Dinner with Dads At Anglo Chinese School (Barker Road)

Dinner might be a simple everyday affair for everyone, but as the sayings go, it’s the simple things that have the biggest impact. To round off an important year in their academic lives, some 60 students, comprising two Normal (Academic) classes in Anglo Chinese School (Barker Road), their teachers came together to organise a meaningful ‘Dinner For Dads’ event, the school’s first, on October 26, 2013, to mark the end of their N-Level examinations with some quality family time.

Held at The Range, the school’s former air rifle range turned meeting room and generously sponsored by Dr Lee Li Eng, a member on the school’s board of governors; the event saw 59 guests, comprising fathers, mothers, and siblings, invited to a sit-down dinner specially prepared by the students.

Complete with candle-lined walkways, folded origami table settings, and a gourmet three-course meal, no effort was spared by the students to provide their special guests with a one-of-a-kind money-can’t-buy dining experience: created by the students for their fathers (mothers and siblings too, of course).

The menu for the gourmet three-course meal The night’s main course, grilled chicken with
potatoes and coleslaw.

As the students swapped roles, playing host to their parents, offering them drinks and bringing the food out, pride was evident on the faces of the dads and mums in attendance. Naturally, everyone, including guest speaker, Mr Jason Wong (formerly with the Dads for Life Team), will agree that the food deserved a perfect ten, but it was seeing their children all grown up and preparing this from their hearts that meant the most to the parents.

Special guest, Mr Jason Wong,
giving a short speech
Serving up the appetiser

Heartfelt Inspirations

While pictures speak a thousand words and actions speak louder still, the collection of heartfelt essays written by Prison School students in The Good Father proved to be the catalyst that inspired ‘Dinner For Dads’. Simply written with vivid descriptions, the stories offered glimpses of regret; hope and dreams of a better life with their families, striking a chord with the teachers who conceptualised and initiated the event.

“I was drawn by the simplicity of the language in portraying the father-son relationship through regret, thankfulness and hope. I find their personal reflections very thoughtful, and universally appealing because it highlights our common humanity,” says Lim Sing Ee, the Secondary 4/5 Level Dean at Anglo Chinese School (Barker Road).

Published by the Singapore After-Care Association (SACA), the poignant stories in the book prompted Miss Lim and her fellow colleague, Mr David Wong, to explore ways in which they could involve their students in raising awareness of the importance of father-child bonding through something so simple yet very meaningful like ‘Dinner For Dads’.

“Being in charge of the Normal (Academic) stream students, I observed that the boys don’t always see the meaning in some of the things they have to do. They’re also at the age where some of them can get rebellious, so this is a way for them to get to get to understand the idea of father-child (and family) bonding through something that happens every day, such as dinner,” shared Mr Wong.

Parents looking for the notes
their sons had written for them
Fathers were writing notes to their sons

A Memorable Dinner

In between courses, parents mingled with each other as they kept an eagle eye out for their boys in action, topping up drinks and being attentive to the needs of their guests. Although subtle, it was very heart-warming to catch parents beaming as they caught sight of their sons going about their individual roles in making the dinner a very successful one.

Parents proud of their sons
about their roles
Nothing beats the taste
my own son’s cooking

Mr Cheong, whose son was one of the ‘chefs’ in the kitchen, shared: “the experience is very unique and it’s very good. I’m very excited to have my son sit with us.” Another father, Mr Baey, echoed the sentiment that it was a good idea to have dinner with dads.”

As for the boys making it happen, Ethan, Shane, Guistino and John, collectively shared that they felt “honoured to be able to help raise funds for SACA. Cooking for so many parents was also a very exciting experience and something different from what they were used to.” It was hard to ignore the happy smiles and looks of satisfaction they had on their faces at the end of the event, inspite of the hard work and long hours they had to put in.

Ethan and Giustino were some
the men behind the stove
Some of the team behind
scenes in the kitchen

Reflections written by Ethan Wong and Benny Goh on the Dinner for Dads event.

EthanWong 4A1BennyGoh 4A1

About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.

Categories: Events

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