updated 18 Sep 2010, 09:13
    Powered by
user id password
Wed, Sep 15, 2010
EmailPrintDecrease text sizeIncrease text size
Don't wait to have children

At a dialogue session held yesterday evening, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean met more than 80 women from various women's organisations to discuss pressing issues faced by Singapore women.

Chief among these were the obstacles to having more children.

DPM Teo observed that Singaporeans were too obsessed with achieving perfection, and put off having children in their quest for seeking and waiting for perfection, that "we end up not having any."

Mr Teo, who is also Defence Minister, adviced women to put up with a bit of messiness in their lives, and that young couples should not wait for a perfect life before having children. The fertility rate stands at 1.22, which is below replacement level.

But many of the participants present pointed the finger at employers who were not pro-family, and that women were unable to achieve work-life balance as they were expected to fulfil parental roles as well as be effective, contributing employees.

Another issue raised was whether Singapore was a good place to spend one's retirement's years.


Watch the dialogue:

Stresses of raising family raised at dialogue session
Career & family: Can women have both?
Women, don't try to be perfect
Treating women better at the workplace
Women's duty to have kids?
"No tuition for my kids!"
Women on ageing
Work, live and grow old in Singapore


readers' comments
it is very difficult to make drastic decision, it is either you work long hours or not working at all. a more balanced lifestyle should be the message given to the new generation.
Posted by shineshine on Thu, 16 Sep 2010 at 11:20 AM
I only have 1 wish.
As a first world country, shouldn't MOM review annual leave entitlement?
Even those days under british colony, singaporean enjoy 54 days annual leave.
Posted by shineshine on Thu, 16 Sep 2010 at 11:14 AM
My friend and his doctor wife tried for years to have kids in Singapore... no success! They sold their house, car and migrated to Australia. Lower pay, slower pace of life, less stress, even doctor wife cannot practise for two years and have to retake examination, but in two years, they are rewarded with a twin. Now a third child is on the way. Very happy... and never regreted leaving.

This government has been pursueing material growth at all cost. For the millionaire ministers, their families, perhaps they have enough wealth to live in luxury for three generations. They can afford $45,000 cooking class, or a $400 dinner at Waku Ghin. I bet they probably have three or four kids each... so that wealth and succession will be passed on.

For the majority of us, we have to work longer, harder, smarter. Husband .....
Posted by watcher on Thu, 16 Sep 2010 at 00:11 AM
the DPM is now hitting the ball into the opposite court which made it much easier to explain the govt’s foreign talent policy: Singaporeans refused to produce children => population shrinks => lower consumption => economy falters => workers losing their jobs => income falls => every one suffers.
Posted by facelook_67 on Wed, 15 Sep 2010 at 21:44 PM
Hey Teo: Here is some feedback.

1. Provide free delivery for hospital.
2. Provide free education up till 18 yrs or a level.
3. Provide subsides Uni edu.
4. Provide cheaper transport fare.

Don’t say we just complain here are some solutions.
Do it ,, if not you are just out to wayang

Mr Teo, a piece of advice for you here, please don’t make us all hate you further
Posted by facelook_67 on Wed, 15 Sep 2010 at 21:41 PM
How to ? I mean ... do they hv the means ... in the early yrs of marriage ?

Pls do not exaggerate about couples aiming for perfection. Are they ?
Posted by harlym on Wed, 15 Sep 2010 at 21:29 PM
1 year as minister, he is millionaire, who not laughing? Singapore does not have environment or provide environment for reproduction.

1. Unaffordable housing - you need space and shelter.
2. High cost of living - you reproduce but you pay so much for everything ie hospital, milk powder, education etc.
3. No incentive - all incentives can only see but cant really use. How about discount on hospital, schools etc for second or third kids onwards? To bring up a kid at such high cost, how?
4. Discrimination - mothers often discriminated at work.
5. Work your arxx - The kiasu and competition from cheap FTs, you work your arxx off, spending so little time at home and stressed, what mood to reproduce? And you may lose your job anytime when employers go for cheap talents, how to support your family? .....
Posted by EnigmaE on Wed, 15 Sep 2010 at 20:43 PM
As long as the govt is not tackling the root of the issue, this trend will continue ,reproduction rate stays 1.2 and even lesser in future.
Posted by winner_1981 on Wed, 15 Sep 2010 at 20:23 PM
Nowadays, it's so tough to get to be a graduate. Notably most of us are not born smart such that getting through the U is by pure mugging through remembering all possible ways to answer examination questiions. When the kid do graduate, they have to remember how their parents and sometimes siblings make sacrifices to make their environment, food, rest time appropriate.condusive for them to study till graduate. When they come out to work, they will want to find a spouse who can give their offspring the same kind of environment so they are equally successful to graduate and earn high pay income. What if they met with hiccups in their current careers, they don't clique well with subordinates who resigned/absent themselves to get away and leave them handing all tasks of a project can lead to fatalilties (tunnel/buiding collapse, atms cannot dispense cash, inject wrong medication, data wrongly entered,etc) .....
Posted by 8zaoyu on Wed, 15 Sep 2010 at 18:28 PM
Children should be gifts from heaven (when the time is right, the couple is financially and mentally ready)...things will fall in place nicely with bliss.

It should not be a demand by the Government! The more you demand, the more stressful it becomes, and the less likely people will want to have children.

If Govt really want more children from Singaporeans, don't just talk talk...go change the environment, change the culture, change the way of living, change the system, or perhaps change the Govt who only look at the statistics but not the real issues that Singaporeans face!
Posted by Dracula on Wed, 15 Sep 2010 at 17:42 PM

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.