There is a loud resounding silence as far as response to this letter is concerned.
Dec 2, 2006
Mothers deserve more support from Govt
I READ the articles under the heading, 'Disparate housewives' (The Sunday Times, Nov 26), with much interest.
I am a housewife by choice, having previously worked as sales support manager for a US-China joint venture after completing my Master of Science degree. I also have an MBA.
When our first son was born nine years ago, my husband and I decided that I would give up my career to be a full-time mother/housewife. This decision drew sneers from well-meaning relatives and friends, while my parents thought I was wasting my education and talents.
We now have four lovely children. Motherhood is truly a sacrificial and demanding task but I have no regrets. No childcare service can replace the mother. Mother is often the best caregiver and teacher.
However, what bothered me is the inconsistency in government policy. When I applied recently for permanent residency for my parents, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) rejected my application with the statement, 'You may wish to submit another application for our consideration after you are gainfully employed for a period of time.'
Does the Government think that full-time mothers are not gainfully employed? As reported, stay-at-home mothers/housewives contributed approximately 8 per cent of Singapore's GDP, not counting the long-term impact on Singapore's future. This has been clearly documented in academic-research finding after finding worldwide, including Nanyang Technological University Associate Professor Euston Quah's findings, as was also reported.
Since around 1999, the Government has been actively encouraging Singaporeans to have more babies, offering baby bonuses and tax rebates in the face of a declining and fast-ageing indigenous population.
While one can understand the Government's wish at the same time to encourage mothers to return to the workforce, a policy conflict-of-interests and dilemma is inadvertently created.
The future of Singapore is in mothers' hands. It takes commitment, patience and, above all, sacrificial love to nurture children, for the future of the country.
The letter I received from ICA was a true dampener. Should not mothers deserve more support and understanding from the Government?
He Ruo Fan (Ms)"
I guess one of the spin doctors in ICA is trying to craft a response that
a) empathises with Ms He's sentiments that SAHM's are important in the process of child-rearing;
b) will support the Government's call to have more babies;
c) calls for more companies to be more pro-family so that more SAHM's can return to work at least part-time (like being a mother is not work???);
d) will also support the Government's call for women to return to the workforce.
Maybe the silence from the general public is because many Singaporeans feel that housewives/full time moms don't really have a job? Forget about the night calls (i.e. night feeds/diaper changes for infants), nursing (i.e.sick child/sick husband), chaffeur (i.e. driving kids to/from school & activities), housekeeper (i.e. housework), accountant (i.e. keeping track of household accounts & making sure bills are paid), cook (self-explanatory), teacher (i.e. reading to kids/revision/helping them with assessments), COO (of the household). Oh, and also you cannot take MC as no one will be able to take over your duties, and also no vacation days either, for the most part.