Interview: Claire Chiang, senior vice-president of Banyan Tree

I am a feminist because I believe women should live and work on their own terms.
A cruel act of unpardonable violence is ivory poachers chopping the heads off elephants.
I grew up in Little India in a two room shophouse with 10 family members. It exposed me to diverse cultures, shaping my sensitivity to differences and openess in life.
My emotional pillars were my parents. My mother taught me the importance of rules. My father’s never-give-up attitude inspired me to work harder.
In a word, I am earnest. Whatever the job, big or small, I’ll do my very best.
The beautiful Phuket sunset kick-started my interest in hospitality.
I worry most about my youngest son, Ren Chun, 18. He has exams, military service, university education, courtship and marriage to think about.
“Discover Singapore” weekends were started by my daughter, Ren Yung, and her boyfriend to introduce the family to new places in town.
I’ve recently learned how much fun Tiong Bahru is, where to get the best porridge and how good the pepper crabs are on Pulau Ubin.
My perfect day would be waking up late, have toast and coffee, play tennis, have lunch with the children, go for foot reflexology, watch a good movie, eat dinner somewhere new, and wind down with the hubby, chatting about everything under the sun.
I wrote a Chinese-language autobiography, My Journey and After, because I want to leave a family legacy for my children. I can always do a second memoir when I’m 80.
Bilingualism is a privilege. Knowing the Chinese language, its culture and history has helped me tremendously in my business negotiations.
The most life-changing decision I ever made was becoming a mother. Children take time and attention from other endeavors.
Words like “success” and “achievement” don’t excite me. I am motivated by the process of engagement, not the outcome. Doing things in teams, and engaging with pockets in the community is most satisfying.
I couldn’t have predicted the many changes in my life. From academia to hospitality, from being a single footloose traveler to a mother of three debating in parliament, and now the chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
I will work past age 100, for sure.