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Fri, Jul 30, 2010
The New Paper
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Mrs Korea, but Singapore is her home
by Syahirah Anwar

SHE is the reigning Mrs Korea World 2010.

But according to this beauty queen, Singapore is her home.

For the past four years, Mrs Ayesha Lee, a Singaporean permanent resident, has built a life for herself here following her marriage to Singaporean Zaidi Abdul Latip. They have a 21-month-old son, Aidan.

But being in Singapore didn't stop her from being crowned Mrs Korea World 2010.

"The competition was open to Koreans all over the world. I decided to give it a try so I flew back to Korea, with my husband's blessing, to take part in the competition last month," the 28-year-old who works with Microsoft told The New Paper.

Mrs Lee will compete in the Mrs World 2010 pageant to be held in Korea in October.

Host countries are allowed two contestants, she said. So, Mrs Lee will be representing Korea alongside fellow Korean Han Gi-Hye.

How will she differentiate herself?

Mrs Lee said: "I intend to portray a bi-cultural perspective and show the judges something different.

"Having lived (in Singapore) for four years, I feel that I am also part Singaporean now. The Singaporean culture, especially the Malay culture, has become part of me now."

The yummy mummy will be donning dresses designed by both Korean and local designers.

She has also taken up Malay dance as she finds it "interesting and graceful".

"I did a bit of the Malay dance at the Mrs Korea World competition and the judges were amazed by it as it was something different to them," she said.

Malay dishes

The slender beauty, who maintains her figure by climbing 22 flights of stairs almost daily, has also mastered cooking traditional Malay dishes like nasi lemak, ayam lemak chilli padi and sambal sotong.

"I love Malay food because it is spicy and I especially love sambal sotong," she gushed.

She has also picked up some Malay from her mother-in-law.

Mrs Lee and Mr Zaidi, a 35-year-old architectural designer, first met in Beijing in 2005 when they were posted there for work. The couple dated for about two years before deciding to tie the knot.

While all may seem to be going well for her now, that was not the case when she moved here in 2007.

Mrs Lee, who embraced Islam prior to marrying Mr Zaidi, recalled: "We could not get a house because I was not a PR...(Also), we were two individuals who did not really know what married life was like and I had to get used to a new culture so it was pretty hard."

Now that we both have matured, "managing a family and understanding each other's culture" is better.

That is not to say that their family life is conflict-free.

She said with a laugh: "In my culture, a child has to be strictly disciplined from young. But my husband is more laidback when it comes to Aidan's mischief. So sometimes he will tell me that I am too strict with Aidan."

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