Oncologist Toh Han Chong remembers how as a primary school pupil, the family would tag along with his father Dr Charles Toh on ward rounds at the Singapore General Hospital, then have Sunday lunch.

'Medicine is a visual profession. I remember seeing my father see his patients, using the stethoscope and dispensing medicine,' says the younger Dr Toh, whose father is one of Singapore's founding fathers of modern cardiology.

He may have taken the same path of a medical career but chose to specialise in oncology instead of cardiology.

He says: 'If it had been cardiology, let's say, my feet are big at size 12, but his shoes will still be too big to fill.'

The elder Dr Toh, 82, was the president of the Singapore Cardiac Society in the 1970s, and was tasked to advise the Ministry of Health on the formation of the National Heart Centre in the 1990s.

Today, he practises at a private clinic in Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

He demurs at his child's compliment, simply saying that he approved of his second son's specialisation as oncology in the 1990s was an emerging field, offering 'room for research and treatment, with a variety of cancers affecting the whole body'.

The younger Dr Toh, 48, father of two boys aged 14 and nine, is now head and senior consultant of the department of medical oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore.

Yet he is among the children of illustrious parents SundayLife! spoke to who say their elders cast long shadows.

But it is 'only the ego that's bruised', says Mr Gerard Ee, 62, chairman of the Public Transport Council.

The father of two children recalls: 'For years after my father died, people in the charity circles were still introducing me as my father's son.'

His father was the late Dr Ee Peng Liang, founder of the Community Chest and dubbed 'father of charity'.

'I just smiled, knew that I had to be humble until I achieved something and became recognised for my own success,' says the affable Mr Ee who headed the Ministerial Salary Review Committee.

In contrast, chef Chris Hooi, 46, executive director of Dragon Phoenix Restaurant at Novotel Clarke Quay, is 'not too concerned' about developing his own style.

He is the eldest of five children, and the only son, of chef Hooi Kok Wai, known as one of four heavenly chefs in Singapore in the 1960s.

In 2000, his father, then in his 60s, had asked him to take over the running of Dragon Phoenix Restaurant so that he could focus on running just one eatery - the popular dim sum Red Star Restaurant, where the older man still works.

The younger chef Hooi, who is married with two children aged 10 and eight, says: 'The business is inherited, my father is the DNA of the company. I don't think owners of KFC are concerned with Colonel Harland Sanders' shadow over the business.'

In his case, customers demand the same standards that his dad was known for in dishes such as yam basket and yusheng.

Chef Hooi senior says that expecting his son to outshine him is not realistic. 'During my time, the variety of food was pretty limited. It was easier to develop a dish and make it popular,' says the 74-year-old.

Today, with international cuisines widely available, customers demand much more, he adds.

The National Institute of Education's DrNirmala Karuppiah says if a child does decide to follow in his dad or mum's footsteps, there is 'no need to prove that you are better than your parent'.

'Perceptions will change given time,' says Dr Karuppiah, 52, who is with the NIE's early childhood education and special needs academic group.

Childhood experiences may influence career choices in later life as may parents' life examples.

Says Dr Toh Han Chong: 'At 82 years young, my father continues to go to the hospital seven days a week by 8am to do ward rounds and see his patients. That's dedication.'

Lawyer S. Suressh, 51, recalls the family home in his childhood was 'always filled with conversations related to law'. He also has memories of playing on a floral carpet in the Attorney-General's chambers where his late father took him on Sundays.

His father was the former judicial commissioner and senior counsel K.S. Rajah.

A triple-science student at National Junior College, Mr Suressh could have had a career in medicine or engineering, but his father was happy when he took up a government law scholarship in the end.

'From dad's viewpoint, doing law in Oxford, one of the leading centres for law, is not an opportunity that everyone gets,' says Mr Suressh.

He then became a magistrate and deputy registrar in the Subordinate Courts. Now a partner at Harry Elias Partnership, he is married with two children aged 13 and seven.

The late Mr Rajah's law career of more than four decades spanned from prosecution to defence to the Bench. He was also the longest-serving director of the Legal Aid Bureau.

He died two years ago of cancer.

Post-independence, the big cases his father handled had to do with law and order, with 'political content', says Mr Suressh, the eldest of four children, whose two younger sisters are also in the legal profession. His own cases revolve around civil disputes involving large sums of money.

In homes with parents whose profiles are humbler, their children's respect for them is no less strong.

In the case of nurse Marilyn Wan, 24, mum Irene Lye, 56, was her 'role model'. Both are nurses at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Ms Wan is a staff nurse at the critical care unit and Ms Lye is a senior nurse manager at one of the outpatient clinics.

'There is no comparison because we serve in different sections,' says Ms Wan, the second of three daughters.

In the Goh family, father Jeffrey is the career inspiration for his two children.

The 65-year-old was a teacher in the mid-1960s before signing on as a regular officer in the Singapore Armed Forces for two decades from the 1970s. He retired in 1992 and is now a motivational speaker.

His daughter Charmaine, 31, is now an assistant superintendent in the Singapore Prisons Service. His son Shaun, 28, is a teacher at Temasek Junior College.

Of their career choices, he quips: 'I guess I inspired both of them.'