Rui En can’t travel without tom yum cup noodles

Plus, we find out what other items remind local celebs of home.

Rui En can’t travel without tom yum cup noodles
Rui En can’t travel without tom yum cup noodles
06 Aug 2019

Rui En can’t travel without tom yum cup noodles

Everyone has something that reminds them of home, whether it’s a photo of loved ones or a chou chou (comfy object) that evokes a rush of memories and brings a sense of comfort or familiarity when they are away from home.

For Rui En, her creature comfort is tom yum cup noodles (in case you must know, her favourite is the one from Nissin), which she always packs with her when she travels. They came in very handy during her two-week vacation in New York and Toronto last month, and she discovered that she had underestimated her dependence on them.

“On my recent trip to the US, I brought tom yum cup noodles with me thinking that I would bring them back. I not only finished both of my cup noodles, but I took one more cup from [my friends], so that’s how much I missed spicy food,” she laughed.

“I’m just realising that I don’t really like ang mo jiak (western food) at all and I get quite sick of it. It’s funny how when I was younger, when I saw older people bringing their chilli with them on trips, I would go, ‘Aiyoh, these people!’ and now I am like that!”

You’d think after all the time she’d spent in New Zealand during her two-year hiatus that she’d be used to “ang moh jiak”, but that was actually the turning point.

“I would say this [inability] to deal with western food is a recent thing. When I was in New Zealand, I would get ramen from Chinatown so I think it was probably from that point that I realised I cannot do without spicy food or chilli, so now I make it a point to bring cup noodles,” she said.

So does she bring chilli too?

“Not yet,” she said with a chortle. “I’m not going to say no to anything right now because with age and with maturity come different mindsets. But there was a certain point during the last trip where I went, ‘Ah, it would be so nice to have chilli sauce right now. (Laughs)”

Read on to find out what items remind local celebrities of home.

Chantalle Ng never leaves home without… her “chou chou”
Chantalle Ng never leaves home without… her “chou chou”
06 Aug 2019

Chantalle Ng never leaves home without… her “chou chou”

“I have a smelly blanket that I used to travel with, but I didn’t bring it with me to Australia [when I filmed The Distance Between] because we were travelling to many areas and they were nature areas so I didn’t want to risk it. The blanket’s all torn apart and I was afraid it would not make it back.

My mum used to help me mend the holes but it can’t be salvaged anymore because it’s shredded. I’ve had the blanket since I was a baby and it’s quite cute because my mum sewed a heart in the corner. I will always hug it like a bolster - it’s a source of comfort for me and smells like home.”

Photos: Chantalle Ng

Romeo Tan never leaves home without…  a photo of his dog, Tigger
Romeo Tan never leaves home without…  a photo of his dog, Tigger
06 Aug 2019

Romeo Tan never leaves home without…  a photo of his dog, Tigger

“I have a polaroid photo of me and my dog, Tigger, and it’s always in my wallet. I’ve had the photo for about three years and looking at it brings me comfort, especially during my long stay in Taiwan [while filming All Is Well]. I even set up a CCTV at home so I can see her all the time and also bought lots of souvenirs like schnauzer stickers and coasters that remind me of her. She’s my first dog and to me, she’s my first love. I didn’t know I could love a dog so much.”

Photos: Romeo Tan

Kym Ng never leaves home without… six one-dollar coins 
Kym Ng never leaves home without… six one-dollar coins 
06 Aug 2019

Kym Ng never leaves home without… six one-dollar coins 

“I always bring six one-dollar coins with me because [there’s a saying] liu liu da shun which means everything will be smooth-sailing and also because the Singapore one-dollar coins are [shaped in a] bagua (octagon) to ward off evil.

It doesn’t have to be the same six coins, just any ones that I can find. I always put it in my wallet so it reminds me of home – I am from Singapore and these coins are my bagua. My mum also gives me a red packet whenever I travel so I take that with me too. It signifies my mum’s love for me and makes me feel like my mum is always with me. I will feel insecure if I forget to bring it with me.”

Photo: Instagram/@kym_ng

Paige Chua never leaves home without… her bag of charms
Paige Chua never leaves home without… her bag of charms
06 Aug 2019

Paige Chua never leaves home without… her bag of charms

“I always have this bag of lucky charms that my fans got me. They are charms from different temples, shrines, and cultures. I am not superstitious though, it’s just that I am so used to having them around that if I don’t bring them, I will feel slightly insecure. It creates sort of a comfort zone for me because when you are travelling, you are in a foreign land, so you need something to remind you that there’s safety and comfort around.

