The Nation Family Council finally decide to outdo itself and launch the national family pledge:
“We, the people of Singapore,
pledge to build strong and happy Families.
We affirm the commitment of marriage
between husband and wife.
And take responsibility to nurture our children,
and respect our elders.
We celebrate and honour
the roles of each Family member.
And uphold the Family as the foundation”
This is really a continuation of our government’s blind ideology of the mythical perfect family model, one man and one woman. Obviously many people have pointed out the flaws in this pledge that it excludes many our families who may have 2 or more grandmothers, divorced families, single parents, orphans and, of course, same-sex families.
What it also excludes are Muslim families with more than one wife, even though this is allow in Singapore under the Islamic law.
To add injury to insult, most of the family services linked in the NFC web site are run by conservative Christian groups, except maybe only one or 2 which are more neutral and non-Christian. Are there no family services or groups that are run by other non-Christian or non faith-based groups in Singapore?
The Singapore government prides itself for its commitment to the perfect family, but are families made up of a man, a woman and children a sure recipe for a good family, raising good kids and benefiting society? How many cases have we seen of so-called perfect family structure, where siblings are out to sue each other over inheritances or argue over who to take care of their ailing parents? How many cases do we see of the perfect family structure, where children are abused, parents pressuring the child so much in examination that he/she went into depression or where parents kicked their children out of the house because they refused to become a lawyer or doctor or take over family business but choose another path?
The idea that just having a correct family structure will create a good family is naive, unscientific and unfounded. In fact, in many ways, it is also unethical because laws are used to penalize or not grant subsidies to non-perfect families like single parents when they are the ones that need even more help to provide and maintain a healthy environment for bring up the children.
If the perfect family structure is that perfect, you will not see hundreds of conferences and talks devoted such topics like how to communicate with your children, how to understand their aspiration, how to become a better parent and how to keep your marriage together. If the perfect family structure is that perfect, a man and a woman getting married and having children will not require any other assistance, education or support because a good family environment and value naturally arises from these structures. Why do we yet need to spend so much on helping them create a good family environment and being a good parent?
Obviously what makes a good family is not the structure, but the love, the values and good parenting techniques that trumps the structure. By focusing on shallow family structures and marginalizing those who don’t fit the bill, we are only creating a Singapore where only the right-type of citizens are welcome. Instead of a diverse, loving and supportive society, we will create one where people will be encouraged to marginalize, discriminate and even reject those who are not within those norms.