She is a prolific fiction writer who has contributed her social analysis of life in Singapore, the Chinese culture and the People's Action Party.

Born in Malaysia in 1942, Ms Lim was a convent school student who mixed her Western-style education with a Confucianist upbringing.

On her website, Ms Lim describes herself as a walking contradiction.

On politics, she describes herself as "an idealist (I yearn for the ideal of a truly democratic and free society), but also a pragmatist (I realise that in the end, the only freedom people want is freedom from poverty)".

She has two adult children and refers to herself as a swinging single.