SINGAPORE — As someone who was, at one point, a stay-at home father of three who had to juggle parenting, his studies and establishing start-ups, Mr Bryan Long would like to speak up for working parents in the same situation, if given a voice in Parliament.
The 37-year-old technology entrepreneur has three children, aged between 20 months and 11 years old. After leaving the public sector in 2008, he became a stay-at-home dad for two-and-a-half years.
“I stayed home because I really believe in spending time with my children and giving my wife the chance to pursue her own career,” said Mr Long, who will be co-leading the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC opposition team.
He added: “(From my experience) during that time, I can understand what it’s like to take your kids on a stroller, cross the road and (have) people looking at you (wondering), ‘What are you doing? Why aren’t you working?’”
The family man understands how stressful it is for parents today, being weighed down by worries over their children’s education and future. In fact, he feels the obsession with grades in Singapore has placed undue stress on both parents and children, and reduces bonding time between families.
“You’re taught from young you’ve got to get your ‘A’, your 100 per cent. And when you don’t get your 100 per cent, it’s a tremendous setback,” said Mr Long. This fear of failure continues even in adulthood, he felt.
He said: “I’m a start-up guy. As I go around mentoring young people, (I notice) there’s this tremendous sense of fear of failure. When you do start-ups, you cannot fear failure. You’ve got to go into it with an open mind but at the same time, be ready to take that calculated risk to invest in your start-up. Many find it very difficult to do that.”
Bryan Long, 37, Tech entrepreneur
• Married, with three children — a 20-month-old daughter, a seven-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter
• A Defence Science and Technology Agency scholar who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University
• Served his bond at the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Defence Ministry as an engineer and in policymaking, respectively
• Became a stay-at-home father after leaving the public sector
• During this period, he completed a master’s in business administration and a second degree in law
HE SAID: “I believe strongly in education. I’m a start-up guy, a tech entrepreneur. As I ... mentor young people, (I notice) there’s this tremendous fear of failure in them. When you do start-ups, you cannot fear failure. You’ve got to go into it with an open mind, but at the same time, be ready to take (a) calculated risk to invest in your start-up. Many find it very difficult to do that, because you’re taught from young you’ve got to get your ‘A’, your 100 per cent. And when you don’t get your 100 per cent, it’s a tremendous setback.”