Since tying the knot in 2015, we’d always known that Daryl Foong and Melissa Lam would make a super cool pair of parents to the cutest kids. With such sporting role models like Dato’ Simon Foong and Datin Mina Cheah-Foong, who regularly mingle with their sons and daughter-in-law’s friends at parties together, it’s a given that Daryl will turn out to be a superb dad.
Melissa is due anytime soon, and prior to that, the couple have been kept busy ‘nesting’, or preparing for the arrival of their baby boy. From making baby-friendly modifications to their home, to signing up for antenatal classes and attending tons of baby fairs, the couple have thrown themselves into the full swing of parenthood.
Between travels and juggling his day job as the Sales and Marketing Manager of Aquaria, Daryl looks to be well-equipped and on the right track towards the proudest role in every man’s life. We caught up with him on how he's progressing as a first-time parent thus far.
What was the first thing that popped in your mind when you found out Melissa was pregnant?
“Liss and I had been trying for a few months already, and someone had planted the idea that maybe all the scuba diving and travelling we were doing would make it difficult to get pregnant. My first thought (and sentence – I blurted it right out) was ‘Are you sure? Let’s be sure, take another test,’ followed by ‘Oh good, it’s not the diving then.’”
Was fatherhood something you had always planned and hoped for?
“Not really. For the most part, I was very passive about the idea of being a dad, I’d be happy if it happened, and if it didn’t, that was fine too. It was only after marrying Liss that I started thinking about it and wanting to become a dad.”
What was your father's reaction when he learned that you were becoming one?
“I think he was very happy, my grandmother passed away the morning after we found out, and it helped bring some much-needed smiles and laughter to the family. He immediately said, ‘Oh that’s fantastic, I hope it’s a girl!’”
What are the things you've learned from your father that you want to teach your child?
“I want to teach my child the same standards of being a gentleman that I learnt from my dad, and our penchant for tinkering with and fixing things, and a ready curiosity for all things.”
What do you want to do differently from your father?
“I don’t think there’s anything specific I want to do differently. Probably spend as much time as possible with my kids, since that’s something I often hear parents wishing they did.”
What excites you most about fatherhood? And what worries you the most?
“The most thrilling thing is the thought of being able to share with my son all this world has to offer. Experiences, sights and sounds, passions and animals and the oceans, sports and cultures and foods, and so much more! I cannot wait to discover what his own interests and passions will be, and I wish so much to share mine, and to learn more about his, too.”
How have you been preparing you prepare for your first child?
“We’ve gone for a couple of breastfeeding classes, antenatal classes and taken a tour of the hospital we’ll be delivering in. I’ve been to more baby fairs than I knew existed, and we’ve converted a couple of rooms in the house to be more baby-friendly, or otherwise baby-related in function.”
Were you hoping for a particular gender?
“Not at all! Boy or girl, I would have been ecstatic.”
Years from now, your child may be reading this, what message do you have for him/her?
“‘Congratulations on your ability to read, and your choice of literature my son! Right now, I can barely contain my excitement at the thought of welcoming you into this world, and sharing together with you all its wonders and experiences, both good and bad. I hope I’ve done a good job being your dad, and if not, that’s okay. I’m sure your mother and I would have made a few more ‘spares’ by now!’”
Another first-time father: This is how Dr Shaun Alexander has prepared for fatherhood.