For the holiday season, the Dads for Life Resource Team (DFL) captured snapshots of a series of dads; how they spent their holidays with their families, and reflecting on what this meant to them.
Seize the Holidays Together
Zailani and his family were spotted at the Bedok Jetty fishing together at the start of the year-end school holidays. Zailani and his wife Norziah have three children, Nur Nabihah, 14, Muhaimin, 11, and Nur Aqidah, 7.
DFL: What do you usually do as a family during the holiday period?
Zailani: For long holidays, we sometimes go overseas; Most of the time to nearby Malaysia, to find fun activities for the children to try. Occasionally, we also visit local attractions, like Science Centre, just to give our children some opportunities to explore and experience different things.
Norziah: Sometimes, we balik kampung* to Malacca. (She clarified that they have relatives in Malacca although they are Singaporean.)
DFL: What are your wishes for the holidays?
Norziah: Our wishes for our children…we are hoping to go to Australia.
Zailani: We are now saving up for the trip, and hope we can do it in time to reward our son. We had intended to do it last year, but our budget wasn’t adequate to take our family of five there, so we ended up settling for Hong Kong. The next trip will be for our son.
Enjoys Being Entertained by Children
Jeremy Yip, who is married to Sharlene, is a new dad to an 8-week old boy, Joel. He plans to be an active dad, and shared his holiday thoughts with us.
DFL: What do you do with your family during the holidays?
Jeremy: My wife and I usually visit my cousins at their Seletar home for Christmas. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with each other and see the kids having a great time, playing and making a ruckus.
DFL: Do you have a funny or happy memory of the holidays?
Jeremy: Last year at my cousin’s, five of the children decided to put up a skit in one of their bedrooms. We (the adults) all received handmade invitations, and the kids even arranged rows of seats for the ‘audience’. They sang and danced for us, and everyone had a good laugh. Afterwards, they gave us hand-drawn cards to say ‘Merry Christmas’. That was charming and touching at the same time.
DFL: Do you have any dreams for your child?
Jeremy: I don’t necessarily wish for anything for my child. My experiences were not something I would wish on anyone, so if I had to wish, I would wish that he would have a chance to thrive as the unique person he was meant to be. I also hope that he’ll enjoy adding to the noise at my cousin’s place next year, once he starts to talk.
Working Through the Year-end Season
Henry Tan, 56, and his wife Elaine have two children, Gerald, 29, and Harold, 23. Henry and Gerald, who are business partners at the restaurant, Hatched, share their holiday reflections.DFL: Can you recall a memorable holiday together?
Henry: That would be our trip to Boracay, Philippines when Gerald was 15 years old. It was all fun and no work, unlike many other holidays we took. The different modes of transportation to get there was an adventure in itself, culminating in a rickety three-wheeler scooter ride to the hotel, with the luggage bags balancing on the top.
Gerald: Our holiday in Osaka, Japan, that we took in 2008. What made it really special was that this was a holiday on which I had bonded with my dad as a “grown up”- a working adult. The conversations we had during the trip, accompanied by the wonderful food we had over a nice cup of Sake were pretty amazing.
DFL: What holiday traditions do you value most as a family?
Henry: Chinese New Year as we are a typical traditional Chinese family. There is the reunion dinner gathering where we get to meet relatives again after a long absence, food we get to eat once a year for a variety of reasons, and paying respect to the elders.
DFL: How will you be spending the year-end holidays?
Gerald: Like (for) most Food and Beverage outlets, it will be hectic (for us at work). With the holidays and the festive season, more people are likely to dine out. For my dad, Mum and my brother who will be coming back for the holidays from his studies in Melbourne, a nice dinner is in the plans, where I am sure my dad and I will enjoy one, maybe two or more glasses of red wine.
Rahim is the owner of Rahim’s Muslim Food, famous for their Power Mee Rebus in the Upper Serangoon Road area. He has four children.
DFL: What do you and your family do during the school holidays?
Rahim: Sometimes, we drive to Malaysia, mostly to Kuala Lumpur. My family enjoys shopping there, as well as a bit of sightseeing. I have also taken them to Langkawi, and Penang. We had to fly there as it was too far to drive.
DFL: What will you be doing this year for the December holidays?
Rahim: This year I think we won’t celebrate, because I just moved my business five months ago. It cost (me) around $20,000 to relocate, and business was slow after I moved here. But the customers are slowly finding me again and business is better now. I had a Makansutra top-10 listing in 2007, you know?
DFL: What are your hopes for your children?
Rahim: I hope I can save enough money to give them a nice holiday next year.
*balik kampung – a colloquial Malay term for ‘returning to one’s homeland’.
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 16-01-2012