Xiang Yun: I Don't Give Up Hope, What Could Be Worse Than my Childhood Hardships?
"My mother was busy working the whole day and I had to wash the clothes for the entire family. I would cry while washing the clothes as I felt it was unfair," the 58-year-old confessed in laughter.
Local veteran actress Xiang Yun grew up poor, to the point where her family didn’t have money to put food on the table.
However, it didn’t dampen her hopeful spirit. In a recent interview with Lianhe Wanbao about her experiences as a child, she said: “I don’t give up hope. In the worst-case scenario, I return to square one. What could be worse than my childhood hardships?”
When she was a kid, Xiang Yun grew up in a one-room flat in Aljunied with her grandmother and her parents. After her two sisters were born, the flat became cramped and the family moved to another place at Circuit Road.
As the eldest child with three sisters and one brother, she had to carry the burden of doing the household chores and taking care of her younger siblings.
“My mother was busy working the whole day and I had to wash the clothes for the entire family. I would cry while washing the clothes as I felt it was unfair,” the 58-year-old confessed in laughter.
Growing up poor meant that Xiang Yun knows the value of money and how hard it is to come by. But it also built up her tenacity and independent character.
She recalled a time when her mother had to borrow money from her uncle just to settle their three meals, which is why it pains her to see people waste food.
After she started secondary school, she worked part-time over the holidays to contribute to the family income. She told the Chinese daily: “I’ve done so many jobs, such as a factory worker and salesperson. The one I remember most is when I worked in a ceramics factory, that was a really tough job.”
The local Ah Jie also had many fond memories of her father and the time she’s spent with him.
Her father worked many jobs to support the family, and he was once a taxi driver. Xiang Yun fondly remembered the time when she sat in her father’s taxi while he drove around to pick up passengers.
She would also help sell goreng pisang and vegetarian food at her father’s stall; and when he was selling second-hand cars, she would follow him to the car dealership to work.
When she was helping at his goreng pisang stall during her secondary school years, she cut around one to two hundred bananas before she went to school. She laughed: “A classmate once asked why there was a smell. It turned out that my hands smelled of bananas.”
Her father not only worked hard, but he ‘played’ hard as he often took the family out.
“We went to Kallang Park (where the Singapore Sports Hub currently is), Clifford Pier and the Wonderland Amusement Park at Kallang (where Kallang Indoor Stadium currently is). Those were the happiest memories of my childhood.”
Lead image source: Instagram/xiang_yun_
This article was first published in AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.