#HerWorldHerStory: Being homeless in “Crazy Rich Singapore” never got Liyana Dhamirah down

by Cara Van Miriah; Hayley Tai & Wen Xuan  /   March 23, 2020

#HerWorldHerStory is a collection of 60 women sharing their successes, passions, challenges, inspirations, hopes and dreams. Together, they give a snapshot of what it is to be a woman today.

Every month from March till August, we present 10 women navigating their lives now – and in their own words. Dive into Liyana Dhamirah’s story…

Makeup, Aung Apichai, using Urban Decay

The author of Homeless: The Untold Story of a Mother’s Struggle in Crazy Rich Singapore, hopes to shed light on issues of single parenthood and homelessness.

I learnt that in prosperous Singapore, homeless folks were not always identifiable by appearance.

11 years ago, I was homeless and living in a tent on Sembawang beach and West Coast Park, with my ex-husband and two young children, after we were kicked out of the house due to a family disagreement.

Those three months were the lowest point of my life: I was pregnant with my third child then, and had $5.25 left in my bank account… I didn’t have enough to buy milk powder for my baby.

Then, I also discovered a community of people and families who were homeless. Despite the difficult times, there was a community spirit among us. We shared food and watched out for one another, even when there were raids.

My predicament was later discovered by journalists and we were moved to a shelter. To make some money, I sold handmade trinkets on a blogshop. The taste of entrepreneurship encouraged me to set up a home-based business in 2013, Virtual Assistants Singapore, to provide individuals with a platform to earn income through home-based work.

Although things have looked up for me for several years now, I will never forget the hardship and what I went through 11 years ago.

Last year, I penned the book, Homeless: The Untold Story of a Mother’s Struggle in Crazy Rich Singapore. I want my story to shed light on issues of single parenthood and homelessness. I also hope to see a more understanding society, and more people coming forward to help the marginalised.

This article was first published in Her World’s March issue. Grab a copy today!