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Tue, Apr 17, 2012
The New Paper
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Mum: She's going in with eyes open
by Benita Aw Yeong

[Above: Miss Eliza Lee (left) and her fiance, Mr Michael Poh (right).]

Miss Eliza Lee's mother has no qualms about accepting her daughter's hawker boyfriend.

Indeed, she admires his determination to make a living on his own.

"Setting up a chicken rice stall is a proper, legitimate way to make a living," she says.

"Every parent wants their children to reach great heights. My daughter told me that Michael is intelligent, very filial and I can see his ambition and drive."

Mrs Dorene Lee and her husband run a company which manufactures and exports bags made from crocodile skin.

"Even if my daughter marries a rich, white-collar guy, there is no guarantee he will treat her well.

"Those with university degrees and whose families have a lot of money may not be as hard-working.

"Then there are those who refuse to work after graduating, choosing instead to live off their family's wealth," she says.

Although she is supportive, this mother's tender heart aches watching her daughter work so hard.

Growing up, Miss Lee, who used to live with her parents and older sister in a Novena apartment, never had to lift a finger around the house, her mother reveals.

The family has a maid and two cars.

Referring to the young couple, the mother says in Mandarin: "I think they are both getting a bit skinny and haggard from working so hard. No day off.

"And when I feel her hands, they are a little rougher than before."

Miss Lee says she has lost 9kg since she began working at the stall.

Her mother says that running a food stall might have appealed to her daughter because it was a fresh and challenging prospect.

"Growing up, she travelled widely with us and what she wanted, she would have," she says.

This journey of growth she approves of.

"She has always been mature for her age. She is 22, but I think she has the mindset of a 25-year-old.

"She has changed a lot, becoming more independent. Now that she's working there, she does not take pocket money from us and even asks us not to spend so much on her birthday gifts," she reveals.

Despite her support, Mrs Lee is quick to add that the journey ahead will not be so easy for the couple.

"I think Eliza is going in with her eyes wide open. She knows it will be a lot of hard work, especially since they plan to open a couple more stalls," she says.

Her daughter, who started dating in her schooldays, admits she tasted a heavy dose of hardship when she started helping out at her fiance's stall.

"I would be very very tired at the end of the day. I also didn't know how to do things like wash dishes and cook rice.

"Once, I cooked the rice but because I forgot to add one ingredient, Mike threw away the whole tub of it," she says with a laugh.

She is grateful for her family's unwavering support.

This article was first published in The New Paper.


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readers' comments
As long as the couple are happy with each other, nobody else can say anything against them.
Posted by Pinetrees on Wed, 18 Apr 2012 at 11:28 AM

bro, although that is true... dun say it so openly, can? :D
Posted by DimpleGuy on Wed, 18 Apr 2012 at 11:13 AM

Useful to who or for what?
To employers, usefulness depend on the attitude of the person, not the piece of paper.
Posted by coolbeagle on Wed, 18 Apr 2012 at 10:20 AM
I say again, a MDIS graduate of hospitality is not a useful degree. If she is from NUS law faculty then this is new worthy.
Posted by Seekeroftruth on Tue, 17 Apr 2012 at 12:37 PM
As parents, can only counsel and advice. She's so lucky to have her wish respected. Not many couples have their marriages come with parent's blessings.
Posted by mystrawberry on Tue, 17 Apr 2012 at 12:34 PM

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