updated 24 Dec 2010, 12:58
user id password
Tue, Oct 19, 2010
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
Give up my career for my kids? Well...
by S Murali

SO WHAT am I willing to give up for my kids?

I asked myself that question recently, as I was examining the decision made by Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad to move his family to Europe.

Fandi is taking his family to Europe so that his older sons Irfan, 13, and Ikhsan, 11, can train at football academies there.

He believes that it will give them the best chance to become top-class professional footballers.

To some people, it may seem like an easy decision.

He has talented sons. They have a chance at making a living as football professionals, so take them to Europe to make that happen. Sounds easy?

But look at the sacrifices Fandi will have to make.

Firstly, he will have to give up on all the job opportunities he has in this region.

Earlier this year, he gave up on his coaching duties at Indonesian club Pelita Jaya to take care of wife Wendy, who suffered a fall and has not fully recovered.

Other coaching offers from this region came flooding in, but Fandi has now decided that he needs to look further afield.

Said Fandi, when he explained his decision to me earlier this week: "I cannot think of myself any more.

My time has passed. I must now do everything in my power to help my sons realise their dreams."

So he is looking for a job in Italy or Holland, and is even prepared to enrol his sons in a school in England without a job for himself if necessary.

Fandi told me that he might even have to break up his family unit, with wife Wendy taking the three younger kids to South Africa if Fandi cannot afford to have the whole family settle in Europe.

Can I imagine myself making a similar sacrifice?

Would I give up my job as sports editor of The New Paper if my kids were in a similar situation? It is a big question, I must tell you.

And I am not 100 per cent sure I would do it.

That is why I must take this opportunity to praise a person I so often make gentle fun of in this column: My wife.

Next year, my wife, who is a teacher, is going on a special scheme offered by the Ministry of Education called the 3/4- load scheme.

It essentially means she takes 3/4 of the load she would normally teach, allowing her to get home earlier and spend a lot more time with our children.

It also means 3/4 the normal salary and, in her case, she has decided to step down as a subject head.

Why did she decide on such a course of action?

Well, so that she can spend more time with both kids. Raul goes to Primary 1 next year and Tara is getting set for her PSLE journey, as she moves into Primary 5.

But beyond academics, my wife feels that she needs to be more involved in our kids' lives.

I bet there are many more of you out there making such life-changing sacrifices every day.

I take my hat off to you, to Fandi and to my wife.

And to your kids and mine, I say this: Count your blessings, kiddos. You found a gem in the parent department.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.