“We must remember to look back at our past achievements, our past struggles, to celebrate our present achievements for where we are…and then to look forward to the next 50 years – what kind of nation we want to create out of Singapore.”
– Communications and Information Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Aug 2 at Kolam Ayer
Birthdays are an opportune time to reflect on years gone by, consider our progress, and look with hope to the future. When it comes to our nation Singapore, we often give thought to the condition of our economy, the political landscape or the educational sphere.
So what about family? Families are integral to our lives and fundamental to society; perhaps it is now the opportune time to stop and consider how we have done as a nation in the arena of family life.
Most Singaporeans value their families; a Family Values Survey by the National Family Council in 2010 revealed that 91% of those polled consider family as being most important. Many also feel that they have close-knit families and are able to turn to their family members in times of need, whether emotional or financial.[i]
This is in stark contrast to the recently released Statistics on Marriages and Divorces, which revealed a steady increase in divorces over the years. Separately, the Singapore Social Health Project 2013 showed that families are facing increasing stress, evidenced by the rising numbers of families approaching Family Service Centres for help.
The reality is that families are facing pressures from all around: demanding jobs eating into family time, over-reliance on gadgets replacing heart-to-heart conversations, shifting values on the permanence of marriage … the list goes on.
If we are to stand upon the old adage that “strong families build a strong society”, it is crucial for us to strengthen family ties even as Singapore continues to progress as a nation. While we may not be able to influence all families, we can certainly start working on our own by:
+ Telling our loved ones how much they mean to us
+ Spending quality time with our spouse and family members
+ Consistently demonstrating love to our family members
+ Being intentional about maintaining work-life harmony
Our hope is that when Singapore celebrates her Diamond Jubilee in 2025, she will still be a strong, if not stronger, nation built on healthy, thriving families.
Happy National Day, Singapore. We love you and are so proud to call you home.
[i] Taken from State of the Family Report 2009