The eventful life of DJ Gerald Koh reached new heights when he became the dad to his beloved daughter, Gemma. Despite his busy schedule, he does his best to balance his time between work and his family.
He recently shared his fatherhood journey in an interview with theAsianparent. Gerald Koh also talked about the new things he learned about himself while being a new dad.
DJ Gerald Koh Is a Certified “Girl Dad”
DJ Gerald Koh of 987FM has been a trailblazer in Singapore's radio scene for years. Most people also know him by his stage name, Boy Thunder.
Moreover, his experience in the Singaporean entertainment industry is recognised by many locals. Because of this, it's no surprise that Gerald Koh received a great reputation in his career as a radio DJ.
But there's one role that Gerald is most giddy about— being a father. In truth, DJ Gerald Koh is a certified girl dad!
"I am surviving," says Gerald, a first-time parent to eleven-month-old Gemma. "I think that is the right word to use because nobody knows what you're going into, especially when you're a first-time parent."
Girl Dad/DJ Gerald Koh, wife Thia Zhi Xin, and daughter Gemma | Image from @geraldkoh987
Despite preparing for the inevitable, the new dad still experienced different challenges that surprise most new parents.
"It came as a huge shock as to how much time I have to sleep," DJ Gerald Koh continues. "What time I have to wake up or like, when will I be able to sleep again? So I think surviving's the right way."
He Changed His Routine to Balance Time With Family
As shown on his social media content, he gushes over his 11-month-old daughter, Gemma. When asked about his parenting style, he candidly mentioned that before having his baby, he would usually judge parents who would treat their daughters or their sons in a certain way.
Before becoming a dad, Gerald Koh revealed that he never expected to be like most Asian parents when it comes to staying in control. After his daughter's birth, he eventually became a "control freak" over many stuff like sanitising Gemma's toys.
"I [was] a messy person but now I'm ultra clean," says Gerald.
He Always Makes Time for His Daughter
Like other parents, balancing his time between being a DJ at 987FM and being a dad takes a lot of time. On most days, he needs to attend meetings and run errands while preparing and hosting his radio show.
Amidst his hectic schedule, Gerald Koh makes it a point to set aside time to spend with Gemma. He also does his best to add playing, feeding, and walking with his daughter to his schedule.
DJ Gerald Koh and Gemma are out and about. | Image from IG @geraldkoh987
Moreover, Gerald Koh shared a snippet of what his day is like as a dad, “Baby wakes up around 10:00 AM and then I would be giving her feeding. I’ll leave the house at around 12:00 or 1:00 PM, and when I return from work, it'll be about 8:30 to 9:00 PM. That's why I take over whatever is left to do.”
As for weekends, his routine involves doing everything with Gemma. During this time, his schedule is filled with spending time with his daughter like eating, going out, and watching some TV shows.
He Hopes To Witness His Daughter’s Milestones
DJ Gerald is a working dad who’s always looking for new ways to be present for his daughter, Gemma. Meanwhile, he knows that missing out on any of her firsts is something he can’t get back.
Because of this, he catches every milestone he witnesses on camera.
“You know what, I missed her first walk. She can walk now. When she's in the playpen, she walks, can hold the rails and everything, and moves from one place to walk," recalled DJ Gerald.
"I missed that milestone, and I was like, Oh my gosh, that's such a waste because I would love to see it in my own eyes."
He then talks about his regret of missing a few of his daughter's milestones. However, he still looks forward to recording Gemma's other firsts in the future.
"A milestone I experienced that made me very happy was her first word, ‘Tata,’" he recounts.
Determined to record Gemma's other milestones, Gerald Koh installed a baby cam that is connected to his phone.
"So wherever I am at work or wherever it is, I would have the camera on. And then I'll just look at my phone and see the baby doing something," said Gerald.
Image from @geraldkoh987
Of course, he never forgets to tell his wife about the cute clips of their daughter. Whenever he catches something memorable, he immediately sends Gemma's mum a message.
DJ Gerald shares, "I would text my wife and say, ‘Oh, I just saw her backing onto the spoon, not wanting to let go.' It's so cute!"
