Losing dad early led him to make time for his kids

(From far right) Mr Ramdas Danabal with his wife, Ms Leamathi Krishnan, 40; elder son Kavineshaan Ramdas, 14; in-laws Krishnan Murugiah and Devi Maniam, 65; and younger son Sathiyashanan Ramdas, 12, having their family photo taken yesterday at the Da
(From far right) Mr Ramdas Danabal with his wife, Ms Leamathi Krishnan, 40; elder son Kavineshaan Ramdas, 14; in-laws Krishnan Murugiah and Devi Maniam, 65; and younger son Sathiyashanan Ramdas, 12, having their family photo taken yesterday at the Dad's Day Out carnival.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

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 that he would not have to go on overseas work trips, blogs about his experiences as a father and has taken his children for holidays abroad from the time they were born.

He was speaking to The Straits Times yesterday as he and his family - his wife, 42, daughter, 10, and son, four - were at the Dad's Day Out carnival, the highlight of a month-long Celebrating Fathers 2018 campaign. The Father's Day event at the Singapore Sports Hub drew about 10,000 people.

Families at the event played virtual reality games, participated in photo sessions and took turns rolling around inside giant inflatable balls, among other activities.

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 of their own.

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.

Mr Tan 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 at the event was Mr Ramdas Danabal, 44, who was 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, said with a smile: "It's special to come here to see all the other grandfathers around."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2018, with the headline 'Losing dad early led him to make time for his kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe