SINGAPORE - Strong families are the bedrock of society and the Government will continue to foster a Singapore made for families, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (June 4).
This means having marriage and parenthood benefits that help people start families, and policies that help the vast majority own homes, he said.
He added that the Government has enhanced pre-school education so that every child gets a good start in life, and it is also expanding support for seniors to age gracefully.
“Our families mould our character and values,” Mr Lee said. “They shape our personality and beliefs. They anchor our sense of belonging in our society.”
Families are also the first line of care and support for many people, he noted, adding that the positive impact of families often extends across generations.
“We look after our kids and when our kids grow up, we look after their children - our grandkids. When we grow old, we hope our kids will help to look after us. So, our family goes on and our society goes on.”
The Prime Minister was speaking at the opening of a two-day carnival at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre to celebrate National Family Week.
This year – which has been designated the Year of Celebrating Singapore Families – marks the first time this event is being held. It is organised by non-profit organisation Families for Life.
The aim is to make this an annual event, which will take place during the June school holidays, with family bonding activities and promotions at stores.
Ms Prevena Kannathass, who was at the carnival with her husband, nephew and two sons, highlighted the importance of quality time for building family bonds.
“The kids can be a handful at times, and it is not all magic and rainbows,” said the 29-year-old kindergarten teacher. “It is not smooth-sailing all the time, but it is one of the best experiences I’ve had so far.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Families for Life council chairman Ishak Ismail.
“Strong family relationships require sustained effort to nurture,” he observed.
“Even as we are caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, we must prioritise family and set aside dedicated family bonding time daily.”
But certain families need more help.
The Alliance for Action to Strengthen Marriages and Family Relationships aims to mobilise support for such families, Mr Lee said. These include families with incarcerated members, single-parent households and those suffering from domestic violence.
“Every family goes through its ups and downs. Different families have different needs and face different challenges,” he added.