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Actress Felicia Chin says her mother-in-law dotes on her more than son Jeffrey Xu

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Lately, Felicia’s Instagram followers would have noticed Jeffrey’s mum appearing in a couple of Reels with her. When we asked what inspired the videos, she readily shared that the idea came about during Mother’s Day this year.

“I just wanted to share how proud I am of her. Her love for her children is very inspiring,” said Felicia.

The same affection extends to Felicia too and she shared that since joining the Xu family, her mother-in-law has taken to having a pet name for her too.

“Maybe she always wanted a daughter because she really shows her affection towards me. She now calls me bao bei (baby in Mandarin),” shared Felicia.

“During mealtimes she tends to serve me first or even gives me a bigger bowl of soup, telling Jeffrey that it was only for me which usually has him mockingly reply where his share is,” said Felicia, giggling.

However, she let on that her mother-in-law is quite media shy and got startled when she was recognised on the streets.

“She was asking for directions while out and was quite taken aback when the person immediately went, “I know you! You are Jeffrey’s mum!” she laughed.

Though her healthy relationship with her mother-in-law is the envy of many, Felicia shared that there are no immediate plans for Jeffrey’s mum to move to Singapore from Shanghai and live with them just yet.

“We think it important to stay on our own for now because that comes from a place where we want to develop our own family culture,” she said.

However, when probed about what habit she would need to change should her mother-in-law decidedly move in, she sheepishly admitted that she will need to close her eyes to certain things.

One of which is how she hangs freshly-washed laundry.

CLOSING YOUR EYES AS TO HOW LAUNDRY IS HUNG? TELL US MORE!

You know how our parents feel that laundry should be hung where the sun is? But both me and Jeff like things to be neat so seeing clothes everywhere was a little of an eyesore.

MAYBE YOU CAN GET THOSE DRYING RACKS WITH UV AND FAN FUNCTIONS?

We have that! But that comes the next thing – the sun is always better. Also, the older generation always says such drying racks waste electricity.

Speaking of which, another thing I might need to get used to is living in darkness as she seems to like minimal lighting at home.

Another parental thing about saving electricity (laughed).

MAKE US FEEL BETTER ABOUT OURSELVES. WERE THERE ANY OTHER DISAGREEMENTS CONSIDERING SHE IS FROM A DIFFERENT COUNTRY?

There weren’t any outright disagreements, but there was once I had an argument with Jeffrey and she kept saying “guai yi dian” which to me translates to “be more obedient”. I immediately got defensive, even borderline offended, even asking her what she meant.

Apparently, that’s how Shanghainese comfort their children saying everything is okay which made me feel a little silly after.

OH, THAT SOUNDS SO DIFFERENT FROM OUR UNDERSTANDING OF ‘GUAI YI DIAN’.

Yeah, I did my best to take the time to be direct with her in a comfortable way, allowing us to understand where we both were coming from.

We might be of the same race but with different cultures and upbringing.

The key is taking the time to nurture the relationship. That makes a difference and if there are things I don’t understand, I would always ask Jeff first.

OTHER THAN GIVING US A PEEK INTO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW, YOU ALSO SHARED ABOUT PREVIOUSLY HAVING AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD. WHAT MADE YOU GO PUBLIC ABOUT IT?

I wanted to share a personal and vulnerable side of myself so that others might not feel like they are alone. There are little steps that we can take to treat ourselves better because we deserve it.

WASN’T IT SCARY TO BE SO OPEN ONLINE?

It was and I felt out of my comfort zone. But I also see it as part of my work and be more proactive about sharing my experience.

If someone in my 20s had shared with me how I am doing now, I probably would have felt less alone.

I DO, DO I? HAS A VERY INTERESTING TAKE ON LOVE. HOW HAS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON LOVE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?

Wah! That is a very deep question.

A decade back, I was searching yet I didn’t really know what it was. In fact, there was a time when I didn’t think I was worthy of love.

Now I feel that I understand it better and it’s important to continue loving even through the hard times. As humans, we have our ‘off days’ and tend to be unkind to the people closest to us.

YOU TOOK NO-PAY LEAVE TO FILM I DO, DO I?. HOW TOUGH WAS IT JUGGLING YOUR FULL-TIME JOB AND FILMING?

It was extremely difficult. Even though I had a day off every week, I usually spent that day editing and posting content for Hai Hao Ma? which can be tiring.

But knowing that my efforts helped some people tide over difficult times, and from possibly ending their lives made everything worth it.

Thankfully the filming team tried to give me space and leeway to fit everything into my schedule.

HEADS UP FOR ANY PROJECTS COMING YOUR WAY?

I haven’t thought that far. But a short film or a movie sounds exciting to me. Especially if it is with a director I have never worked with before.

This story was originally published in 8Days. 



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