His father's early death spurs him to spend as much time with his kids as possible

Fathers and children bonding by rolling each other in giant inflatable balls at Dad’s Day Out at the Singapore Sports Hub on June 17 to celebrate Father's Day.
Fathers and children bonding by rolling each other in giant inflatable balls at Dad’s Day Out at the Singapore Sports Hub on June 17 to celebrate Father's Day. ST PHOTO: JOSE HONG

SINGAPORE - When Mr Dave Sim was 13, his father died of lung cancer.

Mr Sim, a primary school vice-principal, remembers his father as someone who made the effort to spend time with him and his siblings despite his work as a businessman.

But he added: "In a sense he was an 'absent' dad… Cancer took him away from us even before he could enjoy the fruits of his labour."

Now 47, he said his father's early death influenced many of his actions when it came to his own family - he switched from accountancy to education so he would not have to go on overseas work trips, blogs about his experiences as a father, and travelled with his children from the time they were born.

He was speaking to The Straits Times on Sunday (June 17) while bonding with his wife, 42, daughter, 10, and son, four, on Dad's Day Out, the highlight of a month-long Celebrating Fathers 2018 Campaign.

The carnival, held on Father's Day at the Singapore Sports Hub, expects to draw at least 10,000 participants throughout the day. Families came to enjoy activities such as virtual reality games, photo sessions and rolling around inside giant inflatable balls.

Organised by Centre for Fathering-Dads for Life and Mediacorp, the event also focused on grandfathers and the positive impact they have on their sons who are now raising children.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, the guest of honour at the event, said that the way he approaches work and his own family life was influenced by his father, who grew up during World War II.

He added that going on runs with his son, now 16, and being overtaken by him makes him think of his own youth when he would run with his father and one day, found himself able to sprint faster than him.

"It's sobering because it reminds you of how transient things are, but at the same time, it makes you realise these are the things you should cherish," he said.

Also attending the event was Mr Ramdas Danabal, 44, who was there with his wife, two sons, and in-laws.

The aviation vehicle specialist had arrived at 9.30am, and said that although his family is already very close, events like this were good ways to spend time with one another.

His father-in-law, service engineer Krishnan Murugiah, 70, added with a smile: "It's special to come here to see all the other grandfathers around."