ROEN CIAN & CAREY NG
Finding Success In Love and Life
Having had their dream wedding two years ago following a proposal at the glaciers of Iceland, here is Roen and Carey’s happy life – parenting their young children Shae and Bella, travelling the world and focusing on the joys of being a family. And in this festive season, they tell us about the greatest gift of their lives – the company of each other.
HOW IS MARRIED LIFE?
R&C: I think married life didn’t change as much, as we were going out for a long time. But having kids did. We’ve been together since the end of 2012, so its seven years now. The major shift is when we have two children close together, because we’ve been living together from the start of our relationship. So, what’s the difference with being married? I proposed to Carey because I felt like we were ready to move to the next stage. I took her up to the furthest point in the glaciers of Iceland for the big proposal. So, if she said no I would have left her there – thank god, she didn’t.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE WAY TO WASTE A DAY?
R&C: Netflix and chill (laughs). We spend more time at home now because of the kids. Our youngest will be eight months soon. So, you can’t go far, or stuff like that. But now we’re homebodies. Before the children, we like to go out on date nights
R&C: Not as much as we’d like to now. Travelling has always been our thing. Since we’ve met, we’ve been travelling everywhere together. Now with the kids, everything has to be strategic when we plan our holidays. Like last year when Carey’s sister was getting married in Korea, we tried to kill a few birds with one stone – so we flew to Korea to catch up with the family, attend the wedding and to squeeze in a holiday as well. Currently, we’re planning a trip to the UK, where we have friends there with children, so we will move around with them.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE SPOTS THUS FAR?
R: I like New York.
C: For me, it’s Iceland. I would go back there at some point. It’s a different world out there. We’re so used to the city, and we’ve been to beaches – we’re so used to all these environments. But Iceland is a different thing altogether. It’s a good retreat from wherever you are.
YOU GUYS ARE SUCH A STYLISH PAIR, TELL US ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL STYLES.
R: I like certain brands like Kenzo, Alexander McQueen and Hugo Boss – so I think the design aesthetics of these brands have sort of become my personal style. I don’t really need to dress up because I’m an entrepreneur, so I can go to work as I am.
C: Now, being a mum of two, of course being stylish is important, but comfort is key. So, I think my current look kind of stems from that into something confident and relaxed.
WHO IS THE MORE STYLISH BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU?
R: Shae (their eldest daughter) is. She’s a rebel, and she chooses what she wants. It doesn’t even have to match! I can’t say who’s the more stylish between the two of us because we both have a similar vibe. We don’t compete.
RAISING TWO CHILDREN SOUNDS LIKE A HANDFUL, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE ALSO BUSY BEING ROEN CIAN AND CAREY NG. HOW IS PARENTHOOD GOING FOR YOU?
R: Parenthood is a lot tougher for Carey. She spends a lot of time with the kids since Carey owns and runs the school that the kids are at, which is Curious Child at Citta Mall. The kids are there first half of the day from Monday to Friday – which is good because it tires them out. It’s also important that they’re spending time with other kids, and they don’t get away with things when the teacher tells them to do it like as they do at home.
C: We’re at the infancy of parenting as well. Now, we’re being a mother and father to babies. We don’t really need to think about the discipline yet, or creating values and principles – all these things will only happen once they start to understand. Now, we’re just at the very beginning with our first daughter, so we’re still trying to figure it out. It is definitely intense because we know that these two human beings are the most important people in our lives, and we only have one chance to mould them. I think we both feel the anxiety sometimes, but we are taking it one step at a time, just going with the flow and we try to talk to as many people as we can to draw good examples.
R: We speak about it a lot to compare notes with other parents. If I can give one advice to other new parents out there – don’t be afraid to ask for help. In Malaysia, we’re fortunate we can get help from maids and parents, and I don’t think that’s cheating. We have a great support system where both of our parents whom we’re so lucky to have around helps out, the school help out, and occasionally my brother and his wife help out. It’s important to tap into this support system so that we can to focus on ourselves too.
C: Based on what we know now, I think the older one is a lot like her father – a bit feisty, naughty and rebellious, impatient… all the positive traits of the father. And the younger one is a lot like me – even though she’s only eight months and it might be too early to tell, it just seems like it is based on what I observed.
R: Yeah, looks-wise and attitude-wise. But I’m sure it will all change as time goes by. I’m happy with them looking like their mum, because they are girls, right? Right now, Shae has the characteristics of a first child (feisty, and a little bit of a diva) – I think it developed from when she was an only child. And now, she has to come to terms with this other baby, who’s not going to be sent back to the hospital, btw. So, we’ve understood that we were going to give mad attention to Shae. We’ve brought her to the hospital when Carey gave birth to our second daughter, Bella, and went through the whole process of introducing her to the new baby.
