The New Paper
It's back to school in five days' time. For some, it's starting out at the 'big school'. Judith Tan finds out from local actress, Huang Biren, how she prepares and copes with this rite of passage.
Huang considers herself a "hands-on mum" to her three kids.
But since she returned to acting in October, she hardly gets to see them.
She's shooting Channel 8 drama Tiger Mum, and the tight schedule and long hours have taken her away from her kids. And she feels guilty.
She tells The New Paper on Sunday: "I feel like I'm a bad mother."
Huang leaves home as early as 7am.
"By the time I return, they are already in bed, fast asleep," she says.
And she is missing out on preparing her daughter Janessa for Primary 1.
The three-time Best Actress winner had put her career on hold in 2008, after the birth of Janessa.
She went on a seven-year hiatus as she wanted to be involved in the growing years of her three children Justin, 14, Janessa, six, and Janielle, four.
Says Huang: "There was plenty for me to do then. There still is.
"You can say that I'm a multitasking mum. I'm on standby 24/7.
"I tutor my kids, I chauffeur them to school and enrichment classes. I'm also their nutritionist and dietician."
Huang confesses she misses them, especially Janessa's preparation for "her big day".
Thankfully, stepping in are both husband Adrian Quek, 47, and Justin. They have been helping Janessa get ready for the "big school" - CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' Primary School in Ang Mo Kio.
"She is already mentally prepared. She knows it's an all-girls school as her two older cousins are there," Huang says.
Justin takes it upon himself to make sure Janessa is well-prepared academically.
"He guides her in her enrichment homework," adds Huang, who bought Janessa's uniform, shoes and books.
"Even the black rubber band and pins for her hair. No more preschool colours."
Janessa has also been told that she has to be in bed by 8pm in order to make it to school on time the next day.
"She is excited enough to comply," says Huang.
Mr Quek, who is with the police force, will take Janessa to school every day. Huang says she will take over on days when she does not have to film and that she has specially arranged for a day off on Janessa's first day at school.
"It's a major milestone in her life. How can I miss it? I just hope I don't burst into tears to see my baby all grown up," she says.