I am single and childless by choice. Okay, single not exactly by choice, but childless…yeah.
No, financial reasons did not motivate me. Lack of maternal feelings did. I can’t imagine a worse mother than myself at this point. Maybe I will discover heretofore unplumbed depths of motherly love and longings as the years go on. Maybe I will be like my mother’s friend, who dislikes all children except her own. Maybe…but I will not gamble a child’s future on maybes.
Unfortunately, being single and childless in a country with low and falling birthrates like Singapore is more than a personal choice. Low birth rates – not enough future workers to meet demand – labour shortage – rising labour costs due to this shortage – overall rising COL due to rising labour costs – loss of the country’s competitiveness to investors – economic impact due to loss of competitiveness…all of this have been laid at the feet of the childless.
For my own part, I believe greatly in immigration as an alternative. The world is, afterall, overpopulated. Immigration will do a great deal to redistribute the population and the wealth. But alas, all man is not created equal – in man’s own eyes at least. Massive immigration just means lots of social integration problems, which are then attributed to the problem of low birth rates, which then comes full circle to the childless…
Every time I read about all these issues, I have a mental image of the country’s politicians pointing their fingers at me, telling me that it is all the fault of people like me. Talk about developing a guilt complex.
And so, when it comes to arguing for flexible working hours, for preference in housing, for having to cover for colleagues with kids etc., I have always felt that I have no say, that I should in some way, make up for the fact that I chose to be childless (and ended up the cause of so many of the country’s troubles), that I should take whatever those with kids deign to give and be happy with it.
And so I have. Is it unfair? I guess it depends on who you ask, but I will not complain about it. Well, except for one thing.
I can take most of the consequences heaped upon me as a result of being childless in a country which needs children. What I cannot handle is the moral high ground taken by those with kids as a result of the country’s situation. I know that those with kids have some sacrifices to make when it comes to the availability of time and money, but I just cannot take it when they claim that they do it for the good of the country and her people, and the smugness that result.
Because let’s face it, those who have kids, do it for themselves, maybe their families. No one out there really thinks “Oh, look, we are not going to have enough doctors two decades down the road. Poor Miss JJ will have no one to treat her in her old age. We really don’t want any kids, but for the sake of Miss JJ and all those like her, let’s have one, or two, or three!”
So, people with children, ask for and take all the benefits you feel you are entitled to, but don’t insult the rest of us by pretending you are doing it for the greater good. I can handle unfairness; I can’t tolerate hypocrisy.