Thursday 7 May 2015

A woman behind a celebrity

I met Claudia during my Secondary school days, she was my senior in school. We shared the same extra curriculum, but rarely spoke. It was natural that we didn't keep in touch after leaving school. We caught up again at a friend's wedding in 2005 and found out we were both getting married the next year, 2006. This got us connected and got even more chatty when our first child arrived at about the same time in 2009. She has two adorable boys, Javier, 6 and Jarius, 3. That was also when we started hanging around together. Motherly conversations attract.

Her husband, local Mediacorp Artiste, Ben Yeo (杨志龙) has been in showbiz for more than a decade. I thought it would be interesting to do an exclusive interview with Claudia and chapter it on the blog. A peek into the woman behind this man's success as a celebrity and a businessman, as well as some family stories. I will say, it's not easy being wife to a man with an irregular schedule.

Ben is not just a talented actor, he also has a natural flare for hosting. A model-turned host and actor was talent scouted by SNAP, a popular Channel U reality programme tat aims to seek out young people with idol good looks. He emerged winner with his unique charms.

After the births of his boys, Ben divides his time between family, TV work and food business, Tenderfresh Classic. Which we have once tried when we were at onekm. Very impressed with its variety, tastiness and most attractively, reasonably priced with no service charge. That's unmistakeably, my kind of food! It's halal certified too.

If you're a chicken wing lover or one who loved Tenderfresh (可爱鸡)from the past, Tenderfresh Classic is a must try. Its creative blend of western mix will definitely tantalize your taste bud. When you're there, you ought to try its succulent chicken steak! Very tasty and lives truly to its name. Tender, juicy and fleshy!

Pictures are really convincing, but not doing much justice to its taste. You have to try it! We love supporting local entrepreneurs and will definitely be back to try more from its menu. Swinging back to the interview, before the drooling begins. Here are the questions I faced up with Claudia.
1. How did you both meet and how did love sparked between you both?
"We met at a farewell party organized by a common friend. It wasn't exactly love at first sight. We exchanged contacts and developed our friendship from there. He was an interesting man with a passion in culinary. I was very much attracted to him. There was also an occasion when we both were sharing a cab home and I initiated that he dropped off first. He felt this was a nice gesture from a lady and there was something special.

We started dating the same time he entered the showbiz industry. He demonstrated his desires to settle down and was all ready to start a family together. Being a newbie in the industry, fame wasn't the only thing he sought after. There were more meaningful things in life to achieve."

2. Celebrities are often pegged to a hectic schedule. How do you both ensure there's quality time for family bonding? 
"Whenever he is not working, he would make the effort to send and pick the kids from school. We will sit together for meals and enjoy a good conversation. We strongly believe in building quality time together and so our electronic devices and gadgets are put away during meal times. We are also committed to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries together. Even if it is impossible to arrange something on the actual day, we would do so on a different day."

3. How is a typical family outing like? Do you often get glances or stop for pictures?
"Much normal. We wouldn't avoid going to certain places just to avoid attention. We will travel and explore places we really desire to visit as a family. Occasionally we do get stopped for pictures taking with his fans. But I do prefer Ben is the only one featured on pictures. There isn't an intense paparazzi culture here. We like it this way."

4. Do you feel the need to get yourself and the kids well-dressed whenever you all are out together?
"I believe in dressing up comfortably and confidently. I do enjoy dressing up the kids with different outfits as this is a fun stage where they do not mind me putting anything on them"

Photo credit: Claudia

5. Who takes on the role of discipline in the household?
"The Mummy. Ben tries to treat the kids as friends so that he can relate better to them. Ben is hardly around due to his irregular work schedules. We do not like the idea of him coming home to a parade square, demonstrating his disciplinary figure instead of spending quality time with the kids. However he does intervene when things get a little out of hand for me." 

6.Tell us your roles in ensuring his success as an artiste and businessman.
"I give him my moral support, trust and faith in what he feels right to do. I would also share my opinion when he seeks advice during his decision making process and be there to support him with his final decision even if there were differences. I will manage all the domestic affairs to enable him to have peace of mind and give his best shot at work. I truly understand his work commitments and thus I do not hold it against him for missing important celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries. That's the mutual understanding we have."

7. How do the boys react upon seeing their Daddy on TV?
"They get very excited and beamed with joy as they waved at him! There was an occasion where Daddy appeared on a game show and lost in the game. He was slapped with a penalty of sleeping in an outdoor tent instead of the hotel room. Javier cried buckets and felt so sorry for him. There was much explanation to be done afterwards."

8. what are both your visions for the boys? 
"I would be most grateful watching them grow up to be strong and healthy, and stay happy always. Ben would love them to grow up with good moral values, much more than just excelling in academics."

Photo credit: Claudia

9. What was Ben like before and after having kids?
"He has cut down on attending social events and spends more time engaging in family bonding. He took on heavier responsibilities as a husband and father. He thinks more for the family than for himself. He has became more emotional now than before and is easily moved to tears when he experienced something very touching."

10. What was one of the best things Ben did for the boys?
"He co-wrote and published a book on 'Cooking for kids (这样煮,宝宝才爱吃).'

The book offers recipes for babies from 5 months to 5 years old. That's a gift to the boys! A book that puts together the recipes he explored for them. It was the best thing because he wishes the boys will remember that their Daddy loves to cook for them when they were young. And they will in turn use this book for future reference to cook for their kids when they too become a Daddy some day."

I had a great time chatting with Claudia and it was really fun to be listening to their family stories, this time with the agenda of blogging. Thanks so much for your time, babe!

Ben's bilingual recipe book can be bought from any popular bookstores or Kinokuniya at the price of $15.90. This beautiful family has also agreed to giving away an autographed copy to ONE lucky reader of Mum's calling! It really is a lovely book for keep. To win, all you need to do is: 
1. Like Mum's calling on Facebook
2. Like and share this Facebook post (Do ensure post is public).
3. Leave me a comment on the Facebook post, tell me a dish you love cooking for your kids.

Do ensure that you've completed all the 3 steps to qualify!

This giveaway has closed. Thank you everyone, for your participation! A final keeper had been picked with Congrats Jean T! 

Tenderfresh Classic oulets:
  • #B1-K3 onekm, 11 Tanjong Katong Road S(437157)
  • 9 Cheong Chin Nam Road S(599734) 
Opening hours at Cheong Chin Nam:
11am to 11pm (Mon to Thurs)
11am to 1am (Fri to Sat)
11am to 930pm (Sunday)

Giveaway Terms and Conditions:
  • This giveaway ends on 14 May 15, 11.59pm 
  • Open to Singapore residents only 
  • Winner will be contacted through via Facebook comment.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. 
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified. 
  • All entries will be verified before the winner is announced.   

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