06 Mar 2018
A quick catch-up with Yvonne Lim and Alex Tien on the last day of Chinese New Year
Videos: Philip Ang
It has been four years since Yvonne Lim last acted on TV after real-life commitments got in the way (she got married and relocated to Taiwan in 2014 and had two kids), and the actress says she is ready to start acting again.
Yvonne, whose last project was the top-rated Blessings, which will return with a sequel this year, told us during an interview that she was not able to reprise her role due to a scheduling conflict. But if everything works out as planned—fingers crossed—we will, hopefully, see more of her in the second half of 2018 - “if there’s a suitable script and role”.
So much has changed since our last eventful interview with Yvonne and her kids, who were back in Singapore to celebrate the Chinese New Year festivities with family and friends: Alexa just turned 1 and is no longer content with sitting on her mummy’s lap, while AJ the ‘threenager’, who just started school in Taipei, is more conversant and buzzes around animatedly during our hour-long interview with his “mama and dada”.
With two kids on the loose, our interview with Yvonne and Alex was chaotic to say the least, but it provided a fun peek into their lives as parents and spouses. One minute, they were bantering back and forth about each other’s spending habits, and the next, Yvonne had her gaze on the rambunctious toddler rolling around the carpet on the other end of the room, while Alex stopped his little girl from playing with the sliding door.
Parenting is clearly an all-hands-on-deck affair in the Tien household, and the main reason why Yvonne and Alex are not planning to have a third ‘Tien baby’ anytime soon. “We’ll let nature take its course, especially after what we’ve been through with the two of them. It’s been four years since we got married, and it feels like we don’t have a life of our own,” said Alex as he added with a chuckle, “And we get little sleep every day.”
Meanwhile, Yvonne would like some “me time” as her kids are more stable now. “It’s time for me to do some things I’ve been wanting to do before deciding if I want another child, she said, citing the advice of her seniors. “I think the past few years have been really hectic with my focus on the kids. As women, we need to do some things for ourselves, and you need to care for yourself before you can care for others.”
Sounds like a comeback on the horizon. We’re counting down the days till Yvonne returns to the goggle-box.
In the meantime, the couple shared with us about their life in Taipei, their plans (if any) to relocate back this little red dot, and everything else in between, including hilarious anecdotes about Yvonne’s dramatic antics at home and her desperate bid to make her kids fall in love with Singapore.
06 Mar 2018
Why she’s trying so hard to make her kids love Singapore
It’s no secret that Yvonne hopes to school her kids in Singapore when they are of Primary School-going age. She even expressed a keen desire to relocate back to Singapore once Alex has sorted out his family business affairs in Taiwan, and although there are no relocation plans in the pipeline, there’s nothing stopping the 41-year-old from “soft-selling” her motherland to her children.
On top of their gathering with family and friends, the mother of two also drew up a to-do list planned before the trip and filled it up with different activities for the kids which Yvonne said are part of her “secret agenda”. The family went on a duck tour, visited the SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) open house and even checked out a brand new interactive play environment for kids, just to name a few.
“I wanted my kids to fall in love with Singapore,” she laughed. “And AJ really loves Singapore now… he even knows how to say ‘Singapore is my home’ now. I think my hard work has paid off.”
The patriotic actress (FYI: she makes it a point to watch the National Day Parade and celebrated her birthday by having teh C at a Toast Box outlet in Taipei last year) even shared that she had slept with her passport beside her when Taiwan was hit by a spate of earthquakes in February because she knew the “Singapore government will surely rescue me” should anything happen (touch wood!).
Speaking of earthquakes, what did Alex do to sooth his wife’s frazzled nerves? He went online shopping.
06 Mar 2018
What Alex did tried to do to calm Yvonne down
Any person who has experienced an earthquake would know how stressful it is to be left defenseless in the face of Mother Nature’ destructive power. When Yvonne didn’t buy into her husband’s cheeky suggestion to stand on the spot and “enjoy” the feeling of the earth moving under their feet, Alex had to go online to prepare “useful items” for the family’s survival kit at the behest of his wife.
The former BAD singer nearly carted out a backpack that allows its wearer to rappel down the wall of a building, but that item was immediately vetoed by Yvonne for practical reasons. “He thinks this is a great idea that will help increase our survival chances, but we stay on the 26th floor… he thinks this is the way to go, but do you think this would work?
