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7 Best Singapore TV Mothers We Grew Up With, Like Under One Roof’s Dolly And The Little Nyonya

Best Singapore TV mothers 

You know what they say: mother knows best. And true to these words, she’s the unsung heroine of our lives when it comes to taking care of us – whether she’s slicing up fruits for us after dinner or nursing us when we’re down in bed with a fever.

From her incessant naggings to bargaining skills, there’s nothing a mother can’t do. Just take a look at these unforgettable Singapore TV mothers we grew up to remind us of our very own.

Read more Mother’s Day related content:

1. Dolly – Under One Roof

singapore-tv-mothers - dolly under one roofImage credit: Sean Bay

Played by: Koh Chieng Mun

For seven seasons between 1995 and 2003, we sang along to this beloved sitcom’s theme song, along with the iconic line Koh Chieng Mun is Dolly. Indeed, Dolly was the epitome of what you’d expect from a typical mum – caring, sweet and supportive to her kids Paul, Ronnie and Denise, as well as her husband Tan Ah Teck.

Whether it’s her beehive hairdo or being the #1 victim of Tan Ha Teck’s long-winded stories about China’s southern provinces, she never failed to put a smile on our faces week after week. 

2. Lydia Lum – Living With Lydia

singapore-tv-mothers - living with lydiaImage credit: Mediacorp

Played by: Lydia Sum

Gone, but not forgotten. Hong Kong TV legend Lydia Sum’s passing in 2008 was unfortunate, but she did leave a dimsum-shaped hole in our hearts thanks to her sitcom Living With Lydia. 

We’ll always fondly remember how she would yell at her kids to shuuttt uppp! or mispronouncing Billy B. Ong’s name on purpose. And despite the loudmouth demeanour she portrayed, she always had nothing but love and warmth – be it in the dumplings she whipped up on the show or her selfless actions for her family. 

3. Rosie Phua – Phua Chu Kang

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Played by: Irene Ang

Mention “animal prints, mahjong and slim wrap” and Rosie Phua comes to mind. Some might say that behind every successful man is a great woman, and there’s no doubt that Irene Ang’s character was the driving force behind SG icon Phua Chu Kang and his weekly antics. She wasn’t just a good wife, but also became a mummy to Romeo Ferrari and Crystal Jade in the later seasons.

Special mention also goes to the other leading ladies in the Phua household – Ah Ma (Neo Swee Lin) and Margaret Phua (Tan Kheng Hua) – for being stereotypically naggy and demanding, but yet so relatable. 

4. Mrs Tay – Growing Up

singapore-tv-mothers - growing up channel 5Image credit: @derekL0h

Played by: Wee Soon Hui

Mothers are known to be the reliable pillars of the household, and what happens when that pillar crumbles? Life is thrown into disarray. That’s exactly what we witnessed for the Tay family, when their mother is robbed, stabbed to death in one of the hit TV show’s most shocking – and moving – scenes. I remember shedding tears in disbelief while watching this on Channel 5 as a kid. 

We saw the unravelling of a family following her loss and are reminded how important mothers are in a household. If anything, she served as a fervent reminder to not take our parents for granted.

5. Kok Pin’s mother – I Not Stupid

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Played by: Xiang Yun

We’ve all been there as kids – poring over assessment books with our mothers at the side scrutinising every mistake we make. I Not Stupid’s Kok Pin knows this all too well, as one of the protaganists in the popular movie series and TV show.

His mother was familiar to many of us for both good and bad reasons. While she caned Kok Pin and pressured him to excel academically, her leukemia diagnosis and eventual declaration of love and pride of her son touched all of our hearts.

On the contrary, at least we were not Terry or Selena Khoo who had to deal with their intimidating tiger mum (played by Selena Tan). Jog your memory with this scene that still sent shivers down my spine: 

Video credit: krazykukurov

6. Juxiang – The Little Nyonya 

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Played by: Jeannette Aw

The timeline for Channel 8’s The Little Nyonya might be a tad complicated – Jeannette Aw stars as both the mother (Huang Juxiang) and daughter (Yue Niang), giving the phrase like mother, like daughter literal meaning. 

In spite of Juxiang being deaf-mute, she doesn’t let it affect her strong will and even passes down her skills in traditional duties like cooking and sewing to her daughter, Yue Niang. While Juxiang passes away when Yue Niang is still a young girl, Yue Niang still takes after her mum’s best traits like courage and selflessness throughout the show’s 34 episodes.

7. Tan Geok Neo – Masters of the Sea

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Image credit: Hui Ng / Pinterest

Played by: Margaret Chan

If there’s one mother to fear, then Masters of the Sea’s Tan Geok Neo would be her. Instead of being remembered as Singapore’s first drama series, the show caught the attention of the country due to Margaret Chan’s striking delivery of the line “I will crush you like a cockroach!” as the Peranakan family’s matriarch. 

Just like how most of us know never to mess with our mums when they are in a no-nonsense mood, the unforgettable scene was a prime example of that. 

Singapore’s best TV mothers

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Being a mother is a full-time job in itself
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There’s truly nothing like a mother’s love – as proven by these Singapore TV mothers we grew up with. Whether it’s ensuring we complete our homework or imparting life lessons to us, they will always have our backs – and be inspirations to look up to.

Read about more inspiring women here:

Cover image adapted from:, Mediacorp