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'I never used to think much about the bill': Ya Hui feels spending $18 on meal too much as freelancer

'I never used to think much about the bill': Ya Hui feels spending $18 on meal too much as freelancer
Ya Hui finds herself having to be more frugal while also providing for her parents since becoming a freelance artiste.
PHOTO: Instagram/Ya Hui

Many of us splurge on food from time to time, but one former Mediacorp actress found herself second-guessing after spending $18 on a meal recently.

Local actress Ya Hui made a guest appearance on radio DJ Kenneth Chung's Kunversations podcast on May 31 where they discussed stepping out of comfort zones.

The 36-year-old said: "I went to eat bak kut teh recently, and in the past, I never used to think much about the bill. But when the receipt came, I thought to myself, 'I ate $18 worth of food on my own?' and told myself that I couldn't be so indulgent in the future."

Ya Hui was contracted to Mediacorp for 15 years until her departure this February, and as a result, she no longer has a "fixed salary every month".

"I gave that up the moment I stepped away," she said. "If I don't work, I have no income — so it's tough and I have many things to consider."

As a result, Ya Hui finds herself having to be more frugal while also providing for her parents.

This doesn't mean that Ya Hui needs donations from her fans. Her TikTok account was recently hacked, with the hackers soliciting money from her followers.


"If scammers pretend to be me and say 'I need money' to netizens, people might misunderstand and feel sorry for me," she told Lianhe Zaobao. "They may think I really have no money and transfer money to the scammers."

The hackers also deleted over 100 of her TikTok videos, only leaving four behind.

"Even making that kind of nonsensical videos takes a lot of time," she added. "Now I really want to cry."

Since leaving Mediacorp, Ya Hui has found herself getting "super good" at maths after having to consider her expenditure carefully, she told Kenneth during the podcast, despite proclaiming herself "not good with numbers at all".

On the downside, however, she has to come up with her own invoices for work as a freelance artiste.

"I struggled for two hours yesterday, trying to make my invoice look more formal, but it was all in vain," she laughed.

'Thought about a back-up plan for 10 years'

Ya Hui felt glad her decision may have inspired others to take a leap of faith too.

"When they saw me quit, many people said, 'Wow, I actually want to be like you too'," she said.

"In my DMs (direct messages), they'd say things like, 'My stress level is high, the work environment is bad, my boss is bad'.

"They told me that I gave them motivation to step out of their comfort zone too."


Ya Hui also elaborated that she had been thinking about leaving "on-and-off" throughout her entire career, but could not think of an alternative to acting.

She said: "Once the feelings [of leaving] became more conflicting, I even cried and lost my appetite. But I just had to bite the bullet and make the decision."

She explained that she had felt "jaded" in Mediacorp after feeling like she wasn't getting a breakthrough. Work began to get tiring for Ya Hui, but she found herself unable to think of anything to improve herself.

"I thought about a back-up plan for 10 years but couldn't come up with one," she added.

Kenneth chimed in: "Did you need to be impulsive?"

Ya Hui answered affirmatively: "If I wasn't impulsive, I'd stay in the same place until I was old."


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