Everybody’s best friend or man of a few words, your father probably always had a good story to tell. Thir.st pulled up a chair and sat down with four of our favourite fathers – Uncle Jeffrey, 70, Uncle Yap, 82, Uncle Daniel, 63, and Uncle James, 58. Between them, they’ve got more than 130 years of fathering experience.

Smiling faces with wrinkles that tell their own stories and eyes twinkling at the mention of their children, the four dads regaled us with tales from fatherhood – from how they named their children to their fondest memories with them.


Uncle Yap, 82, is a proud father of 3 children.

“My children were very close to me since they were born,” Uncle Yap shared, glowing with pride. “I always helped to change their diapers, cleaned up after them, made sure they were showered … They knew I loved them very much.”

His wife chimes in from behind the camera, where she is sitting: “When our first son was born, he went straight to the nursery to fawn over him – he didn’t even visit me until much later!”


Uncle Jeffrey, 70, recounts his fondest fatherhood memories.

But, for others, the fathering instinct took some time to refine.

“I remember there was once, when Charmaine was young, my wife told me to take her out as she was busy with housework,” Uncle Jeff said. “So I did – and I bought her the biggest lollipop I had ever seen. It was as big as her face!”

He breaks into hearty laughter at the memory.

“You can imagine the look of horror on my wife’s face when we returned home. Charmaine took a week to finish that lollipop. Every time she licked it I got a scolding. But I thought it would make her happy, which is why I bought it.”


Uncle James, 58, shares his lessons as a dad of 28 years.

Uncle James had a similar story.

“There was one night my eldest daughter, Claudia, had a very high temperature. She was only 2 years old and was admitted to the hospital for fits. I actually had arranged a game of golf with my friends for the next day some weeks back and not wanting to cancel on them, I went for the game after visiting her in the morning.

“I didn’t realise how serious it was and my wife was fuming mad. I still regret putting my friends ahead of my daughter then.”

But the lesson was quickly learnt.

“As a dad, you’re a dad for life. I think no father stops learning,” he continued. “You learn that with kids, your own life with your friends has to take the backseat. You have to support your wife because it is also her first time being a parent.”

He smiles when we ask him what happened to the golf.

“The golf took a backseat for a while. But now that the children have grown up, the whole family plays together.”

Uncle James and his family at the golf course.

Likewise, the other fathers have found their own way of connecting with their children.

Music was Uncle Yap’s way of bonding with his three kids from an early age.

“I’ve always loved music and can play many instruments such as the flute, piano, accordion and harmonica. So when my kids were in Primary school, I bought them the instruments they asked for. If they wanted a piano, I bought a piano. If they were interested in the guitar or violin, I bought those too.”


Uncle Daniel, 63, is a father of 3 and grandfather of 1.

For Uncle Daniel, it was sacrificing some sleep just to be with his daughters as they studied.

“There were times when my daughters, Rachel and Caron, would spend the whole night studying at Starbucks. As much as I could, I would sit there with them, watching over them.”

He chuckles fondly. “That’s crazy, I know. I should have been in bed sleeping. But I wanted to keep them company.”


Uncle Jeff and his family in the early days.

Uncle Daniel wasn’t the only father to go the distance for his children. Uncle Jeff, who served in the Army as a Major, recalled the extra “outfield exercise” he went through as a dad.

“I actually pitched a tent in the courtyard of the condominium we were staying at and camped outside with the children. I brought home some of my army rations so they could experience cooking and eating outdoors. It was really fun and my kids still talk about it.”

Going the extra mile also meant choosing not to get angry when children made innocent mistakes.

“My second daughter Kristie was 2 years old when we moved into our new house,” Uncle James shared.

“We had a new leather sofa and it was light brown in colour. When my wife and I left her alone in the living room to play, she somehow found a pen and started drawing all over it. I came back and found three-quarters of the sofa covered in ink marks.

“Of course, I was so angry and wanted to punish her.”

Uncle James with his 3 children, Claudia, Kristie and Gregory.

“But something prompted me to put myself in her shoes at that moment. It was the first time she’d held a pen and seen what it could do when you used it. To see ink coming out of a pen, it would have fascinated any child.”

“I brought myself down to the level of my child and although it took a bit of effort, my wife and I chose to have a good laugh over it and corrected her gently. And we left the sofa as it was.”

“It’s all about unconditional love – sacrificial love. As long as you have unconditional love, things will work out.”

It’s an answer that catches us by surprise. Seeing the look on our faces, Uncle James smiles slightly and admits his own surprise at himself.

“As a father, I’ve been surprised by the strength that I have. We tend to forget that fathers are also husbands, employers, employees and sons. You have to be a strong pillar and provider. You need a lot of energy. I don’t know where I get all this energy from. It must be from God.”

He pauses pensively. For a moment, we see all our fathers in him.

“But at the end of the day, I think it’s all about unconditional love – sacrificial love, whatever you want to call it. As long as you have unconditional love, things will work out.”

To all our beloved fathers out there, Thir.st wishes you a very happy Father’s Day!