For this special tribute to Father’s Day, director Daniel Jenkins and actor Joshua Lim took some time out of their busy rehearsal schedule of Lungs to ruminate what being a father means to them. Daniel is a proud dad of two teenagers while Joshua is a loving dad to two very young children.
What does Father’s Day mean to you?
[D] Father’s Day is a time when we can all be together as a family. As my children grow older (my son Dylan is 17, and my daughter Lily is 14 in a few weeks) they’re lives get busier, with friends, studying and CCA activities taking priority, so the moments we get to all be together as a family are increasingly rare. Family holidays used to be a wonderful time in which we would just be with each other for a few weeks as we explored a new country, but due to Covid holidays have been impossible, so days like Father’s Day are a most welcome opportunity for us all to spend quality time with each other.
[J] I think it’s nice to have a day to celebrate Fathers. And having become one myself it does feel nice to have a day committed to that.
What is your most precious memory of a Father’s Day celebration that you had?
[D] Growing up I never really knew my father, so Father’s Day celebrations were something alien and unfamiliar to me, so it's hard to pinpoint any particular Father’s Day that is special. Every Father’s Day is precious and makes me appreciate the love of my family. If I had to pick, there was one Father’s Day in which my wife and children had travelled to the UK for holiday and to see family, I had stayed in Singapore and I was acting in a theatre production here and therefore couldn’t be with them. As I returned from rehearsal, feeling rather sorry for myself, I was greeted by two beautiful hand-made cards from the children, some delicious chocolate and a lovely bottle of red wine! So Although we were apart i felt their love across the miles.
[J] My most precious memory was from last year. I remember feeling spent at the end of the day, feeling bad about myself and thinking that I was going to be a poor father. And then my two-year-old daughter passed me a Father’s Day card, and my heart just melted and all felt right in the world again.
Were there any tough decisions/choices you had to make as a father? How did you feel?
[D] I think as a parent one is constantly having to make difficult decisions, and one never really knows whether the decisions you make are the correct ones. You make a choice based on your own upbringing, morals and opinions and basically hope for the best. With my wife and I being here in Singapore on our own without any other family members to turn to for advice, particularly when the children were very young, we were forced to make decisions on our own, and try to find our way through parenthood by trial and error. Every parent wants what’s best for their children even if that means having to make difficult or unpopular decisions. I’m hoping that we made most of the right decisions.
[J] I feel that there are no easy decisions when it comes to parenting! There’s always the fear that the decisions I make are not the best, or that I’ll be “damaging” my children.
In the play Lungs, the male was the one who broached the subject of having a baby. What about you? Who started the baby conversation?
[D] I did. I’ve always wanted children and wanted to be a father. Luckily my wife Jules, knew this and although I instigated the conversation it was clear that we both felt the same way. It is of course a huge decision and although we had been together for 12 years at that point, one still worries whether you are ready, responsible enough, mature enough, stable enough, financially secure enough, and I think it would be easy to wait forever to find the ‘right time’ and actually never get round to doing it. So we had the discussion, made the decision and took the plunge. Together with marrying my wife, it is the best decision I’ve ever made.
[J] I do believe I was the one! Or rather, between my wife and I, I was the one who was always inclined to have children. I think it stemmed from my upbringing and having been in a family with three siblings, I guess it just seemed “normal” that I would have children too.
As a society, more and more fathers are getting actively involved in the upbringing of their children, just like I believe you are both very active in your children’s lives. However, there are some fathers who still believe that child-rearing is for the mothers. What would you like to say to these fathers?
[D] Get over it! Thinking that it is the responsibility of the mother is old fashioned and outdated, Being a father is such a gift, such an amazing experience that one should try to make the most of every opportunity to be part of your child’s life. We all lead super busy lives and unfortunately, it is not always possible to spend as much time with our families as we would like, and our children grow up so fast, that’s why it is important that we try to make the most of the precious time we have together.
[J] I have heard comments from friends and relatives alike, when they learn about my involvement in the caregiving of my children, that I'm a "hands-on" father. I'd like to think that there's no such thing as a hands-on father. I believe that I'm just being a parent, whether I'm the father or mother. Anything less is just being hands off.
Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs opens tomorrow at KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT. New shows have been added. Click here to grab your tickets before they are all sold out again.