#NIESuperDad - Dr Nick Aplin

#NIESuperDad - Dr Nick Aplin

Friday, 16 June 2017


I am Dr Nick Aplin, Senior Lecturer from the Physical Education and Sport Science (PESS) Academic Group. My family consists of my wife, Siok Choo and my three sons: Anders, Christer, Niels, and myself. My wife plays a significant role in the family; I’ve always reminded my sons that Mum is the heart of the family – she comes first in our thoughts and actions. Siok Choo and I work together; she is a Consultant Lecturer at PESS.

My eldest son, Anders, is 25 years old and will convocate from the Nanyang Business School (NTU) this July. Anders was a pioneer at Singapore Sports School in 2004 and followed up at Victoria Junior College. He attended OCS as a Commando and made the transition to Ranger when he extended his posting. He is a professional football player with Geylang International in the S.League.

My second son, Christer, is 23 years old. He attended Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) before fulfilling his National Service in the Naval Diving Unit. He is in his third year at the NUS (Arts and Social Sciences) pursuing Theatre Studies. He will be doing his honours next year.

My youngest son, Niels, is 20 years old. He also attended Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and attended OCS subsequently, after BMT. He won the Sword of Merit and was then posted to Guards. He will be following his eldest brother’s footsteps to pursue his studies in the Nanyang Business School (NTU) this year.

They have all represented Singapore in international sporting competitions: Soccer (Anders), Chess (Christer) and Softball (Niels).

Niels Chris Anders 1 

I normally spend time with my child/children….
Over the years, sports have been the activity that brings the family together.

At this stage, we remain a close knit family although our sons have varied interests and responsibilities. We cherish opportunities such as small celebrations which bring everyone together. WhatsApp is an important/  a useful means of communication, often to arrange small family celebrations which include their respective girlfriends.

My happiest memory / moment as a dad …

Each of our sons has provided us with golden moments to savour. There has been no single happiest moment, rather an ongoing and continuing series of very happy memories. Significantly, over the years, they have surprised us with various hidden interests and talents.

Scoring a spectacular goal for Singapore Combined Universities in last year’s ASEAN University Competition; beating the Russian representative in the final round of the inaugural World Schools Chess Championships; or representing Singapore at Softball in the SEA Games in 2015, they all rank equally high.

Is there something that your sons did that makes you feel very touched?

Anders provided counsel for his youngest brother, who had suffered a misfortune with the car. He reassured Niels that Mum and Dad would not be angry – because after all they are both educators and they understand that these things happen!

Most rewarding thing about being a dad…

My sons are mutually supportive of each other. They help one another and provide advice on matters concerning NS, university courses and which are the best T-shirts to wear.

If I could share a piece of advice with first time fathers, it would be…

Play with your children and demonstrate your passion for the physical and cognitive activities you love. It helps to understand your children’s emotions and their outlook towards life. Treat your daughters the same as your sons. Encourage physical play and ball games in particular and make sure your wife joins in too.

Are your children as interested in sport as you are? How do you encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle?

The sons were also inspired by both my wife’s and my sporting interests. My wife, Siok Choo, was a SEA Games Badminton player. From the early years, we both encouraged our sons to engage in competitive sport, but at the same time be mindful of intellectual and social development. My wife has always joined in and encouraged family play and togetherness.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle has been implicit in the respective lifestyles of my sons – encouraging play from an early age was the natural trigger to balanced development.

What lessons or advice do you wish to impart to your sons? If there is one piece of advice that you want your children to always hold dear to their hearts, what would it be?

One ongoing theme of family life would be: Always remember that your mother is the heart of the family – she comes first in our thoughts and actions.

My wife and I have a combined philosophy to bring up our sons to be capable of making their own decisions and be responsible for those decisions.


Finding out more with Mrs Aplin…

Give a short introduction about your husband

We have a very warm family, and I believe, in no small part, it is because of Nick!

Nick is very balanced, understanding, patient, kind and wise. From the start, he believed in equal partnership in our marriage. I respect men who respect women! He loves our sons very much and is very proud of them. I am truly very blessed!

What do you think of your husband as a dad?

Nick is a gem of a father! He empowers our children. To me, ‘empowerment’ is a very important element in human growth. (Sadly, not many dads do that.) Nick believes in our children’s potential, and conveys this belief to them. The boys have a very close relationship with Nick. They will consult Nick and are given the freedom to make their own decisions. Nick believes in having them take ownership of and responsibility for the choices they make, and our role as parents, to support them in their decisions.  That is the level of trust and respect the father has for his three sons. In turn, the boys love and respect him.

What is one thing that your husband did for the family that touches you the most?

I don’t think there is a single thing/ incident as such but rather the consistency with which Nick carries himself.

When the boys were young, if Nick had to discipline them, he would never fail to reassure them of his love after the disciplining was done. If he was in the wrong, he would be humble enough to apologise to them. I think such messages of love and respect are empowering.

Since they were young, our sons have been told by Nick that “Mummy is the heart of the family”, and he lives it. Glee aside, I think there is much wisdom in such an attitude. A happy mother is a happy household, the foundation of a happy family. 😊


Chit Chatting with Anders Aplin

Anders - NTU 3

If I could describe my dad in one word, it would be...


If there's one thing you would like to thank your dad for, it would be...

Here’s nine things.

N ever one to lose his cool, nor patience

I bear witness to his fatherly brilliance

C hess and Golf are his weekly indulgences

K eeping him company after sunset with a pint of Guinness

A lways an anchor for his family, unwavering and strong

P lacid and proper he is, he can do no wrong

L oving husband, doting father

I rreproachable like no other, if I may add

N ever have we known a better Dad!


Chit Chatting with Christer Aplin


About Dad…

He is very passionate about sport, history, and film/TV, and always takes to heart the interests and ambitions of the family (sporting or otherwise). He could probably take part in a trivia contest (e.g. Who wants to be a Millionaire / The Weakest Link) and do reasonably well.

How has he been an inspiration to you?

For putting up with three sons for so many years, while keeping a nice balance of being at work / at home / leisure. For keeping track and keeping an interest in the boys' and mom's achievements, and for always being around to help.

If I could describe my dad in one word, it would be...


If there's one thing you would like to thank your dad for, it would be...

Always taking care of mommy.


Chit Chatting with Niels Aplin

Siok Choo Niels

About Dad…

He’s the closest to a human sports encyclopedia, especially when relating to Singapore, that I’ve seen. He’s a decent golfer but he’s getting old.

How has he been an inspiration to you?

My dad’s discipline and devotion to his work and various projects has shown me that talent only gets you so far. Most of one’s success comes through years of patient work. Now I look ahead to the future knowing that it’s not always about being the most talented, but being the last to quit.

If I could describe my dad in one word, it would be...


If there's one thing you would like to thank your dad for, it would be....

Being calm and supportive in every situation.