updated 31 Oct 2013, 15:34
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Sun, Oct 27, 2013
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Divorce is like a cut that has to heal: Wong Li-Lin
by Boon Chan

For the performance art installation piece Future/Perfect Singapore, actress Wong Li-Lin was housed in a glass cube for about two hours on Tuesday as she went about various activities alongside another artist.

With the recent media scrutiny, she may well feel as though she has been living in a glass house.

The Singaporean actress had upped and left for Shanghai with her Chinese-American actor-host husband Allan Wu and their two children in August 2011, as Wu wanted to pursue acting and hosting opportunities in China.

She is now back with her children - an eight-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son - but has split from Wu.

Looking relaxed and in great shape, Wong, 41, appears to have come to terms with the divorce, which she says will soon be finalised.

In an interview with Life!, she says of her current relationship: "It has to heal, that's all I can say. It's like having a cut that's probably a bit raw in various ways and it has to heal and that can only take time. But overall, it's pretty okay."

News of the break-up was announced in a statement from their management company Fly Entertainment in June.

Wong shows no sign of bitterness towards Wu, whom she married in 2004, and even praises him for being a "very loving dad" and a "big teacher" in her life.

Looking back, she says: "I've had the experience of putting my ego and myself aside for some other people, in a marriage with children, and I've had the opportunity to grow. And for that, I must thank Allan most of all. Despite the marriage not working in the end, he's been a big teacher in my life."

She declines to comment on why the marriage broke down.

"I don't need to address it with anybody. This is between Allan and me," she says. "Suffice it to say that in any relationship, people want things to work. He and I certainly did, but certain things didn't work out so we just have to be mature about it. We both have our rights and wrongs and we both tried."

She has, however, approached the topic honestly with her children. "To them now, it's just that mum and dad are not together. But they receive the same amount of love and attention," she says.

"Allan is a very loving dad, he loves his children very much. While estranged, he and I will always be connected because of the children." Even as the chapter on marriage and Shanghai closes, another has opened.

Wong is back in Singapore and ready to get back to work. Future/Perfect Singapore, produced by New York-based, Singapore- born actress Elizabeth Lazan in collaboration with American artist Tara Subkoff, is "a nice way to slightly get my foot wet".

Wong, perhaps best known here for starring in the Channel 5 police drama Triple Nine from 1995 to 1997, says: "I told myself that for the first seven, eight years, I would really like to be with my children and they know I'm there. Now that they're a bit older and a bit more independent, it's a good time for me to go back to work."

Besides keeping busy with her company Loopz Fitness, she is also open to hosting and acting.

"I want to make money," she adds with a laugh.

"But I'm not going back to my media work full-time as it takes too much time away from my children. It's not what I want."

She has big plans for her company Loopz Fitness, which advocates a cross-disciplinary training system using a resistance band she created for sale in 2009. Wong was among the first to introduce pilates to Singapore in the early 1990s.

"I really want Loopz Fitness to succeed, not just locally, but internationally. It's relevant, we're fighting the desk sentence, all of us sitting and slouching and our backs are stiff and painful." She is, in fact, on her way to teach a class after this chat in Naumi hotel and is dressed in casual exercise gear.

She seems unprepared for the photo shoot - and for media attention, in general. She muses: "This media situation is the result of my collaboration with Ms Lazan on the piece. I certainly wasn't expecting this. I guess it's a bit naive on my part." Then she adds with a smile: "Not a bit, completely."

It is something she will have to get used to again, as she seems to be rooted in the here and now.

"This is exactly where I must be and where I want to be and I'm very happy."

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