Sandra Oh's 'tiger mum' would love her more if she were neater

Sandra Oh with her parents.
PHOTO: Instagram/Sandra Oh

Now we know the secret to a parent's love. Be tidy.

During a press conference for Disney and Pixar's Turning Red earlier this month, Canadian-American actress Sandra Oh revealed a 'tiger mum' experience that still haunts her.

The 50-year old, who is of Korean descent, shared: "It was such an unbelievable quote that my mum said in the kitchen. I had to write it down on Post-It, and then I put it up on Instagram. And she said — I’m not joking — 'If only you were neater, I would love you more.'"

"I love my mum. And she's a fierce, fierce person. Tiny. Tiny. But fierce," she said, adding that she's "not afraid of that concept of a 'tiger mum'".

Sandra also confessed to having "a really good relationship with my mum" but knows that's not the same for everyone.

An animated film, Turning Red is a coming-of-age story of Meilin Lee (Rosalie Chiang), a 13-year-old girl whose life is torn between the strict Chinese traditions from her mother Ming Lee (Sandra) and the chaotic world of her youth.

As if that wasn’t enough, Mei also possesses the ability to transform into a big red panda when her emotions get too intense.

Sandra Oh voices Ming Lee, mother to Meilin. PHOTO: Disney+

Accompanying Meilin are her best friends Miriam (Ava Morse), Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) and Abby (Hyein Park) who are there for her through it all. The film also features the vocal talents of Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho, Tristan Allerick Chen and Addison Chandler.

Positive female friendships

Unlike other teen shows where the female relationships tend to be adversarial, Meilin's besties are a source of strength for her as she navigates this confusing period in her life.

Meilin with her friends Abby, Priya and Miriam. PHOTO: Disney+

When asked about the importance of good portrayals of female friends for the younger generation, the other cast members present — Rosalie, Ava, Maitreyi and Hyein — unanimously agreed that tropes about female rivalries are wrong.

Ava pointed out that her experience wasn't like that but people "start behaving like those tropes because that's what we see".

Sandra, who has "relationships and friendships that are 40 years old", said: "Having young women and young girls in my life, watching television and films them over the years, you just realise … I don't know who sets this up, that girls are like this because I don't think it's very true."

"And I think this is an extremely good representation of deep friendships, and the highs and the lows."

She added: "What I love about this film through friendship, and also music, it's that precious time when you're starting to figure out who you are when your friends become really, really important."

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Turning Red is now streaming on Disney+.

hiwaashini@asiaone.com