WHO DO YOU THINK THEY WILL TAKE AFTER, MUMMY OR DADDY’S FOOTSTEPS?
R: I’m sure they will take a bit from here and there – that’s how kids are, right?
C: I don’t think we think too much about who will be following who’s footsteps. If they can forge a path on their own and be happy with it and do well in it – we’re more than happy.
HOW ARE YOUR DATE NIGHTS LIKE AFTER HAVING CHILDREN?
R: We found this babysitting app. And it helps when we go out for not too long. We choose the restaurants we go to wisely, because we don’t get to go out as a couple that much, and then have a nice meal there. We often end up in Circa, which is a new bar I opened, and have a few drinks there with other friends who have children as well. And then we’ll call it a night. It won’t be a terribly late night because the kids will wake up at the same time at 7 in the morning, no matter how many gin and tonics we had the night before.
SO HOW WOULD AN IDEAL DATE NIGHT BE?
C: Not coming back to the kids for one night (laughs). A staycation, preferably.
R: I’d say good food – we went to Nadodi for our last date – good wine, and good conversation.
BOTH OF YOU HAVE SUCH SUCCESSFUL CAREERS; CAN EACH OF YOU TELL US WHAT WAS THE TURNING POINT OF YOUR LIFE THAT MADE YOU SUCCESSFUL?
C: For me, the real turning point in my life was probably joining the pageant. I was in architecture for four years before I ventured into pageantry, and that propelled me into a whole different profession and scene of people. That was also how I met my husband, and he led my hand into business and opened up new doors for me. I wouldn’t call myself “successful” because I don’t know what success is right now – monetary, or whatever. But I’m comfortable growing in wherever I’m planted.
R: As a businessman since 2008 when I opened my first bar, the turning point for me was when I stopped being just an F&B guy – opening bars, restaurants and stuff, and started building football fields, conceiving Commonground and so on. I realised I shouldn’t be a one-trick pony at an early stage because, truth be told, the amount of time you put into a singular business may not get you the same returns.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BOTH OF YOU, CAREER-WISE?
R: Recently, I started doing bubble tea. I’m not going to be bullish, since I’m married with two kids. I would love to travel with the kids, although it’s not career-related, but that’s just the stage I’m at in life right now.
C: If 80% of my career right now is my kids, does it mean I have to make more kids? (Laughs). I think I just need to balance it out now. I am almost a full-time mum and I feel like this is the time for me to take good care of my kids. But otherwise, it is to see Curious Child grow.
SINCE YOU GUYS ARE A MULTICULTURAL FAMILY, WHAT ARE FESTIVE SEASONS LIKE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
R: For Christmas, we do all of it – put up a Christmas tree, put presents under it and the likes. I’m half-Indian and half-Chinese, so we celebrate Deepavali by having meals with the family and Chinese New Year doing all the rituals as well. But otherwise, the holidays in Malaysia are for us to spend more time with the family enjoy the festive mood.
IT IS THE END OF THE YEAR, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FOR YOU GUYS IN 2019?
R&C: 2019 literally flew by! The highlight of 2019 was definitely Bella, who came into our lives. We actually met Bella Hadid at a dinner and told her that we’re gonna name our youngest daughter, Bella. “You’re lying!” She told us, “I’m gonna follow up and I’m gonna check up on you.” So, we got scared and we were like, “OMG, we have to name our daughter Bella!”
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2020?
R: I think you just have to look forward to life and live in the moment, so I don’t really come up with New Year’s resolutions and all that. You have to just enjoy the meal, enjoy the night out and enjoy the holiday!
FINALLY, ON A MORE CANDID NOTE, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS SONG?
R: I listen to Westlife’s renditions of Christmas songs. I’m not that into the old-school stuff. I like it when boy bands do Christmas songs, and I’d just play it on Spotify.
C: I come from a Christian family, so our family has always celebrated Christmas first before Chinese New Year, and that’s our main festivity. I remember the night before Christmas, our parents would always play Silent Night to wind us down. So, the song would always give me goosebumps and a sense of nostalgia.
WHAT DO YOU PLAN ON GIVING EACH OTHER ON CHRISTMAS?
R&C: We’re not that big on presents, but we like to talk about where we want to go together. So, I guess that’s our gift to each other. Like for our next birthdays, we’d like to go to Japan together – we’ve not been like it to be both our first time.
Words By Sara Yeoh
Photographer: Barathan Amuthan @ FramesbyBarathanAmuthan
Hairstylist: Derek Tan @ Anagen
Make-up: Kerry Beh
Venue: Robinsons @ Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur