Hannah Yeoh In 24 Hours
A day in the life of the former lawyer, mother, and Malaysia’s first female state speaker.
6AM I usually start my day the same time my 7-year-old daughter wakes up, though that tends to happen regardless of a school day, or a public holiday. It’s hard for me to get uninterrupted sleep because my two girls, especially my 5-year-old, would walk into my room in the middle of the night and crawl in between my husband and I. Countless times I’ve woken up with a sore back, simply because I would find myself sandwiched between both of them! Once I’m up though, I’m already buzzing about, getting my kids ready for school and helping myself to a cup of tea. I don’t have much that I can’t do without, but I definitely need my tea everyday. 7AM Within an hour, the kids are already on their way to school and I start getting myself ready for the day ahead. My skincare regime is quite simple: I don’t really wear make-up, and rely on a two-in-one moisturiser with sunblock, which means less time spending on touch-ups. Getting dressed is just as easy as well. My go-tos include a pair of classic pearl earrings, traditional baju kurung, and platform heels. I measure confidence with height, and because I’m only 154cm, I feel more confident when I’m taller. 9AM Weekdays are far more predictable compared to weekends, with office hours and meetings in Putrajaya, as well as appointments. I’m usually punctual because I don’t like for people to wait on me. On any given day, I have community activities planned in the morning, to a deputy minister event, and stakeholder meetings. Otherwise, I’m going through a pile of e-mails, which have gone beyond 5,000 for my office since May 9. 1.15PM I know it’s really unhealthy, but I do a lot of fast food lunches in between meetings and events. Before I became an MP for Segambut, I had more time on my hands and was able to cook some decent meals for my family—either chicken curry or nasi lemak—but now, I’ve no time at all. These days, time is mostly spent in Putrajaya, at the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. We’re currently working on child protection. Our system is very lax when it comes to
screening employees dealing with children, and we are in the midst of reviewing childcare, guidelines on nanny services, and making amendments to the current law. 3PM Just recently, I was at a forum in Desa ParkCity to talk to parents about raising children. It’s an informal event, but it’s connected to what I do, especially now that I have my own book, Becoming Hannah. I wrote this book as a personal diary on why I do what I do. There’s a chapter in it on my husband’s proposal, but it’s also a call to home; to explain why Malaysians should come home to make a change. And it’s called Becoming Hannah because I’m a work in progress, like the work we do. 4.30PM When I feel like I need to de-stress, I often find myself at shopping malls. Even in between events, where there’s a one-hour gap, I will usually go to a mall and walk for 40 minutes before I go. That’s space for me—my time alone. Right now, I would love to be able to travel to Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Spain. Still, I’d really like to return to New Zealand, where I once lived in a caravan for an entire month. I’d love to be able to bring my kids there one day. 7.25PM I spend most of my evenings entertaining my parents. Sometimes to give my husband space, the kids will be with me when I’m running from one event to another. Since I became deputy, my dinners comprise of fried chicken. If I don’t have dinner because of a meeting and am already starving, I end up eating just meat—also because I prefer not to eat carbs. 10PM I usually get home between 10 and 11pm. I tuck the girls in to bed and do some laundry. Thankfully, I have a dryer—it’s the most useful thing for me. If I have extra time on my hands, I watch a film with my husband. I recently watched another Robert Redford film called Our Souls at Night. It’s with Jane Fonda, and I just love how the idea of companionship is portrayed in the movie. Another film on my must-watch list is Crazy Rich Asians. If I’m listening to music, Trisha Yearwood’s “How Do I Live” is on my playlist. 1AM After unwinding from the day, which also includes scrolling through Facebook to catch up with my friends, I try to squeeze in some time to read a book. I have people gifting me books all the time, and many new ones that I have not touched simply because I cannot stay awake for enough pages. When I do try though, it always remains that I read two pages, and then just like that, I’m fast asleep.
“It’s called ‘Becoming Hannah’ because I’m a work in progress, like the work we do.” – Hannah Yeoh
Hannah Yeoh, the 34-year old member of Malaysian parliament
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Becoming Hannah by Hannah Yeoh