Zheng Wanling Does Not Miss Life As A Diplomat's Wife; Prefers Living In Her HDB Flat & Taking Public Transport

19/1/2022 9:04:00 AM

Zheng Wanling Does Not Miss Life As A Diplomat's Wife; Prefers Living In Her HDB Flat & Taking Public Transport

Zheng Wanling, Home Again

Zheng Wanling Does Not Miss Life As A Diplomat's Wife; Prefers Living In Her HDB Flat & Taking Public Transport

The 56-year-old actress, who moved to Panama with her diplomat husband in the late ‘90s, stars in new Mediacorp drama Home Again . Here, she opens up about her health problems and why she decided to move back to Singapore.

“And so I'm very thankful to the cast and crew for being so patient with me,” she said.I went through menopause. It was chaos. I’m just grateful that it’s in the past. I’m okay now.There are some people who don’t even realise that they go through menopause, but not everybody can be so lucky.

My doctor told me that she didn’t want to remove my uterus because it’s better to retain your body parts. However, I was mentally prepared to be on hormone pills for the rest of my life in case she had to do it.I want to take things slow, especially after what happened to me with menopause. For the past 20 over years, I’ve been traveling and was very busy with my obligations even though I wasn’t paid. I think this is part of what caused me to be so stressed.

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Her character grapples with the guilt of losing her oldest son (Desmond) when he was eight and his subsequent return, as well as her prickly relationship with her daughter (Yahui) because of the latter's choice in men. Wanling said the role required “a lot of emotional depth” and that she had encountered difficulties with her lines because her “Chinese is rusty after not using it for so long”. Chinese officials have pursued a strict"zero-COVID" approach to containing the virus, with tight border restrictions and targeted lockdowns, a strategy that has come under pressure as multiple clusters have flared across the country ahead of next month's Winter Olympics. “And so I'm very thankful to the cast and crew for being so patient with me,” she said. With some difficulty, he reaches for the front passenger door and opens it. Wanling & her reel-life family 8DAYS: We heard that you had a major health scare a couple of years back. Local authorities said public transport had resumed in"low-risk" areas from Tuesday (Jan 18). How are you doing now? ZHENG WANLING: I went through menopause. Other women showcased include Singapore Malay dance pioneer Som Said, pioneering illustrator Kwan Shan Mei and Singapore's first female marathon gold medallist Kandasamy Jayamani.

It was chaos. CCTV added that the number of commuters at the city's train stations - mainly students and migrant workers - was increasing as well. Mr David Ang, 70, a shop assistant at Teck Hoe provision store in Yishun Ring Road, said:"I have seen him riding the wooden board. I’m just grateful that it’s in the past. I’m okay now. Local authorities came under fire for how they handled it - with supply issues and medical tragedies affecting residents, including a after being denied access to a hospital because she lacked a recent coronavirus test. How bad was it? I want to tell all the women that they should see a doctor if they feel uncomfortable during menopause." Part-time janitor Jumari Pawiro, 65, who was buying groceries in the area, added:"There is no brake and you can't turn a skateboard easily at his age. I was diagnosed with very low blood count after menstruating for three months. But other outbreaks involving both the Delta and Omicron variants have since appeared in Beijing, the eastern port city of Tianjin and the southern manufacturing hub of Guangdong. Speaking at the event, Ms Sim said the Government has implemented measures such as revising sentencing framework for sexual and hurt offences, as well as revising the Singapore Exchange listing rules to require companies to disclose their board's diversity policy, including that on gender.

