So, this year’s Singapore Presidential election has been reserved for candidates from the Malay community.
Among those who applied for the Certificate of Eligibility, three declared that they belonged to the Malay community. They are former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, Second Chance Founder Salleh Marican , and chairman of Bourbon Offshore Asia Farid Khan Kaim Khan.
We recently covered Mr. Salleh Marican’s outlook on family values and parenting in Singapore.
theAsianparent managed to have a sit-down interview with Mr. Farid Khan, chairman of regional marine services company Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific as well.
Mr. Farid Khan lives with his wife, daughter and son in a three-storey bungalow in Eunos. His daughter Raeesah Khan works in non-profit organisation Reyna Movement, and his son Yusuf Khan studies at the Institute of Technical Education College East in Simei.
Here then are Mr. Farid Khan’s views on family life and parenting in Singapore…
Growing up in Singapore…
“I grew up in a kampong… I was born in Geylang Serai, then moved to a village in Paya Lebar. In those days, there were only villages. The concept of flats gained popularity in the 1980s only…”
“But I recall that at the time, you could survive, even though you didn’t have much. I saw happy and naughty kids all around. Most of the kids could speak Malay then. Everyone, be it Chinese, Malay or Indian, lived in so much harmony then, even though times were tough, and development, poor.”
“In the 1960s, emphasis turned to education and health. Eggs and Milo would get distributed to help malnourished kids… and toothbrushes and cups – all part of raising awareness.”
Were you raised by strict parents?
“Yes. I had a very protected and sheltered upbringing.”
“My elder brother passed away in 1959…he fell into a river on the way to school. After the tragedy, my mother became very strict; we hardly got out of the house.”
“She became very protective after that, always holding hands and all.”
“So we mostly stayed at home, reading books and all…I would try to read as many books as I could.”
Farid Khan Singapore.
What is your own parenting style? Are you a strict parent too?
“On the contrary, no.”
“My father passed away when I was in Secondary 1. I left school in Secondary 2. My mum was against my leaving school but I assured her that I wouldn’t disappoint.”
“As I was the oldest child, I went to find work to support my siblings”
“I ended up starting my own family quite late, as I was busy in taking care of my siblings…”
“I have seen how strict my mum was, so when it came to my family, I didn’t want that sort of upbringing for my kids. I felt that my kids needed to face the world on their own.”
“When my father passed away, I was totally clueless, I found it difficult to do even simple tasks on my own and really struggled…”
“At 38, when I had my daughter, I thought to myself, I’ll make her independent and to be able to fend for herself. I’m so happy that today she’s a strong minded woman…I feel happy to sit down with her and listen to her views.”
“We may disagree, but I’d rather have this interaction than not talk to my kids at all…”
How has parenting changed over the years in singapore?
“In Singapore, the concept of family values is tied down to cultures. These days values are changing, the only thing that keeps a family together is culture. So our culture must be strong.”
“When it comes to parenting, we used to be old school and strict, now we are more open…”
“As parents, we must adapt to the changing times. Initially it was difficult for me to accept that kids these days answer back…but now I realise that you cannot go head on with the kids. You need to calm down, listen more and talk to them. You have to trust the judgement of your kids.
“You also need to be more informative and keep up with current issues and technology…”
Wish and tips for Singapore families
“Be a good role model – don’t do anything that you don’t expect your daughter to do to you…”
“These days instead of spending time together on weekends, children are busy with tuition even on Saturday and Sunday. I feel that how children face life is more important than grades and marks.”
“There was more racial harmony back in the olden “village” days…there is very little interaction between families now. Apartments may have unknowingly led to segregation.”
“Parents today are more worried about certificates and degrees. A kid’s life is very stressful.”
“Kids are really under a lot of pressure. They have no time for outdoor activities so they end up getting glued to their smart phones. No outdoor play means that they are physically weak, and have to wear glasses.”
“I feel that we should be paying more attention to the confidence of the child. Develop the mind more than anything else…help them to think, instead of focussing solely on results”
“Don’t shelter kids too much – character building and decision making are skills for life.”
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