Former Nee Soon South MP Lee Bee Wah was this week’s guest on Mediacorp talk show Hear U Out, where she talked about her growing up years in Malaysia and how she helped her parents with the household expenses from the time she was in primary school.
The 61-year-old grew up in a small village in Malacca, and as the oldest of eight children, she would wake up at 5am every day to help her rubber tapper parents with their work before heading to school.
After school, she would pop by home to check on her siblings — she is 18 years older than her youngest sibling — before heading to the plantation again.
At the same time, she gave tuition to the kids in her village, and whatever she earned would go to the family.
When she turned 20, her parents suggested she move to Singapore to further her education, and so Bee Wah arrived here with nothing but a backpack filled with clothes and 20 ringgit in her pocket.