Life is full of ups and downs—sometimes it’s hard to remember that when things feel hopeless.
Vivian Leong almost didn’t make it through a very dark time in her life. In April 2012, while living in Singapore, she received a call from her husband—he said that he wanted a divorce.
Leong would later find out this was because he had been cheating on her with another woman. Making matters worse, her husband also no longer wanted anything to do with their daughter, Ivory, who was 7 years old at the time.
“I was completely taken by shock, and my mind was a blank,” Leong explained to Channel NewAsia. “I asked him why, and he said that our personalities were not a good fit for each other.”
“I felt so misunderstood and wronged.”
Alone in the world without any idea of what to do following the divorce, Leong was soon penniless too.
“For so many years, I had tried my best to be a good wife to him … taking care of him, looking after our daughter and loving him the best that I could,” Leong explained.
“I loved him so much, and I felt that the past few years of my life was all for nothing.”
Sinking deeper into depression, Leong said it wasn’t long until she hit rock bottom. As her life continued to crumble around her, she couldn’t find joy in life, and began thinking that things were never going to get better for her.
“I really lost all hope, and felt that there was no more meaning to my life,” Leong said.
One day, Leong found herself standing on a chair by the window of her apartment, contemplating ending it all. It was her daughter that talked her down and reminded her that there was still meaning in her life.
“Mummy, please don’t jump. If you jump, I will go down with you,” Ivory’s young voice pleaded.
“When I heard that, my heart was so painful, and I knelt down, hugging her and crying.”
From then on, Ivory became Leong’s reason to live. She dedicated her life to making sure Ivory grew up happy and healthy.
Ivory gave her the idea that she should make and sell noodles, as her homemade ones were so good. But she had no money and no idea how to even do that.
“To me, it was impossible,” she said. “I had no savings and had never worked here [in Singapore] before. The skill I had was to cook for my friends and family.”
So Leong started washing dishes in a coffee shop and learning about business. Her determination and hard work was eventually rewarded.
It took some time, but she was able to open a noodle stall of her own.
Madam Leong Ban Mian opened for business two-and-a-half years after that dark night when she considered ending it all.
Now, two more years later, Leong’s business is thriving and she is looking to the future, feeling very grateful to still be alive. Despite still being young, Ivory is aware of her mother’s struggles. She knows that the food her mother makes, primarily mee hoon kueh (a noodle dish), is what enables her to lead a joyful life.
“My daughter tells me, no mee hoon kueh, no life. No mee hoon kueh, no home, and no love,” Leong said. “And that, to me, is a miracle: God’s words, and my daughter’s encouragement. God guides me and shows me the way. I really thank God.”
After a video telling her story was shared on Facebook by Channel NewsAsia, it has garnered almost 200,000 views. Many commenters shared their thoughts and feelings about her awe-inspiring determination.