Straits Times Forum
July 19, 2008
Introduce disincentives to deter small families
THE Saturday Special last Saturday ('We'll have more babies if...') featured the effects of our population control policies. It also highlighted the mentality of modern-day married couples who seek to maximise the subjective well-being of their marriage and small family, and reject the need to integrate their personal aspirations with those of the society they live in.
This self-centred mindset, if left uncorrected except by soft-touch incentives promoted by the Government, will take more than a full generation to correct. For the greater good, the Government must introduce firmer pro-family control policies to address this delinquent social behaviour, just as a parent sometimes has to take drastic action to correct a wayward child, no matter what his age.
Before the introduction of population control in the 1970s, the public mindset was not confined to two children, and yet government disincentives managed to change that mindset so successfully, parents started to have fewer children. To hasten the reversal of the current sad situation, and re-emphasise that having a family of at least two children is an intrinsic good, why not introduce disincentives to married couples who deem a reasonably sized family an anathema to their marriage?
The key reasons given by couples who choose to remain childless or have a small family - more, more savings, more wealth, smarter kids and so on - are overly materialistic. The Government affords privileges to the marital status, and the effects of a marriage are not confined merely to companionship but to sustain society via procreation. For married couples to accept the benefits of marriage but purposefully frustrate the individual and social responsibilities of their marital status, is a selfish and unhealthy mentality the Government should address with disciplined and corrective measures.
This will have to be well thought through as there will be consequences, such as couples avoiding marriage which may worsen the already bad situation of failing marriages; the perception of an anti-business environment which deters knowledge workers from settling in Singapore; and even arguments that some basic 'human right' will be infringed.
These will need to be sorted out and the Government will have to re-educate misled citizens that the myth of a population explosion (and an associated depletion of natural resources) needs to be balanced against the truth that having children within a reasonably sized family is necessary to ensure the stewardship of society and Mother Earth can be sustained.
Makes one wonder why the PAP stays in power doesn't it? ........
Year 2025 ...... somewhere in the hardlands ........ where hopefully curiousity in a child has not been completely deadened by our wonderful education system .......
Child: Daddy, mummy who do I have so many brothers and sisters?
Daddy: It is government policy child. We were being punished for not having enough children and had to pay more taxes.
Child: Why do we have to pay so much taxes? Is that why we are so poor with not enough food for all of us in the family?
Daddy / Mummy: Child, we are poor because of things happening in the world beyond our control. Things like globalisation. And we do not actually pay so much taxes because we did not want to so we had all 6 of you lovely children.
Child: But why must you have 6 children when so many of my classmates are from other countries and they are always taking the top spots and going to the good schools? Why can't I and my brothers and sisters have the same opportunity? And what does globalisation have to do with us being poor?
D / M: Ah ... child, you do not understand. This is the way of the elites! We take in these students so that we can have better friends with our neighbouring countries and at the same time promote some competition at home. Your brothers and sisters just have to work harder to get back into school. Pretend you are competing with the whole wide world!! And we are poor because ... well ... we have to feed 8 of us you see, and including Ah Kong and Ah Ma that makes 12 of us.
Child: So what about globalisation? And .... so if I want to compete and become better then others I should go to another country who will pay for me to go to school so that our family is not so poor? And brother and sister can also go to school without being kicked out by overseas students who do so much better because they are so smart to begin with?
D / M: Well child, when you grow up you will understand the ways of our elite government. They always know what they are doing so just trust them no matter what! Competition is always good!! And it is healthy for Singapore!! Nobody can explain or control globalisation!!
Child: But Daddy, if competition is so good why is there no competing government? And why do all our phone bills come from only one company? And if nobody can explain or control globalisation why do we believe in it as a reason to do so many things?
D / M: Child, you ask too many questions. Shut up or I will send you to your room without dinner!
Child: But we do not have dinner anyway!! We have not had dinner for the last 2 months. And my room is your room and mummy's room and all brother's and sister's room.
D / M: Shut up or the policeman will catch you throw you in jail for asking so many questions!!
......... Or was it 1975? What a difference 50 years makes!
Vote Wisely! Your Children Depend on You!