Fatherhood at 52

Fatherhood at 52
Director Rama Chandran became a first-time dad at the age of 52. With him are his wife Amy Cheng, six-year-old son Jivan and stepson Joshua, 17.

Founder-director of children's theatre company Act 3 Theatrics Rama Chandran became a first-time dad in 2008, at the age of 52. Now 58, he will be 70 when his son Jivan, six, does national service.

Chandran says his age does not bother him most of the time. "Being involved in Act 3 since the 1980s means I've always been surrounded by children, so I don't feel old or think about age," he says.

However, a recent question from Jivan - his son with actress Amy Cheng, 44 - left him thinking.

Chandran says: "Jivan asked me if I was going to be with him for a long time. I think his question was prompted by him missing Amy and me as we have been busy with a production.

"It would be nice to see Jivan as a grown-up man, but I don't know," he says, his voice trailing off. "It's one of those things that I sometimes wake up wondering about in the middle of the night. I try not to dwell on it."

While he occasionally worries about the future, he says he has never had any fears about becoming a father.

"I thought it'd be wonderful to have my own child. Now, I'm sure it is," he says while beaming at Jivan, who has his arms wrapped around Chandran's neck and kisses his cheek from time to time.

Says Jivan softly: "I love my daddy. He is kind to me."

Grinning, Chandran says fatherhood has allowed him to "re-live" his life. He explains: "Growing up and dealing with adults makes one hard, serious and cynical. But when you are handling a child, you start playing again.

"Life becomes about fun and games and problem-solving. Each day, I am reacting to my child and I have to be careful with my body language and tone."

Being a father to an active six-year-old is "physically absorbing", admits Chandran, preferring not to use the word "tiring".

"Tiring is a negative word. You start to get old when you get negative," he says.

He is also stepfather to Cheng's son Joshua, 17, from her previous marriage. He met Cheng during a stage production in 2001. They started dating in 2003 and got married two years later. "Joshua came as the dowry," jokes Chandran.

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