The doctor told me that it was very bad for my organs, and that [having a low blood count] was dangerous because you were more prone to falling down. There was once I completely blacked out but I was lucky that nothing serious happened. International delegates, media and some athletes have already begun arriving for the Games, which will be held in a strict bubble that separates anyone involved in the Olympics from the wider population. Shanmugam said that the man, whom he identified as Mr Lee, has been receiving assistance since 2015. I’m a very happy, easygoing person but there were times when I felt so moody that I didn’t even want to get out of my bed. My head was spinning because of my low blood count. Source: AFP/fh. There are some people who don’t even realise that they go through menopause, but not everybody can be so lucky. This included getting him a wheelchair using the Seniors' Mobility and Enabling Fund, which is disbursed by the Agency for Integrated Care. "We all have the potential to be pioneers and pathfinders, and inspire others as these women have inspired us.

I took more than a year to recover. My last operation was in November 2019 and when I was discharged, I was given a letter [to explain my condition] to bring to the emergency room if I suddenly started bleeding. I was very afraid that something bad would happen, but weeks passed without any problems, and the fear slowly went away." Instead of the wheelchair, Mr Lee uses the wooden board with wheels to move around, which his neighbour built for him. I'm very blessed. What surgery was it? I’m not very sure but they had to burn something inside with a laser and take some samples to check.

They explained it to me but I don’t remember the details. Ms Poh said:"Our occupational therapist had earlier encouraged Mr Lee to use a wheelchair and prescribed one for him so that he can move around safely in the community. My doctor told me that she didn’t want to remove my uterus because it’s better to retain your body parts. However, I was mentally prepared to be on hormone pills for the rest of my life in case she had to do it. Wanling during her time in Panama On to happier things." She added that due to Mr Lee's condition and for safety reasons, other mobility devices were found to be unsuitable for him. We hear you love cooking a lot.

Have you ever thought of starting a food business? No. Let me tell you why: rental is crazy. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to. I know that rental is too expensive and the people that you employ, especially when you’re in the restaurant business, are very expensive too. For me, I just think that cooking is good to learn. Maybe one day I’ll start a restaurant but as of now, I’m happy to learn because that’s my passion.

I want to take things slow, especially after what happened to me with menopause. For the past 20 over years, I’ve been traveling and was very busy with my obligations even though I wasn’t paid. I think this is part of what caused me to be so stressed. My spouse was the head of mission for the country so I had to entertain and meet a lot of important people. People think that being an ambassador’s wife means you have a lot of time on your hands and that there are helpers waiting on you hand and foot in your big house.

Please don’t have the wrong idea. There are many things that we have to be very cautious about. I can say what I want now and laugh whenever I want, but not back then. I had an image to upkeep. Not that I was pretending — I don’t take crap from anyone — and I don’t [follow] any protocol (laughs).

When my daughter’s father was on duty, we didn’t really have time for ourselves. Most of it was already planned — it’s like when you’re acting, you have a call sheet and you just need to live your lives accordingly. But I learned how to socialise with all sorts of people, penmanship, which was very useful when I was writing invitation cards, table etiquette… The learning was never ending (chuckles). What do you miss about living in Panama and South Africa? The beautiful beaches in Panama and the countryside. The weather is similar to Singapore's but it’s less humid.

I miss the warmth of the people and the smiles of the South Africans. They’re very innocent, lovely, down-to-earth people. They always ask me when I’m going back. Many of my friends are very senior. One of them is quite old and can’t see very well, but she somehow manages to play bridge with us and never makes a wrong move (laughs).

Why did you decide to move back to Singapore? In South Africa, arts schools aren’t very established. I told my daughter Monique that she needed to have self-discipline when she told us she wanted to study the arts. It's why she decided to enroll in the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) since we know it’s a good school. With her grades, we weren’t sure if she would get in, and we were prepared to apply to Lasalle if she couldn’t make it. My daughter has never lived in Singapore so when she first came here, she didn’t know anything or anyone.

I had to orientate her, show her around. I’m glad that she’s very independent and enjoying her freedom. Now, she’s working as a graphic designer. So far so good — she’s like me and very easygoing. We don’t pretend to be people who we are not.

