Singapore – Local comedian Henry Thia recently appeared as a special guest on LOVE 972’s Breakfast Quartet show for a Father’s Day special with radio show hosts – Mark Lee, Chen Biyu, Dennis Chew and Marcus Chin as they sit with celebrity dads to talk about fatherhood.
According to 8days.sg, Thia kickstarted the topic by sharing how badly he wanted a son back in the day, and was blessed with three daughters instead.
“I used to want a son and [my reaction to my first child was] ‘Aiyoh, a girl. Let’s have another child’,” the comedian said. “[But now I’ve realised that] it doesn’t matter if you have a daughter or a son. What matters is how you bring the child up.”
It was once upon a time when families favoured sons over daughters, the same went for the comedian until he realised how times have changed.
When Thia first stepped into showbiz, he worked two jobs as a factory worker and cast member in a hit Mediacorp varity show ‘Comedy Night’ in the 90’s – where he earned $25 per episode.
“When I got married, my dad gave my wife a bracelet. We pawned that and all our jewelry. When we heard that we could sell our pawn tickets, we sold those too,” Thia said.
At the time, he struggled to support his family with the given income.
Mark Lee asked Thia why he didn’t reach out to his friends for help, to which he responded saying: “I’ve never relied on anyone in my entire life. I didn’t want to find trouble, and I didn’t want to ask for too much. People have asked me why I don’t want to move into a condo. Then I ask them in return, ‘What for? I have a perfectly good [HDB flat] to live in’.”
The comedian also shared how protective he was of his daughters when they were younger, so he gave each of them a pager to keep track of their location.
“Even though I was busy with work, I wanted to know when or if they were going out. They’d send me an ‘I’ if they were back in the house, and an ‘O’ if they were heading out. They had a 10pm curfew, but I’d allow them to go out at night if they wanted to. I’d ride my motorbike to wherever they were and pick them up,” Thia said.
Of course, just like every other Asian parent, whenever any of them misbehaved – he’d bring out the rotan.
With a laugh, he explained that their toilets used to have aluminium doors and said: “When I took out the cane to discipline them, they would run into the toilet to hide. But I would remove the entire door by taking out the pins that were used to hold it in place. The sound of the cane hitting the aluminium door was really loud, so they were really afraid.”
To date, Thia is a happy-go-lucky grandfather and maintains a close relationship with his family.