There’s a crystal that I got from someone that I met when I was travelling in Australia a few years ago. He said it’s my personal gem and that it’s straight from the mine. There’s also a silver medallion that I was given when I filmed When Duty Calls, and a round piece of wood made from the tree at a Japanese primary school that I visited when I hosted [infotainment show] Unusual School.

Chen Hanwei never leaves home without… his “baby”
Chen Hanwei never leaves home without… his “baby”
06 Aug 2019

Chen Hanwei never leaves home without… his “baby”

“I will bring my doggie soft toy because it reminds me of my dog that passed away. I call her “baby”. My friends have seen it and some of them have teased me about it, but when I tell them the story behind it, they find it heart-warming. It is always in my bag and I will take it out during flights and at some of the tourist attractions. The toy brings me comfort and a homely feeling.”

Sheila Sim never leaves home without… her pillow
Sheila Sim never leaves home without… her pillow
06 Aug 2019

Sheila Sim never leaves home without… her pillow

“If it’s for a long period of time, I would bring my pillow. I get neck problems so I am very particular about my pillow. But I also brought it with me when I went for my meditation retreat which was only for 10 days. (Laughs) That was because you are so bare at a meditation retreat, so at the very least, I wanted to have my pillow which brings me comfort and guarantees a good night's sleep. This habit only started in the later part of my life when I had more money to buy better pillows. 

Food is also very important. When I first started modelling at 17, Singapore food wasn’t so accessible in places like Europe so I would bring Prima Deli sauces like laksa and prawn noodles soup which really taste like home. One spoonful of soup and it’s like I time-travelled back [home]. It’s very comforting for me.”

Photo: Sheila Sim

Dennis Chew never leaves home without… red packets from his mum
Dennis Chew never leaves home without… red packets from his mum
06 Aug 2019

Dennis Chew never leaves home without… red packets from his mum

“Since my 20s, I have been collecting ang bao from my mum and bringing the stack with me in my bag wherever I go. But I have since stopped carrying the entire stack because I am afraid that I will lose the red packets as the notes in there are very old and no longer in circulation. These days, I only carry the more recent red packets with me like the ones from the current year for example those I received during Chinese New Year and my birthday. My mum will write a message on the red packet, it’s very simple but sweet, so it just feels like my family is with me when I travel and I have their protection and feel a greater sense of security.”

Rebecca Lim never leaves home without… photos of her loved ones
Rebecca Lim never leaves home without… photos of her loved ones
06 Aug 2019

Rebecca Lim never leaves home without… photos of her loved ones

“I will bring photos of my family with me. If I miss home, I will look at them and I will feel better. I usually bring a few pictures: one will be a photo of my family at my sister’s wedding, and another will be a very retro picture of myself and my grandparents when I was very young. The photos give me comfort especially when I am working overseas where it gets lonely sometimes, and they also motivate me to keep going because I know that at the end of the day, I am loved.”

Hazelle Teo never leaves home without… her prayer beads
Hazelle Teo never leaves home without… her prayer beads
06 Aug 2019

Hazelle Teo never leaves home without… her prayer beads

“I always bring my Buddhist prayer beads with me on my travels and put them by my bedside. They were given to me by my mum and they just remind me of my home, my family, and things that I love and treasure a lot. They are also for protection and a sense of security. I am not afraid that I will lose them. If I do, then I would just take it that they helped me ward off something bad.”

Photo: Hazelle Teo

Ayden Sng never leaves home without… a taste of Singapore
Ayden Sng never leaves home without… a taste of Singapore
06 Aug 2019

Ayden Sng never leaves home without… a taste of Singapore

“After studying overseas for four years, I feel Chinese New Year in Singapore is very different from everywhere else. Yu sheng, for example, is only done in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, so I made it a point to bring a set of yu sheng, couplets, and snacks like pineapple tarts and kueh bangkit [to the US] every single year. I even organised my own ‘festival’ over there as it is the most important festival to me of the whole year. It is uniquely Singaporean and something that I would introduce to my friends.”

Photo: Instagram/@aydenzs

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