Living with Mummy and loving it

Gregarious Actress Mei Xin and her mum share a home and an unbreakable bond.

Upon meeting Oppa, Saranghae! and The Diam Diam Era star and her mother, one cannot help but envy the endearing chemistry they share. And it’s no wonder – actress Mei Xin’s ebullient and lively demeanour is tempered with her mum’s controlled yet affectionate mien.

Their distinctive dynamic is best displayed in the home that they both work hard to maintain. Their capacious living room continues a storied tapestry of their enduring bond, hosting everyday chatter and laughter that reverberate through the home’s various open spaces. Yet, as much as they enjoy each other’s company, Mei Xin and her mother also appreciate maintaining their individuality amid a predominantly communaloriented home.

As the family’s chef, her mother steers a tight shipin the kitchen, with its sleek cabinetry and a minimalist kitchen counter that is sophisticated and seamless. True to her outgoing and intrepid nature, Mei Xin lets her creative vision go wild on her balcony, which she has transformed into her own experimental playground.

We sat with Mei Xin to better understand how her tight-knit relationship with her mum has enabled and empowered her to create a beautiful living space befitting that bond.


You shared that your initial foray into acting was overwhelmingly stressful.

Just imagine having everything about yourself be criticised, demeaned and overlooked every single day – it’s gut wrenching. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I did, it was simply never enough. I felt so lost and helpless, living a life that was either overshadowed by frequent crying fits or blurred by an unhealthy drinking vice. It was brutal.

 That sounds tough. Your strong bonds with your mum must have helped you during that bleak period. Tell us about your relationship with your mother.

So, my mother didn’t exactly have the happiest of childhoods. Despite that, everything that she does for the family, she does with warmth, love and kindness. She’s one of the strongest and most optimistic people I know. And like most Asian parents, her affection is subtle and largely unspoken. Little acts of love, like clearing the trash and reminding me to eat healthier can easily be left unnoticed when you don’t look or listen properly enough.

No matter how exhausted or busy I am, I’ll always tell my mum, “I see your acts of love. 谢谢妈妈! (Thank You, Mummy!).”


How has that mother-daugher dynamic changed over time?

I had a temperamental streak as a child. Even the smallest things, like my mum tying my hair in a manner that I did not like, would make me flare up at her. “Why never tie properly,” I would yell at her. I don’t remember when, but one day I just decided that enough was enough. My mother deserved better from me.


Why did you choose to pursue interior design academically?

I am and have always been a creative soul. You know how some people are just naturally and unexplainably talented cooks? Well, it’s like that – except for me, it’s architectural. Even today, I jump at every opportunity to help my niece with her creative projects! There’s this irreplaceable catharsis in transforming unassuming materials into something beautiful solely based on an abstract vision.

As one who has studied interior design, what
advice can you give to aspiring homeowners?

Don’t be afraid to curate a design vision that
encompasses hints of your personality! In fact, have that guide your overall vision of how you like your dream home to not just look but feel when you step into the door. I was always fascinated with the timelessness, boundlessness and ruggedness of European material culture. Hence, you’ll notice that my home boasts open spaces, high ceilings, and fittings made from a blend of organic and traditional elements such as stone, marble and cured wood.

Make sure to look out for inspiration from Pinterest


Speaking of storage, it doesn’t seem like your home has a dedicated storeroom.

We do! It’s hidden behind two symmetrical panelled walls by the television set. And don’t let its deceptively narrow exterior fool you – they safeguard a surprisingly huge storage space! Who says you must compromise elegance for functionality when you can have both? As for bulkier items, I design my home around them.


Your garden space really uplifts your home. Was it part of your originaldesign layout?

It’s funny because it’s actually my first attempt at gardening! I love how plants uplift the home with a beautiful variety of vivid hues and earthy accents. More importantly, it functions as part of a creative space that embodies my idiosyncrasies! The brick walls and marble tiles really enhance the space with the boldness that characterises the Art Deco movement. And the pole attached with magnets from the various countries I have visited, alongside my plants, imbues the balcony with a
sentimentally human flair.


Is your mother an avid cook? How did you go about creating her kitchen space?

We wanted a space that is minimalist, yet elegantly functional. Our kitchen has plenty of cabinets for storage, and a wide space for us to move around and socialise!

My mother loves to cook and is a staunch practitioner of the famed ‘agak agak’ technique! Nothing about her recipes is scripted. It’s all about the “feels”. I especially love her Fried Bee Hoon. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to replicate it !


Cooking at Home with
Mei Xin and Her Mother

Fried Bee Hoon

300g Vermicelli Rice Noodles (Bee Hoon),
soaked in water
½ cup Julienned Carrots
½ cup Diced Onions
2 tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce

2 tablespoons Light Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Sugar
½ cup Water

1 Mix light soy sauce with sugar and water in a bowl. Set aside.
2 Add oil to a pan over medium heat. Once hot, toss in the onions.
3 Once the onions are translucent and soft, add in the sauce and mix well with the noodles. With a chopstick, stir your noodles constantly to preventthem from sticking together.
4 After the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce, put in the carrots. Add dark soy sauce as well as 1 tablespoon water. Cover your pan with a lid for your carrots to soften.
5 Plate with fried onion crisps and, optionally, a fried egg.