The Moneymaker: SIMONE HENG, 31, Class 95FM’s newest jock on the block. The Singapore-born, Australia-raised radio DJ left Singapore in 2008 to be a radio presenter in Dubai, before returning to her native Perth two years ago to take care of her mum, who’d suffered a stroke. The erstwhile model moved back here about a month ago. “I wanted to live in a cosmopolitan environment which Perth couldn’t give me,” she says.
HER HOME IS: “I’m renting a room in a house in the Novena area now. It’s like the United Nations here — I have Swedish, Mexican and Japanese housemates. It’s such a huge house that I haven’t even met all of them!”
HER RIDE IS: Taxis. “I’ve started taking taxis instead of buses to save time ’cos my schedule picked up. It was different in Dubai. I had a driver for five years. Every year during Ramadan, I’d buy him new car seats and give him money. We’re Facebook friends now and he likes all my photos (laughs).”
WHAT’S IN HER WALLET: “Chaos! There are receipts everywhere. There’s a dry-cleaning receipt for a couple of gowns I’m wearing to events, ATM cards from Singapore, Dubai and Australia, my employment pass and my VIP card for [craft supplies store] Spotlight. I use it more than my IC! And $3 in cash. I’m such a cashless person. I’m always looking around for an ATM (laughs).”
8 DAYS: Welcome back to Singapore! How much have you spent so far for your move here?
SIMONE HENG: I spent about $3,000, including my air ticket. I sold a lot of my clothes at flea markets in Perth before I moved, and used the earnings to ship my stuff to Singapore. That’s how I roll! I don’t ever want to be reliant on a man or anyone else, even if it means selling my clothes or claiming taxi receipts. I set myself a $1,000 budget to furnish my room. My colleagues introduced me to Carousell and I bought a vintage marble table from there for $50. It was a super good deal!
Tell us more about the home you bought in Perth.
I bought my two-bedroom apartment last July. It’s near Cottesloe Beach, which is a very good area. I never have to worry about getting a tenant for this place. After my mum’s stroke, I didn’t know if I was going to stay in Perth, so my property had to be nice enough to rent out. I’m so sad that I didn’t get to live in it! My older sister is a property lawyer and she helped me do the settlement. How much did I pay for the property? Let’s just say it’s a mid-six figure sum. I believe in being financially responsible. I’ve never owned a credit card in my life! I had to get financial approval before I could tender my offer. My property agent was like, “You mean you have all this cash and no credit history? You’re like a character from The Sopranos!”
What was your last impulse buy?
I bought a $100 face-lifting cream at Tangs which apparently promises a V-shaped face. I already have a V-shaped chin, but I just felt like I was getting a bit saggy! [Fellow Class 95FM DJ] Yasminne [Cheng] gave me her Tangs card that got me a $3 rebate! I bought a Tiffany diary online for almost $200 and I regretted it. I didn’t check its dimensions before I bought it, and it’s so heavy that it gives me muscle ache when I carry it around.
What’s the most you’ve spent on a shopping trip?
About $1,000 when I was furnishing my room here. I splurged on bedsheets and a quilt for $800 during the recent Tangs sale. Yasminne told me, “Please don’t buy your sheets at a craft shop.” (Laughs) Shopping is great in Singapore ’cos there are so many chain stores. I’m a Mango and Zara girl. Back in Perth I was being taxed so much that I didn’t have much disposable income left over for shopping (laughs).
Dubai is famously glitzy. How was life back there?
Dubai is very lucrative. During my five years working there, I paid off my university loan and bought a home in Perth. I also started a DIY blog (www.diynamicstyle.com) in Dubai ’cos it was such a luxury-focused city. There were 15-year-old girls carrying Saint Laurent bags! My blog shows people how to do luxury hacks and save their money for other important things. I set up the blog in my 20s for girls like myself, when I was storing money like a squirrel to buy my own property. But it’s a huge misconception that Dubai is only about luxury. It’s a first world city but I could still see poverty when I looked out my window. Dubai doesn’t have an [established] welfare system, so everyone feels responsible for their fellow countrymen. At my previous office, our Nepalese security guard was paid next to nothing. Every summer, people in the office would pass around a bag to collect money for him when he goes back to Nepal. The Arabs’ hospitality is unbelievable. If you say you love the clock in their home, they’d put it in a bag and try to give it to you!
How much did your last DIY project cost?
I like to do room makeovers so I added fairy lights in my room (above) for about $10 based on a YouTube video I saw. I also made Balenciaga lookalike sandals with a pair of shoes I got from Far East Plaza for $15 and [a brand] sent me their stickers [to revamp the shoes]. The money I make from advertorials covers the costs of running the blog and my DIY projects.
Does being a full-time radio DJ mean you can spend less on your appearance?
That’s the misconception about radio. When I was doing Radio in Dubai, I was probably one of the most photographed women in the city. But my face and body were mostly covered in the photos. Over here, I dress in shorts so I feel more pressure to be slim and toned. (Laughs)