He’s the first man you’ve ever loved, so in honour of Father’s Day, we asked women to share their most treasured stories and memories about their special man. BY SASHA GONZALES
Main Photo Anna Kern/Johner Images/Corbis Photos of TV Dads Everett Collection.inc
“My dad taught me how to swim when I was just two years old. I was afraid of the water but he would motivate me until I found the courage to swim on my own. Within months, I was swimming like a pro, and when I was in primary and secondary school, I even swam competitively. A couple of years ago, Dad asked me if I knew anyone who could teach him how to swim. I was dumbfounded because I thought he was a good swimmer. Turns out he wasn’t! He told me, ‘I never said I could swim, I just made you believe that I could’. He faked it till I made it. What a guy!” – Olinda Cho, 36, business owner, and Alfred Cho, 63
“Some weeks ago, I wanted to go for a jog at about 11pm, pretty late to be running around the neighbourhood alone. Concerned about my safety, my father offered to drive slowly alongside the kerb while I ran. He could have easily stayed at home to watch his favourite detective show on TV but instead, he put me first. I was so moved that my eyes actually welled up with tears. Dad is so protective of me – he’s my knight in shining armour.” – Gladys Toh, 34, business development executive, and James Toh, 67
“When I was 15, I wanted to be a model, something that’s frowned upon in Thailand, where I grew up. The only person in my family who supported my dream was my dad. He was worried that my education would suffer but I promised him that I would not drop out of school and that I would get my degree. Spurred on by his encouragement, I managed to have a successful modelling career and complete my Master’s course. I don’t know what I would’ve done without Dad’s approval.” – Mita Kelder, 40, photographer and columnist, and Veerapan Maleipan, 75
“Papa raised me. In addition to being my dad, he is also my mother, my provider, my advisor and my confidant. In my early 20s, he saved me from a toxic relationship. He could see how I was being treated by the guy, and he said to me , ‘If you think he can give you everything I’ve given you so far, then go to him. If not, stay with me’. That made me think hard about my wellbeing and I knew that if I wanted to be happy, I would have to leave my then-boyfriend.” – Lily Hargrove, 38, singer, and Rahmat Damhori, 68
“When I was about eight years old, my younger sister was hospitalised. Mum stayed with her, so it was up to Dad to take care of me. He had no clue how to tie my hair for school, let alone fashion it into pretty braids, the way my mum did every day. But I remember him trying anyway, so that I could get to school without looking a mess.” – Lee Min Jie , 29, public servant, and Lee Poo Nee, 58
“When it came time for me to attend university, I decided that I wanted to study in Hawaii in the United States. To show his support for my decision, my father looked for a higher-paying job to help pay for my tuition and living expenses. When it came time for me to return home, Dad even flew all the way to help me pack everything for the move.” – Sharika Otts, 32, assistant business development specialist, and Wayne Otts, 62
“My father has sacrificed so much for our family. In 2011, he took a job in Shanghai so that he could provide for us financially. It was not easy being away from us but he accepted that it had to be done. When I started university, Dad was still working in Shanghai. He ordered a laptop for me online and got it delivered to our house. There was a gift card in the box too, which read: ‘A gift from Papa. Do well in university’. I stuck the card on my laptop, where it remained the whole four years I was at university. It served as a reminder to never take his love or sacrifices for granted.” – Gloria Tan, 24, research assistant, and Tan Kong Ming, 53
“For our father, family takes precedence. His work takes him overseas often but wherever he is, we are never far from his thoughts. He always comes home with gadgets and other fun treats for the family – he sure knows how to make us smile!” – Zheng Tianying, 29, brand manager, and Tay Yeong Kiang, 65, entrepreneur
“After my mother passed away, we really longed for her home-cooked meals. So at the ripe old age of 65, my father, who had never in his life used a stove or even a can opener, began learning how to cook simple dishes, just so that we would have something on the table when we got home.” – Chua Hwee Ping, 43, in-house counsel, and Chua See Ka, 72
“I have an incredibly supportive father – he is always 100 per cent behind me. Five years ago, my sister and I decided to start our own catering company. We didn’t have the funds to buy equipment or set up a business website, so Dad gave us the money we needed to get on our feet. He even jumped behind our stall at the market to help us sell macarons. When it comes to his girls, there is nothing he wouldn’t do and we adore him for it.” – Chanel Gallen, 30, editor, with her sister Amber Gallen (left), 28, interior architect, and Guy Gallen, 60
TV DADS WE LOVE
• Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) from Downton Abbey
With his stiff upper lip and matter-of-factness, he’s not the kind of father you’d want to mess with. But he sure knows how to keep his three strong-willed daughters in line, simply by reasoning with them. Plus, he’s super loyal.
• Tony Micelli (Tony Danza) from Who’s the Boss?
Those who grew up in the ’80s would remember the widower Tony for being a great housekeeper, cook and babysitter, but also an amazing dad to daughter Samantha (Alyssa Milano) and stepson Jonathan (Danny Pintauro).
• Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) from The Sopranos
Although he was involved with the Mafia, Tony went to great lengths to be a good father to his two kids, showing them tough love when they got into trouble and sharing with them his words of wiseguy wisdom.