In the end, it was eight years, and Yip did not go back to school. Instead, she became a mother with the birth of her son in 1996. In the same year, she established the Hong Kong Clay Craft Academy which provides professional clay art courses, an interest which she picked up while touring in Japan. The academy eventually evolved into her workshop, Art Around, today.
“At first, I just wanted to make something cute for my kid,” she says. “But then I realised that there are not many places like this in Hong Kong to cultivate one’s mind, so my business partner and I decided to create this place.”
To the world, Yip was a successful actress and singer who had gone on to forge her own career in art. She was a young mother married to a successful and wealthy man. It seemed to be a life many might envy but it all came crashing down when Yip announced her divorce soon after the birth of her daughter in 1999.
This time Yip was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Details of her husband’s infidelity were fodder for the gossip pages. Today, all this is behind her and Yip draws a line when questioned about this period of her life. “I don’t think there is a need to mention this,” she says firmly.
After the divorce, Yip raised her two children with the help of their grandparents from both sides. “Actually, it was not so difficult, unlike what you heard from the rumours outside. To make a living and support the family is not really a problem,” Yip says. “Everything we do is for the good of the children. I don’t think the separation of the parents should affect the children.”
Although Yip does not want to be drawn on what she went through during that time, she does say she does not regret giving up her career and getting married.
“There must be a reason behind the decisions you make at the time. We can’t say the decision is good or bad, but regret is not going to change anything,” Yip says. “So I never regret anything, I move forward.”
All that life has thrown at her has shaped Yip into the independent woman she is today. She describes herself as being, “55 per cent mother and 45 per cent artist”, and those are the roles she cherishes most.
Yip never ceases to give the best to her children and teach them correct values by example. And what she values most and wants to pass to her children is perseverance. “Insist on what you do. If you want to accomplish a goal, try your best. Do not give up halfway,” she says.
Being a mother, Yip does not only care about her own children, but also the students and other young people participating in the Occupy Movement. As a result, she has become one of the most outspoken actresses on the issue. Some have even dubbed her the “Goddess of Democracy” because of her frank comments on social media.
“I do not dare to put myself up that high. But as a mother, I really worry about and care for the students,” Yip responds gently.
“I am proud of them for having their own views about society and I support them. But I would also say they may also have to bear the consequences since this is illegal,” she says earnestly.