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Lesser Beings in an Equal Society
MEEK
mollymeek

The Baby Bonus and the Single Parent

As far as Molly can sum up, the Baby Bonus is meant to encourage people to have children by supposedly lowering the costs of bringing up a child. I say "supposedly" because the sum of money might not alleviate the financial burden all that much:

- Your first two children will each receive a cash gift of $3000.
- Your next two children will each receive a cash gift of $6000.
- For your second to fourth children, you can set up a Children Development Account (CDA) for them and the money you deposit into this account will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the government, subject to caps. For your second child, the cap will be $6000. For your third and fourth children, the cap will be $12,000. (Source)

Clearly, the government is not just encouraging people to have children. It is encouraging people to have more children. The more children a married couple has, the bigger their/their children's financial packages. I don't know whether to call it a scheme for the parents or a scheme for the children. Perhaps it's both, but it is obvious that only parents could comprehend and be enticed by such a scheme, so the Scheme really targets audience while using the innocent baby as its avatar.

Quite immediately, we sense something amiss. In its bid to get married couples to have more children, is the government ranking children. If you are the older child, you are worth less to us. What we want is for your papa and mama to give you more siblings. Sometimes we watch in Channel 8 dramas the way some noble eldest sibling give up their studies in order to work and support the younger ones. Maybe this trope will get a new lease of life years later.

Of course, there are also astute parents who point out that the CDA account sounds like a scam scheme that traps parents' money long-term in one account. And there are only so many ways you can use the money. Conspiracy theorists speculate about where the money ends up even if they are spent.

More recently, however, the issue of why unwed mothers and their babies do not qualify for the Baby Bonus has been brought up in the Parliament thanks to NMP Siew Kum Hong.

As usual, our darling CNA is able to sum up the hopelessly impressively circular (il)logic of the government's representatives in one succinct sentence (perhaps without seeing the irony?):

"The baby bonus will not be extended to single unwed mothers as the Marriage and Parenthood Package is an incentive for married couples."


In other words, we won't extend the baby bonus to single unwed mothers because we won't. The Baby Bonus will remain something for married couples because we won't extend it.

This is perhaps the epitome of the intelligent remarks that are made in none other than the Parliament itself.

The issue actually goes beyond the Baby Bonus. NMP Siew was raising the issue of how single unwed mothers are not treated equally in by the government compared to married mothers, whether the latter are blissfully married or if they are actually victims of domestic abuse. NMP Siew had also asked for the third-month maternity benefits to be extended to single, unwed mothers.

Either CNA is being unnecessarily subversive or Mrs. Yu-Foo Yee Shoon (Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports) has a rather banal reply: single unwed mothers are not a large group in Singapore. [Going by Mrs. Yu-Foo's logic, if Indian citizens are not a large group in Singapore, does it mean that the government doesn't have to treat them as equals to Malays and Chinese citizens?]

Other wonderful reasons Mrs. Yu-Foo came up with for not extending the Baby Bonus to single unwed mothers include the fact that they are eligible for other sorts of benefits that married mothers are eligible for: concessionary maid levy and childcare leave. Even better: they can also rent or buy a HDB flat with their parents - or another single - if they are aged 35 and above.

Very. Clever.

Let's use Mrs Yu-Foo's logic for more purposes. Since our ministers are entitled to take up various positions in the corporate world (directorships), they don't need us to pay them millions of dollars a year. And since our ministers are also Singaporeans, they are eligible for Workfare and so we don't even have to pay them more than $1500 per month each.

Single unwed mothers are not entitled to the Baby Bonus because they are entitled to everything else. Yes, that's to sum it up in one line.

But you have yet to see the best of Mrs Yu-Foo:

"The Marriage and Parenthood Package is not a financial assistance scheme for children. The government cannot and should not be the surrogate father."

So, the Baby Bonus is supposed to lighten the financial costs of having children, but it's not a financial assistance scheme! The government can give the Baby Bonus to poor married couples without becoming the surrogate father, but if it extends the Bonus to single unwed mothers, it will become a surrogate father!

Whether you want to call it a financial assistance scheme or a married-with-babies scheme, isn't the aim to lighten the financial burdens of parents. Sorry, no. It's actually to trick encourage married couples to have children.

