Does the Dad in your life need some inspo on where to take the kids? We’ve talked to some of the coolest Dads in Singapore to get their tips on where to go and what to do with kiddos in tow!
If you ever listen to Singapore radio, mamas, chances are you’ve heard DJ Shan Wee, currently the afternoon drivetime host of “The Escape Plan” on ONE FM 91.3 with co-host Cheryl Miles. We love his wry, silly sense of humor that’s quite unique on the Singapore radio scene; and were delighted to discover it carried over to his recent book, 99 Rules for New Dads, a light, breezy, and very funny book on fatherhood in which he draws on his own experiences as a father to 5-year-old Ciaran and 2.5-year-old Ruan.
We recently caught up with Shan as he spent the day looking after Ciaran and Ruan to find out where he most enjoys parenting in Singapore, and couldn’t resist following up for more advice on some of his funniest “rules”!
What surprised you most going from one child to 2? How much harder is it taking them both out together on your own?
It’s certainly a challenge to take two boys out by myself but actually the time when I really feel the difficulty is if one or both of them fall asleep in the car as I arrive home! Then I am faced with the challenge of carrying one, keeping him asleep, grabbing bags while all the time dealing with the other son, grumpy and whining about why his brother gets to be carried and “why I don’t love him as much”!
What’s your favourite outdoor spot to hang out with your kids?
Recently went to Tanjong Beach Club on a Sunday morning and spent half the time digging sandcastles and then half the time in TBC jumping in the pool. It’s super crowded, though, like an MTV Pool Party but instead of bikini models, it’s 4-year-olds!
What’s your favourite restaurant to bring your kids to in Singapore?
Sushi Tei at Paragon. The whole family likes their Japanese food, you have the novelty of the conveyor belt going past, and there are lots of kid shops and kid play zones nearby if they get restless.
What are the most Dad-friendly places for changing diapers?
It’s been a while since I was changing diapers when out and about but if I remember correctly places like Forum are well designed.
Favourite playground in Singapore?
The playground at Huber’s at Dempsey is pretty good and there’s the bonus of their food, of course.
Best spot for coffee when you’re on early-morning Dad duty?
We used to have the routine of going every Sunday morning to Food For Thought at Botanic Gardens. Their cooked breakfast and coffee is excellent but we stopped going because the playground became really decrepit and badly maintained.
Any favourite bedtime book recommendations?
There’s a fun book we like called Press Here. It will ask you to press your finger on certain dots, and then whatever you pressed will affect what appears on the next page!
Any favourite apps/games to play with your kids?
The boys and I love MagnaTiles. They are square/triangle shaped plastic tiles with magnets on all sides allowing you to build wonderful towers and castles and farms for your dinosaurs!
What’s your favourite activity to do with your kids when Mom’s not around?
The boys and I always enjoy trampoline days and we generally go to AMPED. Even my youngest Ruan is just about able to have an awesome time crashing around.
What are your favourite date night restaurants?
Our ideal night out involves some kind of competitive challenge so a “date night” is more likely to be something like Mexican food at Vatos followed by an Escape Room with friends!
Do you have a favourite shop?
I literally never go out and shop for anything but I do love browsing through bookstores so let’s go with Kinokuniya.
Where do you like to train/exercise?
I have been going to Ritual Gym in Holland Village for the past few months. My routine is usually to drive my eldest son to his school (Dulwich College) before doing a 9:30am class at Ritual.
What are your favourite holiday destinations with your kids?
Rule #26 in your book (“No fly zone”) hilariously warns against flying with kids between the ages of 1 and 3. What’s your #1 tip for traveling on a plane with children in the 1-3 “danger zone”?
If it is a long journey, my number 1 tip is to book a night flight and time your baby delivery to perfection. If your flight is say 11pm and you are able to keep your kid awake until then, you’re giving yourself the best possible odds of a restful flight.
In your experience as a music lover, what’s the best song to play on repeat in the car? (Either for mollifying your kids, or for keeping you sane? Ideally something that ticks both boxes!)
The main song on repeat for the past few months has been the Justin Timberlake track from the Trolls movie. However I was able to steer the boys towards some Queen, which is the kind of classic rock I grew up with as a boy. They really enjoy “We Will Rock You” because of the repetitive and primal nature of the song. However it is a really short track so having that on multiple repeat is a Dad Killer. My tactic is to skip to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It’s so long and complex you won’t find it mind numbing.
In Rule #73 (“Elevator Shame”) you warn against awkward elevator conversations. What’s your most humiliating elevator story?
I can remember a time when my son spoke to the 60-year-old auntie from downstairs and said “Why is your face so old?” But probably worse than that was his query to our female neighbour from upstairs: “Why is your Tummy so big, is there a baby inside?” Cringe.
Thanks, Shan! 99 Rules for New Dads is available at local bookstores and the National Library. And a HUGE thanks to uber-talented family photographer Irina Nilsson of Irina Nilsson Photography for the absolutely stunning photos of Shan and his boys.