Many know Daniel Ong as the former DJ-turned-F&B entrepreneur, who started the successful Twelve Cupcakes brand with his former wife, Jaime Teo (they have since sold it off). He also owns outlets like Twelve Cupcakes, Mischief, Brewlander and DAGNC.
After his divorce in 2016, Daniel found love again with make-up artist Linda Lee. But check Daniel’s Instagram account and you’ll immediately notice that his profile is peppered with photos of one girl in particular: Renee, his eight-year-old daughter. The media personality says there’s nothing he hates about being a dad, especially because he grew up without a father.
“I never had a dad so basically parenting was a blank canvas. I didn’t have any negative associations tied to it because I didn’t have a relationship with him, he left when I was about seven months old. So, I’m just doing what they do in movies and doing what they do in books. How do you be positive? How do you turn your child in to someone that’s well-rounded? So well-loved? My style is only one style: All love.
“Having had no father figure growing up, I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to give Renee something I never had so that’s why I make it a point to give her everything. Even when I’m disciplining her, I’m actually having fun. Secretly inside I’m like ‘ha-ha’.”
“First you need to make one, then after the child comes you need to be present, for everything. But it’s the most amazing experience.
“What’s really fulfilling is when this miniature version of you does something that you don’t expect them to do. Renee started speaking at about four months, she said her first word, and we have it on video.
“I thought it was absolutely beautiful! Loved it! Also, as I knew of the issues of engorgement and blocked ducts, I recall cheering on Renee to help her mama.
“During the time of birth and being a new dad, I went all in and I was all hands on deck 24 hours a day, sex was the last thing on my mind of course after seeing what the wife went through. I saw the whole thing!”
“Mums do have it harder but because Jaime and I are divorced, we’ve broken up the roles a little bit so that we can share the load of parenting.
“We’ve communicated straight from the start as well that ‘you’re in charge of this and I’m in charge of this’. I’m in charge of being the fun dad, taking her to the park and to the zoo, but I’m also in charge of the heavy topics like ‘If you lie, what’s going to happen? Your father is going to talk to you’, and then psychologically in their minds they think ‘Oh my god, oh my god, what’s going to happen?’
“We caned Renee once and that one time was all it took for her whole life, to be scared of me. So it was just one time and that was that but mums do have it tougher because they deal with so much more.”