Sigh

Decided to get some of the backlog of grievances out of the way or they’d just fester in my drafts folder.

This guy is full of shit.
I wish the main news body in Singapore did not publish drivel like this. Sure, the forum page is for random people of the public to air their opinions. But some opinions are definitely worse than others. It’s like there’s no filter at all.

Here is a subset of my complaints:
1. It’s entirely inspired by his aunt’s husband passing away and the fact that he perceives her to be “all alone” with “nobody to take care of her”, as if she can’t take care of herself, and that it is a given that she regrets not having children now. There are so many assumptions involved with this I was horrified at his convoluted and highly illogical, myopic thought process, so incapable is he of empathizing with other people and why they make the decisions they do. He is so sure that his point of view is the only legitimate one and that anyone else who consciously decides the contrary will regret their choice. I’m not even going to expound further on the obvious egotism of having children so that you will not be lonely in your old age.

2. He says

If we all thought more deeply about the things that are truly important to us, that give our lives meaning, I am sure the vast majority of us would come to the same conclusion: that family ranks above anything else.

What research has he done to substantiate this claim? I certainly don’t think that family ranks above anything else. If anything my family has been most key in highlighting the kind of personality dysfunctions I want to avoid, and how futile approaching them is if I ever have any problems. There is very little kindredness in my family; they’re nice, normal (in a pinch) people but if I wanted to have a real conversation with someone they’d be the last people I’d go to.

Further, even if family ranks above anything else for you that doesn’t necessarily have to mean a family that you have created, it could be the family that you were born with. But I don’t even know why I bother.

3.

And my grandparents must have been so proud and happy in the knowledge that, even as they were leaving this world and their material possessions behind, they would live on through us, for we are their legacy.

I think this idea of a “legacy” has got to go. How can he possibly accuse the childfree of being egocentric if one of his reasons for procreating is to leave a legacy of his own and have his bloodline/whatever-the-hell-he-thinks-imperative-for-him-to-leave-behind continued? How self-involved does he have to be to presume on behalf of the deceased?

4.

I get the impression that people from generations past appeared to place the family and community above the self, whereas the opposite is generally true for the younger generations of Singaporeans.

Again, another anecdotal statement based on his community of friends, who are probably all in the same generation as him (i.e. not the younger generation) and who feel a kind of moral superiority in their wise old age that allows them to criticize members of the “younger generation” for not being community-centred enough. People give back to the community in all kinds of ways. His decision to do good, civic-minded deeds does not allow him to expect others to do so, and to execute their good deeds with the same conspicuousness that he does.

Even if the younger generation is not family or community-centred, why should he expect them to be? The world they grew up in is vastly different from the world he grew up in. If they are not community-minded, it probably points to how little they feel they have personally benefited from the notions of family and community that he so prizes, and hence how little they feel indebted to it. How can he go so far as to accuse them of being ingrates without saying how they have explicitly benefited from either institution and proceeded to show their ingratitude?

5.

So if my grandparents, despite their relative poverty, felt comfortable having as many kids as they did, why are we so cautious when it comes to parenthood today?

He obviously knows nothing about the history of contraception. Does he really think every single one of the 5+ odd kids that families used to have in the 40s and 50s were planned for and greatly anticipated? I suppose actual historical phenomena such as the Post War Baby Boom means nothing to him, seeing that he’s just plucking random ideas out of his head and cobbling them together in a poor facsimile of a reasoned exposition.

6.

Having children will necessarily entail sacrifice, that much is certain, but even if I am poorer – in terms of time, freedom and money – my life will surely be richer for it.

This is an assumption of the grossest proportions, and nobody should feel entitled to prescribe child-rearing for someone else.

People like this make me ashamed to be Singaporean. Unfortunately there isn’t any intelligent discourse in the comments section of the Straits Times that doesn’t quickly descend into anarchy, unlike knetz sites that allow upvoting and downvoting of comments so you CAN see the general picture of what the majority thinks.

Dear Straits Times, please stop publishing drivel in your forum page.

In related news, we have been reading “Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed” and it has been mostly fantastic, especially the essay elucidating how “maternal instinct” is by and large a social construct misappropriated as ‘instinct’. Sure, people may feel it, but that doesn’t imply that it has had primal roots. More on that another day.

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