I was talking to a few people about the cost of rearing a kid in Singapore. It dawned on me that there are so much responsibilities and duties, not to mention the financial cost, associated with bringing up a kid. That makes it strange because when I (casually) ask people why they want a kid, the most common answer is that it's the most natural thing to do. It's almost like no second thought is needed. Just snap your fingers, let's have a kid.
Not that it's not a valid reason, of course. It's just that if my kid is suffering in the world and he asks me why did I bring him here to suffer, I better have a proper explanation for it. I can't just say that it's the natural thing to do after getting married. Having said that, I think some people better not have kids, despite whatever the government is trying to promote here. Have a kid so as to have some months of paid leave? Have a kid to reduce your taxes? C'mon, it's not as simple as just a money problem, even though it can form a big part of the stress faced by parents.
|It's not always so romantically happy in having a kid|
I think the biggest problem is time and effort. Some people just do not want to spend the necessary time and effort to raise a kid. They just throw money at them, perhaps to replace their guilt or simply their lack of interest in having a kid in the first place. I might even think they regret the whole thing. Hey, if you are going to screw up your own life, don't screw up an innocent life.
Is my generation the selfish lot? The generation who only cares about self-interest and throw away all the goodness of family life? I do not think so. I do not speak for others, but at least for me, I think I couldn't be more self-less. If I cannot make sure I can do my best to bring up a kid that will make the world a better place than without, I would rather not have a kid. If you went through the system while growing up and suffers through it, would you want your kids to go through the same routine? I have my reservations on that.
Having said so much, do I like kids? Yes, I do. Would I want children? Yes, I do. But it is not a light decision to make, nor will I make it a hasty one. No amount of tax rebates nor months of paid leave can push me to have a kid. Do you really want parents who would have more kids to have such incentives? If you can make the environment and social institutions more friendly towards parents, then perhaps it can push me and others to have more kids. Until then, I'm sorry, I really do not think all the campaign will work well. The pull factors are just simply not attractive enough.
As an afterthought, what about push factors? Pay triple the tax if there's no kid in the family? No buying of subsidized housing? When all the nice candies do not work, maybe the pushing and shoving just might. I hope I do not live long enough to see such acts here.