updated 9 Feb 2010, 07:37
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Tue, Feb 09, 2010
The Straits Times
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Govt's done enough, it's up to couples

UNLIKE Mr Wong Yeow Chong in his letter on Wednesday ('Be single-minded about having more babies'), I think there must be a limit to blaming the Government for individual lifestyle choices in postponing procreation or giving it a miss.

Blaming the Government is almost like saying one will not procreate because of insufficient incentives.

If the economic incentives have not been effective in arresting falling birth rates, the key reason is that many people simply do not see procreation as a priority.

One must take ownership of one's choices. If I, like the Singaporeans Mr Wong describes, work long hours and attend night classes, it is not because anyone forced me to. The choice is mine and I should face the consequences. I can also choose how I want to deal with matters beyond my control, like the high cost of living and national service requirements; instead of using these as excuses for not procreating and blaming the Government for lacking clarity about priorities, as Mr Wong described it.

Finances are important when planning a family, but many couples choose to postpone parenthood to fulfil personal desires, like not wanting to be tied down, enjoying a longer exclusive spousal relationship or building their careers.

Money, or the lack of it, is not entirely the reason, if at all. If it is, how do we explain the fact that many less well-off couples across our multiracial spectrum have two or three children and yet manage financially? They face the same challenges as those who decide not to have children, ranging from managing their work-life balance to the rising cost of living and staying fit and healthy.

They choose to have more children not because they see themselves as supermums and superdads or even super-rich, but because they love children and think it wise not to postpone parenthood.

Mr Wong's call for the Government to be single-minded about prioritising population growth should be directed at the citizens instead.

Frankly, the Government has done enough to encourage procreation.

Huang Meifang (Ms)

readers' comments
"the Government has done enough to encourage procreation". Frankly speaking, nothing came into my mind when i tried to think of the things the government has done to encourage procreation.

How do you know many less well-off couples across our multiracial spectrum have two or three children and yet manage financially? They scrimp, they save, they dun visit the doctors when they are sick, they tried to miss some ez-link taps on the bus so they save a few cents, they queue and fight with hundreds of ppl for second-hand school book, they try to sell some tissue and pick up some cans when they go market.

Because of their children, they have to eat porridge for 5 days to buy chicken essence and fresh cod fish during exam periods. They kanna scolded at work, also cannot quit. Their boss cut their bonuses also .....
Posted by speakoutloud on Thu, 4 Feb 2010 at 13:04 PM

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