Miriam Yeung learns how to be a good mum

Miriam Yeung plays a principal trying to save a kindergarten – with an enrolment of five pupils – from closing down.

Almost three years into motherhood, Hong Kong actress Miriam Yeung had an epiphany.

She would previously do what she thinks is the best for her only son Torres, aged two. Now she has decided that the best thing is to listen to him and find out what his needs are.

Her enlightenment stems from her latest movie project Little Big Master, which touches on the topic of Hong Kong's pressure-cooker education system.

"To love our children, we should take time to understand them. I remind myself every day to strike a balance between wanting the best for him and giving him what's suitable.

"What's most important to me is to give my son a happy childhood. When he can better articulate his thoughts when he is older, I'll ask him what he wants to do," says Yeung, 41, who is married to public relations manager Real Ting, 36.

The bubbly Yeung was speaking over the telephone from Hong Kong to promote the tearjerker Little Big Master.

She plays a principal who single-handedly tries to save a dilapidated kindergarten - with an enrolment of five pupils from poor backgrounds - from closing down.

The movie is based on a true story in Hong Kong where a sacrificial educator, Lillian Lui, took on the job of kindergarten principal-cum-janitor for HK$4,500 (about S$800) in 2009. Lui's efforts have paid off and now the school has an enrolment of more than 60 pupils.

The amiable Yeung made it a point to speak to the real life heroine Lui before embarking on the movie.

Lui had initially quit her job at an international school to go travelling with her husband. She changed her plans after reading a news report about the five children in question wearing masks to school for fear of being recognised after appearing in the news.

"She felt bad that the kids had to go to school furtively. She felt she had a mission to help them. I really respect her. She was the reason I decided to take on this project," says Yeung.

Lui is backed by a supportive husband in real life. In reel life, Yeung's on-screen hubby is played by Hong Kong heart-throb Louis Koo.

When asked who is better at handling the child actresses on set, Yeung lets on that the five girls are enamoured with her tall, dark and handsome co-star.

She says in jest: "The kids are really obedient, especially around Louis. He's handsome and they are all girls. When they see him, it's like bees attracted to honey. They won't show their mischievous side to him.

"All five of them would cling to him like koalas and I would be standing next to them like a maid."

The humorous Yeung can count on her own husband for attention and support.

She says: "He will write notes of encouragement and leave them around the house for me. When I find the notes, they give me strength."


This article was first published on March 18, 2015.
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