A scrapbook of Karla Muller’s childhood dreams being brought to life is like a love letter from Yen Muller to her daughter.
It is filled with newspaper clippings and website screenshots from every time 8-year-old Karla, who Yen affectionately calls ‘Busy Bee’, or ‘Bub’, features in the local media.
“She has a big dream to be a superstar, and all this stuff is so valuable later in life,” said Yen.
Yen’s face radiates goodness as she rattles off Karla’s local involvements. She is Beaudesert’s youngest Rotary member and loves singing, dancing, modelling, acting, horse riding, archery, golf, karate, cello, violin, ukulele, flute, drums and piano.
Kindness is Yen’s lifeblood, and she has a special place in her heart for her loving husband Karl who sponsored her to move to Australia in 2011, son Ashley who first made her a mother 19 years ago and of course, Busy Bee Karla.
Yen has a scrapbook of her own dreams, too.
She wants to be an organic farmer in the Scenic Rim, using the farming practices she knows and loves from her childhood in the Philippine province of Davao Del Norte.
Yen, 41, recalls an abundant and happy life on the family farm as the second eldest of six kids helping her parents run a successful agricultural business while she went to school.
All that was turned upside down when her father had his first major heart attack in his 40s and the family faced crippling medical costs.
At 13, she and her big sister moved to work in Davao City so they could still go to school.
They did yard work for a professor from Monday to Saturday then did other jobs like working in a canteen and burger shop, cramming school in from 7am to 7pm Sundays.
She then completed college via night classes, working long hours to fund her studies, enduring traumas in low-income student housing and eventually living with her boyfriend after her rental place was suddenly demolished.
By her early 20s, Yen was a single mum through heartbreaking circumstances.
With help from her own mum, who took care of young Ashley initially, Yen got established in the capital, Manila, to build a better life for her son. She went from cashier to supervisor, teacher to real estate agent, then became a businesswoman, starting convenience shops, a mobile repair shop, a 17-room boarding house and a 24-hour canteen.
She earned enough to buy a new house in Manila in 2010 before meeting her husband and moving to Australia.
When people ask Yen why she is so kind, her answer is simple.
“When I was young the world was unkind to me, so when people ask why I do so much for my daughter it’s because I want to give her every opportunity,” she said.
“You have to focus on the positive, otherwise you will never overcome the heavy trials that come your way.”