I was on a movie date with my girlfriend over the weekend. And while waiting for the movie to start, we came across this particular advertisement that made us turn in my seat.
The ad was a family promotion video from the National Population and Talent Division, headed by our favourite Mrs Josephine “Sex In Small Spaces” Teo. You can watch it below if you want to waste 1min of your precious time.
The video has garnered more than 800k views since it was uploaded on YouTube on 27 Oct 16, but only received 11 likes. In fact, it received more dislikes than likes.
Quite clear that the message isn’t working.
It clearly didn’t work for me and my girlfriend.
No, Mrs Josephine Teo, showing some unrealistic propaganda video of happy young parents with kids isn’t going to magically convince young Singaporeans to have kids. You need to change your approach if you want your message to be more effective.
Of course, those who die die want to have kids will have kids regardless. And those who die die who don’t want to have kids won’t. But there’s probably a large middle ground sitting on the fence who require a lot more convincing than some cheesy promo video.
I like kids, but I’m still undecided on whether to have any in the future. Two main fundamentals for me.
First, it really is about the cost of living, and the cost of bringing up a kid in Singapore. And I’m not alone on this. According to a recent local survey done by polling company Blackbox Research, about 85% of respondents said that rising costs of living was a big factor. 66% cited the cost of childcare as a factor as well. You can read about the survey here.
I mean, it is already so expensive to live in Singapore these days…
The current government initiatives are in the right direction. But we are still a long way off compared to the generous policies in some Western European countries.
Second, narrow the socio-economic inequality in Singapore if you want more kids. I don’t think I want kids when I know that chances are, my kid will end up being a peasant like me, and be subordinate to the elite kids born into well-to-do families.
Level the playing field. Make sure that meritocracy in Singapore works just not in letter, but also in the spirit of meritocracy. Having a high social trust translates into higher levels of well-being, which gives people more confidence in their future. This should encourage child-bearing.
I know that this is a difficult issue to resolve, and the solutions aren’t so clear-cut. But it is clear that the government’s campaign isn’t cutting it. Good try, but try harder.
That is all.