Thursday, April 08, 2004

You Have Got to be Kidding

This was from yesterday's Straits Times

'Baby' magazine for married couples
By Wong Sher Maine

EVERY couple who have tied the knot since 2000 will be given a copy of a 24-page magazine called Planning For Babies from the Government.

The 18,000 or so couples who got married that year will be sent one first.

The magazine is part of a national push to encourage couples to have children - to urge them to have a baby sooner rather than later and to point out the latent dangers of having a child when they are older.

And if they already have one, to think about a second and third.

It is produced by the Ministry of Community Development and Sports (MCDS), civil society group Family Matters! Singapore and publishing company Panpac Media.

The articles focus on the risks of pregnancy in older women, like the higher chances of developing diabetes when they are expecting.

MCDS' director of family education, Mrs Tan-Huang Shuo Mei, said: 'We realised from couples attending fertility talks that there are a lot of misconceptions among them. But few people sign up for such talks, and we want to reach out to the majority.'

The publication will be updated every year and sent out annually to couples who got married four years earlier.

The time lag is because most couples who register their marriages would not have gone through their customary wedding ceremonies.

Couples who were shown a copy of the magazine said the contents looked useful if they were already thinking of having a baby. One story that caught their attention discussed how to influence the sex of one's baby.

But like Madam Sandra Leong, 30, they do not see the magazine as influencing when they will have a child.

Said the marketing and communications manager: 'I know that having children younger is better, but reading about it in yet another magazine is not going to make me change my mind about not wanting children now.'


Honestly, do they really think that by telling me I'm going to get too old to have kids soon, I'll have one now? And if I already had one kid and was tearing my hair out because he was in his terrible twos, that I would actually want to have another one because some article in some magazine with the most unimaginative name of "PLANNING FOR BABIES" told me to do so? Come on! Get real.

I was talking to my class about this yesterday. About how the government used the newspapers as a propaganda machine and all these kids could think about was that it was used as an election platform- in not so sophisticated words. So I told them that although all propaganda aimed to convince people of a certain view, not all of it was related to politics and I gave the example of the baby debate in Singapore and that there had been enormous coverage on it in the press, more often than not, extolling the goodness and wonders of having children. And that was subtle propaganda that the government hoped would seep into the psyche of women my age!

And I open the newspapers last night and lo and behold! Another article to prove my point. Do they not give up? Dan has made it very clear that when we have kids, it's a decision that is ours and no one elses. Especially not because someone told us to. Stupid twits.

It's the sure way to piss us off.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 15:21

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