This is kinda like an old discussion. But Since I haven't been writing I never really commented on this.
It's been on my mind so I thought I'd just do a post on this we well.
This comment by Singapore's Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo really irritated me.
I'll just put into focus this paragraph from the article.
"But to have a child, some say they need to have a flat first.
With a straight face, Mrs Teo declared: "You need a very small space to have sex.""
There are some online citizens who have said she encouraged pre-martial sex all all that. I'm not too bothered about that part cos,
1) Her comment on westerners having casual sex is basically what it is... about westerners having casual sex. It is a fact and should not be taken out of context.
2) Pre-martial sex is pretty much common place already. So seriously, who are we trying to kid?
Anyway, that's not important.
I only want to talk about the "You need a very small space to have sex." comment.
I read this comment as blatantly understating the problem.
Either from ignorance, or out of touch from the ground or whatever reasons she has.
This comment came about when someone commented that "to have a child, they needed a flat first"
I find this comment or requirement pretty reasonable.
Some folks don't want parents or in-laws to get involved with raising their kid.
The home may be small and overcrowded with another kid in the flat.
Having a kid may disturb the other residents in the flat, etc.
So the response to
"to have a child, they needed a flat first"
should not be
"You need a very small space to have sex."
That is irrelevant.
The point should be WHY do you need a flat before you have a child.
And to understand the issues which Singaporeans face.
Her response churns up some feelings in me.
1) She is oversimplifying the decision of having kids. It is NOT just about having sex and space
2) She is not trying to understand the concerns of residents
Having kids is pretty much a long term decision. Expenses, school, sacrifice, space, child care, medical etc it's a long list. It's not just about space and sex and popping out a kid and leaving the kid on their own.
Most parents would want to build a family of their own (if they choose to have kids) and building a family of their own also means having a place of their own.
If people don't feel safe or secure or stable in their own environment, why would they settle down and have kids if they can't even take care of themselves.
Safe or secure or stable can mean different things to different people and no one has the right to judge the requirements of each other.
1) Some people may want to have a lot of money before having kids. Is this reasonable? Maybe some folks may think it is not reasonable. But IF I feel insecure without sufficient finances, like SGD10k per month. I won't have kids, regardless of what others say. Others may feel SGD3000 per month income is enough to have kids. I may not feel secure with that amount.
If the government has the heart to really understand the citizens, they would try to get in touch with citizens to understand why citizens feel that they need SGD10k per month and persuade from there
2) Or some people may feel insecure living with their in-laws. I know some folks who don't get along with their in-laws. And I think that's fine as well. To each their own. So they may want to move out before having kids. I find nothing wrong with that.
3) Some people may think that the kid will have a lot of stress in this society.
Then the government needs to get in touch with these folks and understand why.
Some people will tell me why should the government bother to talk to folks with "unreasonable" expectations.
Unreasonable such as expecting sufficient finances, or expected a lower stress environment for their kids, etc.
Well, my response to this is, the government wants Singaporeans to have more kids. They can try to get in touch with citizens to understand them. OR they can just do nothing and have a lower birthrate. Yes, they can "don't bother". Then don't expect Singaporeans to change their minds about having kids.
It is their JOB.
I'm not here to debate whether the government should bother to persuade people to have kids.
The fact is, the government hopes Singaporeans have more kids.
So to do so, they will have to understand Singaporeans true concerns and address them.
Similarly, if you want to score good results in school, you have to find a way to study better, memorize better, etc.
Anyway, simply put, I'm irritated by this Senior Minister's comment because she has oversimplified the decision to have kids. And by doing so, it makes me suspect if she has lost touch with the ground.