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Maybe baby?

SO much money! The G really outdid itself with its financial incentives to get Singaporeans to reproduce. We need more of our own kind, as we are hardly replacing ourselves. I agree. But all that money, like $2b, we can expect just 6,000 to 9,000 more babies a year. Worth it or not?

I wonder which is the biggest carrot of all. The front-of-queue for BTO flats? But that’s for those who already have children. Some people say it’s not going to help those who want a flat BEFORE children. But hey, I reckon the G also has to appease those who have already done their duty, and whose need is greater. Also, I’ve been reading about parents footing part of the bill for their children’s first home these days. When children already become parents, you can’t be expecting the grandparents to do the same. Or can you?

Other random thoughts:

Childcare announcements will be made today. I thought this was strange as I’ve already seen reports of infant and childcare subsidies amounting to $53,000 being doled out…

Why isn’t more reporting being done on the leave being given to those who adopt infants? This is new. And probably welcomed by couples who’ve missed their biological boat – and who can afford to bring up children. Maybe the numbers are too small?

Are single mothers also eligible for some of those incentives? How are single mothers treated under this population package anyway? Non-existent? (I’m just curious)

But I wonder what the older folk will make of all this fuss. I can imagine the earlier generation who brought up two, three or 10 children without help shaking their heads and raising their eyebrows….and grumbling…

Here are the ramblings of two octogenarians having a coffee:

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Ah Soh: Aiyah. Young people now ah…Everything also like so difficult. Everything also need Government to help. Everything about money. Before ah, we just give birth, at home or call midwife…and then get up and wash clothes, make dinner. Now what is this maternity leave? Four months! Confinement period also not so long…

Ah Cheh: Tiok si lor. Before, give birth so easy. My six children – all grown up. Nothing wrong with them. Feed them rice with dark soya sauce. Some times got ikan kuning. All still manage to grow up. My lao kong never even help. Bus driver. He go to work, come back, give me marketing money. I do everything. Now the men got one week leave. What for? They don’t go to work, just stay home and shake leg. You think they can be bothered to change diaper?

Ah Soh: Aiyah, my grandchildren say now things different. Must have maid, must have house, must have work, both father and mother must help look after baby. And then… only have one or two children! They think our time so easy. We don’t even have other people to help. My grandson who is getting married actually asked his father for money to buy bungalow. I told my son, cannot. Why he cannot rent a room or rent a flat? Then later, own his own house. Young people ah….

Ah Cheh: Wah! Gong xi! Gong xi! Your grandson getting married! Finally! I thought he very fussy…He quite old now right? Got 40 years old?

Ah Soh: Ya. His wife also 40. How to have children like that? But my lao kong say the Government will help – donno what IVF subsidy. And if the baby come out not all right, can use the baby Medisave. Medishield also can cover or something. But aiyah, that grandson of mine say he don’t want to have children! He say children very troublesome. Milk powder. Diaper. Expensive. Our time, we just buy the cheapest milk powder or breast feed until they are older. We just use cloth diaper and wash and re-wash. What disposable diaper?

Ah Cheh: Must pity them also lah. Now both husband and wife got to work. Where got time? I also don’t want to look after great grandchildren. I already look after so many. My children say very hard to get their boss to let them take leave. So children get sick, maid must look after – or they call me. I say a little bit of cough and flu, just give Panadol. Little bit of sick, and they panick. So precious their children. I tell them to give their children Chinese medicine but they say must see proper doctor.

Ah Soh: Leave the young people alone. Not our problem. You finished your coffee? Let’s go. Our mahjong kakis waiting for us.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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