26 March 2010, by Dannie Cho

Government’s Fault?

The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in Singapore has plummeted from 1.6 in 2000 to 1.23 in 2009. And it’s the Government fault!

The Government has made Singapore so safe, that it is okay to stay out late. If it were dangerous to roam the streets at night, then people would stay home after dark. And couples would then have nothing to do between the 7pm shows and 9pm shows on Channel 8.

The Government has also planned ahead so well that Singaporeans’ energy needs are flawlessly met. If only there were occasional blackouts, people would not even need to wait the 7pm show ends.

That being said, I totally disagree with a letter-writer on The Straits Times. She blamed the Government because of the missed opportunity for her to contribute to the TFR. Her reasoning was this: It was the Government’s fault that there is a gap of 3 years between application of a new flat and collection of keys to move in. And because there was a three-year gap, she and her husband decided to stay separately with their respective parents. And because they were staying separately, their relationship floundered. And when their relationship floundered, she decided to move in with her husband and in-laws, who promptly drove her stark raving mad. They are getting their marriage annulled now, and it’s the Government’s fault.

Oh, what mischief a three-year wait can cause!

In my view, the writer was probably frustrated with many things in her life now, and probably did not think things through properly.

I think having more babies is one of the objectives of the Government. But the idea is still to have babies brought up in loving homes, with the warmth and support of both parents, and the extended family members too. I am pretty sure the State does not want more children at the expense of broken homes and unhappy marriages.

If living separately for a few years can cause a relationship to crash, then the vows you made to stick together through thick and think, in sickness and in health, in your house or my house, till death do you part… well, the vows all do not hold water at all, do they? It just sounds like you two were just not meant to go the distance.

In school, during Moral Education classes (do they even teach that any more?), we learnt that one must be able to take responsibility for one’s own actions. If you can’t do that, can you ever be a responsible parent?