The Women Inspiration Series: Wong Li Lin

This article was written by Zenith via UN Volunteers

Chapter 1 – Wong Li Lin (Singapore)

If we were to talk about inspirational figures, many at times, the immediate names that appear in conversations would probably be people like Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or even Barack Obama. However, to find the simple inspirational female figures in our daily lives, will probably be much tougher.

So given this is my first blog post, I wish to start a series – to find the inspirational stories of women around the world, and share it with everyone. And where can be a better place to begin, than my own country; Singapore.

The lady I wish to introduce today is Wong Li Lin. She is a well-known actress and host of the local media industry and also a ballerina. Recently, she has also been appointed as Community Chest Ambassador, and Lifestyle Health Advisor, teaching people how to eat healthy as well as exercise properly, and providing consultancy services, beyond being a media personality. 

Wong Li Lin

However, it’s much more than her success that makes her an inspiration. It’s her resilience.

Since 2 years old, she was fostered to different families, and had also witnessed fights when she was at brothels and gambling dens. She only returned to live with her troubled family when she was 6 years old.

In an email interview, she mentioned that: “They were very unstable times. I lived mostly in and out of gambling dens, and I grew up with prostitutes, gamblers and thieves.”

At 8 years old, she first saw the inside of a brothel when her mum went to visit a friend.

At 10 years old, she witnessed her first fatal fight.

Despite such a traumatic childhood, when looking back, she described her childhood as colorful and dramatic, and that it was because she got to meet people from different walks of life that she had the opportunity to learn and study human behavior from a young age.

Upon returning from London after receiving a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London, she found out that her parents and split up and moved away – and no one told her. However, she was not bitter and remains grateful for all the benefactors in her life (her ballet teacher and the ballet community).

Now she is helping troubled youths and in her own words, “I had a tough childhood, so I understand what these youth are going through”.

Just last year (2013), she ended her marriage of 9 years and is now a single mum of 2 children. Nonetheless, she maintains still her jovial and optimistic way of living, and she has mentioned that, “I am in an exclusive relationship with myself, my children and my career. I want to focus on myself.”

Wong Li Lin is an amazing everyday-hero-and-role-model for many of us. I see her as a great inspiration; for someone without a proper childhood, she has achieved great heights with her own capability and a dose of benefactors along the way. She has also used her story to inspire youths and to help others. Despite her broken marriage, she still remains jovial and seeks her best to give back to community and to raise her 2 children well.

As a woman, she has had her share of tough times. But she has also live out the essence of the quote: “Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do”. Hope that everyone can find a lesson or two from her story and let her be an inspiration to you!

This article was written by Zenith Chua via UN Volunteering service.

Zenith is in her senior year at Singapore Management University, majoring in strategic management and organizational behavior & human resources. Beyond school, she learns from various MOOCs (massive open online courses), so as to satisfy her seemingly ever growing desire for knowledge. Setting academics apart, she is an active UN Volunteer with various NGOs around the world, as well as a dragonboat paddler. 

Firmly driven by her life motto, "To Live, Not Just Exist", Zenith is always on the move for new ideas and opportunities to fulfill her not-so-humble ambition of changing the world to be a better place for all.



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