Saturday, July 23, 2011

Injustice to blame all

I read with great disappointment Theresa Tan’s (Saturday, 23rd July) report “Late (great) expectations ” as it seemed to me that all fingers are being pointed to the couples, especially the fairer sex, for Singapore’s declining birth rate and delayed parenthood.

What is being reported is only skin deep and does not reflect the real issues involved.

As much as I know that there are people who put off parenthood because they wanted more for themselves and are not ready. They do not represent the population being mentioned in this report.

Let us think about it. A young Singaporean will only complete Junior College at the age of 18 and tertiary education at probably 23. Two more years are to be added if they are required to serve National Service. Will a rational person be thinking of getting married and having babies when you probably cannot even support yourself?

For an average Singaporean who does not have rich parents to pay for their tertiary education, had to take a loan and pay the tertiary education once they graduated. It probably takes around 2 years or more for the loan to be fully paid. Here, we are assuming that he/she found a job immediately upon graduation, which might not be the case. Will you be thinking of getting married and having babies at this stage?

By the time this Singaporean is financially stable enough to take care of someone else, he/she will be in the late twenties. By this time, he/she is probably attached, but not long enough to decide if this person is the one. Should they be applying for a BTO now because by the time they really want to get married, they will be unable to pay for that atrocious COV of the resale market and will have to wait for at least three or more years for balloting, results, building of BTO, getting of keys and renovation of house. Should they take the risk of being slapped by a fine, should their relationship change within these 3 years before getting married?

Here, we are not even taking into consideration those who put so much time into studies and work, and are left single in their late twenties. Their marriage will probably come much later through no fault of theirs in a rat-race society like ours.

Having children can only come after a couple has a roof over their head. They are not waiting for all stars to align, but just want to be more responsible towards another precious life. Will you be thinking of having babies when you are married but living apart because you cannot afford a resale flat, but have no luck or unable to wait for three years for BTO? Not all couples are able to stay with the in-laws, taking into account that most of us are living in a shoe-box.

Having babies is more than just statistics. There are many factors that come into play. Why would anyone put themselves through the agony of IVF if not for the circumstances they are in?

Please do not blame all on the people, before taking a good look at the policies and reality.

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