Born with a cleft lip and palate, Tallin Ang was often bullied as a child. But during moments of feeling beaten down and insecure, what helped was her love for singing. Stepping on stage, she found her voice and made herself heard, gradually building her confidence.

Her passion for singing burned bright through the years, but it was only in 2010, when she won Chingay’s “Search for the Next Teresa Teng” competition, that her performing career took flight. Since then, she belts out Chinese classics at gigs at least once or twice a month, with a full schedule nearing events like the Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival.

With Tallin’s packed performing schedule, it may be surprising to know that singing is just one of the many hats that she wears: she also holds down a full-time job in healthcare and is a mother of three.

How does she do it?

Prioritise and find purpose

By knowing how to prioritise. When at work, Tallin is fully devoted to her job. Once she ends, it’s time for the children. Rehearsals are scheduled while the children are at enrichment classes, or on days that she works in the office—because by the time she reaches home, the children are likely to already be in bed anyway.


It also helps that she is spurred on by purpose. “I think you’re able to manage your different roles better if you do things you’re passionate about,” she explains.

In her case, she sings because she loves to and cares for her children because she loves them. Having undergone multiple surgeries to manage her cleft lip and palate as a child, she’s also particularly empathetic towards the plight of patients. Working at the Office of Patient Experience of a public healthcare cluster aligns with her desire to make a difference. She’s also an active member of the Singapore Cleft Parents Support Group where she often shares her experience to help other patients gain confidence.

So although she inevitably has moments of being overwhelmed, none of what she does is a chore. In fact, her discipline and devotion to her different roles are something that she hopes her children will be inspired by as they grow up.

“I always tell them that they have to give their best to what they’re committed to, that they cannot expect to go into a meeting or class without doing their homework, and that it’s about building a sense of responsibility,” she says.

Learning to go with the flow

Reflecting on her journey raising children who are 12, nine and three respectively, Tallin shares that a big lesson for her has been to know when to relax and go with the flow.

“I think it’s common when you have a first child to be worried about everything,” she says, recalling how bothered she used to be when she wasn’t around for every single milestone of her son’s life. Now, especially as the older two inch into adolescence, she acknowledges the need to “let go and understand that it’s their life”.

While having discipline or showing respect will always be non-negotiables for her, for the large part, Tallin tries to give her children the freedom of choice and space to be themselves.

Instead of mandating or forcing any decision, she says, “As parents, what we can do is to share our experience and give them examples of what they can do.” This knowing when to cede control, she advises, is both better for the parent-child relationship—and a key part of finding the balance between motherhood, work and play. “While we may sometimes feel that they have not made the right choice,” she says, “we can choose to lead instead of dictate.”