And, well, single unwed mothers are perhaps deemed less likely to have two, three or four children. So their babies are not worth the Baby Bonus. We are not assured of the presence of a man to impregnate the single unwed mother, so why should the Baby Bonus be extended to them?

Furthermore, the government can't be taking a risk by (gosh!) encouraging immoral activities like pre-marital sex, can it? It's reputation would be destroyed overnight!

Haha. OK, the government did say anything like the above two paragraphs. But you decide whether they are good guesses.

Single unwed mothers, often more so than married mothers, make a conscious decision to keep their babies instead of aborting them due to the social stigmas associated with being, well, single unwed mothers. [Yes, Molly used the term "single unwed mothers" so many times because she's fascinated by it: why can't they be just single mothers/unwed mothers or just mothers, but must instead be single unwed mothers?]

If the Baby Bonus is meant to encourage people to make a decision to have babies (it is indeed a decision in this age of "family planning"), then single parents who have an even tougher time making the decision need even more encouragement and help to lessen their financial burdens.

By refusing to extend the Baby Bonus to single parents, a message is sent out that if you do not have a legal father, you are a lesser being, whether or not such a message is intended. While encouraging people to set up families, we need not stigmatize those who do not have the fortune of having a conventional family. Is the MCDYS and the government just around to encourage hegemonic ideals of what the family is like at the expense of a marginal population and at the expense of alternative family make-ups?

Sons of single parents serve NS too.


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The question is: "Why are single parents not eligible for the baby bonus?"

CNA's reply is (to paraphrase): "Single parents are not eligible for the baby bonus because single parents are not eligible for the baby bonus."

CNA is either very subversive or very propagandistic or very very dumb.

And speaking of dumb and dumber, who elected Mrs 愚-Fool?!?!

(1) I thought the govt's motto is "every singaporean counts", then why does the number of single-parents matter?

(2) Single parents can buy flats - provided they are 35 and above - DUH!

Yeah, duh. Might as well say that single mothers are allowed to breathe. But then what she says is as good as: "Be glad that we are not depriving you of other things normal citizens are entitled to."

Every singleporean... i mean, singaporean counts--counts how much GST they have to pay.

Based on what...

(Anonymous)
It is getting harder now. Our policy makers are coming out a lot of things that will make you "left you die, right you die". I wonder what is the basis of their decision making?
- Principles of right and wrong
- Religious beliefs
- Personal agendas
- Power retention
- For the good of Singapore
- For the good of themselves
- For the money

Why are they like that? So what if you have all the power in the world when you get hated all the time. OK, not all hate them. The old man wanted to be feared, instead of people liking him for his past achievements. He has done great and he has done worst, why would he want to go his grave with so much hatred in people's hearts. And he is not even a war enemy.

Re: Based on what...

We all love their jokes.

Re: Based on what... (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Based on what... (Anonymous) Expand
couldn't have said it better.

if they help single unwed mothers financially, there will be lots of us!! coz we ALL want to be single unwed moms and the money will encourage us to do so. rite. i wonder if the scheme extends to the divorced single moms. maybe u have to give back the money?

do they at least have child-support for unwed mothers to claim from the bastard to impregnant her and ran away?

i saw a tv show in sg a while ago about an unwed pregnant homeless woman who lived out of a suitcase, moving from one friend to another. she doesn't have plans for the coming child yet. THAT is waaaaay messed up and shouldn't happen in such a developed country.

i like ur topics, the way u think and write. add you?

They will tell you about crutch mentality and whatnot if you tell them about unwed pregnant women.

Added you already. :)

Well the whole name of the scheme sort of tells it all already...It's a bonus, the harder you work, the more money you get. Single unwed mothers don't adhend to company's rules so they can be excluded since it's a bonus and not welfare.

Come to think of it I heard that when slavery still existed(at least in open forms where they are called slaves) in the 18 or 17 century, a similiar policy existed also...Women slaves were rewarded if they could give birth to more surviving children since children of slaves automatically became slaves themselves. The owners want more slaves so they reward the women...Hmm...

surrogate grandfather

(Anonymous)
funny - the govt should not be a surrogate father to the child, but it sure as hell act like a surrogate grandfather - 'See I told you to go get an abortion - you did not, so I am withholding my LUUURVE and money from you for not aborting that kid' said the grandfather Lee Hsien Loong. Dr Lateef - so much for the generous and luuurving budget - as long as you are maintstream, well behaved, not a destitute, etc etc. The budget really ended on a low note!

