A mum of four, Nor Lella Mardiiiah Mohamed is Singapore’s first Malay mum representing an opposition party. Read on to find out about her personal struggles and political ambitions.
Ms Nor Lella Mardiiiah Mohamed is Singapore’s first Malay mum representing an opposition party. We at theAsianparent had the exclusive opportunity to meet with this mum of four, and had a no holds barred interview with Ms Lella about her plans and hopes for residents in Tampines GRC.
The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
1. On being a parent
How many kids do you have? Can you tell us a little about them?
I have four children from my first marriage, three girls and one boy. My eldest child is 17 years old and my youngest is eight. I have sole custody of my youngest child – Putri.
How did you tell your daughter that you were getting remarried?
Putri knows about her biological dad, but she does not meet him often. She was only two-months-old when we separated. She was still very young, when I got remarried. Putri does not differentiate between a biological father and step-father.
What has been the toughest part of parenthood?
The most challenging part for me has been parenting through a divorce. When parents are going through a divorce, the kids live in a confused state – they wonder which parent is right, which parent is wrong.
Most mums would not agree with my decision to not fight for the custody for my three older children. But I know that I did not want to see my children in a confused state of mind.
I have decided to wait patiently for the right moment to explain things to them.
How do you spend the weekend with your daughter?
I don’t have a specific time set for her and me to spend time together.
I have talked to her about the fact that every moment that she is with me — is a special moment, regardless of where we are and what we are doing. We don’t have to be on a holiday, or be out and about somewhere.
I have told Putri, it is the moments that we spend together – just as mother and daughter, that are special.
Putri is actually quite mature for her age, perhaps because she does not have other kids around her. Take for example, the fact that I can take her to ‘toys R us’ and she can walk through the entire store, look at everything and yet come out without buying anything. And she is fine with it.
In fact before she buys anything, she tends to look at the price and ask me if we can afford it. I then ask her if she really needs it, and she usually responds with a “no it’s fine”.
Our conversations are natural and relaxed. You really don’t have to use energy to reason with her.
However, when she is with kids she is like the others around her, but when she is with adults she really behaves like an adult.
How are you managing the campaigning period and being a busy-working parent?
I am a business consultant – I advise entrepreneurs or business people on strategy. My work-hours are flexible and based on a project-by-project basis.
I don’t have a nanny or a maid. After her primary school, Putri goes to after-school care. I pick her up from the after-school care. During the campaign period she occasionally accompanies me for the door-to-door outreach visits or meetings.
How do you think society can play a role in helping to support working mums?
Singaporeans should remember that this could be your daughter or son, who needs looking after. If you are a mum, your “mum hat” must be on at all time, not just for your own kids.
In the end it takes a village to raise a child.
Read on to find out what Nor Lella thinks about education, women and minority issues. Click on the next page.