Yong Mei Ling & Yong Mei Fong On Sisterhood, Family Values & Fashion Love
What you immediately notice about Yong Mei Ling and her sister, is their camaraderie, closeness and peppy, full of spunk nature.
That’s why their daytime jobs—the older Yong as director for English Hotbreads, Sambal Chilli and Lemon Daisy Cakes and her baby sister Yong Mei Fong, manager of transaction advisory services at Ernst & Young—leave us stumped.
The sisters (who are each other’s best friends) are easygoing, always up for a challenge and most courteous, all vital traits they picked up from father Dato’ Kevin Yong, the managing director of English Hotbreads and the man responsible for turning the company from a bakery into a thriving catering business serving the hospitality and airline industry.
“My father is an amazing entrepreneur,” enthuses 29-year-old Mei Ling with great admiration. “Some of his staff members have been with him for 30 years and he operates with a lot of integrity. He’s a man who really sticks to his words.”
Dato’ Kevin is a people’s person through and through, he treats everyone equally and has a way of making everyone feel important, she adds, thereby reaffirming the importance of setting good examples for your children and imparting the right values.
At a time when common courtesy is uncommon, the sisters prove that treating another human being with respect is crucial. Mum Datin Penny is also known for being eternally gracious and without airs.
The Yongs take on 7 questions about their sister-sister relationship.
1/7 Is your sister your best friend?
Ling: Most definitely...
Fong: Definitely, 100%!
2/7 How alike are you and your sister?
Ling: We’re so different, yet in some sense so alike. I think personality-wise, we’re total opposites but our values and hobbies are exactly the same. I love listening to music you can sing along to and all things Disney. I’m currently into the Aladdin soundtrack. I have no clue what music Fong listens to, let’s just call it doof doof doof music with no lyrics! [HAHA] I think it’s EDM or techno or house!
Fong: In terms of personality, we're complete opposites but our values are the same. She listens to mainstream music (anything on Hitz.fm), whereas I enjoy a variety of music including EDM, hip hop, rap, Disney and country. We both share the exact same hobbies, such as tennis, dance, CrossFit, wakeboarding, travelling and we love doing them together.
3/7 What's the best part about being sisters?
Ling: I think it’s so nice when you find a sidekick who enjoys the same things as you do and at the same time, is able to share these experiences and memories with for a lifetime. We do love trying new things together. We both love adventure, the outdoors. We love rock climbing, wakeboarding, cliff jumping, waterfall sliding, whitewater rafting and anything extreme, you name it, we’ve done it.
Fong: She has definitely always been the one to pick me up when I needed it the most. That’s the best part about being her sister I would say.
4/7 What’s the nicest thing your sister has ever done for you?
Ling: When I was building the café concept for Kanteen, I was under a lot of pressure and I remember just needing a break one day because it was all getting too much for me. Just as I was about to break down, Fong showed up to help. It’s like she knew I needed help, call it sister telepathy but it meant so much to me.
Fong: There are so many! One of it would be when she took leave from work for 2 days when she knew I was going through a tough time. She dragged me out of bed and signed me up for a cycling class to boost my mood. She took me out for a good meal and hung out with me the whole day despite me not being in the best of moods.
5/7 Did your mum always dress you two alike?
Ling: Yes but as we got older, we developed our own style and mine is very much like mum’s. I love it when she styles me and she taught me what works for me but Fong has gone down the streetwear trend, which looks really good on her.
Fong: Mum loved giving us the same outfits in different colours. A lot of people also can’t tell us apart. So, I chopped off my hair to look different.
6/7 What's in your wardrobe these days?
Ling: I do a lot of sports and am into athleisure at the moment. You’ll probably find me in my lululemons and Adidas shoes most of the time. I love feminine, classic pieces in nude tones or pretty dresses in bright colours. I also think it’s important to have at least one well-tailored suit, a good pair of jeans and a hot pair of high heels.
Fong: I love edgy, grungy looks or anything black. For evening wear, I always keep it simple and elegant. A high-waisted black pants is a good investment, they work with everything. I wore a lot of denim shorts and off-the-shoulder blouses in my teens and college years but I like to try different styles and I get most of my inspiration from Instagram.
7/7 Describe your sister in 3 words.
Ling: Thoughtful, funny and stylish.
Fong: Kind, free-spirit and smart.
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special thanks: The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur
photography: Shawn Lor
artistic direction: Joanne Lim
styling: Anderson Chong, assisted by Abby Chung & Liew Shuk Khuen
make-up: Deirdre Chong
video: Dean Shaari