09 Apr Daphne Khoo
Many of us surely remember Daphne Khoo, who first stole our hearts on the first ever season of Singapore Idol in 2004 with her bubbly personality and charming vocals. Since then, Daphne has remained committed to her passion in music, and released an album titled “Desperate” in 2007. These days, she continues to be a singer, songwriter and a DJ for Power 98.0 FM.
Being a radio celebrity and Singapore’s sweetheart may appear glamorous and fun-filled, but Daphne’s journey thus far has also been riddled with many challenges that she has had to overcome. Recently, we had a chance to catch up with Daphne about her battle with cancer, growing up and choosing to pursue a career in the arts.
Constantly on the move
It is rather complicated because I was moved to Singapore when I was eight years old. When we moved, the company my parents were working for gave us a place to rent, and we were pretty much moving every two years.
It was difficult because I wasn’t just moving from one country to another, but I also had to physically move from one house to another. I didn’t have a sense of belonging or memories of any one place. I had to keep evolving, changing and adapting to wherever I was.
1. Exerting myself way too much
When I found out that I was diagnosed with cancer, I actually felt… relieved. Not many people believe me when I say this but this is my honest answer. I had been working and studying nonstop for 9 years since I was 16. Even though I was in a good place, I was extremely exhausted. So, I felt that the cancer was a sign of the greater beings of the world telling me to take a break.
1. The silver lining to illness: Being forced to rest
Coping with the illness was really tough. There were so many things to do and I was also losing my hair, but at the same time I had 8 months to just rest and recover. I was able to do all the things I wanted to do. I got to sit back and watch TV, sit with my guitar all day and write music. Cancer changed the way I treat situations in life. I don’t overwork myself anymore because I know that my body can’t handle it.
2. Pursuing an unconventional career path
My parent’s generation, my uncles, aunties and my grandparents all belong to a generation that was brought up to think that a certain kind of career would guarantee material comforts in life. So it is rather tough when people don’t agree with me pursuing music as a career or tell me that I can’t do it.
2. Sticking to her guns
I didn’t let disapproval deter me from the focus of my goals. I want to make sure that I am doing what I can and what I love and doing it to the best of my abilities and for the right reasons. Also, I’d like to hope that my parents are proud of me and that I can continue to make them proud. They are amazing regardless of whether they wanted me to do what I do.
3. Struggling to look on the bright side
I wasn’t always this optimistic “Everything’s gonna be fine” person. It used to irritate me so much when my mom was so optimistic all the time.
3. Mom knows best
A huge part of what helped me change my attitude was my mom. She’s very optimistic and she had cancer too and she went through so much in her life and in our lives as a family and always comes up positive. It has given me assurance as to how life is easier to cope with when we have a positive attitude. Finding the bright side of any situation allows you and your soul to be in a better place at the end of the day. And I have my mom to thank for this.
No regrets, no matter what
There’s quite a lot of advice I’d like to give to young women growing up. One of them would be about how our parents told us never to talk to strangers. Well, the world does not work that way anymore. We should want to talk to strangers and connect with them. I think it is important for us women to talk to as many people as we can, open our eyes, broaden our horizons and find life in everything we see and do. We shouldn’t live with regrets.
“Smile from your Soul”
I think happiness is a lot of things, but more than anything it is being able to find a way to make your soul smile. And when you find a way to do that in every situation, that’s when you’re happy. It isn’t a constant thing. Instead, it’s a decision you make and you have to take steps to get yourself there.
Stay tuned to more stories from our ladies!