he told her, “Mama, it’s okay.”
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Death need not be a heavy topic
Though the film explores death, Charlie hopes that viewers will still bring their children to catch the film. She said:
“You might think that the subject matter is too heavy because it’s about death. But I would like to share that my husband and I have talked to our children about death.”
The discussion came about serendipitously; they found a dead bird in their house so they used the opportunity to tell their kids that the bird has died and they should pray for it.She continued:
“We told them that all of us will leave the world one day. It may sound really heavy and sad but… we think that maybe children don’t understand certain issues but actually, they do.
If you don’t talk about it, they won’t know how to face it. That may even cause them to be led astray and harm them.
It might be a little heavy but if you can guide them through, they would instead be able to learn in a safe environment.”
This article was first published on AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.