Though I object the idea of pre-arranged marriages, I do share the viewpoint of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long on the connection between falling birth-rates in Singapore and the independence of women here. With reference to the National Day Rally last night and the article found on TODAYonline.
Being one of the “modern-day woman”, I get equally pissed off when some men are still harbouring that primitive thought of women having to be submissive and latch on to the every word of men, as if they are words of God. Unfortunately, times have changed and quite a bit it has. Though such women still exist, it is small in percentage and such wonderful women would have been snapped up in an instant. I personally believe that due to such mentality, marriages nowadays hardly last. It’s a fundamental dissonance in the essence of marriage in the eyes of the 2 most important parties, the husband and wife. If this dissonance is not addressed right from the beginning, no marriage will last. And when everybody else sees that marriages doesn’t last anyway, why would anyone jump into something that is, to them, bound to fall apart?
Marriage, to me, is like closing a deal. Both parties have to list out what they want through this marriage and what is their ‘motive’ for wanting to get married. No lofty ideals, no romantic notions. Cold, hard realistic views. If a match is found possible, then the marriage can happen and will last. Of course, such calculating behaviour is not going to be how it will happen. In relationships, we think using our hearts, never our heads. Unfortunately.
Of course, independence and career is not the only deterent for me in terms of getting married, and having kids for that matter. It is also the cost involved in all of these actions. Imagine, to get married, you’ve got to throw a proper Chinese wedding DINNER. That in itself will set you back tens of thousands dollars. Don’t even think about depending on the ang paos you get in return. I’ve seen Singaporeans who prepare a S$80 ang pao and bring a family of four. So distasteful. Worse still, these people are usually your relatives. Or distant relatives. Or friends of your parents. So unless you hold a dinner solely for your friends, it’s not going to cover. And the money spent is not just on F&B, there’s the gowns, the cake, the gifts, the tea ceremony, the bridesmaids gowns etc etc etc. On top of that, planning such an event is a major pain in the neck, having to really co-ordinate small minute details. If you hire a wedding planner, that’s another wad of cash down the drain. And there’s going to be the issue of both parties’ expectations of a wedding. That’s another headache to handle. And if not handled well, it’s the beginning of the end………
Kids, although cute at times, are a major cash suckers. During the 9 months that you carry them in you, there are already expenses incurred for medical fees as well as wardrobe costs… For the next 20 years after you give birth to them, you need thousands of dollars every single year to upkeep their well-being. Parents of older generations can still depend on their kids to take care of them when they get old, but in the future, I think this situation will change, ever so slightly. Old Folk’s Homes are increasingly being more accepted by my current generation, where more people have the mentality that they rather be in an old folk’s home than inconveniencing their kids. What with globalisation bringing the concept of privacy and personal space within the family closer to us, it won’t be surprising to me if there be an increasing number of people who’d prefer to check into an old folk’s home in future, me included. If I’m all alone that is. This probably sounds a little callous, but really, it’s not all about keeping the family line going. There are material concerns and realistic issues to deal with. So unless I have Victoria Beckham’s money, I don’t want a soccer team of kids.
That’s only touching on the ACTIONS of getting married & having babies. Another issue is FINDING the right person. With the competitiveness in the society now, it is not as easy as it seems to get to know new people. On paper and in theory, all one has to do is get out more often and engage in social activities. However, do not forget that meeting new people and socialising does sap energy out of you, and after a week of hard work, all you want to do is to meet your familiar circle of friends to hang out for drinks or a meal. Meeting new people and getting to know them from the beginning is something we do all the time at work, and after office hours, do we really want to expend some more energy to meet even more new people? Furthermore, it’s difficult to get close to, or intimate with co-workers. Office gossip is something that can potentially break any relationship, and where else do we spend most of our time? In the office of course. Not to mention, being in such a competitive environment, getting ahead in work can really take up quite a bit of your time, what with possible overtime and working on weekends.
Of course, all I have is my mouth and thoughts and no real solution. That’s why I’m a commoner and not a Member of Parliament… They are supposed to do the problem solving for us no? XD