Photos: Dion Tang, Charlyn Lin
Charlyn Lin is one gutsy mum.
Known for hosting the celebrity travel programme Going Home, Charlyn recently took things up a notch with Channel U’s Rites of Motherhood, a new show exploring childbirth practices in Taiwan, Cambodia, Bali in Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Japan. And what’s more, she covered the various locations while pregnant with her second child.
Despite the bumpy and muddy roads the team covered for the programme, “I didn’t want the crew to worry, so I only told them I was pregnant when filming was about to end,” she said.
“When we weren’t filming, I’d switch off my lapel microphone and talk to the baby in my belly. I’d tell it where we are and to behave.”
In an exclusive interview with Toggle, the 37-year-old chatted about her pregnancy and her recent work on Rites of Motherhood. For the Japan leg of filming, the soon-to-be mother-of-two prepared fresh lemons to give her a daily dose of vitamin C and protect her from radiation. And while in India, Charlyn drank only bottled water and ate canned food and MSG-free instant noodles to guard against food poisoning.
The process of filming the programme was a journey of learning for the second-time mum, Charlyn said. While in a Cambodian village on the Laotian border with no electricity or running water, she was introduced to the local custom of placing women who have just given birth upon a hot oven for days.
“The climate is so warm, many women can’t handle it and die during their confinement,” Charlyn said. The experience taught her to appreciate what she had. “We may not live in large houses here, but pregnancy and childbirth are happy occasions. But to these Cambodian women, it’s a battle between life and death.”
She also recounted a harrowing experience in Bali, where local stringers blackmailed the filming crew. (No one was hurt, though.)
“I knew I was in no physical danger,” Charlyn said. “But I was more worried about not making it back to Singapore in time to teach my Saturday class.”
Charlyn’s husband, Alfred Tang, announced on his personal website on Sunday that they were expecting their second child. The host is three months along now, and due in March 2016, but the couple did not confirm the gender of the foetus.
“It’ll be a surprise,” Charlyn said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl, what’s most important is that the baby is healthy and happy.”
Charlyn and Alfred married in 2009, and their eldest, Caleb, was born two years later. This latest pregnancy was planned for, she said, because Caleb is nearly four, so it was time to welcome a second child.
And actress Zoe Tay had a part to play in Charlyn’s pregnancy, the host revealed. “Filming for Rites of Motherhood began in July after I accepted the offer to host the programme, and I told my husband we should put our baby plans on hold,” she said.
“But I met Zoe in a dressing room one day, and she said, ‘You think it’s so easy to get pregnant?’ She talked about a string of cases [of infertility] and I freaked out. That night when I got home I said to my husband, ‘No, we have to keep going!’”
And even with a baby on board, Charlyn won’t be taking things easy yet. “The baby is as fit as I am, so if there are hosting jobs I will still accept them,” she said.
“My hosting high should be ending soon, so remember to look me up for gigs!”
This story first appeared on toggle.sg/ch
Story by Dion Tang
Rites of Motherhood premieres on October 22 at 9.30 pm on Channel U and airs every Thursday.
Catch up on the latest season of Going Home here.