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Sun, Dec 06, 2009
The New Paper
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Is Zoe Tay trying for her baby number... 3?
by Kwok Kar Peng

JAIME Teo is, Huang Biren too, and Fann Wong hopes to be.

But what about Queen of Caldecott Zoe Tay?

Does she want to be pregnant too?

The New Paper recently spoke to the 41-year-old yummy mummy of two boys, 4-year-old Brayden and 2-year-old Ashton, and asked if she wishes to have a third child – a girl perhaps.

Her answer was cryptic.

“I’ll leave things to nature,” she said.

That seems to be the favourite phrase of local actresses these days.

Fann and Michelle Chia both used it recently when asked about their plans to have kids.

Does it mean you are not using contraception, Zoe?

“Eh... you can say we are and also we are not,” she replied. “I think children are a gift from God and you can’t force it.”

Zoe laughed at The New Paper’s attempts to probe more and refused to comment further.

She even gleefully pulled her manager into the interview to try and stop the line of questioning.

And although she said she hasn’t considered the risks associated with getting pregnant at an older age, she’s doing all she can to keep herself in tip-top shape.

She doesn’t go clubbing and prefers healthy, home-cooked food.

Apart from fried chicken, which she cannot resist, her diet comprises mostly soups and vegetables. She also takes vitamins C and E, and cod liver oil regularly.

But she said she won’t be able to help her MediaCorp colleague Fann the way she “helped” local comedian Mark Lee and his wife, Catherine, conceive.

The couple – who had been trying for a baby for eight years in vain – performed a traditional fertility ritual, loosely translated from Chinese as “borrowing a bed”, about two years ago, where they sat on the edge of Zoe’s bed and ate a bowl of vermicelli.

Coincidentally, Catherine became pregnant soon after.

The ritual apparently only works when the “lender” has just given birth. At that point, Zoe had just given birth to her second child.

Zoe was also unable to attend the wedding banquet of Fann and actor Christopher Lee in September because it clashed with her travel plans.

The actress and her airforce pilot husband Philip Chionh had celebrated their wedding anniversary and Ashton’s birthday with a holiday in Los Angeles.

Together with her sister, she took her sons to visit Mr Chionh, who was posted there for work.

The family spent about 10 days in Los Angeles and visited Disneyland, where the children enjoyed themselves thoroughly, she said.

Her sons are her first priority now.

Although taking care of them is more tiring than doing anything else, she’s enjoying every moment, she said.

She added: “Bonding with your children is important. It makes you crazy spending the whole day with them, but the time you have to bond with them is only less than 10 years.

“It’s frustrating sometimes, but you must treasure and enjoy it. It’s all worthwhile.”

Zoe now films only two dramas a year so she can spend time with her boys – playing with them and reading them books.

She’s currently filming a Channel 8 telemovie showcase which will be telecast next year during Chinese New Year. She plays a tycoon’s wife, who is later kidnapped by someone seeking revenge.

Zoe will also perform at the SPD Charity Show – which airs over Channel U on Sunday at 7.30pm – to raise funds for the Society for the Physically Disabled.

She will dance and perform calligraphy with a 13-year-old beneficiary of the charity.

She said: “As a mother, I think I’m more easily moved when I see a disabled child. I feel very fortunate that my children are healthy.

“I think we don’t have to pressure our kids too much too often. I mean, we shouldn’t try to turn our kids into perfect, super beings.

“I think it’s enough that they are healthy and live simply.”

Time to play

She also prefers her children to live a life out of the limelight.

She has so far released only a handful of photos of her children to the media. Zoe added that she would “seriously flip” if the media took photos of them at private events.

Although she was not willing to reveal any details about Ashton, she was more forthcoming about her first-born.

She said she intends to send Brayden for enrichment classes, but is apprehensive about involving him in too many lessons.

She explained: “Brayden is only in kindergarten. He already doesn’t have time to play. Once he starts primary school, he will be studying consecutively for more than 10 years.

“Now is the time for them to play. It’s very sad to force them to attend classes, unless they have an interest in the subject.”

Brayden currently attends Chinese arts, dance and drama lessons.

Zoe said he finds it hard studying Chinese and cried when he tried writing his name Jiang Wenzhe in Chinese characters. And she hopes the art lessons can help spur his imagination.

More lessons, including swimming, will come only when Brayden is older , and she added proudly that the boy is athletic and a fast learner. However, she thinks the boy patronises her occasionally.

“He tells me he’s okay with any lessons that I sign him up for. He doesn’t have a focus. It’s like he just wants to shush me up,” she said.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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