SINGAPORE - The Covid-19 pandemic was an opportunity to reset the pace of life and rebalance work and family relationships, said Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing on Sunday (June 19).
He added that new work arrangements at home have given families the chance to spend more time with one another.
Mr Chan was speaking at the Dad's Day Out event held at Palawan Green in Sentosa, the highlight of a two-week Celebrating Fathers campaign to commemorate Father's Day.
Organised by Centre for Fathering, Mums for Life, Dads for Life, Families for Life and Mediacorp, Celebrating Fathers is into its seventh iteration and is themed "Fathers make a Difference" this year to acknowledge fathers and their efforts.
Mr Chan, the guest of honour at the event, noted that the past two years have been tough due to the pandemic and acknowledged that there may still be some uncertainties moving forward.
"Regardless, I think the last two years have also been a blessing to us in some other ways, whereby we are able to refocus and rethink our priorities," he added.
"So never let a crisis go to waste, and I think this is one of those opportunities where we can reset the pace of life and reset our own family relationships."
At the Dad's Day Out event on Sunday, which had a two-year break due to Covid-19, Mr Chan and participating families tied ribbons to a suspension bridge on Sentosa to pledge their commitment to their families.
More than 3,800 ribbons lined the bridge at the end of the event.
Families can also visit designated pit stops around Sentosa to complete tasks and explore various trails.
At the event was Mr Mohammad Nazim Ismail, 50, who was celebrating Father's Day with his wife, 49, and their four children, aged between 12 and 23.
His eldest daughter, pre-school teacher Nur Diyana Mohammad Nazim, 23, said it was her family's first time at a Dad's Day Out event. The family's Father's Day celebrations over the past two years were muted, marked with a dinner and a movie.
Tearing up as she spoke to The Straits Times, Ms Diyana said: "My dad really works very hard for us. He's a Grab driver and I know that he skips lunch sometimes just so he can earn a little bit more money for this family. We're so grateful that we have such a great dad."
Mr Nazim, a former paramedic who has been working as a Grab driver for two months, said: "As a father, that's what responsibility is all about. My children are gifts from God and I know I'm supposed to take care of them."
Mr Keave Chong, 41, a manager in the aviation industry, was also spending his morning at the event with his family - wife Ferlyn Chong, 40, and their two daughters, aged five and seven.
Mrs Chong, a housewife, said: "I'm really glad there are such events to celebrate Father's Day because we are very busy with the kids, so we may miss out on celebrating it. That's why we're really happy to commemorate the special day in this way."
Mr Bryan Tan, chief executive of Centre for Fathering, Mums for Life and Dads for Life, said the pandemic has led fathers to take on new responsibilities at home and become more involved with their children and family through caregiving and household responsibilities.
Mr Ishak Ismail, chairman of Families for Life Council, said: "Strong and stable families are the bedrock of our society. It is important for us to show appreciation to all fatherly figures who have taken up the mantle to support their families in unique ways."