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SINGAPORE: The thing about fathers and sons is that even though they might be close, they tend not to think about ways in which they can show their appreciation for each other.
That’s largely the case with actor Zhu Houren and his son, 24-year-old Joel Choo, who made his television debut last year.
Now that both father and son are in the same industry, there’s more to bond over, and even more time spent together on set and in photo shoots. They’ve also developed common interests. Lately, Choo told us, “We’ve been talking a lot about basketball. Our conversations are all about basketball, and we both support the same team – the Cleveland Cavaliers.”
Even so, 63-year-old Zhu expressed the half-joking sentiment that his son rarely did anything special for him.
“My dad and I are close, but we’re not the sentimental type,” Choo admitted.
With Fathers’ Day just around the corner, on Sunday (Jun 17), this wasn’t an ideal state of affairs. We decided that the boy needed a little help. His spirit, after all, was willing; his flesh required some prodding in the right direction. So, we told him to plan a little surprise for his dad, and we would help him out.
And so it came to pass that Joel Choo, holding a cake fashioned like a basketball to symbolise the bond between father and son, leapt into a room where his unsuspecting father was sitting and shouted, “Surprise!”
As Zhu did a double take, his son told him, “Thank you for bringing me into this world and raising me. Thank you for encouraging and helping me even when my career hasn’t been all that smooth.” Then he added, with a laugh: “You said I never do anything nice for you. I hope you’ll be touched by this!” Aww.
Choo had thoughtfully chosen an earl grey and salted caramel cake especially for his dad, who proclaimed that he heartily approved of the selection as he sliced into it. Seeing father and son sitting down to share cake was a heartwarming moment.
“When your child is born, you don’t think about what kind of father you want to be. But now that my son is grown, I do,” Zhu mused, while enjoying his slice.
“In many ways, I can’t take care of him anymore – now I'm learning how to really be a dad. He’s embarking on independence, and I can no longer tell him what to do. But if I don’t act as a confidante who is always by his side to give him advice when he needs it, he’ll be very lonely. This period of fatherhood, I think, is where I have to tread most carefully. I have to show concern, communicate well and keep working on improving our relationship.”
What kind of man does he hope his son will grow into?
“I hope he will be a man who loves God and his fellow man,” Zhu said. “With that, I believe he won’t stray too far off the mark. Of course, he will face challenges in life. But I believe he will do his best to excel in everything – not to surpass others, but to surpass himself. That is the most important thing.”