Have you read MP Josephine Teo’s comment that “You need a very small space to have sex?” It basically re-ignited debate about the falling birthrates in Singapore.
MP Josephine Teo is really quite cute and candid sometimes. :) She is one of the classist MP around, and I do greatly appreciate her for speaking her mind. Anyway her words were largely taken out of context, because she was initially talking about the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS), which provides priority allocation of BTO flats to first-time married couples with a citizen child below the age of 16.
Anyway what’s new? Of course some media outlets took her words out of context. Boring stuffs don’t sell papers! But BBC too covered the news.
Having said that, Singapore seems to be really funny: the state has to engineer sex, too.
Actually, MP Jo isn’t the only MP who has been talking about sex recently. MP Chan Chuan Sing also said he “doesn’t want to be a sex policeman”when it comes to LBGT issues in Singapore, which implies that he did consider this possibility.
Get it? Because why would he even come up with the metaphor of a “sex policeman”? Hahaha.
On a more serious note though, I’m not even sure if I am supposed to be laughing about matters like that. I’m 28 this year, and I’d probably have a baby or two within the next five years.
And…I don’t think Singapore is a very attractive place to have babies.
No, it’s not about the space, MP Teo. It’s about two other “S”es: (1) Stress levels, and (2) SIBEH EXPENSIVE TO RAISE KIDS IN SG LEH.
(1) Stress levels
Dear MP Jo, can you tell me why I would subject my future unborn child to the high stress levels in Singapore?
From a young age, kids have to take tuition just to be an above average student in school. Got a string of As?–Come’on, you’re obviously not good enough.
Work harder, mom and kid! Your kid should be getting a string of A+s!
Of course there would be people who tell the mummies–
“Chill, don’t worry, your kid will be fine.”
I know a lot of mummies in Singapore, and I know a lot of people who talk like that. But guess what? People who talk like that already have kids with that string of A+s, AND they are the ones who send their kids to a lot of enrichment classes.
You tell me lah, how they chill?
So I guess, people should just have sex but not have kids because of the high stress level. Not convinced yet? Let me paint two more scenerios:
Exactly why would you want kids when we don’t have space?
Okay, let’s take MP Jo’s argument that you don’t need a lot of space to have sex. But then, if you don’t have a lot of space, why would you want to have kids?
So that the kids can live in a cramped, concrete urban jungle?
Next, exactly why would you want your kids to grow up in a constantly stressed and uptight environment?
I’m talking of course about the middle/lower-class families. The rich folks can stay in USD20mil houses at Sentosa Cove, and nobody (including themselves) would probably care. Parents can yacht their kids to schools everyday.
But how about the middle-class folks like myself? If I have a kid in Singapore, I’d probably have to bring him/her to use the public transport everyday, which is already so unreliable and packed.
Add that to the packed spaces, noisy shopping centres and competitive environment for mothers and kids. Why would I want to subject myself to such a thing?
(2) Singapore is Sibeh Expensive.
This brings me to my second point that Singapore is actually a really expensive place, you know?
Even HDBs are getting expensive these days, and the prices of food are rising. It’s expensive to buy a car and the CEO. It’s expensive to pay for your kid’s private and public education. It’s expensive to send your kid to enrichment classes.
Preferring to get a house first then a kid is more like a validation to yourself that you have the ability to raise a kid because you can buy the house.
Because raising a kid in Singapore is just God-damn-expensive.
Yes, there is the baby bonus but…so? This still doesn’t change the fact that Singapore is expensive, and the worst part of the phenomenon is that it never ends. Moms want to outdo moms, and kids want to outdo kids.
It’s just our kiasu, kiasi mentality.
And then even after the kids spend the better parts of their 20s outdoing each other, they end up in the rat race where they have to work really, really hard to outdo each other all over again.
So to me, the “stress” and the “sibeh expensive-ness” are definitely co-related variables.
Before I end this post, I have a third, more controversial point to add. And that is–
Exactly why would you want a kid in Singapore when Singaporean talents aren’t as valued as overseas talents?
Singaporeans seem to just see Singaporeans as inferior. I hate that. I really do. I hate this more than when foreigners see Singaporeans as “smart but cheap labour”.
Trust me, some foreigners do see us as just that. Including Finns, sadly.
Allow me to share a fb status by Y.Y. Low, that totally got my heart today:
So I ask you lah. Since I have the option of staying in Finland now, why would I want to raise my future kid in Singapore?
It really seems to me that the government is, once again, using the rhetoric of —
“Eh Singaporeans, it is your fault that you are not having sex and making babies leh, that is why we have no choice but to import foreign talent.”
Actually this is not true. It’s just the most convenient way out politically.
You think about it lah. Haix.
So…Why am I typing this post?
The answer is to really drive the point that babies or not babies, sex or no sex, is not about space, lor.
And why the fuck are we not talking about the real issues.
Exactly why are we not talking about how to promote and nurture local people, local talent, people who won’t fucking use SG as a stepping stone to somewhere else?
Exactly why are we not talking about how to increase ground-up activities so that mummies and kids get a better sense of mindfulness and well-being?
Exactly why is our discourse on population and birth-rate always implying some sort of sole civilian fault that Singaporeans are not having babies?
But kudos to MP Josephine Teo once again, for tackling the controversial press coverage head on! She didn’t shy away from her words being taken out of context, or tried to “stay low”.
Look at what she wrote:
I think we’re very blessed to have MP Jo as a MP. =) Respect.