Forum: Relook ways of pushing pro-parenthood message

A family of four in Toa Payoh.
A family of four in Toa Payoh.PHOTO: ST FILE

The joint Forum letter by the Ministry of Manpower and National Population and Talent Division was filled with statistics that did not address the real issue (Much being done to support parenthood, Nov 5).

Despite conducting studies, enacting legislation and increasing budgets since 2008, that concerned citizens still harbour doubts about having children should prompt policymakers to rethink the approach.

The numbers bear out - less than 10 per cent or 3,000 out of over 50,000 employers in Singapore adopted tripartite standards for flexible work arrangements and unpaid leave, and the number of workers impacted is less than 50 per cent or 700,000 out of 1.45 million.

Much has been written about government efforts to promote parental aspirations (What's next for pro-parenthood measures? Focus on work culture, Sept 5).

However, given broader concerns over economic competitiveness - perhaps budgets should go towards more pervasive soft marketing in the form of roadshows, government-sanctioned family days, lunchtime talks at major local and foreign companies, as well as supporting celebrity and activist events for the cause.

Communicate support of parenthood at the level we are doing with the Bicentennial celebrations.

That could finally shift public perception, and employers will eventually have to rise to support this.

Bernard Lim Tiong Hien

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2019, with the headline 'Relook ways of pushing pro-parenthood message'. Print Edition | Subscribe