He’s Not Fond of Changing Dirty Diapers
DJ Gerald Koh loves walking her around and bath time is his favourite. However, like most dads, he isn't afraid to talk about his least favourite duty — changing Gemma's diapers.
While he'd rather be playing with Gemma, he still takes on diaper duty because it's important for him to be involved in every part of her life—even if that means changing her poopy diaper!
"I don't dodge it but [I'd be happy if I don't have to do it,]" he says.
Additionally, he explained that he finds diaper duty challenging because of the unexpected mess he experiences. Because of this, he and his wife, Thia Zhi Xin, share this essential parenting duty at home.
Parenting Tips He Hopes to Share with Fellow Parents
As a certified Girl Dad, DJ Gerald has some thought gems to share with fellow parents. According to him,
"I'm not sure if there is any difference [between] being a girl dad when she's only 11 months and when she's like a lot older. But now, I think her being a girl is similar to having a baby boy.”
He also shared some tips on handling kids based on his experience. DJ Gerald believes that children understand and easily pick up stuff from the people around them. He also added that kids think a lot faster than we deem kids to be.
“Never underestimate your child,” he adds.
While talking about how kids learn fast, Gerald Koh recalled a particular moment when Gemma surprised him.
At that time, his daughter suddenly stood up and squatted down repeatedly while listening to the song, The Wheels on the Bus. He then noted that Gemma did the gesture again when they played the song at a different time.
With this, he believes that his daughter quickly picked up on the song. She may not understand the meaning but she recognised the song and danced along in her way.
For other tips, he encourages parents to read books to their children. Gerald Koh also insists on doing this even if kids don't react the way you expect them to.
Furthermore, he urges parents to allow their kids to sleep more. DJ Gerald also recommends keeping their kids active until they get tired enough to sleep.
“From my experience, the more tired they are, the more grumpy they are at night, and sometimes they may not be able to sleep, and it might be a little bit more difficult to put them to sleep,” he says.
Gerald Koh Considers Music as an Important Element in Being a Dad
As a daughter of 987FM's DJ, Gemma’s love of music started at an early age. Her parents, DJ Gerald Koh and his wife played symphony music while the latter was pregnant with Gemma.
And as Disney music fans, they introduced her to magical Disney songs and even decorated her nursery with Disney as the theme design. And aside from that, there’s also the popular Cocomelon repertoire.
Image from @geraldkoh987
Describing His Daughter’s Personality
When it comes to similar personalities, Gemma shares some of the same qualities as her dad. At first, DJ Gerald didn't believe in zodiac baby things but now, he sees it in Gemma.
When he learned about the description of Scorpio babies, he thinks it perfectly defines his daughter's qualities. However, as he describes his daughter's overall personality, Gerald can't help but notice how similar Gemma is to himself.
"I see me in her," says Gerald. “So, I think she takes that's a lot from me. Because I'm always finding ways to get to a certain goal no matter what. I'm never giving up. So I think that's me.”
Meanwhile, DJ Gerald Koh shared that Gemma's picky eating habit comes from her mum.
“I think she's kind of like my wife because when whatever she doesn't like to eat you cannot push her," shares Gerald.
On Lessons From His Upbringing
DJ Gerald wants to raise Gemma the way he was—by earning what she wants.
"My parents never spoiled me," says the DJ. "When I was growing up, I earned what I wanted."
But that doesn't mean he's going to deprive his daughter of all the things that money can buy. It's just that he wants her to learn how to get it herself.
"I felt that did [well] good in my upbringing," he says. "Although I'm an only child, I don't think I'm ever spoiled."
Finding time to spend with your children while living in the fast lane as a radio personality must be challenging. But for DJ Gerald Koh, it is a priority.
With the benefit of modern tools like baby cams and abundant support from his wife and parents, he’s managed to strike a healthy work-life balance, which not only Singaporean parents but all across the world struggle with.
Ultimately, Koh's commitment to spending time with Gemma proves that it's possible to be a good parent while maintaining a demanding career. And as he says, he wouldn't have it any other way.
Additional content added by Kaira De la Rosa.