Families gather to celebrate National Stepfamily Day for the first time

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim mingling with families as they compete to build the highest sandcastle tower during a carnival to celebrate Stepfamily Day.
Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim mingling with families as they compete to build the highest sandcastle tower during a carnival to celebrate Stepfamily Day.ST PHOTO: FELICIA CHOO

SINGAPORE- Along with 20 other stepfamilies, Ms Marsita celebrated National Stepfamily Day with her husband Sulaiman and their four children at Palawan Beach in Sentosa on Saturday (Sept 16).

It was an important occasion for them, as the couple had married only three years ago - the second marriage for both of them.

"For families to be everlasting and happy, we have to give in and compromise - that's the most important thing," said Ms Marsita, 46, who declined to give her full name.

"Because we are blending with someone that we've not been living with for years, so we have to give and take."

They were at a half-day carnival organised by PPIS Vista Sakinah, a centre which supports Malay/Muslim couples remarrying and stepfamilies.

It is the first time National Stepfamily Day is being celebrated in Singapore.

"Stepfamilies face different needs and challenges compared to families formed through first-time marriages," said Mr Mohd Ali Mahmood, PPIS' chief executive.

The problems that they face range from facing societal pressures of conforming to family norms, to managing ex-spouse disputes and arguments between stepsiblings, he added. To this extent, PPIS Vista Sakinah provides remarriage preparation programmes, consultation services, children support workshops and organises enrichment programmes.

"It is important that couples prepare for the remarriage and for their new roles as stepparents so that children are given the nurturing spaces to develop and eventually navigate through their own lives," said Mr Mohd.

The carnival was also attended by Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, who is also Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs.

He helped to launch the centre's official Facebook page and judged a game in which families competed to build the highest sandcastle tower.