Re: surrogate grandfather

It's not even part of the budget.

The gahmen has love, kindness, compassion, benevolence, concern, generosity and all. But it cannot extend the Baby Bonus to single moms. Cute.

Leave no one behind ...

(Anonymous)
So much for being "generous and compassionate". They like to explain the Marriage and Parenthood Package nicely, but keep quiet why unwed parents are not entitled to it. It is just a simple "NO". By not saying anything concrete, they avoid being questioned about it as they are afraid to open cans of worms. This pattern is used extensively, as long as you do not mentioned the issue, it will not exist even though it exists. (XB said it better). One thing that is not clear, does it apply to Singaporeans only or it also include PRs?

It is more like "leave some behind...". It is like there are "full Singaporeans" and there are "lesser Singaporeans".

Re: Leave no one behind ...

We always have to leave some behind because they choose to be left behind! Look at what Singaporeans choose:
- they choose to be homeless!
- they choose to have no lifts in their blocks by voting for the opposition
- they choose to have no Baby Bonus by giving birth without getting married
- they choose to have the loving and compassionate MIW government by voting the MIW in election after election.

We pay them million dollar so that they can be smarter?
Single-unwed mothers are already the socially marginalized.
Government wants to marginalize them more.
Because welfare is a stinky word.
But if you are already normal and have a normal family,
then welfare is not a stinky word.

It's not even welfare!! I don't see how it is an incentive/reward/encouragement for married parents who have children and suddently becomes welfare when it is given to single moms.

If the gahmen becomes a surrogate father by giving single moms the Baby Bonus, why is it that they don't become a surrogate parent/godparent when it gives married couples the Baby Bonus. Totally illogical.

Nicely touched topic

(Anonymous)
This is a social issue which Singapore ministers and MPs find it hard to handle. Whatever their reasoning, which is extremely low..anyway.... It seems to work on an alien policy.

They are far too afraid to touch on such issues and create policies as it might come back to haunt them, like the 2 child silly LKY policy.

Now they seem to take The Asian Value ..stand. Therefore, this unwed single mum...thingy is just too tricky....

I for one do not understand why the child has to suffer.....it just doesn't make sense at all.....why can't the govt give something back to the child in terms of education...or some other way....

perhaps, the unwed mum, should be allowed to buy a flat to live or even rent from the HDB.

The child, if male does have to serve NS rite....and can achieve to be a great citizen ...rite...
These idiots should read about Bill Clinton.

These idiots like Ye Fool yishun...should seriously know and think before they speak ....

Now i wonder,
1) what is the breakdown racially...how many unwed mothers are there....
2)Is the number increasing,
3)Are there social programmes to avoid such a situation.

I do agree that a child must grow up with both parents, however at times things don't work out the way we always expect. Furthermore, I am against abortion. Thus, it is helpful to give a helping hand instead of screwing these unwed mothers up.

Knowing these idiots....who hardly can think...i know they cannot make it...

Re: Nicely touched topic

I'm for abortion as far as the well-being of women are at stake. But those unwed mothers who make a choice to give birth are making a tough choice. Even if we don't give them extra help, we shouldn't deprive them of something that encourage people to give birth to babies.

Re: Nicely touched topic (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Nicely touched topic (Anonymous) Expand
Hi Molly,

The tax rebates for having babies are actually SIGNIFICANT, but you will say that it does people no good if they dun pay taxes (and a majority don't). But is it a surprise that there is probably a preference for the rich to have more babies?

The "ranking children" thing is not about ranking children lah. It just turns out that most couples by default will have two children, so it's just giving free money to them. Therefore to make the money that is to be paid out more "effective", the obvious thing is to load the bonus in favour of the third and fourth children. It's all about maximizing the marginal incentives per unit dollar spent.

Hi KTM,

If there's a preference for the rich to prefer to go without babies, there's also a tendency for the not-so-rich to go without babies because they believe that can't afford it. Of course, I don't know if the rich actually find the rebates a good incentive for having babies - I have never asked anyone rich and I'm not rich myself.