Is your daughter Singaporean or Panamanian? She had to decide before she turned 21 and I was surprised that she wanted to be Singaporean because I thought she wouldn’t be able to get used to the lifestyle here. That was about a year ago — she’s 22 now. Maybe auntie is auntie, but certain things like religion, nationality and marriage is something you can’t interfere with. You can only hope for the best. Wanling with her husband and daughter Did your husband move back to Singapore with you? No, but he visited recently.

He’s not Singaporean and still lives in South Africa — he’s still working there and has his own things to do. He’s a bit older than me and a retired diplomat. He’s still serving his country and so has ongoing duties. He likes to write too so he’s busy with his magazines and so on. Sometimes in life, you might wonder about the purpose of what you’re doing, but as a human being, we don’t need others to understand what we are doing.

I’m looking after my daughter so most of my time is spent here. My son can’t be here because of the pandemic. I can only talk to him through video call and I haven’t seen him and my future daughter-in-law for five years. They live and work in Panama. It’s also because of their jobs that makes it difficult for them to take enough time off to see us.

They tell me they miss me, but I think they miss my cooking (laughs). We didn't know you have a son. How old is he? He is 31. He's adopted so he’s family. He’s very close to his sister and they love to talk to each other and laugh at each other’s stupid mistakes.

I join in too. I’m not like a mother-mother; I’m more like a friend to them. Will you move back to Panama or South Africa one day? I’m quite sure that’s a no. My daughter definitely wants to live here. She loves it! She was a bit blur when she first came here, but I taught her how to use public transport and all that, so she’s an expert now.

Our lives were very different back then. Public transport wasn’t safe there; we had Uber but we wouldn’t allow her to go out on her own, also because she was very young. Here, I take public transport and I see a lot of interesting things. For example, I saw a mother with her two kindergarten-aged children taking the bus, and both could manage to board and find a seat on their own. I was very impressed.

So did you buy a place when you moved back? Auntie cannot afford to buy a flat now! (Laughs) I haven’t been working for more than 20 years. I bought this flat [I'm living in] in 1997, before I left the country. All the neighbours here are new, except for one auntie who has lived here the longest. I rented the unit out when I was away. I came back in a hurry because my daughter had to start school, so I didn’t have time to fix it up.

It has very auntie décor, but it suits me (chuckles). I cleaned it thoroughly when we came back and we’re comfortable here. Where you live isn’t important — safety and being comfortable is. I have my beautiful neighbours next to me in my HDB and I don’t listen to people who say that living in HDB flats give you no privacy. I have the best privacy in my life and I can open my gate every day and wave to my neighbours when we come and go.

It’s fantastic. Wanling & Monique with Aileen Tan during a 2020 meetup Do you drive? No and I don’t want to drive. Firstly, cars here are too expensive and it’s really a luxury. Our gas is sold by the litre instead of gallon, and it’s so pricey. Our road tax is also very expensive, and expires in 10 years.

I can’t afford that — I find it such a waste to get rid of my car once the 10 years is up. Life must be so different now compared to when you were an ambassador's wife attending fancy events. It has nothing to do with how rich you are. Singaporeans are very rich — they invest and put their eggs in different baskets. I’ve been advised that I should rent out my HDB flat because I’m an artiste and it wouldn’t be convenient if I live there.

They offered to introduce an agent to me to rent another place. But why should I rent another place instead of living in my own HDB? Why is there this unhealthy assumption that so-called stars need to live a certain type of life? My perception is very different. Certain things are important to some people, but I’m satisfied as long as I am healthy, have the appetite to eat the things I want and I have the opportunity to learn the skills I want. Why can’t we enjoy what we have around us? Of course, if you have a lot of ah longs (loansharks), that’s a different issue altogether. (Laughs) I don’t know if I would be able to handle that either.

I’m very lucky that I’m blessed with great neighbours. I can't imagine living anywhere else. Home Again airs weekdays 9pm on Channel 8. It is also available on demand for free on .