Singaporeans crave more time with family: Poll

Quality time with loved ones stolen by long work hours, household chores, survey shows

PM Lee Hsien Loong posing with a member of the public for a photograph at yesterday’s Families for Life Celebrations. Mr Lee and his wife Ho Ching were among the 20,000 or so people at the event. ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN

Singaporeans cannot get enough time with their families, according to a recent survey.

A quarter of those polled said they spend between six and 12 hours of "quality time" with their loved ones every week, including excursions, communal meals and heart-to-heart chats. Seven in 10 said spending time with their families made them happiest, ahead of things like achieving financial goals or having adequate personal time.

Despite this, nearly half the 1,252 people polled by non-profit organisation Families for Life were dissatisfied with their state of affairs.

Many cited long work hours and household chores as major obstacles to spending as much time with their families as they would like.

The poll results were released yesterday, during this year's Families for Life Celebrations at Universal Studios Singapore.

"It's really good to know that people want to spend more time (with their families)," Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said at the event. He also said being able to spend quality time with one's family must be an active decision. "Even if it's just waking up a little bit earlier to catch the kids before they go off to school, or sometimes taking time off to come back a bit earlier and catch hold of them before they go to bed," Mr Tan said.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching were among the 20,000 or so people at the event. Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development, was also present.

One of the largest extended families at the celebrations was the 44-member Goh-Oh clan - the oldest of whom is 88 and the youngest just a year old.

"My mother-in-law was a good friend of my late mother, and they would cook together and call all the children over for dinner," said Madam Catherine Oh, 54, who has five siblings. Her husband, 56-year-old George Goh, has four siblings.

"That's how we all became so close, and now we still meet up very often, during public holidays or birthdays," she said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline Singaporeans crave more time with family: Poll. Subscribe