How to age well: actress Charlie Yeung says giving birth at 42, to twin boys, has kept her feeling youthful
- ‘Being with kids brings happiness,’ mature mum Charlie Yeung Choi-nei says. ‘Our interaction with them makes us young’
- Other things the Taiwanese-Hong Kong actress, who now lives in Singapore, does to stay young? She takes walks, swims, enjoys the outdoors and cooks
Although she hasn’t had an uninterrupted night’s sleep since the premature birth of her twin boys in 2017, actress and former singer Charlie Yeung Choi-nei says they have given her a new life full of hope and joy – and she feels younger than ever.
“They became my first priority in life,” she says. “I am an only child and I was also born prematurely. My mum gave me lots of nutrition, and [I did lots of] exercise. My husband and I decided to do the same for the boys. Very [small] and incubated for a month, they showed lots of determination to fight for their lives.”
Yeung – now 47 – says she has learned to never underestimate her children.
“They learn fast. My boys get back up on their own after stumbling and, when school was closed during the pandemic, I was worried that they might be too impatient to sit through online classes at home. But they can, and they find the experience novel.”
Yeung says she has developed new hobbies which have brightened up her life as a full-time mum.
“I started to learn how to make bread, as my kids and I are big bread lovers. I can buy better flour, control the sugar amount and use natural methods to make it, like using carrot juice for colouring,” she says, adding she now makes all the meals for her family.
Yeung retains the youthful air that made her a big star in the 1990s and 2000s.
Her singing career took off after the release of her debut Cantonese song Won’t Cry In Front Of You in 1993, when she won the best newcomer prize awarded by TVB – Hong Kong’s dominant free-to-air broadcast network.
The secret to her youthfulness, Yeung tells the Post from her home in Singapore, is her kids.
“Many of my friends who have kids also look way younger than their actual age. Being with kids brings happiness. They feel happy easily. Simple acts like eating [together] and parental companionship are already enough to make them very happy.
“My husband and I often went diving overseas. During the pandemic, we started taking walks in Singapore, which is full of greenery and fresh air, after the kids fell asleep.
At home, she makes soup every day. Her mum’s home-made soup was something that used to get her through exhausting days at work before she was married.
“The taste of her soup is ingrained in my mind. My mum’s soup contains simple ingredients like apple, pear, red carrot, sweet dates, pork and corn. Her chicken soup made with dried scallops and mushrooms is also nourishing. I am learning how to make vegetarian soup. We eat very little red meat, and are vegetarian every Friday.”
Yeung’s husband, Singaporean lawyer Khoo Shao Tze, works full-time, and the couple go out of their way to keep their marriage happy and vibrant. “He’s with the kids throughout the weekends – but we go out every Friday to dine out, just the two of us, and to go shopping. The kids know [they have] to go to their grandparents’ home on Fridays.”
Yeung, who married Khoo in 2013, gave birth when she was 42 and says there are a few things one can do to make a full postnatal recovery as an older mother.
“Pregnant women must try their best to get as much rest as possible, because uninterrupted sleep is impossible after childbirth! Kids wake up very early.
“I had a very good [doula] who knew what I needed to eat, and I ate everything she cooked for me. Don’t try to lose weight right away after childbirth – you lose weight just by trying to raise your children anyway. Don’t drink health-replenishing tonics right after giving birth either – eat light foods to help flush the body [of toxins] so that it can tolerate tonics later.”
Childbirth actually led to Yeung’s health improving. The cold extremities she used to suffer from, for example, were no longer an issue after she gave birth, which is why she believes following the right post-birth recovery regimen may lead to better health.
Yeung also engages in writing and charity work – both children and animals are causes she cares deeply about.
“It’s important for first-time parents to get support from their peers. I am recruiting professionals in child education. Theatre professionals will write a script for the workshop containing different scenarios regarding parent-child interactions. Parents can share how they will feel facing the scenarios.”
“My husband often encourages me to write. Creating a script from scratch for Christmas Rose was a magical experience. My life experience has taught me to be grateful.