Few parents would encourage their children to climb into the cockpit of a super car and floor the accelerator. But for Derrick Seeto and Wendi Chan, both 44, they consider it a rite of passage for their four-year-old son. “I will make it mandatory for Don to learn driving when he comes of age,” says Seeto. The Parlour Group is the operator and franchiser of Pink Parlour beauty salons in Singapore and the region.
“Sending Don for a professional driving course is not a negative thing. It’ll teach him how to handle a car with confidence under different situations,” says Chan, who has driven the 21km-long Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany, undaunted by its reputation as the world’s most dangerous track.
While her eyes light up when she speaks about her motoring experiences with the Porsche, Audi, and Lamborghini driving clubs, it was just six years ago when she found herself in the passenger seat, berating Seeto for his seemingly reckless turns. All that changed after he signed her up for a driving course at Mount Cotton in Australia. Since then, she has clocked over 30 drive trips, which saw her and Seeto traversing Barcelona in the Lamborghini Aventador SV, as well as Germany, Austria, and Italy in the Audi R8.
Over the past few years, the need for speed has taken a back seat to the importance of family time. “When we did the Porsche experience in Malaysia a few years ago, we realised we really missed our kids, ” says Seeto. The couple, who founded Parlour Group in 2005, have three other children: Francesca (19), Adiro (17), and Annabelle (15). “When our three
older kids were younger, we were just starting our businesses and we hardly saw them. We missed out on their growth. That’s possibly my only regret in life,” says Chan. “Now, we make it a point to bring Don everywhere. He started travelling with us when he was two months old.”
Don has since travelled the world with the couple, but a trip to Papua New Guinea – where Seeto was born – last year saw the globetrotters reassessing their perspectives on life. “Nature is beautiful there. We found ourselves in a country where basic necessities are all one needs. We swam with dolphins, saw Don playing with the locals and attempting to catch animals,” says Chan. “I think that’s what he’s missing in Singapore. The chance to head out into nature and just play,” Seeto says.
Inspired by the notion of a simpler life, the couple is contemplating a beachfront destination spa in Papua New Guinea, one they can construct on land passed down from Seeto’s father. “We’ve decided life is really about building memories, as well as experiencing different lifestyles and cultures. There’s still a lot in the world for us to see,” says Chan.