Youths pay tribute to single parents for taking on dual roles


Mother’s Day has always been a non-affair for Yeo Zhi Xin.


The 19-year-old cannot recall much of her mother. As a child, she had very little face time with her jet-setting, career-driven mother. When she turned 8, her parents’ marriage ended in divorce.

zhixin portrait
Yeo Zhi Xin and her father

Fortunately for the Accountancy student, the long absence of maternal love is made up with much more paternal care. To Zhi Xin, who’s raised by her father, a cook in a restaurant, single-handedly, dad is synonymous with mum.


“It’s not easy for men to take up both roles of a dad and a mum,” Zhi Xin said when she recounted how her father cooked for her and did her laundry on top of bringing home the bacon.

“He just took on all the extra responsibilities quietly. No grumbling. Not even once,” said Zhi Xin.



To thank her father for protecting, nurturing and providing for her, Zhi Xin will keep her father company this Monther’s Day (May 8). The outgoing teen said while she has not been the “best daughter possible” for spending too many late nights with friends, she will learn to listen more to her father and cause him less grief.


“I wasn’t the easiest child to take care of because I was disgruntled about the split. I could’ve been more understanding honestly,” she added.

For many children who grow up in single-mother households, Mother’s Day is all the more a poignant reminder of their mothers’ sacrifice.


20-year-old Tan Shan Xian, for instance, is deeply aware of how challenging it must have been for her mother to get over a failed marriage, find her footing in the workplace, and raise her daughter in a costly and competitive society.


shanxian portrait
Tan Shan Xian and her mother

When the Business Studies student was 6, an extra-marital affair took her father away from the family. Shan Xian’s mother then worked hard as a businesswoman to provide for her. Her mother is not very expressive, but she has her ways to show her care and concern subtly, said Shan Xian, who will bake a cake for Mother’s Day.


“My mother would always play ‘hard to get’. She would say she doesn’t want to eat the cake. But I know she will eventually eat it,” Shan Xian said with a chuckle, adding that she looks forward to the celebration.


Preschool teacher Shermaine Wong also has an exciting Mother’s Day gift in mind. The 26-year-old plans to take her single mum to Japan for holiday.


“She has always been my pillar of strength,” Shermaine said of her mother, who has two failed marriages but remains strong and level-headed. She added that she is particularly grateful to her mother for being with her whenever she falls ill. She always finds great comfort in her mother’s warm hands and soft whispers.


“I know I can always count on my mum,” said Shermaine.