It's important for children to have a good role model to look up to in life, says Sharizan Borhan, a voiceover and jingles artiste, and father of three.
“My dad died when I was only six and he was only 37. So I never knew what it was like to have a father, to have direction, to have somebody to look up to. And along the way, I had to look up to others, ” he recalls.
The 47-year-old Sharizan who is self-employed and home-based, has three children: elder daughter Kayra Adriana, 23, is studying in Melbourne, Australia, while son Kayden Lee, 18 and younger daughter Kaylin Adriana, 16, live with him in Kuala Lumpur.
“As a father, I want to be there for my children, to impart knowledge and share experiences with them, to help them see things that they may not always see. I’m not there to rule, but to encourage them to excel in what they like and all that they want to be, ” he says.
“At the end of the day, as a father, we just want to see our children happy. And as parents, we’re always looking out for our children’s strengths and weaknesses, and encouraging them to develop their capabilities, ” he adds.
While most fathers are a “rock to their kids”, Sharizan says that his children are also “his rock”.
“I can be open and vulnerable with them, and it works both ways, ”
He reveals that even though he was divorced three and a half years ago, both he and his ex-wife still co-parent the children together.
In fact, he credits her with “doing a fantastic job in raising them together with him all these years”.
“She comes by every day and has her time with the kids. We’re civil and friendly. I feel it’s important for children to have both a father and a mother figure around because it gives them stability in their lives, ” he adds.
“In fact, I’m always at home and am ‘in their face’ most of the time, ” he says of his two children living at home, and laughs good-humouredly. And his eldest daughter who is taking her Masters in Australia video calls at least once a week to stay in touch with the family.
To Sharizan, fatherhood means “being a good steward for the next generation, raising them right with good values and an identity that they will carry throughout their lives”.
“It’s also being their carer, provider and nurturer, ” he says.
Sharizan feels that the most important qualities that a father can impart to his children are humility and thankfulness.
“It’s important to never look down on others and never judge. And, there’s no such thing as being spoon-fed or feeling entitled. Whatever you want in life, you’ve got to work hard to get it – no matter who you are, ” he says wisely.
“These are the qualities that I want to see my kids have so that they’ll have empathy towards others, and also realise that life is all about teamwork and considering not just their own needs but also the needs the people around them, ” he adds.
But while fatherhood is a serious matter to him, Sharizan says that there are also many funny and lighthearted moments.
“When the kids were much younger, I remember getting ‘made up’ by the girls and ‘playing horse’ and also giving all three of the kids a ride. Ouch, the knees!” he exclaims and laughs.
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Sharizan says that he doesn’t have too many worries about parenting during the pandemic since his children are responsible and he trusts them to do the right thing.
“At the end of the day, we just need to inform them what the situation is, and if they need to go out, to take the necessary precautions – wear a mask, sanitise, practise social distancing, ” he says, adding that his children are at home most of the time and currently studying online.
“The virus is very real and likely to be around for a long time. But, life needs to go on, ” adds Sharizan who is getting vaccinated later this month while his children have yet to get theirs because of their age.
“In Australia, they are rolling out the vaccines progressively – so my eldest daughter hasn’t taken hers yet since they are vaccinating the elderly first. My youngest daughter is still too young, and my son is waiting to get it later, ” he says.
When asked how his children feel about having a father who is somewhat well-known and has often been referred to as “Malaysia’s king of swing”, Sharizan modestly says it’s “no big deal”.
“So I may be a familiar face – or voice – to some. And I might be on social media a bit more. But dad is still dad at home and we try to emphasise that. At the end of the day, I do what I do and it’s to put food on the table, ” says Sharizan who started out as a singer 24 years ago after winning the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) in 1997 for Best New Artiste (Male) before going into corporate emceeing, voiceovers and jingles. He was also a television host and radio DJ for LifeFM and (the now defunct) RedFM.
To him, Fathers Day is just like any other day, he says, “But maybe the kids belanja lunch”, he hints as his children look on, and laughs again.
“It’s about appreciating and being there for each other every day and not just on special occasions, ” he concludes.