A ray of sunshine
Belinda Sunshine Yeo is spreading her bubbly personality and sharing her trademark scarf around her neck to Singapore!
Belinda Yeo is a firecracker. With a bubbly personality, and not afraid to tell it like it is, her brand of sunshine (her nickname, by the way) is spreading islandwide as a city journalist or cityjo for a new community channel called Singapore One. This is a channel not only for the young ones but for the “forever young ones”, as she explained.
During the very first episode on Singapore One, you get a glimpse of who she is and what to expect in future episodes when she gave her introduction – “I am quite a naughty person. I still like to play around and be mischievous, and at the same time learn more about people. I don’t want people to know so much about me! I’m kaypoh (in Singlish, meaning being a busybody). I want to know more about you.
The Merdeka Generation citizen does not let her age stop her. Though she does not want to reveal her specific age other than saying she is over 60 years old. She however says she will probably remain forever 25 years old and that age more or less resonates with her! Belinda shared her favourite phrase – “Age is just a number”.
How did she get her nickname? When she was in school, she shared that she was always bubbly and cheery as she is today and this “brought sunshine to her friends”. After graduating from the University of Singapore (now called the National University of Singapore) her father had high hopes that she would end up walking in the same footsteps as him by joining the banking industry.
But that was not meant to be as radio was her calling. “Radio was something I was always passionate about. Even as young as six years old, I was telling stories from primary one onwards. Those stories were then broadcasted as part the school’s broadcast programme on radio,” she said. In school, she also grew up listening to broadcaster Aisha Akbar’s radio programmes and sang the songs she wrote. (Aisha was a music teacher who in the 1950s was approached to become a radio presenter. She produced children’s music programmes and eventually supervised the children’s programmes unit, according to her bio on the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame.)
As a result, she joined Radio Television Singapore which became Singapore Broadcasting Corporation and now become MediaCorp. She was at various stations such as Radio One, 98.7 FM, Gold 90.5FM and Radio Singapore International, which was her last gig before it shut down in 2008 due to lack of support from the Government.
After being in radio for 40 years she called it quits that year to look for other greener pastures. She then became a adjunct lecturer at Murdoch University. She was also a corporate training consultant and speech trainer for executives so they could write and speak better. She was also a Master of Ceremonies for shows and events. But she longed for something more stable, with regular income.
In 2021 she joined Dream Forest Stories as a video producer to ask people on their stories of life in Singapore. With her unforgettable trademark of a scarf around her neck – in her first episode, she asked people in the street the questions – “Are unvaccinated people treated unfairly?” Subsequently she has gone to interview a number of personalities including Executive Chef Eric Teo who has cooked for a King, and she had asked him “What is the most important thing that he treasures most in his life?”
Her work in Singapore One is a bigger challenge compared to radio in MediaCorp as because of a lean team, she has to do everything, including video filming, video editing and post production works. But that doesn’t faze her. She does not have children so she can give more time to her work.
She is not the type to sit down and do nothing. Besides working on Singapore One stories, Belinda also ran the oldest record store in Singapore, The Attic, after her brother passed on and left the store to her. The store is now moving online.
Belinda believes wholeheartedly on continuing to stay active and positive and has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, she advised other seniors to continue to “keep your body and mind active and you will remain healthy”.
She has just begun and her irrepressible knack of cheering people will carry on. So watch out Singapore as here comes Sunshine!
(** This story was contributed by Ageless Online’s newest reporter, 76-year-old retiree Tan Kok Kay.)