We Really Need More Babies.

by Patrick Liew on October 14, 2016

While Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo’s message was well intended and communicated for the good of the nation, some of her comments have been misinterpreted in many quarters and have gone somewhat viral both in Singapore and overseas.
The decision to have babies should primarily be for the purpose of finding joy and fulfillment. And with the aim of bringing up responsible and useful children to support themselves and growth of communities and society.

While it’s important to count the costs, raising children should not be seen as a financial or a non-financial burden otherwise it will affect healthy parenting process.

The government should continue to develop essential assistance and conditions to support proper procreation and parenthood, including expediting the availability of HDB flats for couples. It can also promote the joy of parenthood, supported by real life testimonies to help increase our total fertility rate.

On the other hand, couples should not look primarily to the government to make a decision on having and raising children.

There’ll always be challenges in life for both couples and singles and no couples can be fully prepared, and nor will there be a perfect time to have children.

More importantly, over time, couples may have to battle potential infertility and other procreational problems.

Another potential learning lesson from this episode is that mass media should be more circumspect in the way they frame headlines. While it’s understandable for them to come out with appealing headlines to promote more readership and advertisement, they also have a duty to convey facts in an objective and balanced manner.

The potential for misinterpretation can be exacerbated by the fact that many readers may not read beyond the first few sentences. They may not have the time to analyse context and meaning of the article, and may think that the authorities are promoting a liberal and unhealthy sexual lifestyle.

As we come to grips with a fast-aging population and a relatively low total fertility rate, couples should explore effective ways to bring forward their marriage and plans for having children.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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