Local actress Rebecca Lim turns 30 today.

But she went back in time while posing in her CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School uniform for insurer NTUC Income’s OrangeAid campaign to raise funds for underprivileged young peoples’ education.

Lim’s social media post last Wednesday encouraged fans to post their own photos of themselves in school uniforms to raise awareness for OrangeAid.

For each of these posts with the hashtag #IncomeOrangeAid, NTUC Income will donate $1 towards education for young people from families with financial burdens.

For Lim, donning her old school uniform was a heartwarming and nostalgic experience.

“It was nice, and made me feel young again,” she told The New Paper in a phone interview last week.

“My colleagues who saw me in my uniform thought it was quite funny, but said I still looked young enough to pass off as a student.”

Other OrangeAid ambassadors include Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling, local musicians Jack and Rai and Ling Kai, and blogger Mr Brown, who also posed for photos wearing the uniforms of their respective alma maters.

Member of Parliament, Tin Pei Ling  PHOTO: NTUC Income


Although Lim has a squeaky-clean image now, fans may be surprised to hear she had a rebellious streak during her school days.

“From Primary Four to Secondary One, I used to play truant and skip classes or entire days of school with my friends,” she said.

“What’s worse is that I used to bring my younger sister along with me too.”

Lim described herself as a “clueless” schoolgirl who ran into bad company, and went along with her friends’ misbehaviour.

“I was a fat, nerdy kid in school, and used to be in the TAF (Trim and Fit) Club,” she said.

“I tried too hard to be cool, and broke school rules by dyeing my hair, wearing my uniform’s belt as low (on my hips) as possible, and showing up in sports shoes instead of school shoes.

“It’s very silly now, but it seemed so cool and rebellious at the time.”

Lim said her turning point came in Secondary One, when her discipline mistress caught her and her friends playing truant at the arcade of Cathay Cineleisure Orchard mall.

They were punished with detention, and made to water plants in the school garden. Lim’s parents were also informed of her truancy.

“When I saw how heartbroken my parents were, it really hit home how much I had hurt them,” she said.

Being caught was a blessing in disguise, she said, and she vowed to turn over a new leaf. She went on to study hard and score eight points for her O levels, surprising her family and teachers.

“Empowering young people through education is a cause that is very important to me,” she said.

“I would tell kids, don’t be like me when I was misbehaving in school. I honestly wish I had turned around earlier.”

Lim’s upcoming projects include Channel 8 medical drama You Can Be An Angel 2, which premieres on Nov 1 at 9pm, and hosting her first Mandarin travelogue The Travellers, where she introduces off-the-beaten-path tourist spots in Hong Kong.

“I’ve been reflecting on my life these few days since I’m turning 30, and I’m really grateful for where I am in my career now,” she said.

“I’m not the tallest, or most talented in acting or hosting, but have been very blessed with these opportunities.”

Although Lim is still single, she remains optimistic about her future.

“If I had stuck to how I thought my life would turn out when I was in secondary school, I would be married with three kids by now.

“But I’m very happy with my life and have no complaints. Being in this industry has helped me mature faster, and I hope to get better at acting and hosting, go into directing, and perhaps run a business on the side.”

“I would tell kids, don’t be like me when I was misbehaving in school. I honestly wish I had turned around earlier.”


The original version of this story was published in The New Paper on September 26, 2016.

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