Former actress Ann Poh rebuilds life after failed marriage

https://youtu.be/FJnS8IlNtsQ
STAYING AFLOAT: (Above) Ann Poh in a scene from the video.
STAYING AFLOAT: (Above) For the filming, Poh's face was made up to look like she was badly bruised.

It has been a decade since former MediaWorks actress Ann Poh, who was best known for her 34F assets, left showbiz.

But when her old friend Ben Yeo approached her last year to play the role of an abused wife for his #SaveMummy campaign video, the 40-year-old did not think twice before accepting.

This was despite the subject matter hitting close to home.

In 2006, her separation from her Singaporean husband of eight years made headlines after both sides alleged spousal abuse.

The couple, who have two daughters, were divorced that year, said Poh.

Referring to the video shoot, the Penang native told The New Paper over the phone: "At first, I felt a bit uncomfortable looking at myself when I saw the fake bruises on my face. Some of the old memories went through my head for a short while.

"But after that, I was okay. It's all in the past."

"All in the past" is a phrase Poh kept repeating throughout this interview.

She said she does not harbour any grudges and is now on cordial terms with her ex-husband.

"Any decision that involves our (girls), we will discuss it together," said Poh, an administrative officer at a real estate company.

PRIORITY

Poh said her two daughters, aged 16 and 17, are her top priority as she continues to "rebuild (her) life from scratch".

Her acting career took off in 2001 when she signed on with the now-defunct MediaWorks.

She was discovered after winning a biggest bosom contest on Channel U variety show Snap.

But in 2004, Poh was retrenched when MediaWorks merged with Mediacorp.

The initial years of her divorce were the hardest for her, she said.

For 18 months, she lived in Guangzhou, China, selling silver jewellery online to earn a living.

Job opportunities in Singapore were few, following her highly publicised split.

"Nobody wanted to hire me. They knew all about my life," she said.

"I knew then I had to upgrade myself and be better for myself and my children."

Her ex-husband and her mother-in-law cared for her daughters during that time.

Poh and her ex-husband share joint custody of their daughters.

"(When I was in Guangzhou) I missed my children a lot and had to hold back tears so that they would not know that I was sad," she said.

"My daughters, especially the younger one, would cry. But I had to be strong."

When she moved back to Singapore in 2008, Poh lived in fear that people would continue to ask about her failed marriage.

In 2009, she got a diploma in tourism from the Tourism Management Institute of Singapore while juggling a part-time administrative job.

She later worked as a tour group leader before settling into her current job.

Compared to her past glitzy celebrity life, Poh's life is very different now, but she does not mind.

"Frankly speaking, I do miss acting because it is fun. But acting is my hobby.

"Making ends meet and supporting my children is are top priorities right now.

"I am comfortable with my normal life," she said.

In recent years, she has made several guest appearances in Channel 8 dramas and is open to opportunities if they fit her schedule.

Her children still live with her mother-in-law although she hopes to have them live with her in the future.

The main thing she has learnt after her failed marriage?

"I have to be stronger, fight harder and be better for myself and my children," she said.

"You must stay positive and love yourself.

"Everything will be okay when you put your heart into it."

And would she be open to dating again soon?

"To be honest, I haven't had time to think about it," was her candid reply.

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Flight attendant jailed for road rage incident

Furious with a fellow motorist for cutting into his lane, he punched his victim twice.

But flight attendant Abdul Hadi Abdul Harris, now 26, was not done with van driver Iskandar Mohamed Noor, now 42.

Hadi stormed to the van, which belonged to the event management company Mr Iskandar worked for, Essential Werkz, removed its in-car camera and flung it into a nearby construction site.

The $299 camera was damaged.

Mr Iskandar called the police and Hadi was jailed for a month yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt.

A mischief charge involving the damaged camera was taken into consideration.

At around 10.35am on July 21 last year, Mr Iskandar was driving along Clementi Road towards Ulu Pandan when he encountered road works.

He filtered into Hadi's path, causing the younger man to apply his brakes.

STOP

Angry, Hadi honked and overtook the van, gesturing to Mr Iskandar to stop.

After getting out of their vehicles, the men argued and Hadi punched his victim's cheek twice.

