We know that being away from home and familiarity always takes a bit of getting used to! Do you have a squad that you will always go to chit chat about how you miss Singapore hawker food, and break out in Singlish?
Today we are featuring Thursday Tai Tai (TTT), a support group for Singaporean mothers who are based in Shanghai. Founded in 2008 by Eve Wee-Ang out of a desperate need to makan and speak Singlish, TTT started by gathering at a different eatery in Shanghai on Thursdays with their kids and babies in tow. Over the years, TTT has grown and comprises of mothers who contributed to Shanghai in their personal and professional fields while flying the Singapore flag proudly.
This year, they celebrate TTT’s 10-year anniversary as they continue their tradition of throwing outrageous theme parties and sniffing out the best makan places in Shanghai. If you happen to sit beside a noisy group of women in a restaurant in Shanghai bantering words like jia lat, yao gui and sibeh shiok, that should be them!
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Eve Wee Ang
Eve and her family
Eve first landed in Shanghai in 2008 with her husband and 8-month-old daughter. Shortly after, she was pregnant with her second one and decided she was going to give birth here. But first, she needed to make new friends. The lunches she attended with some mothers she met at her daughter’s playgroups were polite and sporadic. Some of them had their own cliques and newcomers were met with a lukewarm welcome. She needed more, so she told herself, instead of wallowing in self-pity, why not transfer that energy by starting a weekly lunch group?
On 20 March 2009, four Singaporean moms and mom-to-be met on their first TTT blind date at Le Meridien Hotel Ai Mei Chinese Restaurant (it’s still around!) where they bantered in Singlish without a care and laughed at jokes only they understood. It sparked tremendous joy and she wanted that jolt of support to carry her through every single week.
TTT circa 2009 Christmas party
This year, TTT celebrates ten years of gathering this way in Shanghai. It serves as a support group for Singaporean mothers living in Shanghai and the group is deliberately kept small and cozy with new members joining through recommendation. It has since expanded to Hong Kong where Eve relocated briefly and Singapore where TTT members continue to support each other when they return home.
Besides moderating TTT, Eve, a former fashion publicist, is a freelance writer for Shanghai Family Parents & Kids magazine and has a monthly shopping column where together with Singaporean photographer, Wei Kuan Tay, they shoot and feature stylish parents and kids. Eve also contributes to OSU scribblers where she writes about her life in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Her latest project is to be a certified Konmari consultant where she will be undergoing training in London by teaching people how to tidy up the Marie Kondo way! Until then, she looks forward to attending Sg Day with fellow TTT families and having goosebumps as they sing Home together!
Shanghai Family Parents & Kids article about Singapore
Hilda and her family
Hilda and her family relocated to Shanghai in January 2016 and she joined TTT in the same year. At her first TTT lunch, she had a bowl of Bak Chor Mee at a Singaporean restaurant and didn’t understand the obsession back then but now she does.
Over the last three years, the mother of one has been actively involved with charity work at Mingxin Caritas Shanghai whose mission is to enable the international community to confidently support and provide aid for individuals who suffer in poverty, poor health and challenging circumstances in China. These initiatives include Circle of Love and Circle of Hope projects.
Circle of Hope during Christmas
At the Circle of Love project, Mingxin Caritas provides medical attention to disabled orphans. Volunteers like Hilda, an in-house counsel back home, would visit the children undergoing surgery and provide their home for them to stay during the recuperative period. One of them, Tian Ruo a 11-year-old boy who had surgery to remove infected tubes that drain the fluid in his brain, stayed with Hilda’s family for 3 weeks. An affectionate and endearing child, Tian Rou’s time with the family filled their home with laughter.
Tian Rou, Hilda and her daughter, Isabel
Circle of Hope is an educational programme for the children of He Qing village in Shanghai. Hilda’s family volunteer as English tutors for these children every Saturday. In fact, her 14-year-old daughter, Isabel Chong also teaches a class of students on her own. Hilda believes these experiences enriched their family to learn about China and its people.
Isabel tutoring some children at He Qing village
Hilda is proud to celebrate TTT’s 10-year anniversary as she sums up: “Ordinary days in Shanghai were spiced up by wacky characters and events in TTT – all in broad daylight - making my life in Shanghai more colourful!” She is also looking forward to her first Singapore Day in Shanghai!