Forum: Voices of Youth

Extending paternity leave a good idea

The policy recommendations based on a study done by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) to encourage fathers to play a more active parental role are heartening and relevant (More paternity leave, less stigma could help fathers be more active parents: IPS study, Jan 30).

I believe that extending paid paternity leave is most beneficial. Increasing paternity leave from the current two weeks to equal the 16-week maternity leave would be most ideal.

The fact that six in 10 fathers did not take paternity leave in 2018 fleshes out how rooted traditional gender norms are in modern Singaporean society.

Communicating the artificiality of such gender norms would make our paternity leave policy much more effective.

Shaun Loh, 16

Year 5 pre-university student

When my team lost by double digits

In 2016, I was left back during my school's first competitive football fixture of the year. I quickly lost count of the number of times I was left flat-footed by the opposing winger. As a team, we chased and harried our opponents and, despite our valiant efforts, left the pitch on the wrong end of an 11-0 scoreline.

Should our opponents have gone easy on us or adhered to a mercy rule to cap defeats? Of course not. It was a competitive fixture and they were entitled and obliged to give it their all.

Contrary to the notion that students on the wrong end of such defeats will experience "psychological adversity that may trigger a fear response if confronted with a similar scenario even years later" our NUS High team faced up to reality (School sports set-up needs fine-tuning, say observers, Feb 2).

Yes, we were humiliated on the pitch, but we accepted that the other team simply outclassed us on every front - physicality, pace, technique. It was a well-deserved victory for them. Furthermore, it would have been doubly humiliating had the opponents started taking it easy.

This is the crux of the problem: How the public reacted to it. As a nation, we need to accept that these scorelines happen, and instead of trying to bury the heads of youth in sand by avoiding these fixtures, we ought to embrace the result as a form of experiential learning.

Dayrius Tay Jiale, 18

Pre-university student

No shying away from issue of class divide

The South Korean hit film, Parasite, has left its mark on the film industry, winning a slew of prestigious awards internationally.

Parasite delves into the issue of class divide, distinguishing itself through its realistic portrayal of the poor and the rich.

The issues raised in the movie parallel a disturbing reality in virtually every part of the world, and Singapore is no exception.

While government and community efforts to aid the poor are helping, it is debatable whether people caught in the vicious circle of poverty can ever break out of it.

The growing disparity between the poor and the rich should be given more thought.

Society plays a part in worsening the divide through an ingrained culture of elitism and the existence of social-class bubbles.

Social inequality is certainly not an easy topic, but this does not give us reason to shy away from striving to reduce it.

Melody Tay Wen Hui , 17

JC 2 student

CALLING YOUNG READERS: If you are a student or aged 21 years or below, and want to air your opinion on any report or letter in The Straits Times, e-mail your letter to, with the subject header "Voices of Youth". Do include your age, school level and contact details, and the headline of the report/letter you refer to. Please keep to a length of 250 words.