Balancing life with a Family Business – Su Chuin Kuah

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

She walks in with her stroller, dressed in trendy athletic wear, every inch the cool mum. In her stroller, lady-killer Asher, an 18-month-old young man whose smile breaks boundaries and puts a smile on everyone else in the space. While Asher naps, snacks and cheerfully roams around the Atelier, Su Chuin manages to sit at her ‘favourite’ round table in our living-room style common room to contribute to her Singaporean family business, Seng Choon who have been working with piping for aircon, plumbing and firefighting systems for over 60 years now. With her dry sense of humour and relaxed attitude, Su Chuin is a mum we admire and love trading stories with at the pantry. This is Su Chuin’s Trehaus story.

Balancing life with a Family Business - Su Chin Kuah 1

 How did you hear about Trehaus?

I believe it was through a Tickle Your Senses workshop. My son Kai had participated in one of their workshops at Mothercare and after that, I received an email about their “Bear Hunt” camp which was held at Trehaus.

 Tell us a bit about yourself and your international family?

I am Singaporean by birth, but spent all my upbringing and most of my working life in Canada. I only moved back to Singapore 12 years ago, only expecting to stay 2 years, but then I met my husband. He is from New Zealand, but has lived in Singapore for 20 years and we joke because he’s lived here longer than I have.

 Was working from home an option? Why did you choose to work at Trehaus?

I work for my family business and I actually have my own space at our office in the Lavender area. However, because my husband and I chose to not have a helper, I needed to work someplace where I could keep my son with me without distracting all my colleagues. I have brought my son to the office on occasion!

Working from home was an option, but I also wanted him to have interaction with other kids.

Su Chin 2

 Has being in the space changed your perspective on being a working mom?

Not really. But I take comfort in seeing how others juggle work and family time, though they are very much more successful at it than I am!

 Have you seen any changes in Ascher since being at Trehaus?

He’s getting more used to interacting with other kids, both younger and older than himself. He’s also getting slightly more independent from me which is good when he starts school in a few months!

 Tell us a bit about your business and what it’s like to run a family business?

Our family business, Seng Choon Engineering Pte Ltd, is in piping systems for aircon, plumbing and firefighting systems. We work with contractors to supply to commercial, residential and infrastructure projects in Singapore. The company was started by my father over 60 years ago and we have about 100 employees. Running a family business is like any other business, except there are always more internal politics when you are working with family relations. But I consider myself very lucky to have a very flexible work arrangement.

 Any words of advice for other working moms other there?

Don’t beat yourself up for not being “perfect mom” and never compare yourself to what anyone else is doing. If your family is happy and healthy, everything else is just extra. Your kids will love you no matter what.