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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
The New Paper
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Don't need? Won't buy
by Charlene Chua

PEOPLE may see only the glamour of their job when they think of celebrities.

But what they don't realise is that as an artiste, one's income is sporadic.

Local celebrity Wong Lilin's earnings come from acting, hosting and her own business.

The 38-year-old, who is married to actor-host Allan Wu and is the owner of wellness company Wureka, said: "We also have passive income from our property. Allan and I, we have a democratic household and we're a team.

"So, what needs to be done is paid by either one of us. That's in part our outlook and also a matter ofpracticality."

Wong declined to reveal how much she earns.

The mother of two said that both she and Wu are full-time parents and artistes and do not have nine-to-five jobs, and they divide the household expenses between them.

So what do they spend the bulk of their moolah on? Not surprisingly, it's food.

But their children's education is the couple's "greatest extravagance".

She said: "Pre-school education in Singapore can be frightfully expensive. That said, our children don't attend a lot of enrichment classes that might add more costs."

What is most important to Wong is that her children grow up pursuing their passions.

That is why she insists on spending time at home coaching them on their homework.

This not only ensures that they have time to bond, it helps Wong understand what would be best for their personal growth and wellness.

Wong revealed that her children currently think that coins are worth more than dollar notes, so she joked that she is going to get away with giving them coins as rewards for as long as she can.

Overseas expansion

The sale of her Loopz fitness bands, which has been distributed by her company for the past two years, also goes to supporting her children's education.

Said Wong: "We put it in Guardian (pharmacy) stores and stood back for awhile to see how the public took to it.

"We had a good start and after six months, we began to restructure the business model for overseas expansion.

"Now with keen interest from the US, Europe, Australia and Indonesia, we can hopefully begin to steer the business into great direction."

The Loopz fitness band's purpose is to help people tone their bodies with regular use.

Apart from spending money on necessities, Wong admitted that she does indulge sometimes in overseas trips and retail therapy at department stores.

But with rising costs, is it also possible to have a good amount of savings in the bank?

Wong's perspective is that it's "more than just putting money into the bank that you can't touch".

She said that the key is to live within one's means.

"Both Allan and I prefer having things that we actually use," said Wong.

"By that token, our aversion to having superfluous material goods is a natural cost-saving habit.

"And simple habits like making spending decisions after price comparisons can help with long-term saving."

But life hasn't always been this comfortable for Wong.

She recalled that she used to be "dead broke and hungry" when she was a student in London.

What made her day then was finding money on the street not once, but twice, although she doesn't remember if it was a £5 (S$10) or £20 note each time.

If she were to lose "a bag of money" on the street, though, she would be "beyond grateful" if somebody returned it to her, she said.

"By that same token, if I were to pick up that much money, I would try to locate its owner by going to the police."


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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