Corinne sees her talent as a gift that could only have come from God. She has had no formal training in design, either in the floral arts or interior design. All photos courtesy of Corinne Tsang.

Her exotic flower arrangements are found in luxurious homes around the island.

A high society magazine named Corinne’s Fleurs, her home business, as one of the top 10 florists in Singapore.

Yet once upon a time, Corinne Tsang would never have imagined that God would use flowers to pave her way out of a season in her life when she was burnt out. She had not always been a flower enthusiast.

As head of interior design for a property developer, she furnished units targeted at ultra-high-net-worth-individuals. 

A Chinese New Year arrangement by Corrine’s Fleurs.

“I enjoyed my job and I’m an aesthetic person who loves beautiful things. But flowers were never a thing for me,” Corinne, now 55, told Salt&Light.

“If anyone suggested flowers for show units, I would say: ‘Sorry ah, nothing with water please. Because you – not I – will need to be here to change the water every day.”

Defined by a name card

But in January 2018, Corinne, then 51, woke up at 3am with heart palpitations.

They came on and off for a few weeks.

“My friends, especially the doctors, were worried as my mother had suffered from anxiety, and when she passed away, I was only 17 years old. I was sent to the States for my tertiary education straight after her funeral and I didn’t have time to grieve.”

Corinne went for blood tests, but they came back normal.

“My gynae said it could be a culmination of several things – burnout, pre-menopause. He knew I had been working crazy hours for the past few years.

Corinne in Italy for the Milan Furniture Fair.

“Unlike many people who don’t want to get out of bed when they are depressed, I just wanted to be distracted all the time with friends.

“However, I began to lose interest in all the things I used to enjoy: Travelling, shopping, watching Korean dramas.

“I felt like I was going crazy. At my lowest point, I was in the handicap toilet prostrate and praying to God to take me away,” said Corinne.

“My name card defined me. When I stopped working, it seemed that I didn’t exist. I felt like I was nothing.”

Her GP gave her some over-the-counter oestrogen. her godmother advised her to exercise daily. 

Corinne found she could “function normally” when she was at work.

“But during my downtime, I found myself zoning out. One day I told my regular lunch mate, ‘Find someone else for lunch. I’m here but not here.’ I was like a Zombie – my eyes were glazed.

“My lunch mate told me, ‘Yes I can see that. But I will say two things to you: One, if I were going through this, would you not be there for me? And secondly, I think God is telling me not to stray too far from Him.'”

Her friend was afraid that what was happening to Corinne would happen to her.

Corinne was taken aback.

Although she was brought up to know God and turned to Him whenever things went wrong, making time for Him had never been a priority during her busy career. 

Spiritual friendships

Looking back at this time when she lost interest in everything she used to enjoy, “it was as if God was getting rid of all my distractions to begin my journey back to Him”.

“They were so welcoming. I never had a community before other than a handful of close friends.”

Three months after her heart palpitations started, Corinne decided to visit a friend, Veronica Foo, whom she had met a decade earlier in 2008.

“Veronica invited me for dinner. She told me, ‘I really sense that something is going on with you’, and she prayed for me and invited me to rejoin her cell group. 

“Having these older ladies pray for me and be my community brought me some peace. Every week, there was a purpose for me. I’d cook and bring fried rice or dessert for them.” 

The women were in their 70s.

After a few months, Veronica told Corinne that her niece, lawyer Stephanie Magnus, hosts Alpha courses. She suggested that Corinne join that group which had members who were closer to her age. 

Getting baptised in the Jordan River during a trip to Israel with her cell group in January 2020. “It’s a cliché but the Bible comes alive,” Corinne says of the land. Pictured with Stephanie Magnus and her father, Richard Magnus.

Corinne protested. “I had done Alpha so many times. I am not a new Christian; I have a fundamental knowledge of the Bible.”

But she went anyway.

“At Alpha, I was touched by the testimonies of murderers and drug addicts … That was a turning point in my life.”

At Alpha, and through the cell group, LifeHouse Singapore, she also discovered a community that hailed from a range of churches. They ranged in age from their 20s to 60s.

“They were so welcoming. I never had a community before other than a handful of close friends. I was working so hard and so long at that time.”

As she watched the videos shown at each Alpha session, “I was touched by the testimonies of murderers and drug addicts, the down and out,” she said.

“That was a turning point in my life.”

She started drawing nearer to God and spending quiet time with God every morning.

“Devotionals like Our Daily Bread and Bible in One Year saved my life during that difficult time, “she said. Bible Study Fellowship deepened her study of Scripture.

MP Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) (centre) joined Corinne (behind in pink) and members of LifeHouse Singapore in distributing care packs during the mid-autumn festival in 2020 as part of their ongoing efforts to show love to the community. Photo from Joan Pereira Facebook.

Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God”, brought her comfort.

Around the same time, at a gathering with a different group of friends, a visiting pastor singled her out from the congregation and prayed for her with respect to three things.

He said:

a) You are at a crossroads of your life; God will bring purpose to your life;
b) You will reconcile with family – not necessarily your own;
c) Your hormones will be balanced.

“I did not think much of this at the time, save that I was not comfortable with being singled out.”

Blossoming of a business

Due to her health concerns, Corinne left her job in March 2019, after spending eight months wrapping up her projects.

“It was a big decision as I always thought I would work till the end of my life,” she said.

“What I didn’t know then was that God was in the background putting His plan into place.”

Into the vacuum came “feelings of inferiority and insecurity”.

