We here at Neue (@whatsneue) firmly believe that everyone has a story.

No matter where you have been, or what you have been through, even if you are going through something right now, Neue wants to hear YOUR story.

Seated across me earlier this week at Belluno Cafe in Kiarong was Elizabeth Sim (@elizabethsfsim) who describes herself as “a work in progress” as she’s always dabbling in various areas of life – acting, hosting, writing, baking and finding her place in this world.

“It’s important to love yourself wholeheartedly because you have only one you,” she told Neue. “I believe that life is super precious and we shouldn’t waste it.”

Elizabeth is her own boss at @baked.by.liz where she shares her love for healthy and gluten-free goodies on Instagram.

Between 2013 and 2015, she founded and hosted her own talkshow, “Time Out With Liz”. She was also a member of Toastmasters International from 2007 to 2018.

Let’s see how she responds to this week’s #Neue9to5 questions.The First 9 Questions

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself?

I was born and raised here in Brunei. I have 2 older brothers – they are two years apart from each other, while I am 10-11 years apart from them.

I am what you may call a “tumour baby”. (This a term that I made up on my own!) I had found out much later in life that I was sharing a womb with a tumour. This was why my mother did not know that she was pregnant.

After the scans, doctors found out not only was the tumour growing, but I was too.

My mother told the doctors that she wanted to have me first even though she’d risk having to remove her womb (which she did).

I’d also like to add that I was a “corridor baby” too.

Apparently, I didn’t even let my mother get into the theatre room.

According to my mother I was a very impatient baby!

I suppose I was just so excited to get out and see life!

2. No matter what, losing your job will always be painful. Thoughts?

I spent 13 years of my life with HSBC Brunei dealing with Human Resources, as well as Training & Development.

Losing your job can be the best or worst thing to happen to anyone.

After you’ve packed all your things from the office, get into your car and drive home, the first thing you’ll feel is a sense of relief.

But soon, it’ll hit you. By the next day, you’re naturally going to feel a bit lost because you may feel like there’s no reason to get up in the morning.

Honestly speaking, I would break down all the time. In fact, I was pretty honest about being depressed for about a year or so.

But I would like to add that no matter what, life does go on.

Click on the photo to read Neue’s past article – “Cry Today, Roar Tomorrow”

3. Have you achieved any of your life goals?

Yes I have! In 2018, I finally got around to studying film at the New York Film Academy. I stayed in New York for a few months. This had been on my bucket list since I was a young girl.

Prior to pursing film studies, I’d been to the US twice – once for a competition and another time for further studies.

I always wanted to make sure that I went to the US for a reason, and not just a holiday.

4. Tell us about how the @baked.by.liz business came into being.

Gluten-free was something that I saw during my time in New York. I know how to bake but I’d never sold it to anyone.

When I returned to Brunei I started feeling all “those” emotions (depression) and so, I turned to baking. The very first time I sold to the public was at Mabohai Shopping Complex.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this: good connection + good network = good opportunities.

I love it when people personally contact me with special requests such as ensuring that everything was vegan and gluten-free. And you know what? I’m proud to say that I could do it!

5. What was your form of escape while growing up?

(Source: GIPHY)

There was a time in my childhood when I felt uncomfortable with my own self. I was very insecure with myself.

I considered myself a “problematic” individual in my teen years.

In fact, I’d always pen my thoughts in my flowery diary back then. (Yes! There was a time when we did not have social media like Facebook and Instagram!)

The only thing that really inspired me to change was television, specifically MTV and Channel V.

Another form of escape was reading Archie comics.

In fact, I’m actually handing down my Archie collection to my nephews and nieces.

To this day, I still do buy them 🙂

(Source: Archie Comics)

6. It’s very rare to see people who are “awoken”. Thoughts?

The year 2008 was when I “woke up”.

This is one of the reasons why I no longer mind disclosing that I was once divorced back in 2005.

