'She's living vicariously through me': Glenn Yong on his mum's unfulfilled showbiz dreams

She used to be a model, and was an aspiring actress.

Lee Wei Lin | Celeste Ng | May 12, 2024, 10:44 AM



If you follow Glenn Yong on social media, you'd have noticed that there is one woman who is consistently being featured on the Singaporean actor-singer's feed.

No, it's not some secret beau of his — instead, it's his mother.

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A post shared by Glenn Yong 容启航 (@glennyqh)

There is no question on Yong's love for her - his first song was a rap track titled "妈妈好" (literally translated to "Mum is good").

Though Yong is arguably Singapore's It Boy, his road to fame has not been an easy one.

His greatest pillar of support throughout it all? His mother.

@mothership.nova is mama yong looking for a daughter-in-law…. asking for a friend…. @Glenn Yong #tiktoksg #mother #motherhood #mothersday #mothersday2024 #whattoplay #son ♬ Polaroid Love - ENHYPEN

A 24/7 mum

In an interview with Mothership, Yong described his mother as his "everything".

"Obviously, now I'm older so she doesn't take care of me like a kid anymore," he explained, "but she takes care of me in ways where it's a bit more intangible."

@glennyqh #thisorthat with my mum 😂🤍 #mothersday #mum #mumsoftiktok ♬ original sound - Glenn Yong

Endearingly, the artiste then started gushing about all the things his mother does for him: collecting his parcels when he's overseas, reminding him to take his vitamins, staying up to cook for him when he's working late... the list goes on.

In fact, Yong's mother takes such good care of him that his team often jokes about her being his "lifestyle personal assistant".

"All these little things are really heartwarming for me, because I didn't ask her to do it, but she [does it] voluntarily [anyway]," he added.

Photo by Livia Soh

Mama Yong once explained to him, "It's because every time you go overseas, you're always so tired when you get back. You always knock off so late too. If there's anything I can do to help you rest more without having to worry about these things, I'll do it."

The boundless dedication she has displayed towards her two sons since their childhood has earned her the title of "24/7 mum" from Yong and his older brother, because she looks out for them in every single area of their lives.

Her world practically revolves around them, the actor affectionately remarked.

Describing his childhood, Yong recalled that his mother used to send him and his brother to school on a bicycle, with her sandwiched between her two sons while she pedalled.

He mused:

"I asked myself, [would] I be willing to do that for my kids in the future? I might [do a] double take, you know, because it's under the hot sun, and especially [because] Singapore is so hot now.

My mum is the kind of person [who] will go out for her family [and] put the [family] first, before herself. She's that kind of mum."

Always supportive of his career

Growing up, Yong's parents always gave him and his brother the freedom to pursue whatever they liked - a mentality he finds atypical of Asian parents and one that he's grateful his own parents do not possess.

Yong said with a wide smile:

"They wouldn't tell us, 'Oh, you need to be a lawyer, to be a doctor, or banker, [that kind of] stuff. They just want us to do what we love and what we enjoy.

But of course there's also the Asian side of them, where they'll be like, 'Okay, but no matter what you do, you need to get a degree."

Photo from Glenn Yong's Instagram

Recounting the lead-up to him going into showbiz, Yong attributed the confidence to pursue his dreams to something his mother said to him: that his family would always be there for him, regardless of how he fared, and would never see him any differently.

To his mother, he's always be her precious son.

"As long as I chase after my dreams, even if I don't achieve it, my mum will still love me the same," Yong smiled. "Yeah, [my family would] still be proud of me for the person I've become."

His biggest fan

Yong's mother also makes an effort to turn up for his events, something the artiste said "really [touches his] heart".

@glennyqh this really made my day 🥹🥰 #mum #family ♬ JUMPSCARE full Length - Kwasii🌱

"It makes me feel like, even if I only have 10 fans in the world, as long as my mum is there, that is enough for me."

Comically, Yong then added that his mother actually wants to show up for every single one of his events, to which he responds that she "needs to chill a bit".

He elaborated, "I just feel like if she shows up for every event, and if I'm too busy, I can't look after her. [I'd] feel bad."

Usually, Yong would only tell his mother to come if the event is "more chill", which would then allow him more time to spend with her.

@glennyqh Another day at work with my mum 😜 #jichangwook #jichangwookoppa #kdrama ♬ original sound - Glenn Yong

However, the actor admitted that he does feel lonely at times, when he's working away from family.

He shared:

"The biggest dream that I have is [that] hopefully I’ll make it big enough to actually include my family [in my] my entourage wherever I go.

I see some artistes overseas - it’s really heartwarming. When I hang out with them, I see them bring their family members along as they work. And I feel like that is actually the dream that I have in my heart right now; that hopefully in the future when I work, I can also bring my family along with me, so that we can still feel close even when I’m not in Singapore."

Gave up her dreams to start a family

They say a mother's love is unconditional, and this perhaps rings especially true for Mama Yong.

Before she got married and had kids, Yong's mother was a model with dreams of one day becoming an actress.

Photo from Glenn Yong's Instagram

Before you assume that Yong joined the industry because of her unfulfilled dreams, he explained that this was something he found out about only after he entered the industry.

In fact, the idea of becoming an actor had never occurred to Yong in his childhood, nor was it his intention to emulate his mother.

"She [said that she's living] vicariously through [me]," he recalled. "Even though my mum didn’t get to achieve [this] dream, I get to fulfil it for her, and she gets to experience it through my life. And I think that is probably one of the best feelings in the world."

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Top photos by Livia Soh