January – Chaz Singh
My name is Chaz Singh (Charanjeet) for those wondering. I am a born and bred Brummie but left there in 2002 to where I live in Plymouth now (not Portsmouth) and to those who know I am #thatmanwiththeTurban
Q. Tell us about yourself and your profession?
A. I am a community activist with Equality and Diversity at the forefront of everything I do. I am involved in community groups and communities across the South West and beyond. I currently work in the drug and alcohol sector as a support worker. I volunteer for a wide range of organisations and actively promote Vand Chaakna (to share with others), and I’m also the only Sikh at Plymouth City Council as a Labour Councillor since 2011, Former Deputy Lord Mayor 2012-13 and a Parliamentary candidate in the 2015 General Election.
Q. Your Child/Children’s ages, who they are and what are they like?
A. I have two children, a boy and a girl. Karan-Jeet Singh aged 19 and Amrit-Pali Kaur aged 21. He is studying Bio-Medical Science at Cardiff University, and she is studying Adult Nursing at Kings College London. You’re probably thinking you don’t look it. They are both focussed on their education at the time of writing this.
Q. Who has been your biggest inspiration?
A. It has to be my Father Sardar Ram Singh Ji, and sadly he passed away in 2007.
Q. What have you learnt from your own father?
A. Be proud and stand out from the crowd.
Q. What has been the best piece of advice you have received?
A. Don’t give up. That sums up being in Chardi Kalah (high spirits) all the time.
Q. How has your partner Influenced your parenting style?
A. My wife Saranjit Kaur has taught me a lot about parenting. We are both positive role models for them. She doesn’t agree that I should charge them rent when they come home during the holidays.
Q. What would be your advice for anyone who is about to become a Dad for the first time?
A. Time is precious because before you know it they’re off to University.
Q. Whats the biggest lesson about life your child/children have taught you?
A. They have dreams and aspirations, and we have to support them in achieving them.
Q. As Sikhs we’re all considered brothers and sisters, if your brother/sister was finding it difficult to encourage their children into Sikhi, what advice would you give them?
A. Encourage them to get additional support. In this day and age, there is so much out there like camps, after-school clubs and even Sikh schools.
Q. If you could create anything to help support other dads, what would it be?
A. Maybe a forum, a blog or @Sikhdad on twitter
Q. You’re going for a Pizza at Mr Singhs – who would you share it with and why?
A. First and foremost – family. However, I’d share with anyone as its such a welcoming, friendly place with great tasting Pizza.
Q. Can you tell me a funny story of something that’s happened to you while being a father?
A. When I moved to Plymouth, I became a Governor of the local school. My son who was aged six at the time must have heard and told everyone that his father worked for the Government. Look where I am now.
Q. As a father what has been your most rewarding experience so far?
A. Seeing my son the 1st Sikh Cadet aged 14 in Plymouth say the Kohima epitaph at the Armed Forces day event in Plymouth in front of 60,000 people. My daughter who became the 1st Sikh Corporal in the Air Training Corp as well.
Q. What’s been your biggest challenge in fatherhood so far?
A. Seeing them go off to University and face the world.
Q. Lastly, if you had to sum up being a Dad in one sentence, what would it be?
A. Cherish the moments.
I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Chaz Singh, as I was reading through his answers I found myself smiling at some of his humour, however, at the same time, I also learnt a lot from someone who has been a father for a lot longer than I have. Special thanks to Chaz Singh for taking the time out for Sikh Dad and to Dom Moore for providing the photograph of Chaz.