S'poreans 'willing to make time for family'

Among those unhappy with amount of quality time, many will give up TV, Net surfing: Poll

Singaporeans who feel they are not spending enough quality time with their families say they are willing to give up watching television or surfing the Net to make the time.

A recent poll of 872 people, who were mostly parents, found that of the 401 people who were dissatisfied with the amount of quality family time they had, nine in 10 wanted at least three more hours in an average week; and seven in 10 wanted at least five more hours.

More than half were willing to give up watching television for it. About half, or 48 per cent, would forgo surfing the Internet, while 41 per cent said they would reduce the amount of time spent working.

The additional findings of the poll, which was conducted by non-profit organisation Families for Life (FFL) last month, were released yesterday.

The first set of results was released earlier this month. It showed that four in 10 people spend less than an hour, on average, with their family daily.

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said it was a good sign that Singaporeans wanted to spend more time with their family.

"Whether they spend enough time or not, that's a bit subjective," he said yesterday, after touring the inaugural two-day Families for Life Celebrations at the Singapore Sports Hub.

Mr Chan, who is also Second Minister for Defence, added that a culture of taking time out to spend with one's loved ones should start with employers, so that their subordinates would be comfortable following suit.

FFL council chairman Ching Wei Hong, however, noted that giving up lifestyle choices for more family time was not so straightforward, given constraints such as working hours, chores at home that have to be done, as well as children's co-curricular activities and schoolwork.

What is important is that Singaporeans make a conscious effort to find time, he added.

"It's not just the amount of time, but making sure you... spend it meaningfully," said Mr Ching.

Mr Chan said the sports hub is working very closely with his ministry to organise activities for Singaporeans of all ages. The carnival, which ends today, is an example, he added.

Activities at the festival include kayaking, Segway rides, movie screenings and game booths. Some 20,000 people are expected to turn up over both days.

Housewife Goh Lay Tin, 46, who was there with her family yesterday, said it was a good break for her 12-year-old son who has been busy studying for his Primary School Leaving Examination.

"It's fun, and here, there's no need to worry about where to have lunch with the (Kallang Wave) mall nearby," she said.

mellinjm@sph.com.sg