My Perfect Weekend with Prof Keat Ong from Society of Interior Designers Singapore

(From left) Professor Keat Ong with sons Ethan and Jayden, and wife Ms Gerlene Teo on a weekend nature jaunt in Pulau Ubin. PHOTO: KEAT ONG

WHO: Professor Keat Ong is the president of the Society of Interior Designers Singapore (Sids) and creative director of Keat Ong Design, a home-grown multidisciplinary consultancy specialising in interior and product design.

The 45-year-old multi-award-winning designer was named one of Asia's top designers at the Singapore Design Awards in 2014.

He is married to Ms Gerlene Teo, 45, who works in human resources at an information technology company. They have two sons, Ethan, 16, and Jayden, 13.

"I wear many hats. Besides my work at my firm as well as helming Sids, I am also a visiting professor to a few schools in Asia.

Before the pandemic, my schedule was chock-a-block and I was jetsetting to various Asian cities to deliver lectures at universities, attend industry events or meet clients.

So, when Covid-19 hit last year, I found myself having more time for outings with my family, especially during the weekends. We now make a concerted effort to dedicate the weekends to the family.

On Saturday mornings, when I have no work to catch up on, I hop on my Ducati bike for a fun ride to the reservoirs near my Kovan home. This helps to keep the engine of the Italian motorbike well-oiled and in good condition.

Saturday afternoons are usually spent at Plaza Singapura, where my children take guitar and drum lessons.

We then go for an early dinner at one of the restaurants in the mall and either go shopping or catch a movie later.

Back home, it is usually "me time" for the whole family. My wife stakes out the dining room with her tablet, Ethan will be at his study table and Jayden is usually sprawled out in the living room.

I usually hole up in my man-cave in the attic, catching up on Netflix, Disney+ or YouTube shows.

Sunday mornings are devoted to healthy family pursuits. We head to one of the stadiums for our 2.4km run or occasionally hit the pool or squash court.

Afternoons and evenings are more leisurely. My wife bakes or potters about in the garden and my children catch up on school homework.

I indulge in my many hobbies, which include maintaining my art-knife collection or binge-watching television series.

After dinner, I am back at my study, planning for the work week ahead."

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