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Cool Dad Hangouts: Andy Chen, Entertainment Journalist and Author

Writer and journalist Andy Chen with his daughters
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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!

While most of us read kids’ books to our littlies, father of two, Andy Chen, entertainment journalist and editor of 20 years, went the extra step and penned his own childrens’ picture book “The Swing Of Things”. The book tells the story about a swing that was once played on every day by two sisters, named after Andy’s own daughters Faith and Sarah, until they became too old for swings. We caught up with Andy at a playground with swings no less, to hear about Andy’s dad-about-town tips.

What’s your favorite outdoor spot to hang out with your kids?
Chinese Swimming Club, where we are members. The girls are familiar with the place, so my wife and I can relax a little.

Fatherhood in Singapore: Andy Chen tells us about family life

What’s your favorite restaurant to bring your kids to in Singapore?
Mad Nest, which is on East Coast Road just around the corner from our apartment. And Faith and Sarah always order the same items on the menu. We have dinner there once a week, on Saturday or Sunday.

Favorite playground in Singapore?
Marine Cove at East Coast Park.

Best spot for coffee when you’re on early-morning Dad duty?
Haven’t had one of those early-morning Dad duties for a looooong time – and aren’t I all the happier for that? When I last had one, I would just have coffee at home.

Journalist and writer Andy Chen at the beach with his children

Any favorite bedtime book recommendations?
Faith’s favourite is Coraline by Neil Gaiman, and both she and Sarah enjoy books by David Walliams.

What’s your favorite activity to do with your kids when Mom’s not around?
Cycling, I think, because Mummy isn’t a confident cyclist and it’s easier for me to look after two than three.

What are your favorite date night restaurants?
Mad Nest, too! Because it is also a nightspot and it’s close by.

Fatherhood in Singapore: Andy Chen and his children

Do you have a favorite shop?
Daiso. Faith and Sarah recently fell in love with sewing, and they can buy cheap sewing materials there.

Where do you like to exercise?
Chinese Swimming Club. After I walk the girls to school, which is conveniently located 200m away from our apartment, I would swim for 20 minutes daily up to five times a week, weather permitting.

What are your favorite holiday destinations with your kids?
Perth, Australia, and Rasa Sentosa in Singapore. Perth’s weather in June is perfect for us, flight times are excellent (we don’t have to disrupt the girls’ sleep routines at all), and it is really easy to get around the city. Rasa Sentosa is just about the ideal resort for us – the food is great, the staff is friendly and we don’t even have to take a plane.

Andy Chen: journalist and writer of The Swing of Things

What inspired you to write ‘The Swing Of Things’?
1. Faith and Sarah’s love of the swing at playgrounds. 2. Seeing a forlorn-looking unused children’s swing at my neighbour’s front porch (their kids are grown up). 3. The Pixar short film Red’s Dream (about a unicycle for sale who dreams about a better place.) I am not the most sentimental person around but seeing Faith and Sarah’s baby items makes me smile. So, yes, objects seem to have feelings to me.

Your book deals with themes of growing up and change as well as dealing with different emotions from joy to sadness. How have you dealt with these as a parent?
Every little change in the girls’ behaviour for the better as they grow up is a real triumph for me, particularly because I am not always the best role model for them, what with my short temper and all.

Andy Chen at the beach with his daughters in Singapore

Your book is centred around a swing. Do your daughters have a favourite swing set in Singapore?
Any swing will do for them, really. I mean, which swing isn’t fun? Even I enjoy going on swings. It really does feel like flying.

 A huge thanks to Andy, Faith and Sarah, and a big shoutout to Irina Nilsson Photography for the spectacular snaps!

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