(Editor’s note: This was the moment when I told Elizabeth that I was very sorry to hear that. I then asked if she’d be comfortable proceeding with the interview. She smiled and agreed to continue.)

Oh! It was the best thing to have happened!

And that’s why I’m compelled to say to myself, “You know what? That’s NEVER going to happen again! I’m going to change my life because I’ve been hurt!”

I found myself thanks to personal development courses that I attended overseas.

Look, it’s a good to invest in yourself. You get to learn a lot about self-love.

Uncomfortable was me … many, many years ago. I’m a different person now.

I know that one of the hardest things to be is YOURSELF … especially when you have all this circumstantial stuff attached to you (social stigma, especially in Asia).

But nowadays you can see empowering hashtags like #SingleMothers. People these days are indeed a lot more vocal.

7. Knowing what you know now, what would you say to 18-year-old you?

First thing I would do is give her a big hug and tell that it’s ok to want things and be someone.

Before telling her to take more chances in life, I’d also tell her to look herself in the mirror and tell herself, “Y’know, you’re good. You’re a good person!”

There’s always talk about the importance of loving other people. But somehow I think people are not taught to love themselves. At the end of the day, before you go and do that, you gotta love yourself!

8. Tell me about a time that made you go: ‘Wow! Just Wow!’.

Photo: Instagram / Beauty & Essex

One thing that wowed me in US was when I walked into Beauty & Essex in New York.

You may think that it would be the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building but when I was in New York, I was looking for a restaurant.

I ended up walking into what looked like a jewelry shop and when I asked where I could find this restaurant, one person said, “Oh!”

And after they pushed a wall, you get to walk into an entirely different world. It’s was breathtaking!

9. What would you like to say to all our Neue readers?

I still remember what this one teacher taught me. It’s also something that I learnt from my personal development courses.

Ask yourself this question – “What are you going to do with this one and wild precious life? And if you’re afraid, what’s the worst that could happen?”

I mean come on I hate diving. But I’ve done it! I learnt how to dive with Poni Divers here in Brunei a long time ago. It’s my fear … drowning!

My philosophy in life? Dare to do something new at least once!The Last 5 Questions

1. What’s your most memorable childhood memory?

When I was a tiny toddler and my dad was this giant … one of the things that I loved about my dad was his height because I could just hug his leg and just look up at him 🙂2. What’s a great book you’ve read recently? Tell us about it.

I absolutely love books!

I’m indecisive so I’m reading 2 books at the same time.i. “Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll. It’s about a girl named Ani who had a traumatic experience when she was in high school and how she had an opportunity to turn her life around.
ii. “Good Husband Material” by Trisha Ashley. It’s basically about that. Main character Tish is happily married but her ex comes back for a reason, You have got to read the book to find out why LOL!

I also spend my days reading cookbooks for my baking 🙂

3. Would you rather have nosy neighbours or noisy neighbours? Why?

I wouldn’t like to have either but if I HAD to pick just one, I’d rather have NOISY neighbours.

Hey! There’s nothing worse than having someone intruding into your life!

4. If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction? And which actor would best play you?

(Source: GIPHY)

It would be a mix of drama-dy and action.

And the best person to play me would have to be Zooey Deschanel (who portrays the character ‘Jess’ from the TV show,‘New Girl’).

Why? Well, because I’m THAT girl!

5. Do you believe in the paranormal and would you go ghost hunting?

I love watching Netflix’s paranormal docu-series, ‘Haunted’.

I just love to get scared!

But be warned: I will KICK you if you attempt to scare me. I have a technique to ensure that I do not get nightmares – I’d squint my eyes so that I’d blur the images out.

And though I’d still be able to see it … I wouldn’t remember the scare scene. Try picturing me watching the movie, ‘IT’ 🙂

And no! I would NEVER go ghost hunting!

See You In The Next #Neue9To5

Know someone who’d be perfect for the next interview? You can nominate them by getting in touch with the Neue team by dropping a message to @whatsneue.