The hottest topic in Singapore this week had been the government new initiatives to boost birth rates in the island country.
The government had announced a slew of new measures to encourage singles to get married, couples to have more babies. Childcare centres quality will also be looked into and improved to assure mothers their kids are well taken care of when they go to work.
While it may seem to delight us initially, our family will not be too much affected because these perks are aimed at working parents. 4 mths maternity leave, 12 days in total chilcare leave and increased tax incentives. Only hubby will be enjoying the extra leave and tax incentives since I will stop work after giving birth.
I was not majorly disappointed when I realised I will not get to enjoy the 4 months maternity leave. As it is, I will most probably enjoy only 2.5 mths with my present work arrangements and plans.
It’s amusing to see the reaction from the public since the measures were announced this Monday. Many write in to claim credit for having taken care of kids and want recognition from the government. There are the Stay-at-home-moms who will like to have some ‘salary’ from the government for the career they have foregone, parents with schoolwork-stressed children asking for perks to extend to children all the way up to 12 years old. Even grandparents who take early retirement to take care of grandchildren wish for some kind of recognition.
Ha Ha. The lesson is, once you open the flood gates, EVERYBODY wants a piece of the pie. My colleague with two teenage kids also asked what about them, who have contributed ? 🙂
As the discussions surfaced, it’s funny to observe how some people want the best of all worlds. They say they dun want maid and both parents still have to work and are having a difficult time ferrying kids to and from childcare. And then ask the government to help solve their problems.
Obviously, they have not read Earthtone’s famous post on how to Be Happy. And go off to commit the classic error of wanting a cake and eat it to. It gets ridiculously funny when the arguments go like this, ” I want to eat ice-creams but they dun have anything which is not fattening! It’s the government’s fault for not giving us non-fattening ice-creams!”
But of course that’s only a handful of people, and if you ask people how I can help, people certainly will come back with all kinds of requests.
Not to mention life IS really getting tougher in this new millenium, what with heightened global competition and all.
Imagine in the past, there are only like, 5% rich people and 95 % of us work “downstairs”. Now everyone has grown smart due to better all-round education. Everyone wants a better life and live like kings. Please tell me how many kings can Mother Earth support?
But those are not my problems. I have my own and I will solve mine. Just becasue they dangle a carrot at the road leading to South means I will follow South.
I’m as trapped as my fellow countrymen feel. This island is pushing us ahead too much. They want children, they want women to work. I’ve said before – and that includes you – the government, learn to let go. Do forever try to use a 1m X 1m blanket to try to cover a 2m X 2m area. By resourcefulness and high productivity, you may succeed at 1.5m X 1.5m, but , even if you are so smart, cut everybody some slack and stop trying to bulldoze ahead ALL THE TIME.
We have laid a strong foundation now. Going forward in the new century, I hope Singapore will slowly open up politically. Be more laid back. Stop bulldozing ahead like a crazy horse. We have arrived. We have arrived. We should build up more of our software. If not, it will eventually catch up with us, no matter how rich and affluent we are. It’s not enough to fill the stomachs and our brains, it’s time now to fill our hearts.
ECONOMIC GROWTH IS NOT EVERYTHING.
There are millions of people who live outside the mainstream economy and they live poor but happy lives. Money is not everything. Oh the insecurity, Singapore.
All these baby talk. You think they really care if we live a full and fulfilling life? They want more people, more local born people to continue to power this mighty economic machine and CONTINUE *pant* to reach for the stars.
I’m tired and I dun want to run. I’m torn between loving my country and running away. I have not decided yet.