Are you a Singapore dad? Not just a road warrior but a home soldier too? Carrying the physical and mental full battle order of spare milk, sterilised containers, diapers, assessment books, educational DVDs, parent-teacher meeting notes, paediatric specialist notes, weekend Legoland trip preps, mosquito patch bulk purchase lobangs and even more? Welcome to the club as we recount some of our more defining characteristics!
1) Experts at making home videos
How many baby showers and first-year birthday have we attended? And just about every other week? We note all the baby videos and try to better them. Windows Media, Apple Quicktime, iOS and Android-compatible videos? Been there, made that. New angles, more colour and fading effects, funky music scores… all ideas stored and ready for the next year. This is one thing that our wives never get upset about. We are smart enough to put Mummy in key scenes of the video montage and this just SO gets her all pleased and co-operative. Ahem…
2) FaceBook updaters by the second
Kid started walking? Able to manage fork and spoon by herself? TIME TO TELL THE WORLD! The FB app is on the first page of our iOS or Android smartphone. There is no need to sign in – it has been logged in since Raffles landed in Singapore. And boy, do we get worried when the ‘likes’ don’t start pouring in within the next ten minutes. Sometimes, we call up people to casually tell them to go check out the fB posting and put down any comments! And we rival the ladies in not tolerating negative comments…
3) Event organisers for the normal and the naughty
My baby’s first month party for 200 people? Your five-year old plays popular nursery rhymes on the piano and you think a little concert for friends is in order? Where is a good place for kids’ pony rides plus water play? We know all the items and costs for successful children’s events, weekend in weekend out. Catering halal/vegetarian food? How to manage the elderly grandparents and the accompanying domestic helpers? Party kits for themed events – where to buy and safe for 3-year olds or not? We have most of the answers – we are veteran event organisers (or at least attendees).
4) Land survey experts!
A good few of us unfortunately plan our next home purchase based on how many ‘good’ schools are nearby for our kids’ future attendance. But you can ask many a daddy about Junior’s childcare centre or primary school. We would tell you about the approximate distance from home, the nearest male toilet, the nearest kopitiam, the nearest petrol station, the nearest free parking and possibly the nearest free wall electric point to charge your phone. We have become real experts in Singapore geography – any topography to save time and money.
5) When and where possible, sleepologists!
It’s absurd to imagine that our wives or kids will say, “Please have a good rest, dearest. You look tired. We will be quietly doing our own things.” Wake up from this dream please! Research says at least eight hours a day is optimal, but if we can get half of that uninterrupted a day, we are most grateful. We can be caught trying to sleep at the shopping mall carpark while waiting for the wife, who just went in for ‘a few minutes’ to check out some offer. You and I know that in that solid one hour, we can recline the driver’s seat and catch a nap!
6) 24-hour prata place guides
When the kids are safely tucked into bed and we have been good boys to our wives, it’s off to meet our old school or NS kakis. We know all the 24-hour prata places in Singapore. Live in Pasir Ris and your buddies want to just have a teh tarik in Jurong West? No problem, just agree! Ride/drive/cab down to that faraway place just to meet your buddies. Commiserate with each other on the lack of sleep. Of course, forget that meeting up here only makes the sleeplessness worse… but such are the joys of some male bonding.
7) Bulk purchase kings
Want to go Legoland on a real good discount? Want to buy MacLaren strollers as a group if you can get a 20% discount? Groupon anyone? Our phones constantly give us pop-up alerts of possibilities, possibilities, possibilities…
8) Walking encyclopaedias (or just expected to be!)
Daddy, what’s the difference between the stingray and manta ray? How many seas and oceans does the world have? How heavy is a reticulated python? If ECP is East Coast Parkway, why is Ayer Rajah Expressway not ARE? Why can’t we just take a plane and go off to Australia? What is a visa and why do we need visas? Why won’t they let us stay as long as we want? Why does the haze come about? Do they really have to burn the plantations – can we call them to try other methods? Can you recommend other methods? Enough said.
9) Kiddy DVD agents
We have found Nemo many times, watched the Toy Story and Cars trilogies. We know the cinema halls where it’s less uncomfortable to be scolded or stared at by other patrons as our kids talk and giggle loudly through the movie. We have legit (and some pirated) copies of all the Pixar and DreamWorks animation features. And we know all the closing down DVD sales at Laserflair, BlueMax and TS Video shops. Time to grab Thomas the Tank Engine or Dora The Explorer discs in bulk!
10) And last but not least…
We have intentionally left this open. What would YOU like item no. 10 to be? What would YOU have included in this list? Surely there are more little nuggets that bind us guys in sunny little Singapore. Why not share them with us on Facebook and make this a personal top 10 list?
About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.
First published on 03-08-2013