It is official.
I am part of the three ‘prime targets’ that the Government is focusing on, in their bid to wrangle more babies out of their citizens. Simply because I am single.
It feels kind of sad that we have to resort to government intervention even in the private realm of procreation. Personal issues ranging from oral sex to having children have become the perogative of the state. In Singapore, it seems, nothing is too personal and nothing is outside of the wide net cast by the government.
It brings to mind what a lecturer said about the various public campaigns led by the ministries, such as the Healthy Living and the Myopia Campaigns. To her, all these so-called public service campaigns were not really targeted at the wellbeing of the individual. Think about it, she said, if the citizens were unhealthy, they would fall ill and not be able to go to work. In monetary terms, this is a wastage to the company. In productivity terms, efficiency is diminished and if this scenerio happens at a large scale, then the economy will suffer eventually. Hence, she mused, everything revolves around the government and the state. Hence,
Healthy individuals = productivity = better economy = richer Singapore.
Going back to the procreation crisis that we are facing here, it comes as no surprise that the number of children married couples have has come to the forefront of debate. Singapore is, afterall, a very small and labour-intensive country. With the current brain drain going on (many Singaporeans have opted to be quitters), the aging of the population and the slow trickle of foreign talents coming in, it is no surprise that the Government is worried.
Is it then our duty as citizens to heed the call and produce more children because our population is diminishing by the day?
One side of me says yes because no matter what, this is a country that has given me the opportunity to be educated and provided me shelter and an efficient public infrastructure. I don’t have anything against people who leave Singapore for greener pastures but those who complain about the lack of opportunities and the exhausting fast pace of life are just that – complainers. Anyway, I do feel a sense of loyalty to this little island and I do plan to have children eventually so it works out in a way.
But the resentful side of me feels that the citizens should be entitled to their own little personal space. There are many factors as to why Singaporeans are not having as many children as the Government wishes them to and they are entitled to their own reasons. I am rather put off by the attempts of the Government to push us into the direction that they want us to go, Romancing Singapore being a prime example. I am single and I am enjoying my life as it is, free from the emotional burden that I went through previously. It doesn’t mean that I am an anomaly that needs to be put right. Not having a partner (and potential life-mate) does not make me a lesser person. And couples who do not have more than one child, or any children, are not in the wrong. It’s simply a lifestyle choice, just like being single is.
So the conclusion is like a Catch-22 situation – Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’s a tough world out there when the stork has resigned its position.