Things We Learnt From Our Fathers

This Father’s Day, the team at The Rake and our friends reflect on the stories and advice our fathers gave us growing up, and how they shaped us to become who we are today.

For all of the right reasons, Father’s Day is lower-key than Mother’s Day. All fathers understand why, and if you don’t, do catch up. That being said, it is terrific to have a day in the diary, other than one’s birthday, where those closest to you are obliged to be nice to you. We’d recommend that father’s do not milk it, but at the same time, be proud of your status as a dad, reflect on the preciousness of children, as well as the hardship of raising them — if you wish to receive love, give it away.

Wei Koh



“My father is the first Singaporean to attend Harvard Law School,” says The Rake's Founder, Wei Koh. “He had a Fulbright scholarship to study law at Trinity College at Cambridge, was the Dean of Singapore's National University in his 20s and became Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the UN at 30 years of age. He served as Singapore’s ambassador to the United States and was the President of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. He has recently championed better treatment for foreign workers, gay rights and advocated to create a minimum wage in Singapore. What I learned from him? To never be afraid to speak out to defend people that are being unfairly persecuted or oppressed. Also, never take yourself too seriously.”



Hani Farsi

Hani says: “My father was one of Saudi Arabia’s first ever trained architects, the head of the Jeddah’s Regional Planning Committee, and the city’s youngest and longest serving mayor. Many people admire him as a visionary civic leader, but to me he was always an even greater inspiration as a man.

From a young age my father imbued in me a love of architecture, art, and history. A love of reading, film and music. I still remember him explaining a flying buttress to me when I was six or seven, and detailing the architectural differences between various Mamluk minarets. He would often excitedly tell me about the various columns of classical Roman and Greek architecture, the genius of Michelangelo, and the not incomparable wonderful, gentle comedy of Laurel and Hardy.



My father gave me an eye for detail and for beauty, but most importantly of all he taught me to think of others. I learned from him that our role on this earth is to touch as many lives as possible and to make a difference to those lives. He taught me the importance of generosity and giving back. He taught me how to be a man, how to be kind, and how to be thoughtful. How to be gentle even at times when it is not easy. He taught me how to be a father, how to truly think, and how to really love.

My father’s influence led to me creating The MSFF, a charity foundation that bears his name, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him in everything I do and in everything I see. I owe my father everything, and I hope that I can transmit some essence of his generous spirit to my own children.”

Rikesh Chauhan

At The Rake, we consider ourselves fortunate to have had fathers and father figures to look up to, who offered us advice which we carry to this very day. Some of us have even inherited parts of their wardrobes too, just in case we ever needed a slightly more tangible reminder of their wisdom. My two most cherished items of jewellery are prime examples of that. One of my earliest memories was of my father holding me, and me being obsessed with his gold plated tiger tooth necklace. It was a thing of absolute beauty. Fast forward to my 18th birthday — by this point my parents must have begrudgingly trusted me to look after something expensive — he had it replicated in its entirety for me. An equally cherished gold bracelet he owned and wore in the Seventies was passed down to me a few years ago. I seldom take it off, and every time someone sees it, it’s always the first thing they ask about.


June 2020


Also read