The politician who gave Jamie Yeo encouragement when she was worried about becoming a mum

8 August 2015 / 1 year 2 months ago

Charlene Chua
The New Paper
Aug 5, 2015

More than a decade ago, DJ Jamie Yeo was single and had many concerns about having children when she got married.

It wasn't that she didn't want kids. In fact, she was looking forward to motherhood. Her fear?

That after becoming a mum, she would lose her job or be forced to take on part-time responsibilities at work.

Since she wasn't well-off then, the potential loss of income was something she was not willing to forego.

Yeo had read an article in the newspapers about a speech that Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, then Prime Minister, had made on the Government trying to convince women to have babies.

She wrote an e-mail to him voicing her concerns.

To her surprise, Mr Goh replied. His personable manner in which he wrote his e-mail left her immensely touched. Yeo, 38, told The New Paper:

"Mr Goh said that he knew that there were difficulties and challenges that women faced and that it was hard to find the perfect solution for it but the Government was working on it.

"He didn't elaborate much on that but instead shared that his daughter, who was living in London at that time, was raising her kids without a helper.

"He said that in spite of that, she was very happy and fulfilled because at the end of the day, children are really such a joy."

Mr Goh is married to Mrs Goh Choo Leng and the couple have a pair of twins - son Jin Hian and daughter Jin Theng.

Mr Goh's daughter married Briton Lee Craven and lives in London. Imagine Yeo's joy when, more than 10 years later, she met ESM Goh during the Joo Chiat National Day dinner on Sunday (Aug 2), where she was the emcee for the night.

She took a selfie (see gallery) with Mr Goh and promptly posted it on Instagram the next day.

So did she actually ask ESM Goh about the e-mail? She said:

"I didn't ask him about it.

"It happened so long ago and he's such a busy man. "I'm sure he gets thousands of e-mails from Singaporeans every year!"

She added:

"Singaporeans can help Singapore by speaking up and sharing (speaking with reason and not just complaining).

"After all, we all just want Singapore to be a better place."

In retrospect, Yeo said that being the mum of four-year-old Alysia (below), whom she affectionately calls Aly, is something she wouldn't give up for the world.Mr Goh's words of encouragement had inspired Yeo because they were "so personal".

She said:

"I knew from the words and content that he himself took the time to reply me, and that it wasn't written by his spokesman or speech writer.

"I took his words to heart. It didn't make me want to have children right away but I was definitely comforted in the knowledge that one day, if I were to have one, or if bad times or injustice were to fall on me, I could seek his or the Government's help."

When Yeo finally had Aly with ex-husband Thorsten Nolte four years ago, she said she realised that her initial apprehensions were unfounded.

Even though it was heart-breaking for her in the beginning, such as when she couldn't produce enough breast milk to feed a premature Aly, she has overcome all these obstacles because of her love for her daughter.

Said Yeo:

"The moment I held her and saw her, nothing else really mattered. "I gladly quit my job to have her and to spend time with her."

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