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My name is Jaslyn Go. I was born in 1972. The third child. It was a joyous occasion for the Go family. But the Government saw it differently. My birth was an offence and my parents were fined a hefty sum of money. This was because Mr Lee Kuan Yew insisted that families, especially if you were not among the elite, could have only two children.
Fast forward to 2011. The same Mr Lee now laments that Singaporeans are not reproducing quickly enough. With oly 1.2 births per person, Singaporeans cannot replace themselves.
Our population decline did not just emerge from out of the blue. It took years of relentless and ruthless state intervention including, as in my mother’s case, punitive measures to stop Singaporeans from procreating.
Many couples, especially those in the lower-income and lower-educated groups, were pressed to undergo invasive, irreversible medical procedures such as ligation and sterilisation to prevent them from having more babies.
The PAP then discovered that it had miscalculated spectacularly; our birthrate was too low. We are the least fertile country in the world. (Only two other places are less fertile than Singapore –- Hong Kong (1.04) and Macau (0.91). But these are not countries, they are cities in China.)
The Government is now desperately reversing course. Now Singaporeans are suddenly urged to have more than two children.
This is the kind of political abomination – the playing with the people’s lives by this Government – that Singaporeans have had to suffer. Playing God is what the PAP has done and continues to do. It does this by making policy based on personal whims and opinions, not on research.
Population too stressed
Today our fertility rate is still too low. We need at least 2.1 births per person. At this rate, experts calculate, our economy won’t have enough people to sustain it.
The Government is providing monetary incentives for Singaporeans to produce more babies. Few seem to be biting. The reasons for younger Singaporeans not to have children are two-fold: life is too stressful and cost of living is prohibitive.
It is clear that the lifestyle in Singapore where the PAP drives Singaporeans on to achieve GDP growth is backfiring on the country. People are recoiling.
Take Ms Jean Heng, 30, a civil servant who says that life in Singapore is just too stressful: “Work takes up a huge amount of time and I have no energy to take care of kids. If I want to have kids, I would want to devote enough resources in terms of time and money.”
Experts agree say that the high cost of living is a main reason for couples shying away from raisin children. Professor Gavin Jones, a sociologist at the National University of Singapore, says that the high financial and opportunity cost deters young couples from having children.
With HDB flat prices going through the roof, how are couples starting off in life going to afford a home of their own? Without a home, how do you sart a family? Medical fees are escalating by the year and so are eductaion costs. Public transport is a nightmare nowadays and buying a car is insanely expensive.
To have children, it is a must for both spouses to work in order to meet with household expenses. Working parents have little time for their kids which begs the question: Why have children just to leave them un-parented?
The PAP doesn’t get it
So what does the PAP do? It opens the floodgates to foreigners so that we can create an instant population that would give us the number that the PAP wants to see. MM Lee, being the prime architect of this system, now tells us that we need to import younger immigrants.
This policy has destabilised the nation to the extent that Singapore is no longer a country for Singaporeans. It has become an outpost for all who want to come here to make money.
This is how the PAP is dragging the country down the drain. It first discourageous Singaporeans from having children. Then when it realises that our population is shrinking it brings in foreigners to replace us.
The PAP does all this with one and only one objective: To raise the GDP at all cost which is the only way it can legitimise its autocratic rule. Let’s not forget the raising the GDP directly raises the ministers’ salaries. But increasing the GDP doesn’t mean making Singaporeans richer.
There are consequences if we continue to let the PAP rule Singapore unchecked and these consequences will be horrendous for the nation. We must stop the PAP before it’s too late.