18 January 2011, by Tan Yi Lin

Things That Make Me Sick

I had a terribly hard time keeping my breakfast down this morning.

No, it wasn’t because of first trimester nausea. Rather it was due to some nauseating comments on Facebook in response to a link that I posted. Now, simply fuming internally throughout the entire MRT journey and walk to the office wouldn’t do anybody any good (especially not to me.)

Thus this post, especially dedicated to my “Friends” on Facebook, in hope that it would enlighten you to think a little before you publicly slam a simple gesture that benefits so many other people.

As many of the MaybeBaby blog readers know, I Love Children, through the MaybeBaby portal, has been encouraging young couples to take the Parenthood Pledge since last year. The call to action is simple: if you are planning to start a family in the near future, pledge your commitment to see your plans to fruition. If you are so blessed as to have your wishes granted by June 2011, IKEA congratulates you with a $300 voucher for a baby cot and other baby accessories.

The movement is a partnership between ILC and IKEA, who obviously sponsors the vouchers.

Since the pledge period will come to an end in June this year, I decided to help ILC spread the word to get more couples to sign up for it. I posted the link on my Facebook page and went to bed.

Lo and behold, this morning, I saw that two people had reposted the link as their own Facebook status, followed by these comments:

Children are “cost + troublesome… give me $10k of IKEA vouchers also not worth it *bleah*”

“I don’t understand y got this kind of campaign. So silly”

“LMAO*! Why spend all this money on useless campaigns? Just give the cash to the parents, it’ll make child-bearing less painful.”(*Laugh My Ass Off)

You know what’s really painful? Reactions like these. Because all other pain associated with child-bearing is probably worth it. But not this.

Okay, maybe I didn’t promote it in the best of ways on Facebook by saying “Get married. Get pregnant. Get $300 IKEA voucher. By June 2011. Go pledge now!” But if news headlines aren’t sensationalised, would people notice them?

The best thing is, people reposted the link without actually clicking on it and reading the details on the website. You don’t just read news headlines without reading the details in the article that follows, do you? If they had, they would have realised that:

1. Nobody is paying or bribing them with $300 to have a baby.

2. It is not a Government campaign. These are just the efforts of well-intentioned staff of a Voluntary Welfare Organisation working hard to form a partnership with IKEA, whereby IKEA sponsors some shopping vouchers.

3. It is not an expensive movement paid for by these people’s beloved taxpayers’ money. How did they learn about it? Online, right? Through word of mouth, right? Do you see print ads being splashed over newspapers and magazines? Bus shelters? MRT platform doors? Cinema ads? No, right? Or do they really think the Government is spending money to buy vouchers from IKEA for distribution? Hello?

4. The staff of ILC work hard to fund themselves as a VWO. They are not salaried by MCYS, unlike these naysayers who are civil servants and earn their salary in the public service.

More importantly,

5. This $300 voucher is not meant to replace the cost of having a child. It’s not even meant to contribute greatly in alleviating the financial burden of starting a family. It’s simply a congratulatory angpao that goes towards helping young couples prepare their home for a child. Imagine if their parents had received $300 to buy them a cot even before they were born. Don’t you think that would have made their parents happy too?

6. If the Government’s Baby Bonus incentives, that run into the thousands per child, can’t even convince couples to have kids, do they really think that ILC or the Government is so silly as to think that a $300 shopping voucher will do the trick?

7. So what if this $300 voucher is the result of a Government-backed campaign? Do they not take Government handouts too in the form of tax relief? Or incentives for serving NS? Or conservancy rebates if they live in a HDB flat?

Even MORE importantly,

8. A $300 IKEA voucher may be pittance to some people. But it makes a lot of difference to others. Why be so mean as belittle a simple gesture that benefits people who really need or appreciate it? Why publicly slam and badmouth the efforts of a VWO? Even if they don’t intend to have kids, why not be gracious and let the people who genuinely want to start a family benefit from such efforts?

MOST importantly,

9. There is no price tag to put on a child. I’m sure we all agree on that. So of course even $10,000 worth of vouchers isn’t going to be enough to raise a child, much less reflect the value of a child. But think of how a child is going to feel when he’s told, “You are so expensive and troublesome. It’s not worth having you even if someone paid Mummy $10,000 to do it.” Wonderful parents, some people are going to be. Just wonderful.

And last of all,

10. If you have something to say in response to a link I post, say it on my Facebook page. Or you could say it to my face when you see me in the office (which shouldn’t be too difficult, since we all work on the same floor.) To repost it so that you can bitch about it to your friends (without even reading it) is cowardly and irresponsible. At the very least, it’s plain rude and smacks of bad social etiquette.

I don’t care if some people’s display of narrow-mindedness, erroneous assumptions, rudeness and pure selfishness has completely ruined my day.

But I do care that a VWO’s efforts have been unjustly belittled and nice gestures that help people and make people happy are unfairly criticized.

I’m not one for snarky comments, but to the people who delight in doing more harm than good with their silly comments: You can have my $300 IKEA voucher. I would gladly give it to you. Because you clearly need to get a baby cot and some baby supplies for yourselves.

Come on. Come take it. I dare you.


Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

February 2nd, 2011 at 3:20 am    

Hey Carol,

Yeah, sometimes I wonder if people who have the “kids = cost + burden” mentality question whether their own parents thought of them this way. Don’t they realise that they wouldn’t even exist if their parents had chosen money and time over having their own children?

