Friday, November 29, 2013


First of all, I, too read the acknowledgement part of a book. I like knowing the inspiration for the book.

The book is truly interesting. I love how it depicts the life of a Filipino family abroad. Do you recall the exact moment when you had that “Aha!” moment to write this book? 

Thanks so much -- very glad you enjoyed it. There was no one particular “aha!” moment to write this book. In fact, throughout my life there have been many “put that in the book” moments. I don’t remember when exactly it was established that I would be writing a book but for as long as I can remember I’ve been making mental notes of things to one day include in my book. These could be once in lifetime experiences like meeting Hillary Clinton but more often than not these ended up being little everyday things like how my brother and I would come up with a term to describe the McDonalds French fries that were left at the bottom of the bag. It’s “Surfries” in case you were wondering!

I’m sure it’s hard to share personal experiences to the public, how did you decide what to share and what to keep private?
It’s an interesting question. I wrote the book while I was on maternity leave from Citibank. I mention this because had I written it while I was working it’s possible that the book may have included more anecdotes about my professional experiences and perhaps, just perhaps, I could have felt compelled to keep more things private (maybe I wouldn’t want all my colleagues to know how much TV I watched or how awkward I was when I first moved to New York City). That being said, when I did return to the office and my Corporate Affairs team had to review my manuscript there was nothing I decided to remove. For the most part, I do generally feel like an open book.

I particularly liked the pasalubong chapter that inspired the title. It’s very Filipino. Tell us more about it.
That story is at the heart of my book. When I was still living in Brazil and my mother would get off the phone saying, “Don’t forget the soap…” it was one of those “put that in the book” moments. Pasalubong and hospitality are some of my favorite things about the Filipino culture.

You were only twelve when you met with then President Corazon Aquino, how was she in person in the eyes of a kid?
My brother and I had been hearing about her for what felt like our entire lives so we had built her up in our heads as this larger than life character. When we met her in person, however, she was simple and down to earth. Soft spoken yet determined. Needless to say she made quite an impression on us. When we left Malacanang, she asked me and my brother, Justin, to pray for her. From that night on our evening prayer went: “Bless Mom, Dad, Claire, Nana Flor, all my Lolos and Lolas, all my Titos and Titas and all my cousins and friends. Bless Cory Aquino and all the people I missed.”

I think a lot of people would be surprised to know about the Immigrant Parent Playbook. The rules are too similar with a Filipino family living in the Philippines. Now, as a Mom of two, what values do you continue to instill in your kids?
Respect is one of the key things. Respect fo all people but especially for parents and elders are one of the big things. It’s why we insist they use “Tito” and “Tita” and why we make a distinction between the way they talk to their friends and the way they talk to their parents and those who are older.

Your parents instilled a “give-back, pay-it-forward” attitude in you, with the recent events that transpired in Visayas especially in Leyte, how did that formation translate and how do you inculcate it to your kids?
Children learn by example and by what they see. My son, Carlos, is only three years old but he’ll notice us working on “projects” to help people in the Philippines. He’ll see images of the news and we’ll try to explain how some people don’t have homes and food and water after the powerful storm and he’ll understand how important it is for us to do everything we can to help.

On a lighter note, I noticed you have a particular fondness in TV shows, if your book were extended into a TV show, what genre (drama, reality… et cetera) would it be?
Definitely a sitcom. Sitcoms usually focus on one of the following: family (Modern Family, Everybody Loves Raymond), office (Suits, The Office) or friends (Friends, How I Met Your Mother). Mine would be focused on all three.

Lastly, being a frequent traveler, do you have any travelling tips? Especially in terms of packing?
- Invest in light weight suitcases.
- Minimize shoes. Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane and then bring a pair that can be worn during the day and at night. Decide on whether your wardrobe, purses, accessories are going to go with black shoes or brown / beige shoes.
- Have a separate “Electronics” bag / pouch for chargers, adapters
- Bring extra plastic bags in your suitcase, which can be used for shoes, wet clothes, dirty clothes, etc.
- Have good reading material on your phone or ipad. If traveling with kids, load phone / ipad with learning apps and entertainment
- Have snacks handy in your purse. For you and / or the kids.
- Make a list of “don’t forget” on the door for final checklist of things you may not have packed beforehand because you were still using them: charger, toiletries, etc.

Any message for our readers? 
Don’t take anything for granted. Not all the experiences you’re blessed with. Not your ability to make a difference in a small way. Not each person who helped you along the way. These are the underlying themes in the book and this is the message I would like to leave with readers.

Don't Forget The Soap


"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. 


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.

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