18 January 2011, by Tan Yi Lin
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.
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?
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.