Enormous problems if Singapore don’t procreate


So says former MM Lee Kuan Yew.

Just to get this out of the way, i’m not ranting (much), and let’s get the petty squabbles of the “if I earn as much as you, i’ll have 10 kids” argument. I’m simply stating my point of view, my predicament, and why married couples in their approaching-mid-30s stage are hesitant to have a child.

(Disclaimer: I am currently trying for a kid. So my lack of kid is not for a lack of trying.)

My wife and I are firmly entrenched in the sandwich class. Not too poor to live hand-to-mouth, but certainly not too rich to indulge in goat’s milk baths. We indulge in movies, have the occasional nice meal on anniversaries, and take the public transport. Your average worker bee.

We live in our own 5-room HDB (which we’ll be paying for till 2038), and while we would like to own a car so travelling is easier (especially when you have a kid and have tons of kid-things in tow), we also think its crazy to lay 90,000 good money for a piece of paper that says you may now proceed to buy a car.

While Singapore Inc strives to achieve greater and higher economic success year on year, so have our employers’ expectations of us. Outwardly, while they smile and say “hey, take all the maternity leave you want”, we all know they’re secretly interviewing 2 or 3 foreign imports (talent, I think, is too strong a word for them) who are willing to do more for less (because “currencies” and “its only for a couple of years”).

So, we need to be more efficient and productive at work whilst looking over our shoulders in fear of losing out to cheaper alternatives, generally work longer hours, and yet, when we get home, still need to get in the mood for baby-making? Truth be told, I get a shiver of dread, and I swear I can feel an incremental turn of the vice on my migraine each time my work-blackberry vibrates.

We’re already lamenting a lack of time spent as husband and wife. When a kid comes along, that’s just going to morph into fathering and mothering duty time.

Don’t get me wrong. I do want to have a kid (2 is simply too expensive), I’m just saying its too easy to see why people wouldn’t.

Elaine Ee makes some very good points in her article. She points out a few key aspects that needs to be changed. Better work-life balance, a more affordable everything, and a collective change in the government’s policy of running a nation like a corporation.

She says:

“What we need now is the political will to make some of these changes – at a deep, cultural level. Not a lecture on how people need to change their attitudes towards marriage and parenthood, and have babies to serve their nation—because no one on earth will have a baby for that reason.

So, he says we’ll have enormous problems if we don’t pro-create. I say we have some garnishing to prepare before we even try to fry that fish.

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