death by paper cut

{February 19, 2011}   no shit einstein

oh and the powers that be wonder and wonder why singaporeans are marrying later (if at all) and not keen on kids.

doesn’t one article answer the questions in the other?

17 February 2011

by Ong Dai Lin

SINGAPORE – The official word is that the average waiting time for a build-to-order (BTO) flat is three years.

But a check on the completion dates of the 21 BTO projects launched last year showed that 17 of them are expected to take longer than that. It is estimated that these projects will be completed only in 2014 or 2015.

Responding to queries by MediaCorp, a Housing Development Board (HDB) spokesperson said the estimated completion dates take into account factors such as the size of the project and complexity of design.

For the BTO projects launched last year, the dates also took into account the time needed to call the tender for construction, which is six to eight months.

According to the HDB, the estimated completion date is provided at the launch of projects to help buyers plan ahead and make an informed decision.

Once the construction starts, the HDB will monitor and update the construction progress on its website, providing buyers with a more accurate projection of when their flats will be completed.

The spokesperson added that the HDB had streamlined the BTO processes to allow flat buyers to collect the keys to their new homes about six months earlier.

Applicants of these BTO projects told MediaCorp that, despite the inconveniences caused by the long waiting time, they are not considering other housing options such as resale flats because of high prices.

An applicant who wanted to be known only as Miss Chong, 24, said she had obtained a queue number for the Punggol Topaz BTO project launched last December. It is estimated that it will be completed in the second quarter of 2015.

She said she will be staying apart from her fiance after they get married next December. They are unable to move into each other’s homes as they share rooms with siblings.

The marketing executive said: “I’m worried about making plans on having babies as my fiance and I will want to have our own home for the kids. I will be almost hitting 30 when I get the flat and already married for four years.”

Another applicant who wanted to be known as Ms Tan, 28, has selected a five-room flat in the Corporation Tiara BTO project launched last July. She is waiting for her flat to be completed in the second quarter of 2014.

The business excellence executive, who started balloting for a flat in 2008, has been married for two years and is staying with her in-laws.

She said having children might affect her in-laws due to space constraints.

Last August, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan announced that the average waiting time for BTO flats launched after the middle of this year would be two-and-a-half years.

This will be done by tweaking HDB practices such as bringing forward the preparation of building designs for tender so that construction can start soon after the flats have been launched and streamlining work processes.

16 February 2011

Having children not top priority: Survey

By Monica Kotwani

SINGAPORE – While many young adults here indicated that they want to have children, most did not see it as their top priority, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 21 to 39 years.

The survey was conducted by advocacy group I love Children between last October and December, via face-to-face interviews. It found that 3 per cent of the respondents saw having children as a top priority.

In contrast, 28 per cent of the respondents said having a successful career was their top goal while 25 per cent cited financial independence. However, of the 780-odd respondents who were childless, 72 per cent said they intended to have children.

All the respondents were asked whether they intend to have children, or more kids if they are already parents. Sixty-four per cent replied in the affirmative while the remaining 36 per cent said they did not intend to or were not sure.

Of the latter group, more than one-third said they would change their mind if finances were not an issue while almost half said they would do so if they had a more supportive spouse.

On the survey findings, Mrs Joni Ong, the president of I Love Children, noted that the bulk of the respondents were single or newlyweds.

Said Mrs Ong: “At that life stage, I’m not surprised that having children is not a top priority. and that carving a career and being financially independent would come out (as) higher (priorities).”

She added that the results also showed that “having a supportive spouse is important”.

Said Mrs Ong: “Having children is very much a personal decision, and we’re not here to say you must have children … I think we want to be a conduit to share that if one half of you is not interested, both of you will never experience that joy.”

Last month, the latest official statistics showed that Singapore’s fertility rate had dropped to a low of 1.16 last year – a far cry from the recommended replacement rate of 2.1.


{August 31, 2009}   baby chris

i visited dt and her son at home today. baby chris is all but three weeks young and so is constantly either sleeping or feeling sleepy.

when cradled from his cot for scheduled feeding this afternoon, he protested with grunts and deep deep frowns. and in case you didn’t get the point that he is expressing irritation, he squeezed his face to deepen the frowns.

Leave Me Alone!

he continued to sleep in my arms for more than an hour while we watched tv and eventually managed a hi while still asleep.


{December 26, 2008}   A Child is Born

my dear friend sc is a new and proud mother to mc, the first baby born on christmas (1205 am) in mt elizabeth hospital, as a result she was given a free upgrade to a single bed ward and given baby hampers and was told that the press might come do a story on her.

sc is the first close peer to have given birth so i’m duly excited.

mc has thick shock of black silky hair, a fiesty disposition and is adorably cute, just like her mother. may you grow in health and wisdom mc.

