I had been out of touch with the print media for a while because the delivery charges were just too expensive. However, I was suffering without The Straits Times, so I got my helper to get it for me from the petrol kiosk just next to our home when she sends the kids to school in the morning. Usually, I will just take a very quick look at the papers and put it own unless it is The Sunday Times where there are so much more variety to read.
I grew up reading print media but I must say that I have grown to love the digital media and I cannot live without the digital media. You can find almost anything on the internet.
Let’s go back to print media for a while. If you have read 30 January 2014 Edition of The Straits Times, you will find that “PM promises Pioneer Generation A Hongbao” which will be handed out on 9 February 2014. This was the only piece of front-page news which I felt comforting to read before the start of the Lunar New Year.
PM Lee stressed the importance that families are the “foundation of a cohesive and harmonious society”. There is a very famous Chinese proverb which goes, “修身齐家治国平天下.” The proverb seems simple but it is extremely difficult to achieve. First and foremost, you have got to be benevolent, magnanimous and selfless. Like what the PM had said, “families are the foundation of a cohesive and harmonious society.”
However, in Singapore’s society today, we question about family cohesiveness. Divorce rates are on the rise. Many of us who are educated refused to be trapped in a loveless relationship and unlike the older generation who stayed together not because they believed in love, but because they believed in family cohesiveness. A family must have a father, a mother and children. Moreover, the women were mostly housewives who had lower education and the husband was the sole-breadwinner.
Unlike the older generation, women today are high-achievers. They have more monies to engage divorce lawyers or they must have read the Women’s Charter and Family Law before they taking their marriage vows. If not all women read the Women’s Charter and Family Law, I did. Before I got married, I hid in a corner in the old Borders Bookstore and plough through the Women’s Charter and how the Charter would protect the female.
I am at a stage of self-preservation and trying to create a united front and a committed family. As a consequence, I am grateful for the people who have stood up to carry out the last part of the Chinese verse which is “治国平天下”. The last part of governing a country and upholding world peace is intensely complex, markedly demanding and terribly laborious and we must applaud the men and women who had the courage to take on this arduous task.
When PM Lee talked about low birth-rate, it is immensely strenuous for a woman in Singapore to have a child, spend quality time with the child, makes sure that the child does his or her homework, including his or her enrichment work and also makes sure that he or she goes to a good school and keeps away from bad company. I know because I am one of them.
The stress level and pressure for a woman to perform at work and at home is high. I commend that my husband for playing the role of a good father. He comes home from a stressful job and spends the little time he has teaching my elder son how to do his homework. My two sons are very afraid of the men in my family. Strangely, they do not respect or pay any attention to the women in my family, be it myself or their grandmother or the helper. Well, “boys will be boy”.
Needless to say, our Pioneer Generation had worked extremely hard to give Singaporeans the comfort, the safety of home and the peace that we often take granted for. I feel sad when I pass by an Old Folks’ Home because the old folks inside are either mostly on wheelchair and have lost their mobility. What is more saddening is that their families no longer want them. I do not know how I can help because I tried to help once before but I felt so depressed and upset after leaving the hospice. The sky even seemed dark and gloomy. The very next time, I told my mother that I did not want to join them in their charitable work even though I knew it was such a meaningful vocation.
It is about time to give back to the Pioneer Generation who built the foundation of Singapore and I really hope they get a big Angpow or Red Packet this time because they deserved it. Without them, we would not have existed as a country.