He stopped the assault only when his girlfriend, Ms Bernice Lim Hui Ying, 24, separated them.

Hadi drove off with her after damaging Mr Iskandar's car camera.

Mr Iskandar went to the National University Hospital with a small bruise and tenderness on his head and cheekbone areas.

He was given two days' medical leave.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Hadi could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

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Singaporean Muslim mum in London: How can my family live here safely?

S'porean Muslim mother in London shares her fears in wake of extremist attacks in Europe

WarY: Riot police surrounding the makeshift memorial in tribute to the victims of the Brussels terror attacks last week.

Late last year, just a month after our move from Eindhoven in the Netherlands to London, the city of Paris was shaken by a number of explosions that claimed hundreds of lives. 

What we saw on the news then just numbed us.

My family and I just sat down for a moment and watched the television without uttering a word. 

We were shocked by what was shown on the news and immediately felt scared.

You see, Paris was only three and a half hours from our previous residence in Eindhoven and we had, on a number of occasions, taken road trips over the weekend to enjoy Paris' beauty and serenity.

The places where the attacks took place somehow struck a chord of familiarity.

Just four months later, the city of Brussels became the latest target of violence in Europe. 

Once again, we sat in front of the telly and went silent.    

If Paris was a three-and-a-half-hour drive from our previous residence, Brussels was only an hour and fifteen minutes away. 

Worse still, Brussels and Antwerp were the two cities that we visited on most weekends not only because of their close proximity to us then, but also because of the large number of Muslims in these cities that gave us the opportunity to explore the many halal restaurants and shops that catered to our needs.

When these tragedies, so close to where we have been, happened, I always ask myself if I or we can live safely here. 

Every day when my husband goes to work and the children are at school, I'm afraid to go anywhere and will stay indoors.  

Perhaps this is just me and my mind playing the scary 'what ifs' scenarios, but I am a Muslim woman and I don the hijab.

Also, we now live in an area where there are hardly any Muslims and I know each time something big like the bombings happen somewhere, people will start to look at me in a funny way.  

Although not much has been reported, when incidents of violence such as the Belgium bombings happen, hate crime or hate against Muslims will also be on the rise.

Since the Paris attack, a number of incidents have been reported in London where Muslim women wearing the hijab had been targets of racial abusers.

TALKING ABOUT HATE

My children have also told me that in school, their teachers held special talks about what happened and also about hate crime. 

The head teacher also informed the students that terrorism and violence will not be tolerated and that it is not their Muslim friends or neighbours who commit these devious crimes, but the so-called extremist Muslims who do not follow the teachings of Islam properly. 

But I can't help thinking that among these students there still might be some who think that all Muslims are the same, that we know about the terrorists among us even when truthfully we don't and that we hate violence of any kind.

What truly riles me are these so-called Muslim extremists who claimed the right to live in these European cities, often benefitting from financial, health and housing help from the government and even their livelihood from their adopted countries, and yet committing violence without batting an eyelid.

Which part of this is the teaching of Islam I wonder.

Is this what Islam is all about?

Certainly not.

Islam is a religion of peace and calmness and teaches, like all other religions, to love and respect one another.

For example, in the Quran, we are reminded as many as 90 times to be patient. This shows how Islam is.

We do not inflict violence on anyone even with our tongues, never mind weapons.

These extremists have deliberately tarnished the image of Islam that we normal abiding Muslims love.The fear these attacks have inflicted on those of us who live near where they happened has also not yet faded. I do realise that we have to choose not to think about it and just carry on living.

We have to appreciate what we have and must not succumb to just looking behind our backs each time we go out or stay indoors and avoid life altogether.

But it is so very hard to do.

So, in times like this, I cannot help but ask my husband: "Will you get a Singapore posting any time soon?"

Ida Suandi- Al Shara is a Singaporean living in London. She is a part time post-doctoral researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London and is also a housewife.She is on sabbatical from her teaching position in Singapore


What truly riles me up are these so-called Muslim extremists who claimed the right to live in these European cities, often benefitting from financial, health and housing help from the government and even their livelihood from their adopted countries, and yet committing violence without batting an eyelid.

- Ida Suandi- Al Shara

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