Actress Amy J. Cheng was fortunate enough to study overseas as a teenager and a postgraduate student but her childhood was not completely a bed of roses.
Her parents had split up and her mother had to convince her father to provide financial support so that Ms Cheng could go to school in Switzerland.
She says: "The difference between my circumstances and the rest of the wealthy children who went there to study was that my mum didn't want me to feel less so she somehow got this notion of putting me there."
The situation was really odd, says Ms Cheng. "I was in this environment where, as it was a finishing school in Switzerland, most of the students came from wealthy backgrounds , but at the same time I was very budget-conscious. I was in Montagnola, Lugano, on weekends; they would live it up, and I would go to Burger King with my friends. An even bigger treat would be to order an Italian pizza."
She went to Australia in 2011 to earn a postgraduate degree in education, which has helped in running courses at children's theatre company Act 3 Theatrics, which her husband founded. The company promotes literacy through drama and runs workshops for children on a regular basis, besides producing children's theatre.
After university, she briefly worked in public relations and advertising but was drawn to acting, and made it as a semi-finalist in talent search Fame Awards in 1998.
She found her footing in local TV dramas like Growing Up, and her first foray into theatre was in 2001, as a superintendent in Footsteps In The Night.
Growing up being conscious about money led her to educate her own children to do the same.
Ms Cheng, 44, says she took her older son Joshua, 17, from her first marriage, to a few investment talks when he was in primary school so that he would be introduced to ways of using money and the concept of saving.
"I also had a serious talk with him at the beginning of this year, only because he wanted his own ATM card. I told him this is what I've done, and told him that once he starts earning his own money, he's paying for these (insurance) policies from his own pocket," she adds with a laugh.
Ms Cheng is married to Mr Rama Chandran, 58, the founder-director of Act 3 Theatrics, where she is creative director. They have a six-year-old son, Jivan.
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