B People of Interest

Yi Lian of Yi Lian Ng Floral Atelier and founder of decided to spend a month on her own in Bali after a bad breakup five years ago. That decision turned out to be a life-changer. As told to Denise Li 

Beautiful Bali (Image source:

Beautiful Bali (Image source:

“About five years ago, I decided to return to Singapore after living and working in Hong Kong for two years. The main reason for my return was to be with my boyfriend, who I’d been in a long-distance relationship with the whole time I was in Hong Kong.

As things turned out, we broke up on the day I arrived back in Singapore, but it wasn’t an entirely clean break. We continued to see each on and off in the subsequent weeks, until I one day found out that he had actually started seeing someone else. My self-esteem was in smithereens, but I did what I should have done earlier, which was to completely cut off all contact with him.

I found myself wallowing in misery for two weeks straight. I was so depressed that I quit my new job because I just couldn’t find it in me to focus. On a whim, I decided that I had do something good for myself, so I decided to spend a month in Bali completely on my own. Using my savings, I booked my flight and a villa in the Balinese district of Lotunduh.

Lotunduh is pretty remote, and I found myself at a complete loss about what to do in the first couple of days I arrived. It felt like I was isolated from civilisation! After crying myself to sleep for about three nights, I pulled myself together, did some research, and found out that I could head to Ubud – about a 10-minute motorbike ride away from Lotundah – to do yoga. It helped that the staff working at the villa were so friendly and accommodating. I made friends with one of the guys there, and he willingly gave me a ride to Ubud every day.

After a week of doing yoga, I became friends with the women I saw every day. We began hanging out at cafes together. The amazing thing about yoga retreats in Bali is how you meet people from all walks of life, who hail from everywhere around the globe. I became good friends with this 60-year-old woman, Wendy, who regaled me with stories of her adventures at a kama sutra workshop. I also got close to two Canadian girls, who I later invited to stay in my villa as there was a spare bedroom. That turned out to be so much fun, as we’d hang out, dance, and watch Family Guy together.

Yi Lian with the friends she made in Bali

Yi Lian with the friends she made in Bali

Yoga also really helped me. I found doing back bends – also known as “heart-opening” postures – to be very helpful in speeding up the healing process.

Besides yoga, I also started attending a meditation class, which I found to be a revealing and enlightening experience. After two weeks of yoga and meditation, my newfound friends told me I looked different – as if a heavy burden had been lifted off me, and they were right.

It’s amazing how much you learn about yourself and the world around you when you open yourself up new possibilities. That sense of wellbeing stayed with me long after I left Bali and it completely changed my outlook on Life. From being someone who always needed to be in control, I am now more willing to go with the flow to see where Life takes me. Being in that new environment forced to adapt to unfamiliar situations. I am where I am today because of that experience.

Solo travel is always a good thing, if time and finances permit. It keeps you on your toes and open to new possibilities, so you’ll never get enclosed in a ‘bubble’. Till today, I take every opportunity I can to travel on my own.

Now, I am happily attached to someone else, and I am in a relationship I have always envisioned myself to be in. I now know what it means to grow with someone … and my boyfriend helps me become a better person every day. I also have my own business as a florist – something I did not envision myself doing years ago. I love what I do, and the best part? I no longer suffer from crippling self-doubt or let the ‘what-ifs’ stand in my way.”

She may have been born and bred in Singapore, but Denise considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and needs to make a yearly pilgrimage there to maintain her sanity. Competitive by nature, she enjoys combat sports and is currently obsessed with Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which she picked up just under a year ago. To no one’s surprise, the country currently at the top of her travel bucket list is Brazil.


  1. What is in control mean? Does letting go really mean if we need to go throuh crisis from a family member which you will tie with in the future.. meaning i will be married to my fiance.. and u not sure if u able to give the same thing and reaction as before.. do i need to let go of my fiance or the thing that im scared of in the future?

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