Lyraa’s Lyrics: In tune with the reality of the present and the culture of the past, Lyraa Ng takes life with grace and composure

By Joseff Musa
May 02, 2024

It’s easy to get someone’s sense of self and aspirations through comprehending the people they look up to. Finding an influential figure who is relatable can be empowering and inspire the fulfilment of even greater dreams. In the case of toy company honcho Lyraa Ng – as it is for many – her biggest influences were those she held closest: her parents. They had their own photo studio back in the day, and as the daughter recalls fondly, they were good at everything they set their mind to, from providing for the family to building and growing a business.

“This is all quite nostalgic to me,” she shares, with a trace of a tear in her eye. “My father always used to make me pose for the camera. Ahh! Good times. My parents still live in me.”

But don’t mistake yearning desire as a reason to resort to imitation, the canny businesswoman cautions. While she plainly reveres her parents, Ng says every person’s uniqueness comes from their ability to adapt instead of following someone’s life pattern – to take the good deeds and traits of these aspirations and bring them a notch higher or deeper.

“Greatness is relative,” she explains further. “It is relative to the times, circumstance, beholder. In fact, and to be completely honest, I don’t think I dare to consider myself a successful businesswoman or one of Hong Kong’s notable figures. There’s always more to life and achieving one’s peak career-wise. It’s hard to assume that this is it, we made it. So, for me, I take life one day at a time and I keep on improving, both professionally and personally.”

Tale as Old as Time

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Lyraa Ng’s journey began in a ‘modest’ family setting, as she would label it. Growing up, she displayed remarkable curiosity and determination, traits that would eventually shape her future endeavours.

“Like most kids and any other childhood fantasies, I dreamed of owning toys that I could personally love and idolise in a way. So I guess this would be the perfect backstory for my toy business,” says the Director of Multistar Toy Ltd. “But back in the day, it was tougher for our generation. Life was really humble and a lot of people were just working to make it through the day. Our society wasn’t as developed as it is now, so having your own toys was a sort of luxury already.”

One of her passions outside business is horseracing. Her passion for horses has been a lifelong pursuit and a source of great joy.The Hong Kong Jockey Club stalwart has owned nine racehorses (eight now retired); her current pride, Multisuper, clocked up its first victory on one weekend last April. Her husband, Ronald Cheung, has had eight, and all their names follow a theme – they begin with ‘Multi’. A delighted Ng was pictured receiving the silverware when Multimillion won the Arculli Trophy in 2019, while the most notable so far, champion sprinter Multidandy, represented Hong Kong at the prestigious Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2004.

“I treat horse racing as a sport, not as a form of gambling or an investment. I look at it as a way to test my own judgement in a wider perspective,” she notes.

A Friend in Her

When Ng steps out beyond the winners’ podium, it is most often with her great companion, Shirley Chan, who epitomises the principle in modern society that women stand beside each other. It is the stylish Chan who rushes to our shoot to help Ng with hair and makeup and jewellery to flaunt.

“Shirley is a very good friend. These days, we will attend events together, coming as a package,” she laughs. “We are super close, to the point that we are also neighbours now. I am thankful to have these kinds of people in my life.”

Beyond her professional achievements, Lyraa has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to community service. She has dedicated her resources and time to various charitable causes, supporting innitiatives that promote education, healthcare and social welfare.

As the president of the Kowloon Region of the Scout Association of Hong Kong, she has played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of countless young individuals. Through various scouting programs and initiatives, she has instilled values of leadership, teamwork and social responsibility, empowering the youth of Hong Kong to become active contributors to society. She strives to create a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives, reflecting her compassionate nature.

“This is like a calling of sort for me, you know,” she shares. “Helping people and contributing my time to them, especially the needy and the young. The future of our city relies on these young individuals, so I am doing my best – in as many ways possible I can – to help them, and at the same time, to have a brighter Hong Kong future.”

Be Her Guest

Her creative flair is evident in her choice of a different nail polish for each finger. She guides us around the tastefully decorated Yuen Long villa that serves as her weekend home. The dark, burgundy palette of the solid wood furniture is a foil for the poems rendered in Chinese calligraphy adorning the walls. Behind where we sit is an array of plaques and trophies from her many life achievements. Taking pride of place across the room is a pool-sized manmade pond for her more than a dozen prized koi. Two front grilles from Rolls-Royces she and her husband owned rest against the white wall behind.

“Fun fact, Hong Kong is the city with the most Rolls-Royces in the world. But these days both my husband and I drive Teslas. They are more [energy] efficient and cheaper to maintain. A few hundreds just to charge a Tesla fully at 100% versus almost HK$3,000 for a full tank with Rolls Royce. It really is a big difference,” she notes, ever the practical businessperson.

True to Her Heart

Ng is vivacious and outspoken. She directs the conversation and moves in close, touching your shoulder or arm, breaking down invisible walls so you feel welcome in shared space with this ebullient woman who radiates warmth. Ever the storyteller, she draws you in with her anecdotes, told in her assertive but sweet voice. After the shoot, she continues narrating the story of her everyday life over a teatime session with the crew.

“Just last night, Shirley and I went to this vegetarian fine-dining restaurant in Central. It was so expensive but the food servings were very small. Smaller than these sandwiches we are having right now, I kid you not. We went home still hungry. I’m never going return to that place, not unless it’s free!” She laughs. “In life, we have to be smart about spending our money. It always has to be value for money because we work hard to get it.”

Her accomplishments as a business leader, community advocate and equestrian enthusiast have left an indelible mark on the city’s social fabric. Through her dedication, perseverance and unwavering commitment to excellence, Ng continues to inspire and uplift those around her, embodying the harmony of Hong Kong’s vibrant and dynamic society.

Interview, Text & Art Direction: Joseff Musa Photographer: Jack Law Videographer: Jack Fontanilla