Ya Hui Spent $18 On Bak Kut Teh Then Realised She Had To Cut Back On Her Expenses After Leaving Mediacorp - 8days Skip to main content



Ya Hui Spent $18 On Bak Kut Teh Then Realised She Had To Cut Back On Her Expenses After Leaving Mediacorp

The actress appeared as guest on the latest episode of the Kunversations podcast, where she spoke about stepping out of her comfort zone, and the life changes she has made since becoming a freelance artiste.

Ya Hui Spent $18 On Bak Kut Teh Then Realised She Had To Cut Back On Her Expenses After Leaving Mediacorp

Former Mediacorp actress Ya Hui, 36, and news anchor Vincent Lim were the most recent guests on YES 933 DJ Zhong Kunhua’s podcast, Kunversations.

The trio spoke about stepping out of their comfort zones in a work setting, prompting Ya Hui to share a little on how life has been for her since becoming a freelance artiste.

For those not in the know, Ya Hui left Mediacorp earlier this year after being managed by the company for the past 15 years.

As someone who just recently embarked on a more independent journey, Ya Hui was first asked to speak about what the experience was like.

“I was really out of my comfort zone. I’m not someone who dares to bungee jump, because I find it terrifying to jump. So it was very difficult to take that step [to leave Mediacorp],” said Ya Hui.

“It’s a risk. You see, I was with the company for 15 years and I had a fixed salary every month. But I gave that up the moment I stepped out [to be on my own]. If I don’t work, I have no income. So it’s very tough and there were many things I had to consider,” she explained.

With no base pay, Ya Hui now has to put more thought into providing for her parents, and be more frugal when eating out and buying things she likes.

Speaking about the shift in mindset she had to make in her spending habits, Ya Hui said: “It’s funny ‘cos I went to eat bak kut teh recently, and I never used to think much about the bill. When the receipt came, I realised I had spent $18 on a meal for myself, and I told myself that I couldn’t spend my money the same way in the future anymore.”

The actress revealed that she’s someone who is “not good with numbers at all”. However, she said her maths skills have become “super good” since she left Mediacorp, which makes sense, since she needs to pay more attention to her earnings and expenditure.

However, that was not the only change she faced.

With a laugh, Ya Hui admitted: “I never had to send out any invoices. As a freelance artiste, I now need to draw up my own invoice. I struggled for two hours yesterday, attempting to create a more formal-looking invoice but it was all in vain.”

Though it is tough being a freelance artiste, Ya Hui now has the freedom to explore and make decisions for herself

Kunhua then posed this question to Ya Hui: “How long did it take for you to decide to step out of your comfort zone?”

“I was thinking about it for quite a long time, on and off. But I couldn’t decide what to do if I just stopped acting. When I suddenly had a feeling [that it was time to leave the company], it wasn’t an easy decision to make either. I cried and I struggled, but I had to bite the bullet and make the decision,” she said. 

Ya Hui then explained that the feeling of being “jaded” after acting for so many years and not getting a breakthrough. Work started to get tiring, and she wondered if there was anything she could do to improve herself.

Now, although she still isn’t sure if she’s headed in the “right direction”, she counts on herself to think of solutions.

“At least I have the control to try [these alternative solutions]. When [I] was in the company, everything was decided for me. I had to first get the company’s approval before starting on any new jobs,” she said.

Though she describes her career move as “risky” and “dangerous”, the one thing she has gained is freedom.

“Can’t you see how radiant I look now?” she joked.

She's still doing the job she loves

The actress also sought to clarify the misconception people have about her leaving the company. Just because she's no longer a Mediacorp artiste, doesn't mean she’s not in showbiz anymore, okay?

“A lot of people think that when you resign from the company, it means you’re out of the industry. They don’t know understand that I’m simply leaving the agency. For example, when I was filming recently, there were people who [told me that] it was a pity I wasn’t going to act anymore. I will continue to act, I just don’t have a company to manage me anymore,” she said.

Prior to leaving the company, Ya Hui spent a lot of time thinking about her next move. “I even went to a cafe to ask about their monthly salary,” she revealed. 

“You considered being a barista?” asked a surprised Kunhua.

“No, no, I really [considered] being just a normal staff member. I even went to ask around about the current job market, because it is really too unstable, [being a freelancer]. Thankfully I’m not the kind of person who feels like I need to remain at a certain ‘status’. I’m okay with working at a cafe,” explained Ya Hui.

She continued: “ I think that’s something a lot of people need to understand. You may be someone who earns 10K a month, but if you lose your job, you need to let go of your ego. It’s easy for people like that to slip into depression, ‘cos they’re not willing to try something else and earn less. If you are able to let go, you’ll be able to live a better life.”

While Ya Hui still loves acting, and is aware that she might have less opportunities in the future, she looks forward to learning new things without having to be “spoon-fed” by managers.

She then advised others to step out of their comfort zones if they truly believe that it’s a move that would make them happy, and more importantly, find a job they look forward to starting each day with a smile. 

Listen to the full Kunversations podcast on meLISTEN.

Photos: Zhong Kunhua/ Instagram, Ya Hui/ Instagram



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