Sunday, April 11, 2004

Baby Woes

Perhaps a lack of responsibility or maybe a sense of immaturity and insensibility that I have swear off my beer-guzzling comments for a long while. Taking anti-depressant pills for a couple months to cope with the many unfamiliar and unrealistic changes happening around the world today had no doubt dumbed and numbed my senses. But I am glad that I finally found new resolve to share what I had with an issue that has preoccupied my mind recently

Singaporeans are facing an alarming renewal rate of just 1.24 per couple in Singapore, second behind Italy. Well what does this mean? It mean that Singaporean couples are either having less sex or they just want to enjoy the process but receive the product. But pleasures aside (Excuse the pun!) It means that Singapore is not producing enough babies to keep up the present population in Singapore. What does this finally lead to? Well it only mean that Singaporeans are going to be an extinct lot, found only in history books and illustrated pictorials beside the dodo and Siamese tigers. Can you imagine the day that Singaporeans are classified as endangered by WWF ( Not that one with overgrown men with spandex trying to pin each other) together with the like of the Japanese and Koreans. But there is definitely a need for renewed pressure (not that, you idiot :P) from the government to get the baby producing machines working again.

But why is Singaporeans so adverse to the idea of having kids? Using myself as an example, On a dimmer note, Singaporean couples are choosing to have less or no babies, preferring to splurge the extra cash on a condominum or a dog.

To many, parenthood is a responsibility that comes with a lot of appendixes. Factors such as economic stability, maturity (not necessary bonds and shares) and time are necessary. Of course for birth control, birth control pills and contraceptives would be the main factors. I have female friends who are still contemplating on marriage less alone having kids. “Please” they would say with all the contortions on face. “I have spent so and so may years getting my BA/ BBA/ BSc/ Hons/ BEng/ Masters/ PhD (delete whichever applicable), I want to concentrate on my career.” So determined and so nonchalant, and the issue of childbearing will be cast aside, seem that they have got their “C” in the wrong priorities

In case any one of you feminists out there who think that I am someone who is a MCP, I am also having phobia about kids. As a preacher opps teacher, I see it as my social responsibility to share my take on this issue. I am currently married for two years with no kids. When it is the new year, relatives would ask the two of us about kids. I am not really against kids but I am just not ready for them. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, I love to play with them, but when they start crying, you would alos see me holding the wailing baby with extended arms as though I am holding a bomb, looking for their parents. To raise them and go through the whole round of anxiety of getting him/her into the best primary school, college and university and to see him/her getting married and to nag at him/her to start carry on the family line is a thought too scary to continue. Being someone of the teaching profession, seeing the poor kids going through all these agonies of studying and paper chasse, I start to ask myself, am I doing my kids a good deed by not bringing them to the world, especially in Singapore where the paper chase is so prominent.

Perhaps the only way to have kids is really by an unforeseen accident and mind you I am not leaving it to chance; In time of passion I have my trusty contraceptives to fall back on. I remember a friend who was shocked to know that condoms were only 99.9% safe against unwanted pregnancies. Then he commented and said, now I know why with all the condoms as protection I still get 3 kids. Well it was a little late to know that after 3 pregnancies huh? Another friend once share with me, to have a healthy life we need to do the following things, eat more veggies, eat more fish and have more sex.

To help the government to address this issue, I have come up with some practical ways to get it up ( Not Viagra but the number of babies)

1) Lower COE for cars for people with 3 kids and above
This is especially true for samll families who have to bring the kids to places of interets or even to a simple meal out side of home. You try trudging through swarms of people in the mrt with your bags full of baby essentials, a baby pram and a screaming baby on tow onto our most popular public transport and you will truly understand what it means. And the very fact that places of interests such as the Zoo and the Bird Park and the Science Park is not exactly accessible by MRT, you will have to spend extra money for a taxi. With the taxi capabity of only 5 inclusive of the driver, it mean that you can only afford to have *gasp* 2 kids including you and your husband. Take about being family friendly. Encourage more families to develop by allowing them specail discount to buy a car. It may not solve your congestion problems but it will certainly solve the baby shortage problem. Truly survivor huh??

2) Raise prices of condoms
To prevent people from smoking, cigarette prices had escalated. Over the years, the number of smokers had dwindled. It shows that cost is a factor. therefore to encourage more babies, raise the price of condoms/ femdoms, contraceptives, well u can't win them all.

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