“Not forgetting that we’re are a family of four,” she said.
Alex did eventually buy a bag—“well-stock with emergency supplies”—and picked up other items such as space blankets and disaster prevention hoods (a sponge-like head gear which are used in Japan for emergencies). He bought so much that Yvonne even had extras to distribute to her girlfriends Stella Huang and Fish Leong, who was tickled pink by Alex’s purchases.
“Fish almost died from laughing when she saw the disaster prevention hoods… I was shocked when he showed it to me. He told me only Japan has it and it’s very useful for AJ as it’d protect him,” recounted Yvonne as her husband explained his concept of prepping his family for “Armageddon”.
To prove his point, Alex shared that the protective hoods have been selling like hotcakes ever since the Hualien earthquake. “The headgear seller told me he has been selling at least 50 pieces a day and he has been selling these goods at an unbelievable rate,” he said.
06 Mar 2018
Yvonne’s drama-mama antics and her acting withdrawal symptoms
Unlike typhoons which are forecastable, “things are not within your control” when it comes to earthquakes and that was when Yvonne’s protective instincts kicked in.
The recent 6.4-magnitude quake which struck Hualien and resulted in a series of smaller aftershocks left her so shaken, the 41-year-old sent her Singapore BFF a text message with the contact number of her insurance agent and specific instructions to take care of her two kids should anything happen to them in Taipei.
During the first few days, Yvonne would fastidiously prepare a flask of hot water and some bread every night. “I guess I’m overreacting but it’s better than not doing anything. At least I can have a peace of mind knowing that I have all these prepared. Even if I don’t use it, I can fall asleep easier at night,” she said.
She would also wake Alex up in the middle of the night (“I’d get kicked awake,” Alex clarified) whenever she felt the tremors and they’d go into a routine which looked like this: check on the kids, prepare water, dry goods and thick winter jackets, and plan for an escape route.
Things got so dramatic, when Alex tried to convince her that it was useless to prepare anything because they lived on the 26th floor, Yvonne replied—possibly quoting a line from one of her past shows—“Even if it’s a one percent survival chance, I’m going to fight for my kids!”
Now we know why Alex “green lighted” Yvonne’s plans to return to acting.
06 Mar 2018
Yvonne and Alexa in twinning outfits
The Tien family gene runs strong in this family - both AJ and Alexa clearly have inherited their dad's nose and the Tien family face. Personality wise, AJ takes after his paternal grandfather's friendliness while Alexa is growing up to be quite a little chilli padi - like her mum.
"She's very brave, she's not scared of anything. She's like a little dynamite which I think is a good thing. Girls should be strong so that they wouldn't get bullied in future. I'm more reassured because I probably won't need to worry too much over her next time. She might even end up protecting her brother - she has always had this protective instinct in her since young," Yvonne said.
Truth be told, when AJ heard the thunder rumbling, he immediately scuttled over to his dad's side while Alexa continued to play, unperturbed by the rainy weather.
06 Mar 2018
AJ doesn't know what his mum's real occupation is
At the SCDF open house, Yvonne, who played a paramedic in Rescue 995, was involved in one of their demonstrations as she previously underwent a one-day medic training course. Because of that AJ now thinks his mother works on an ambulance.
"My son probably doesn't know what his mum does for a living. I've showed him snippets of Rescue 995 before and he had the impression that I worked on the ambulance... [At the open house] my son saw his mother trying to fight a fire bravely and I'm like his hero in his heart. Every parent hopes to be a hero in their children's hearts, so when he meets any problems, he knows his mother will protect him."
06 Mar 2018
Meet AJ and Alexa
AJ and Alexa get along just fine, said Yvonne. In fact, Alexa really dotes on her older brother and wants in on everything he does. "She's follow him everywhere he goes, she also a touchy child and would kiss her brother too," Yvonne said.
"We were worried about AJ getting jealous of his younger sister, but now that she's bigger he thinks that she's fun to play with too. At first he did not want to play with her and told me he wanted a younger brother because there's no one to snatch his toys from him. Well, his sister has started snatching his toys now. (laughs)"
06 Mar 2018
Alexa's a mini dynamite like her mama
06 Mar 2018
The secret 'treat' to nailing a perfect family picture is through your kids' tummies
06 Mar 2018
What really went down at our interview with Yvonne and Alex