“All my life in the corporate world, it was my name card that defined me. When I stopped working, it seemed that I didn’t exist and no one needed me. I felt like I was nothing,” she said.

“I thought I would spiral into depression. It was a scary period for a couple of weeks, not knowing what to do with myself the entire day.”

She travelled for a bit. But when she returned to Singapore, she wondered what she was going to do with her life. 

“Then God stepped in,” she said.

Someone in her cell group invited her to visit his wholesale flower business. 

“A few weeks later, my dad told me to order flowers for his good friends’ 50th wedding anniversary.” 

She asked her friend if his staff could help her arrange the exotic flowers she bought.

“Fear not, for I am with you … I will strengthen you and help you.” (Isaiah 41:10) Some clients have requested that Corinne accompany her arrangements with Bible verses. She writes the verses by hand. Photo from Corinne’s Fleurs Instagram.

“He was kind and allowed me to do so. The arrangement was beautiful. I posted a photo of it on my WhatsApp profile.”

A friend, Ena Su, saw the photo and messaged her. Ena, who was travelling at that time, had wanted to send an arrangement to her sister in Singapore for a milestone birthday. She asked Corinne to do it. 

Ena later surprised Corinne with a proposal to keep her busy: “I’ll buy a subscription for you to send flowers to my mum every week.”

“God blessed me with good friends. I’ll always be grateful for each of them.”

“This is where it all started. What I didn’t know then was that God was in the background putting His plan into place.”

Her florist friend from the cell group was very kind. He welcomed her to store her burgeoning collection of vases and ribbons at his warehouse. “I’m an over-buyer,” Corinne admitted.

He also offered her an internship of sorts with some hands-on training. She learnt to condition and arrange flowers at his warehouse, often squatting on the floor while sticking hundreds upon hundreds of flowers into baskets for hospitals and in condolence wreaths. His staff also helped with her lavish bouquets. 

“I was happy I had something to do. That became my life, playing with flowers for a few months.” 

Seeing that her interest in flowers was becoming more than a hobby, another friend – who used to own a floral shop – suggested she take a course that would teach her the practicalities of the trade – from safety to the scientific names of flowers. A subsidy from SkillsFuture covered most of the fees – yet another blessing.

This friend’s husband suggested Corinne register a business and give it a name. And so Corinne’s Fleurs was born.

With her registered business came another bonus: “I could get a discount at all the floral suppliers, and discounts on vases, ribbons, wrappers,” said Corinne.

An accountant friend advised that she needed to keep accounts for the purpose of tax declaration. 

“What have I done with myself now?” Corinne thought in dismay. For 35 years, she had had an assistant who would do her accounts.

This accountant friend would help her with the submission.

“God blessed me with good friends,” she said. “I’ll always be grateful for each of them.”

Divine plan

Then Covid hit the world. 

“I am such a social person, I thought I was going to go mad,” she said. 

“Places like China and Malaysia where my florist friend ordered his flowers were not able to export them. So he had no choice but to order exotics from places like South Africa, New Zealand and Holland for his arrangements. These are luxury flowers used by hotels. 

“I was so blessed at this time to be able to access these beautiful flowers,” said Corinne, who saw God’s creativity in the variety of blooms.

The flower arranging helped tame her anxiety and stress. 

When Corinne sees all the amazing blooms, she is in awe of God’s creativity which knows no bounds. Photo from Corinne’s Fleurs Instagram.

Subsequently, her friend from the cell group decided to downsize his floral business and give up his warehouse.

“I didn’t know where to move all my stuff; I had accumulated loads of materials by this time,” said Corinne.

So she got rid of the furniture from her guest room and turned it into her floral atelier. 

Bouquets for Valentine’s Day waiting to be sent out.

“Everything fell into place. Thanks to God’s training, I was able to work out of my own home.

It also allowed her to spend more time with her father who was unwell – something she would not have been able to do if she were working full-time. Her father has since gone home to the Lord.

Pre-Covid, she spent dusk to dawn at the warehouse learning to arrange flowers and was exhausted when she came home. 

These days, she goes to the flower wholesaler in the morning, and then goes home to put together whatever commissions she has for the day. 

“By lunchtime I’m done, and can have guests over.”

“Even if God takes me tomorrow I know I’m saved.”

The reputation of Corinne’s Fleurs has spread through word of mouth.

“God has blessed me so. It’s really incredible. I can work own time, own target.

“Looking back, God orchestrated this whole journey for me to come back to Him,” she said in wonder. “He has been so, so good to me. It is unbelievable.” She has seen God restore her brokenness (Joel 2:25). She learnt to “trust the Lord with all your Heart and lean not on your own understanding”. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“I’m sure the journey ahead will not always be smooth, but with the Holy Spirit by my side I know I can overcome. Even if God takes me tomorrow I know I’m saved,” Corinne said.

She recalls the prophecies pronounced over her by the pastor:

a) You are at a crossroads of your life; God will bring purpose to your life;
b) You will reconcile with family – not necessarily your own;
c) Your hormones will be balanced.

She said: “A and C were for me and B I accomplished for a friend who passed from cancer. I was there when he reunited with his family.” 

There is one more prophecy – this time from a doctor friend – whose fruition she looks forward to: “This gift is not to be kept to yourself. You should conduct floral arrangement classes and share your testimony.” 


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About the author

Gemma Koh

Gemma has written about everything from spas to scuba diving holidays. But has a soft spot for telling the stories of lives changed, and of people making a difference. She loves the colour green, especially on overgrown trees. Gemma is Senior Writer & Copy Editor at Salt&Light.