The “one is more than enough” mentality is also awfully selfish if you are blessed with the physical ability and financial means to have at least one more child. People can argue that they only want one child so that they can provide the best standard of living for that child. But all the toys, clothes and holidays in the world cannot be compared to having a brother or sister to live life with. Why would anyone want their kid to think that material comforts are more important than family ties? I’ve had single-child classmates who had everything that money could buy but still felt lonely and envious of kids who had siblings.

I read a pretty good article in TODAY recently about the awful comments people receive if they have only either an all-boys or all-girls brood. It’s as if your family isn’t perfect until you have one of each gender. Which is stupid. It’s not like you can choose anyway. Not quite the same as picking guppies from a fish shop.

Even more awful still, I’ve heard of fathers/fathers-to-be who are so ignorant about science and nature that they blame their wives for not giving them a son. Still. In this age and time. Like hello?! Who does the deciding X/Y chromosome come from?!?!


January 29th, 2011 at 11:08 pm    

that’s the sad thing about increasingly many couples in singapore. their attitude – how they see children and child-bearing as COST and BURDEN.

one child? maybe, but very expensive already.

two children? er…lagi expensive and even greater loss of personal time and sacrifice of lifestyle. one is already more than enough, thank you very much.

three/four/etc children? harlow, you’re sure or not? this is Singapore you are living in, you know…

geez, to closer friends and colleagues, i hv retorted that hubs and i plan to reach replacement rate, minimally! (current replacement rate >2)

it’s not just numbers. when i tell people we are expecting a second boy, they look at how hyperactive my first one is and shake their heads and tell me symathetically ‘wah, good luck man’ or ‘don’t you wish you were expecting a girl?’. granted that my first one is sometimes quite a handful to manage, but hey, i am very happy to be expecting another boy, just as i would be if it were going to be a girl. double trouble plus double the cost? hubs and i are sure they will bring more than double the joy and blessings!! =)

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

January 22nd, 2011 at 10:52 am    

Yeah, after this episode, I was contemplating whether it would be more correct to say “ILC and IKEA will congratulate you with $300 worth of IKEA vouchers” instead of “be rewarded with $300 worth of …”, which is what is used in the marketing of this movement.

But I know of so many people who are trying so hard to conceive and conception can be so damn difficult, so what the heck, we all need a reward for all those months and years of effort. So REWARD it is then!

All the best, babe. Hoping to hear good news – we’ll go celebrate with a plate of those yummy chicken wings.


January 20th, 2011 at 6:23 am    

Yi Lin, Please count me in, hope to see you in person, have made the pledge, whether or not to get it, its another thingy..after all, these pregnant thingy aint easy.

Whereas meatballs at Ikea, its a different story altogether..haha

note: i prefer those golden brown chicken wingssss more..

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

January 20th, 2011 at 4:55 am    

Hey everyone,

Thanks for the concern. I’m not stressed by this issue anymore, don’t worry! It helped that one of the people I quoted in my blog entry offered a very heartfelt open apology on Facebook even though he didn’t have to reveal his identity. It was a very gallant and gentlemanly gesture and very very much appreciated. So, bygones. But I guess there will always be critics – be it fair or unjust criticism – out there and we’ll just have to learn to handle them as we go along.

L: Glad that you made the pledge. All the best to you. It would be really nice to go shopping at IKEA together. Especially since your comment has made me feel like eating meatballs.


January 19th, 2011 at 12:56 am    

The world is made up of different people. There are still lots who love kids and many more who have experienced it and felt deeply the joy of parenthood.

Take care of yourself and baby. 🙂


January 18th, 2011 at 3:15 pm    

You can never win everyone. They will always be critical of everything and anything related to parenthood, parenting, babies and the like.

I’ll be waiting to see if they take up your dare!

Take care babes 🙂 And rest well for little CHO!


January 18th, 2011 at 10:33 am    

Elo there,
Well said..but please take good care of yourself..dont get too agitated by those ppl.
Not worth it yo..bb an ur health is more important..


January 18th, 2011 at 10:19 am    

Oh, and I forgot to thank you for posting the link! If we get it, we can go shopping at Ikea together (and I can write a post on the meatballs woohoo!)


January 18th, 2011 at 10:18 am    

What?! That’s not nice at all.

The husband and I, being kiam-kanna-give-us-anything-free true blue Singaporeans, immediately signed up! and we have the certificate to show for it : )


January 18th, 2011 at 9:21 am    

Woah, didn’t realise your post got that sort of a response? I had assumed you just wanted vengeance on someone who was being childish in your life (this happens a lot to me….namely the husband…)

I’ve found being a parent in Singapore is always very fiscally minded and you’ll get this sort of thing. Before ppl ask you about names, breastfeeding and gynaes, they ask you about baby bonuses and savings plans. Their preoccupation with treating their kids like commodities starts to border on the insensitive and crass.

Personally, I think the voucher idea is a great one – three kids down the line and we’re still going there for all our furniture (and meatball) needs. Think in this case, you just need to ignore the fact some ppl can’t be gracious about such charity or think before they Facebook. Pacifiers all round I think 🙂

P.S. And don’t stress! Not good for you or baby!

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