From the gasping of his first child’s first breath, followed closely by its first cry, the world of a man changes forever.
The modern day father is present from his wife’s first ultrasound, to the delivery room, all the way to the late night diaper changes and the early morning feedings. He reads books, buys everything from the cot to the pram and preps his household (and life) for the fateful day he becomes ‘dad.’
Roen Cian Nagapan is one such father-to-be, as he and wife, Carey Ng, a former Miss Malaysia eagerly await the birth of their daughter. I caught up with the successful restaurateur/entrepreneur behind The Roof, LifeJuice and Common Ground to find out how his preparations for fatherhood are coming along.
How has the pregnancy been so far?
It’s been good; we just got back from our babymoon in the Maldives. We had to rush everything a little bit because we’re getting into her sixth month and she won’t be able to travel much soon. So we’re just relaxed and waiting.
What was it like when you found out Carey was pregnant?
It was surreal. We didn’t really know for sure at the time, not until we checked with the gynaecologist and got a 100% certainty, and then it was a great feeling.
We are both very excited and I feel like it’s a natural progression – it’s the next step in our lives. It’s something we have spoken about and it’s a new challenge; but challenges are good, I don’t like to stay idle.
We’re at the right age and the right stage of our lives; we’re moving into a new home and business is stable, so this couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time.
See also: Wedding of Roen Cian and Carey Ng
Was fatherhood something you had always planned for?
Yes! It’s something I’ve always wanted and it’s something that we planned for, but we didn’t expect that it would happen so fast. We had heard from a lot of people about how difficult it is to get pregnant, but I’m thankful that we’re blessed because we got pregnant very soon after we registered our marriage last year.
I’m really glad it’s a girl. Everyone has been talking about how she’s going to be so pretty, but all I can think about was making sure my wife is okay and that my child is healthy – that’s all I want. You never know till she’s born but we did all the scans and the tests, and I just want a healthy baby girl.
What are some of the things that you have learned from your own father that will help you going forward?
I have learned so much, but if I’m going to use how my father raised me and my siblings as the benchmark for how I raise my own child, I can tell you now that I will fail. What my father managed to do, I wouldn’t be able to do; thankfully I won’t have to.
When I was born in 1980, in London, my dad was working as a mechanic while studying to be an engineer and my mother was a stay-at-home mum. They owned no assets and were dirt poor. When we came back to KL in 1984, there were 4 of us, and we lived in a single room. My mum and dad got educated and raised three boys through all of that.
I may have built my own businesses but I can’t compare myself to my father at all. I will try my best to come close – thankfully I have a super-cool, super-smart and level-headed wife, so we’re going to pull it off.
What worries you most about fatherhood?
There are a million worries, but I’m not a worrier. I’ve been through many businesses, experienced many failures, and achieved some successes but if I’m going to worry about the worrying it becomes analysis paralysis, and I won’t be able to get anything done.
Do I spend every minute with my daughter? Is that good for her? Do I spend less time with her? Will I be able to even spend time with her? Do I send her to international school? Do I send her to a local school? Do I send her to boarding school?
I could go on for days and months with the worries but I try to take every situation as it pops up and be as sensitive to them as possible, the same way I do business. Although I feel it’s wrong to keep comparing parenting to business but in both situations you have a problem, a thought process, a decision and implementation.
How are you preparing for your first child?
We’ve bought everything we need, according to every book on parenting that we’ve read. We’ve consulted other parents and started hanging out with other young parents to learn from them. We’re trying to equip ourselves with all the tools and as much knowledge.
Malaysia is a good place to raise kids – put aside discussions about their future and education, but when it comes to just raising a child, Malaysia offers a lot. We’ve been able to get a lot of help – a confinement lady, a maid, a nanny – and thankfully we have two sets of grandparents and siblings who are all excited.
Years from now, your daughter could be reading this, what message do you have for her?
She will know her parents are a bit different – mother’s a beauty queen, dad’s involved in all kinds of things and we live a very public life on social media. We’ve embraced it, the love and the hate -- that’s the game, a lot of people are playing it and we’re all in it to win it.
But I favour Asian morals and roots – which is to love your parents, and respect them. So, respect your elders and know what it means be Malaysian. Maintain your roots and never judge someone by the colour of their skin.
Beyond that, if you want to be a beauty queen, you want to play soccer, whatever you want to do -- you can do it.
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