Mindy Chua

{August 8, 2008}   the new addition

new born babies tend to have a yellowish tinge on the skin (jaundice). this hue is caused by the accumulation of bilirubin (waste) in the blood. in the womb, the baby doesn’t rely on his own liver to process waste since he depends on the mother to do so. now with the umbilical cord severed, the liver of babies tend to be overwhelmed, resulting in the bilirubin (waste) overflowing back into the baby’s system.

exposing the baby to sunlight or using the synthetic method of phototherapy breaks down the bilirubin into water-soluble isomers (isomerization) that can be passed out without getting stuck in the liver.

one of my sister’s friend’s nephew now suffers from permanent liver failure due to the failure of the doctor to detect and treat jaundice. the baby was given only 2 years to live but has outlived that expectancy, the child can never lead a normal life however. on the other end of the spectrum, it was reported a few years ago that a couple sunned their baby by hanging the basket that the baby was placed in, precariously on bamboo poles at the high rise hdb flat. rockabye baby baby.

and why should i bother about this? because that’s what we did for my new nephew, now just about a week old. no, not place him on bamboo poles.

he didn’t quite take to it.

click image to view other pics in the set.

{June 2, 2008}   Farming out family

during the first three years of my life, my mother stopped working completely to take care of me. she couldn’t afford to do that for my sister who was born 6 years before me. it wasn’t a happy experience to have to entrust her first born to the care of her cranky mother-in-law and to also have to put up under her roof. i suspect that was why she made it a point to change that when my mother had me.

my older childhood experience involves a lot of school activities and coming home in the later part of the afternoon to a maid and grandmother who came to live with us when i was in upper primary – my grandmother didn’t really take care of me, she moved in to be taken care of by my mother. i didn’t remember seeing much of my parents as both will be at work until they returned home at about 6.30pm. my mom would promptly proceed to cook dinner that the maid prepared a few hours prior.

even then we didn’t do much in the evenings or during the weekends as my extra curricular activities continued to occupy my time.

i turned out fine, not maladjusted or lacking in anything. the routine is similar to the experience many of my peers. but that may not be the case in my generation.

the thing is, returning home at 6.30pm is no longer feasible even in the public service. when the civil service implemented the 5 day work week instead of 5.5 days, they didn’t actually work less, instead, they work longer hours on weekdays to compensate for saturdays.

some schools in the teaching service with crazy principals started introducing the punch card system to make sure that staff made up for the hours that saturdays used to occupy.

just 30 mins to 1 hour from 5/6pm to 6/7ishpm makes a lot of difference to family time because that’s when the family starts to gather round to prepare dinner and eat together.

take that away, and the fleeting opportunity to commune together is lost.

my mom now has the good fortune to afford to retire to become a stay-home-grandma to my niece. my sister and brother-in-law (both civil servants) return home about 8pm to have dinner warmed up for them, play with their daughter for an hour before my niece heads to bed at 9pm. not a lot of family time is there?

i am too a civil servant who has no time as a grown up to eat at home because i leave work at 7 or 8pm. dinner is therefore usually eaten on the way home so that like my niece i can head to bed near 9pm for a 5am start.

if you have no time for self, time for family is wishful thinking.

in this day and age in singapore, you either be a dedicated worker, or a dedicate care-giver because they are both more than full time jobs. you can of course try to straddle between both like most singaporeans do, and find that its not fulfilling because one role saps all the energy required for the other – but that is the reality, so suck it up.

the tragi-comic comment going around in school is that teachers can never meet with the teachers of their own children because they always have to meet with the parents of their students.

commenting on the situation of the state of parenthood in singapore as far as government policies are concerned, tribolum very succiently puts it:

…it also became clear that the Singapore government was bent on having us outsource the parenting function.

The above incentives – tax rebates, cash incentives, the reduction in the levy for domestic helpers – only apply if the mother is working (exception of the one time baby bonus). If the mother decides to stay home to look after her children, the family is ineligible for these incentives. These incentives cannot be claimed by the working father.

Not only do you suffer the loss of a significant part of your household income, you lose the government’s support. I know that the government wants all the marbles – productivity in the workplace, high GDP, a healthy birthrate – but Singapore needs to make some hard choices here.

when i have my own family, i don’t want to have parenting outsourced: never to a domestic helper, hopefully not my parents or in-laws, at least not on a daily basis. so how to benefit from the tax breaks and cash incentives after maybe 6 to 12 months of leave? (only 3 months of which is paid maternity leave mind you).

how about the option of having a stay-home-father for a while?

et cetera