by Marie Claire Lim Moore
Non-Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir
At the center of many good stories – inspiring, entertaining, admittedly corny – is Marie Claire Lim Moore. Ask her about the time she and her family sat down with former Philippine President Corazon Aquino. Or the time she built houses in Mexico alongside former American President Jimmy Carter. Equally engaging are her every day experiences and perspective on life. You will be interested to hear what she thinks is a relationship “deal breaker” or why Christmas should be regulated or why kids shouldn’t say, “I’m bored.”
Don’t Forget the Soap is a collection of anecdotes from different points in Claire’s life: stories from the tight-knit Filipino community in Vancouver mix with memories of her move to New York, experiences at Yale and travels as a young executive. Underlying this narrative is the story of a global citizen who does not want to forget the fundamental values that come along with the “immigrant experience” as she and her husband raise their children in the increasingly glitzy expat bubble of Singapore. Her parents continue to remain a big influence in her life and her mother’s reminders a grounding force. These stories will warm the heart and resonate with people of any culture.
Before I began reading Don't Forget the Soap, my initial impression was, "Oh, this is a book by a well-connected Filipino family. Okay." I was wrong. The author's family came from humble beginnings, and when I began reading, I couldn't help but smile at the stories that were told within this little gem of a book. I love how the author's family struggled from being the FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) family in a foreign country, and how they made ends meet with what little they had to begin with. This is definitely something I can relate with because my parents started out from very small beginnings as well. This is one Filipino trait that I've always admired - the ability to make ends meet and smile brightly even during the most dire of situations.
I also love the stories shared by the author about her mother - truly a woman worthy of love and admiration. She always tries to share with others, no matter what little they have. And I really couldn't forget that piece of wisdom she shared about visiting her older relatives first rather than the more prominent people who wanted to meet her. Seriously, she should be a philosopher or something. She places things into perspective nicely, and I wholeheartedly believe that a lot of people should learn a thing or two from her. Hopefully, this book can help spread her lessons out into the world.
While reading the book, the thing that struck a chord the most within me is this quote: "Most graduation keynote addresses have a common message: Do what you love and follow your passion. As inspiring as they are, I can’t help but think my mother could have a counter speech that might just better serve the majority of those graduating. It would go something like this: Try to find a job where you do what you love but if it doesn’t happen right away and you have bills to pay, find a job where you’ll pick up skills and contacts that can be applied to passion projects on the side. You can pursue these at the same time and, who knows, one of them may ultimately lead to your dream job." This quote struck a chord with me because this is what is exactly what I've been doing right now. I just didn't know it before reading Don't Forget the Soap. Sure, I want to be a lawyer, but I want to be a writer as well. I'm currently working hard to become a lawyer, but I also have book-blogging, which is something I consider as a passion-project. And as a book-blogger, I'm expanding my contacts which I can use when I finally become an author.
I also loved reading about the author's Dad. He's one very wise guy, if I may say so. The part where he chose to have his daughter wear something hideous to ward off boys was something I could never forget. It's being protective and it's also brilliant! It had me grinning widely when I was reading it. haha!
Personally, I think that a large part of how we turn out as individuals could be attributable to our parents. Sure, we get to decide what happens to our lives, but a large part of our personality depends on how our parents raised us when we were young, so I'd say that parents contribute largely to how we turn out to be in our adulthood. And after reading this book, I have to say that Author Marie Claire Lim Moore is very lucky to have parents like hers. I also couldn't help but be thankful for my parents because I realized how lucky I am to be blessed with such hardworking parents who made a lot of sacrifices just to provide me and my siblings with a decent life.
All in all, Don't Forget the Soap is a small treasure hidden within the pages of a book. Read it, smile, and be a little richer after reading, albeit not financially. Heh. A highly recommended read for everybody.
Marie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-Canadian-American working mother and author of Don't Forget the Soap. After spending the early part of her childhood in Vancouver, Claire moved to New York City and attended the United Nations International School. She went on to study at Yale, climb the corporate ladder at Citi and travel around the world. She met her husband, Alex, while working in Sao Paulo, Brazil and they married in Manila, Philippines shortly before moving to Singapore. Now Mom to Carlos and Isabel, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citi in Asia. She enjoys juggling career and family and likes to throw in community and politics for fun by campaigning for US political candidates, fundraising for organizations that advance the role of women in business and promoting foreign direct investment in the Philippines. She is also a guest contributor at Sassy Mama Singapore.