Who: Jean Yip is the founder of the Jean Yip group of hair and beauty salons, which has more than 70 outlets in Singapore and the region. The youthful 63-year-old runs the beauty and wellness empire with her husband Mervin Wee, also 63. They have three children and four grandchildren.
“Weekends have always been about family time for us, but the Covid-19 pandemic made it even more so. I’ve noticed that people, even among my friends and family, have changed their lifestyles because of it. They are moving away from wanting to go out for meals or shopping at malls, to spending more time at home or outdoors in nature – especially the younger generation like my children, nieces and nephews.
Pre-pandemic, we would go out every weekend to try new restaurants or return to old favourites. But with safe distancing measures and limits on group sizes, it became very tricky to accommodate our big family, which also includes my five siblings and their children.
So, we enjoyed more time at home together instead. My home in Bukit Timah used to be the default place for such gatherings, but with so many people learning how to cook during the pandemic, we often get invitations from friends and family as well.
But my weekends actually start on Friday nights, which are always spent with my grandchildren. We often do movie nights or head to KAP Mall in King Albert Park for waffles at EagleWings Loft. My children sometimes join us or take the opportunity to go out without their kids.
My Saturday and Sunday mornings start the same as my weekdays. I am up before sunrise and go for a walk at the nearby Rail Corridor. The morning mist there, just before the sun goes up, is very pretty. I do not even feel like I’m in Singapore any more. I have always enjoyed such morning walks.
On Saturday mornings, I do marketing at the neighbourhood markets, such as Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre. I cook a lot and using fresh ingredients makes such a big difference.
My husband and I catch up with my siblings and cousins in the afternoon, often over a lunch of home-cooked Peranakan fare or other local food such as mee siam and nasi lemak.
Sundays start with church, and we will meet the immediate family for lunch afterwards. My daughters are very good at finding activities for everyone to do together in the afternoon – such as going to the zoo, the beach or Gardens by the Bay. Recently, we went to Changi Beach for a picnic. Younger parents these days are a lot more engaged and want to keep the kids from watching too much television. As grandparents, we just enjoy spending more time with everyone.
We keep Sunday evenings quite free and easy, and rest as much as possible before we go back to work on Monday.”