Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - In the days of yore, fathers were often seen as authority figures who doled out the allowances and generally left disciplining to the mothers.
However, nowadays it is common to see fathers playing with their children at playgrounds and having a good time.
Some fathers such as former national tennis players Alex Chai, 44, and S. Selvarajoo, 54, do not only coach their children for competitive games, but also play with them during off-training hours.
When it comes to fun, both fathers forego all seriousness.
However, Selvarajoo¿s daughter, Theiviya, 17, still sometimes worries that her dad might chide her for mistakes when they play at her father¿s club.
¿But most of the time, he just smiles if I make a mistake when we play for fun," said, Theiviya who also has a brother.
Of course, it is not just all work and no play with Chai and Selvarajoo.
Chai also plays other sports such as badminton and chess with his two children James, 15, and Janice Chai, 13.
As for Selvarajoo, he relaxes with his children by playing pool and swimming on weekends.
¿I see myself playing with my children even after they have grown up. I even see myself playing with my grandchildren. The bond created during these sessions are priceless," said Chai.
For Subang dads Richard Tan, 47, Rizal Ariffin, 37, and Stephen Samuel, 43, entering their sons for a community football ¿little league¿ seemed like a natural extension of their weekend activity of kicking the ball around with their sons.
¿Usually we work late and reach home by 8pm. The boys have their tuition classes and other activities. It is only during the weekends that I get to play with them. That is essentially father and son bonding time," said Tan.
For some of these fathers, playing with their children is an opportunity they did not have with their own dads.
Rizal and Samuel whose fathers served in the Armed Forces, did not enjoy such a bond.
¿But he was always there to encourage me when I went to play for the naval base¿s school team with the other boys," said Samuel.
¿I think children are much luckier these days because we can afford to buy boots and other sports attire for them," said Rizal.
Chai, who took up tennis as a competitive sport due to his father¿s influence, said they still played sports together, albeit more leisurely these days.
¿We used to play tennis together and he was the one who coached me as well. But he is in his late 70s now, so every time I return to Ipoh to see my father and if my brother is around, he¿ll arrange for a golf outing with us and a family friend," said Chai.
Some fathers even end up pursuing the same hobbies as their children. Dr Azriman Rosman, 52, for one, goes for a session of paintball with four of his sons regularly.
¿It started off when one of our family friends introduced us to the game. My sons and I tried it out and liked the excitement of the game. And it just continued from there," said Dr Azriman who is blessed with five sons and a daughter.
¿Initially when I started the hobby with my sons, we had to keep it a secret from my wife. But now she sees how playing paintball helps to strengthen the relationship that I have with my sons," said Azriman.
His wife, Zanariah Zainal said she was happy that her husband has an activity that helped him to bond with their sons.
¿It is much better than if they were to go out and get into all sorts of activities on their own. And he also knows enough to control their play time when it comes to important exams.
His eldest son Irfan, 17, said there was not one part of our father¿s body that has not been hit by a paintball pellet.
¿It is great that he enjoys this game as much as we do," said Irfan.