'He scolded me and beat me quite often': Zen Chong lacked father's love in childhood, now tries to be different for own kids

Zen Chong and his son, Eytan, were invited to the latest episode of A Night Under The Stars, hosted by Darren Lim.
PHOTO: Instagram/Zen Chong

He may not have had the opportunity to experience it himself, but this actor hopes his love can reach his children.

In this latest episode of A Night Under The Stars, Zen revealed that his late father had scolded and beaten him "quite often" when he was younger, causing him to feel like he lacked fatherly love.

"I see other people's happy families and loving parents," the 43-year-old actor said to host Darren Lim. "For myself, my parents aren't like that and I lacked fatherly love — my father scolded and beat me quite often. When he left us, I felt a sense of emptiness."

Zen, a Singapore-based actor well known for playing antagonistic roles, married his long-time girlfriend Geline See in 2011. Since then, he's had two kids, Aryssa, seven, and Eytan, six.

The Malaysia-born Zen brought son Eytan on a camping trip with Darren and he shared his hopes to be a father figure for his children.

Said Zen: "Now that I have kids, I don't want them to feel like they only have motherly love. I want to fill up this gap for them, just like how I filled it up for myself."

Zen explained that the effort he puts into loving his children would "go both ways" in their familial relationships — his love and care would be reciprocated by his children.

But in his interactions with 49-year-old Darren — who's an experienced father of four — Zen also said that he felt inadequate, scoring himself at only a four out of 10 as a father.

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According to Zen, Darren was able to answer "almost everything" that Eytan had asked them throughout the show, while Zen couldn't answer some of them at all.

However, he added: "Whether you feel you can handle it or not, you must still do it. It's just how many mistakes you make along the way. It's okay to make mistakes — we learn from them."

And when it comes to educating his children, Zen feels "young boys are more playful" and he needed to be stricter with Eytan.

Recalling an anecdote, he said: "Once, he rode his scooter to the park and got close to the road. I was so mad, I shouted at him and hit him with my hand. I wanted him to know it was dangerous... I don't want there to ever be an accident."

Sympathising with Zen's protectiveness, Darren mentioned: "Zen is at where I was 10 years ago — when the kids are still very young, at the precipice of being sensible — and he's still the most concerned about his children's safety."

Speaking to Eytan through a recorded message for the future, Zen also said: "My greatest hope is for you to love your mother forever. With love, you can solve anything."

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