“It is International Women’s Day today (well in SG time, at least), and there is no better person for me to celebrate than my mother,” writes Sarah Hui’en Ong. Her heart-warming tribute to her mom, Lim Soo Hoon, is a precious reminder why the Magic Diary is so special.

Let’s read what Sarah has to say first:


“Growing up as a child, we have always known mum to be the disciplinarian (some might say Tiger Mom, haha). She was strict with us,  she punished us, and  she ensured we learn our Chinese well (to the extent of suggesting that we put a tape over the English subtitles on our TV so that we could not rely on them  when we sat and watched TVB dramas dubbed in Mandarin).

But beyond all that, mum always inspired us. In her 50s, even though this gave her no professional benefits, she enrolled in Open University, pursuing a degree in English. I sometimes joked with my sister that “the apple can fall very far from the tree”, for we were both far from studious compared to her.

Mum said it was always her dream to go to university, which she missed out on because her family was too poor and she had to start working immediately after finishing her O Levels. So in pursuit of that dream, she juggled work and school, tirelessly pouring through readings, countless Shakespearean texts and videos of the Roman Coliseum. Finally she achieved that dream.

Likewise, mum also learnt how to swim fairly recently, and now (despite being retired) wakes up regularly at 6am to go swimming. On work days, as I hurriedly chomp down my breakfast sandwich, still half asleep at 8am, I find mum returning home, well satisfied from her swim, looking  very pleased with herself. And then there’s the Line Dancing, Evergreen, Bible Study and all that.

Most of all, I remember the time when I was 19 and my dad was hospitalised after a car accident. I had just returned from a trip with my friends and met up with the rest of my family at the hospital. There she was, my mom,  managing the entire situation, assuring us— the kids, and all our relatives—that everything would be okay, that we should all go home and rest well, for we needed energy for the next few days. In that moment, I saw in her the strength of a woman. And that is the moment I will never forget.

So Happy Women’s Day to this amazing woman in my life. If you think I am strong, then I can do no better than borrow from Sarah Kay and say “You really ought to meet my mother.”

We all salute your mom Sarah, for her extraordinary strength and dedication, and her faith in lifelong learning to improve herself. The Magic Diary prides in carrying the story of this extraordinary mom, whose voice needs to go out into the world and find a place in everyone’s heart.

Coming soon…Lim Soo Hoon’s  story ‘The Decision’, which  tackles the difficult choice between duty and the heart’s desire.

Read more about our initiative: Magic Diary . It  is a non-profit initiative with all its proceeds to go towards promoting literacy. In a time, when individuals and nations are looking inward, it seemed like a good idea to get a community of writers and artists to build bridges through storytelling, and that is exactly what we did.

Over a period of time, our initiative has gathered momentum and the outcome of this passionate, creative adventure today is a book of fifty tales. It is called, ‘A Pocketful of Dreams: a travelling diary & some storytellers,’ and is available as a Kindle e-book.

Here is  the promo copy of Vol-I  from The Americas & Australia, for you to go through.

And here is a free recipe book that comes with it.

Here’s a link to places our storytellers come from.

And here’s a small presentation for a better idea of their global impact.

We are about to launch our second and third volumes (Europe & Africa; South Asia & The Far East) in the month of March and April.

We shall be very grateful if you have a look at this project and let us know what you think about it. A little support from you can transform this dream into a worthwhile movement. We eagerly look forward to your feedback..

Thank you

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