The mother-daughter pair led vastly different lives when they were on the cusp of adulthood. For Pui Yee, that was when she started her job in a bank doing administrative work, while taking night courses in typing and bookkeeping. “In those days, not many people went to university. My first job was special to me as it felt good earning my own money. I spent my first pay cheque on a flight to Kuala Lumpur – that was also the first time I boarded a plane. I also remember looking forward to year end because that’s when we’d receive a three-month bonus! Working made me feel like a proper adult,” she shares.
On the other hand, Carmen, like most of her peers, was just starting university – in Melbourne. “It taught me to look after myself, which made me grow up more quickly. I cherish the friendships I made back then because of the emotional support we gave one another.”
Favourite song/band/singer that year?
Pui Yee: The Bee Gees! I went for their concert, which happened to be my first, when they came to Singapore. Everyone was crazy about them.
Carmen: I think my favourite mainstream song that year was Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie. I love the lyrics.
Life plan back then?
Pui Yee: Work hard and earn money, so I could travel — which is still something I love to do!
Carmen: All I wanted was to finish school and return to Singapore!
If you were to relive your teenage years, what would you change?
Pui Yee: I would have liked to live abroad for some time, as I enjoy experiencing different cultures. Even now, I enjoy visiting museums and going on guided tours.
Carmen: I wouldn’t change a thing because that might mean I would not have met the people I consider my best friends today.
Art direction: Audrey Chan
Photography: Joel Low
Hair: Christvian Goh & Zoel Tee, using Revlon Professional
Photography assistance: Alfie Pan