“My husband thinks I’m a pain in the ass”: Interview with Ivy Singh-Lim of Bollywood Veggies

I’m a fortunate Singaporean. I’m 65 years old. Look at me, I’m still beautiful, I’m strong, I’m intelligent. I’m still rich. If it wasn’t for the bloody government, I’d be the queen of this country.

I’m very spoiled. I’ve never turned on a computer in my life; I’ve never cooked in my life. But that doesn’t mean that I’m useless. I wasn’t trained to be a servant or a maid; I was trained to be a warrior. I was trained to be a boss.

The greatest thing for landowners is to live and die on the land. That means you get up every morning and you want to go to the land, you want to walk on grass, you want to dig in the mud, you want to pluck your own fruit.

[When I was young, my family] received a bullet in the mail. It said “you better watch out” and things like that. But we never got kidnapped.

People put too much emphasis on the sizzle and not the sausage. In the old days, when we used to do a charity for the Red Cross, we would actually cook things ourselves and make the flower arrangements ourselves. Now, you go to a ball and the flower arrangement is five hundred dollars. So why are you raising money to buy five hundred dollars worth of flowers?

I call myself the gentle warrior. People see [a warrior] as a fierce person but we’re not; we’re protectors. I’m gentle until provoked. But I could kill you. And it’s something that’s inherent in my DNA because my father was from the warrior caste, and my mother was born in the year of the dragon.

You remember that guy who was spitting on the woman on the train platform, and nobody did anything? If I were there, I would have put my hand on his shoulder and said, “My friend, can you please stop doing that?” If he didn’t, I was going to press his neck, pull his tongue out and cut it off.

Possessions don’t make people happy. People make people happy. Life makes people happy.  

Who wants a useless sterile garden? Every HDB estate can be converted into a kampong garden. And I can’t stand them doing their community garden which starts with them building a fence around it. What’s community about it? To me, everybody should just be allowed to grow pandan lah, this lah, that lah. So it looks a bit untidy. So what? But it looks real.

[Bollywood Veggies] isn’t about farming. It’s about creating a circle of life. The very rich must help to carry the poor. Everything that has a heartbeat has a place in the kingdom of the gentle warrior.

I’m a rocket train to bring down evil, unthinking drones so that we can change the system.

I’ve been called obnoxious, notorious, even a super b****. Why should I give a s***? I want to die a legend. I want people to remember me forever. It’s good to have a reputation.

The reason for my patriotism is simple: basic gratitude. Just imagine, my father came to this country as a young, uneducated teenager and by the time I was born, he had built a great business which entitled me to live a fortunate life. I love my country. I’m half-Indian and half-Chinese but I see myself as Singaporean. My aim is to die in this country.

My husband thinks I’m a pain in the ass and that I’m fearless. He doesn’t try to change my mind and I don’t try to change his.

Dishonesty is the world’s worst evil. People don’t understand. They always say compromise is good but I’m not a compromiser. If you’re a dishonest liar, I don’t have time for you.

There’s a god incarnate in all of us. I believe that we can all create, destroy or nurture, depending on our situations and what we want to do, and that makes me unafraid.

I think I’m the most interviewed person in this country. A lot of people don’t like to be interviewed because they don’t like to give an opinion.

Teach a child about nature, teach a child to be a warrior, and he will be a natural protector. And that I think is a great element that is missing from our community.