What does being a 'modern dad' mean?


  • Family
  • Saturday, 20 Jun 2020

Ng with his wife, Ting, and their two sons enjoying a day out at the mall (before the MCO). Photo: PlacesAndFoods.com

Food and travel blogger Wilson Ng, 39, says that he began to cherish his own father more after he first became a father.

“Once you become a father, you have this sense of responsibility and just seeing how well your children are doing feels so rewarding,” says the father of two boys, aged seven and five.

“You start to appreciate all the things a father goes through, just to raise his children,” he adds.

Ng says that his own father, Ng Yeow Hin, instilled in him many of the values that he holds on to today.

“I learnt the value of hard work from him. My dad came from a poor family and because my grandpa passed away when he was young, my dad had to help look after the family,” he says.

Ng recalls his early childhood days.

“As I was growing up, I remember him being a wonderful husband (to my mother), a generous father in giving the best to his children, and a family-oriented man who helps out at home,” Ng reminisces about his 68-year-old father who lives quite close to him.

“We lived in a rented wooden kampung house when I was young and when my dad could finally afford to buy a low-cost terrace house, we were so happy to have our own place. Looking back, I appreciate what he did in getting me my first computer and also, my sister her first piano.

Three generations: Ng (in black) with his father and two sons. Photo: PlacesAndFoods.comThree generations: Ng (in black) with his father and two sons. Photo: PlacesAndFoods.com“I know he had to save up a long time just to get us those things that many take for granted. Sometimes, it’s difficult to say thank you to your parents for the sacrifices that they made just so you could have a better life, so treat them well while you still can, and not only on Fathers Day,” he says.

Now that he is a father himself, Ng wants to make sure his boys get a good education and “grow up to be good people”.

“While some believe children are an investment, I believe that it’s more important for them to live well and prosper in every way,” he says.

Ng is determined not to be a “kiasu” dad, but more of a “super fun dad” who brings out the best in his two boys.

“The happiest thing is when one looks at one’s children,” says Ng with a straight face and then pauses for effect. “... and see that they don’t turn out to be charsiew (Cantonese slang for useless),” he says jokingly.

“I asked my big boy, what he likes about his daddy, and he said ‘daddy is handsome and sexy’,” he adds.

You can see where his son got his sense of humour from, as both of them laugh uproariously.

Jokes aside, Ng believes that being a father is all about teamwork. Modern dads need to multi-task and be more hands-on because raising children is not just a mum’s job like long ago, he says.

“If you’re a father, you’re not just the man of the house, but you’re also a partner (to your wife). It’s not just about being a father to your children, but both parents need to do the parenting together too,” he says.

Part of a team

To Ng, teamwork also means sharing the housework.

Ng, who runs his own blog – PlacesAndFoods.com – singlehandedly, says he has been doing more housework, being at home most of the time, during the past three months.

“I do laundry and also cook – although my wife cooks more often than I do, I think I’m a better cook than my wife... shhh!” he jokes, as his wife, Rachel Ting, a banker, looks on.

Everyone is different and has their own talents, so we shouldn’t be confined by stereotypical roles, Ng says.

“My wife isn’t particular about food so it’s ‘eat to live’, but I’m a fussy eater who goes the extra mile because I review food, so it’s ‘live to eat’,” he says.

Ng turns serious when he says that the past three months have not been easy. He admits that he is more inclined to be cautious when it comes to keeping his children indoors during the pandemic.

“Bringing kids out to crowded places isn’t prohibited but it was also not encouraged during the conditional movememnt control order (MCO), and I agree with that,” he says.

Now that it’s the recovery phase of the MCO, Ng still has concerns about his children going outdoors and going back to school and kindergarten eventually.

“When our kids eventually return to school and kindergarten, of course we will worry about them playing with other children, or visiting the mall... and we’ve been teaching and reminding them to always wash their hands and use hand sanitisers,” he says.

“On one hand, it’s fantastic that they can return to studying and meet their friends but, on the other hand, the virus is not something that’s easy to control and it’ll be a challenge for children to follow the guidelines of the new normal,” he adds.

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