Celeb dad Lance Alexander: Sometimes, your kids know better

In a rare interview, the low-profile Channel NewsAsia presenter opens up about making a long-distance marriage work and raising teen boys.

The only thing that makes weekday mornings more bearable ― besides a strong coffee ― is watching Lance Alexander, 54, dish out breaking news on First Look Asia

Indeed, when you tune in to Alexander’s daily breakfast show, which he currently co-anchors with presenter Yvonne Chan, you’ll notice how effortlessly he brings everyday news to life with his casual charm.

There’s no room to fumble during this fast-paced two-hour live show that’s on from 7am to 9am every weekday. But it’s not an issue for cool-as-cucumber Alexander, since the veteran journalist has been honing his craft for decades.

Married to Angeline (Angie), 45, a bank executive who is working in Perth, Western Australia ― Alexander is dad to Christian, 14, and Dylan, 18. The TV personality reminisces about how he kick-started his broadcast journalism career in radio back in the early 1990s.

“I had a degree in social work, but the first few jobs I applied for in social work, they rejected me,” Alexander recalls. “Then a friend told me 98.7FM was looking for ‘pilots of the airways’. That’s what they called it that at that time. I went for the audition and was selected. I saw it as something fun ― we were playing music and got paid for it.”

Loving what he did made Alexander stand out from the rest. So much so that within a few years, he was offered a reporter position on a breakfast show called AM Singapore. He was initially asked to be a reporter, but ended up being the second chair. Alexander did entertainment, sports, traffic and weather news, plus, the occasional serious interview.

There’s not a problem that can’t be solved, especially when it comes to parenting and teaching a child.”

Alexander returned “home” to MediaCorp in 2012 after having lived in New Zealand for 10 years, fronting Channel NewsAsia’s weekly sports programme, SportsWorld Weekend. Two years ago, he started on FirstLook Asia and notes that it feels like he has come full circle in his career.

Today, besides his morning gig, Alexander also hosts a special series called Coffee with the Boss, where he speaks to various captains of industry. Through his intuitive and hard-hitting questions, Alexander takes a deeper look into their personalities and what drives them to be who they are.

SmartParents turns the tables on this newsman and has a sit-down with the low-profile presenter. Read on to get insights on know more about the man, whom many Singaporeans have come to associate with solid news reporting over the years…

Hi, Lance! So, you’ve been in the business for almost three decades now. Still loving the job?
The good thing about doing what we do is that it’s always different every single day. Somedays, it may not be the best news that we have to talk about, but it’s always something different. And that’s the best thing about the job.

What was the best interview you’ve ever done?
I’ve interviewed Sting, Janet Jackson, Patrick Stewart, Cesar Millan, Jackie Chan and some top CEOs on Coffee with the Boss. So, I’ve been very fortunate when it comes to getting advice on a string of different things. But I’ll tell you one thing that Boris Becker, the former Grand Slam tennis player, said to me.

We were doing an interview at the Intercontinental Hotel and I thought that I was interviewing him, but he was interviewing me at the same time. He asked me how many kids I had and I said two, and he said you know, the thing about being a parent is you think you are teaching your kids, but in the end, your kids are the ones teaching you.

Which is so true ― you learn so much from your kids. You learn about being more patient, you learn about unconditional love, you learn about encouraging your kids ― which also links back to how you encourage your colleagues ― and you learn about being altruistic. You learn more from your kids than teach them. I’m not sure whether that learning ever stops.

So what is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a parent?
Kids will always frustrate you, kids will disappoint you. It’s pointless getting riled up because it’s part of a phase of being a parent ― you just have to get on with it. Hopefully they will learn and come back to you one day and say, “Yeah you were right, dad”.

Also, always have a sense of humour, because as long as you have one, it will calm things down. It can be a situation that is very tense, so take a few minutes to just step back and don’t be impulsive rushing through a decision. And even joke around it, not to a huge extent, but enough to know that everything can be solved. There’s not a problem that can’t be solved, especially when it comes to parenting and teaching a child.