88.3JIA DJ Kai Ying On The Highs & Lows Of Motherhood

Becoming a mum has definitely changed her life for the better.

By Sean Yee        13 May 2024

As a radio presenter, host, actress, voiceover artist and brand ambassador, DJ Kai Ying’s (@883kaiying) professional repertoire is extensive. Not only does she play an integral role in steering 88.3JIA, Singapore’s only bilingual radio station into a lifestyle powerhouse as its programme director, she has also spearheaded a myriad of local efforts to promote English and Chinese fluency with the likes of the Speak Good English Campaign and the Promote Mandarin Council. With her naturally cheery disposition, unwavering work ethic, and witty exuberance, one thing is for sure – Kai Ying is a force to be reckoned with.  

Beneath her public persona, however, lies an impassioned love for her 3-year-old daughter. Now, having just delivered her second child, Kai Ying chats with us about her life as a mother of two and her plans for 2024!

The duality of motherhood

Photos: @883kaiying

While Kai Ying had always envisioned her domestic life to be centred around her kids, she never anticipated the physical and emotional commitment that came along with it. After all, she had had two young siblings under her care, as well as a large family of nephews and nieces, how difficult could it be?

“Despite three attempts at inducing labour, Little Missy just refused to come out. Thank goodness we did a C-section,” she shares. And that was just the beginning for the first-time mum.

“Breastfeeding stumped me. It felt like a process that should have been instinctively natural. But having to deal with nursing troubles and the wave of insecurities was really quite overwhelming,” she admits, “Having a team of cheerleaders with me to drive away the bad and elevate the good is just so invaluable. My husband, who has been there every step of the way, as well as my group of friends, empowered me to stay positive. They ensured that I didn’t feel like I had failed my baby.”

Photos: @883kaiying

To Kai Ying, there is no better feeling in the world than knowing that there is someone out there who loves you unconditionally. She gladly put aside her petite and branded bags for a practical tote that stores everything her daughter could possibly need – wet wipes, snacks, sanitisers and toys. And not one to let her daughter’s formative years flee by, Kai Ying takes every opportunity to capture these innocent moments, flooding her phone’s album with an abundance of adorable visual mementos. 

Of course, it won’t all be sunshine and rainbows; there will be days when Kai Ying feels like pulling her hair out. But weirdly enough, once her daughter heads to bed, away from her sight, Kai Ying says, “I start missing her cute face.” 

What more poetic way to describe the duality of motherhood than that? 

Like mother, like daughter

It is true that the apple indeed doesn’t fall far from the tree. 

Like her mother, her daughter loves food, embraces novelty and enjoys everyday banter. “One of my favourite moments of our day together is our walks to school. We chat about everything under the sun! She’ll share her observations of our surroundings wherever we are, and we’ll riff off on them,” Kai Ying shares.

However, a mother is nothing if not a tad overly cautious. “I don’t think I’ve said “xiao xin” (transliteration of “be careful”) this many times in my whole life!” she jokes, continuing that “I worry about her future. I worry about the state of the world that she is living in. And I worry about her safety. It’s scary out there, and mama can’t be with you all the way!” she confesses.

If Little Missy is anything like her confident, ambitious yet compassionate mother, we are sure Kai Ying has nothing to worry about! 

Inheriting her mother’s appetite for wanderlust

From drinking coconut slushies by the pool in the Maldives and welcoming the New Year in Dubai to exploring an elephant sanctuary in Cambodia, she has seen it all. She, of course, being Little Missy. The intrepid globetrotter that she is, this young adventurer has been given the opportunity to travel all around the world, all credit due to Kai Ying. 

“Before her very first flight, I remember combing through countless parenting blogs to prepare for what’s to come. And we made sure all of our checklists were ticked. Did we bring enough milk? Are the bottles packed? What about the extra clothes in case she pukes?” she recalls. 

It was all worth it though, to witness Little Missy’s eyes light up as she caught her first glimpse of snowflakes descending from the skies of London, to be by her side as she marvelled at sharks, stingrays and turtles in the oceans surrounding the Maldives, or as she feasted on exotic culinary delights. “She has already travelled to more countries than I did when I was a teenager. I’m jealous!” Kai Ying jests. 

Her bundles of joy!

Photos: @883kaiying

Just recently, Little Missy welcomed her newest travel buddy – Little Mister!

And this time, Kai Ying, no longer the unsure mum-to-be, knows what to expect, especially when she has her toddler to cheer her on. “I suspect Little Missy is hoping to boss her little brother around!” she quips. 

That’s not to say that their travelling has to come to a halt. Already with plans to visit Bali and Europe, there is so much to be excited about for Kai Ying’s family in 2024. Regardless, no matter where they may be, Kai Ying relishes the knowledge that home is where the heart is – with family.

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