[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

[Why the lack of babies]
Singapore is short of babies. Many, many babies.

So Minister George Yeo conducted this dialogue on Singapore's Population challenge last night. And may others will be doing so too.

But why?

From a sociological perspective - the women are getting more career minded, they want to focus on their jobs, earn money and then don't get married. Another is that they do not have time for a family because of heavy work commitments. Therefore, they don't want to give birth.

Or is it due to the stressful nature of life in Singapore? Are we too driven by own goals? Is the Government not doing enough to help? Does more assistance need to be given to families that have children?

From a political point of view - is it the Government's duty to ask people to make more babies? Is it a personal decision? Should the Government in the first place encourage people to give birth?

Because of the different perspectives of people, there will be different views to this issue.

Just like what I used to say: "Many life experiences have shown that you can't please everyone be it what you do or what you say. As long as it is constructive nothing else matters. You can't force everyone to agree with you."

This is the Government's view on how to have more babies - from a hierarchical perspective.

What's your view?


Blogger Soulgroove said...

Dear Ephraim,

I am actually quite sceptical about most of your postings because you seem totally ready to take up the government's position on most issues. But as you said, "...You can't please everyone..."

There was a talk in SMU a few weeks ago, by Ms Tan Joo Hymn, President of AWARE, who specifically talked about this baby issue in her talk titled, "Whose Baby Is It Anyway?"

In the talk, she tackled a wide range of issues from government action, to feminism, to social stigma, to economic sense, to mens' role, to maids, to reasons for having a baby, to parenting skills etc. She backed up all her cases with statistics from research done by AWARE.

From your posting of questions like, "Or is it due to the stressful nature of life in Singapore? Are we too driven by own goals? Is the Government not doing enough to help? Does more assistance need to be given to families that have children?", I am ASSUMING that you did not attend the talk.

Maybe what you should do, is to try to understand the issue from people like Ms Tan, who are directely affected by government policy, and to hear her out on what the government SHOULD do, but are NOT doing and what the government CAN and CANNOT do, in addition to you attending things like "Singapore's Population Challenge" organised by the government.

As a fellow student from SMU, I think we could make more use of such interesting talks organised by our school administration. They're terribly fascinating. Maybe it's your time table I don't know, but I certainly hope to see you around some time soon?

P.S. I shall try to post a full transcript of Ms Tan's talk on my blog soon. Maybe you want to check it out in the near future.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 11:05:00 am

Blogger Ephraim Loy 黎传志 said...

Thanks. I will try to attend. It is good to see you visit and post your views. I hope more people would do so too. I did attend one on Censorship though.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 9:57:00 pm

Blogger kora tai said...

I contributed my share at work and more because of my personality, work pressure and I had to prove worthy to be a superior. I was not too ambitious but I did feel many times losing out because of family committments. I felt unjust because I knew that I could have done better. Some times balancing career and family was not an option.

Yes, having an understanding family helped but there was role play. It is more stressful living in Singapore especially for married couples. The reason why many are unhappy is because we want to have babies (some even more than 1) but we can't cope! E.g. the extension of child care centres, more understanding bosses and flexi hours etc. The government is doing fine.

Perhaps can double up the process and urge companies to be supportive not only on the surface. Just like we are educated to appreciate local arts, we need to appreciate local talents and not just for our academic achievements. We want to but we can't do everything at the same time!

I remember my 9 year old telling me the good points of having him around. He mentioned that otherwise "Daddy and mummy will be extinct!"

I thought for a while, I do care in that bigger aspect but after much thought, it was like "What can I do? I need to handle the problems in front of me first."

Yes, quality of life is subjective however, we are losing out comparatively with couples without kids in finances and corporate ladder. And in our generation, we no longer depend on our kids for old age, that means, we would have to work harder than our parents.

Friends who are having more kids however, are not giving enough time for kids. Like what they said, either quality life or quality time, yes? So, it may become another set of problem in the future.

As parents, we have to be responsible enough to decide and draw that line before we could consider other incentives because ultimately, good or bad, the children are ours.

Thursday, October 19, 2006 8:34:00 am


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