I know the reason behind "favoring" the 3rd and 4th child in terms of incentives. As I said, "Clearly, the government is not just encouraging people to have children. It is encouraging people to have more children." In fact, I think if most couples really have 2 children, they wouldn't be giving incentives for the first two children. It's because many are not having even 1 child that there are monetary incentives for the first two children.

But the ranking becomes an inevitable result in the economics of incentives. The ranking is an unintentional but inevitable result - well, unless they top up the sums for the first and second children (to make the sums the same) if parents do have their third and fourth ones. I think there's no harm doing that since this would increase the incentives and further lower the financial burdens of having more children.

I know it sounds childishly petty to talk about the "ranking" but why should the 3rd and 4th children be "helped" more than the 1st and 2nd children especially when a family with four children has a much higher financial burden and the parents' resources will be spread more thinly.

Re: Tax rebates (Anonymous) Expand
i can't believe that the MPs and ministers are spewing such illogical nonsense in succession. And these are the elite MIW that we elected. Wait, I didn't get to cast my vote... or rather, I didn't need to.

Admittedly, I've never paid much attention in the past, but I'm beginning to see them in a different light. A not so favourable light.

The illogic has been around since ... I can't even remember. But I hardly ever run out of illogic to blog about since I started blogging.

logic (Anonymous) Expand
Re: logic (Anonymous) Expand
Re: logic (Anonymous) Expand

What Asian Values?

(Anonymous)
Sigh... what asian values.

Where ever Chinese pple go, we bring
1)prostitutes.
2)alcohol.
3)gambling.

I mean...not all chinese indulge in it... but these vices are very much part of our culture. So, to pretend that we are morally superior cos of Asian values is...unless they meant Asian (bad) values...sigh..whatever lah.

I mean...I know of people who get pregnant cos of some toopid bastard who don't want to wear condom cos its more shiok..den when the baby comes, the joker runs... and I know these friends of mine actually want to keep the baby still, and after its aborted, you can see the damn sadness in their eyes. But they can't. Social stigma, toopid bastard, family zero support and now even government also like that...

anyway, I have believed that a person should be rewarded for their efforts fairly, but to brandish the argument that higher salaries means less corruption is effectively saying the people who we have are actually carrying the propensity to be crooks, but with the higher salary, we reduce their incentives and cost (if they get caught) of being crooks so they won't be crooks.. I mean... where is the logic. Once you have a price, it is a matter of negotation and setting the correct price. I want to vote for people who no matter what, the threshold of being corrupt is damn high, no wait, the threshold of turning corrupt is infinity so in fact, it would be impossible for them to be corrupt no matter what.

Of course, I would just be a dumb idealist to think this way and not a realist. Oh yes... What would please a realist? Watch '300'. You'll know. Or was it how do you please a opportunist.. hmmm....anyway, if they are doing their job then fine lah... running a country isn't easy..but the reasons they give sometimes to justify certain actions...

sigh. one more time. sigh.

Ian Timothy...

Re: What Asian Values?

I don't know. I watch TV and there are these traditional Chinese village people who put unmarried women who get pregnant into the "zhulong" (pig cage) and drown them. Asian value?

Ninja in White does not blame Molly Meek for having no values.

(Anonymous)
Haiyahhh !! Miss me ???

Ninja in White does not blame Molly Meek. After all, Molly Meek is just a product of the liberal, eurocentric, trash education system that can only come about if a population ever loses the will to pursue the sciences and instead focus on the easy and effeminate path of the humanities and the social sciences.

English educated radicals have no family values and that includes almost all of the blogosphere. They don't understand that the family is sacrosanct. They don't see why Society cannot afford to encourage single parenthood. Heck, they even support the gays.

I suggest that all aspiring ninjas simply ignore the blogosphere and encourage the government to become more conservative for the good of Singapore.

We have to make life difficult for the single parents and gays. Otherwise, Singapore will be ruined.

Why even reason with Singaporeans in Ang Moh clothing, they probably like incest too !

Get out of my elite uncaring ass !

Re: Ninja in White does not blame Molly Meek for having no values.

(Anonymous)
is this guy for real?

Let's all take a step back and try to guess why the government is doing this.

If anyone remember the news in January that "Singapore has relaxed its rules on maternity leave, now allowing single mothers to take 12 weeks away from work — as long as they marry the child's father within three months of the birth, a newspaper reported Tuesday." by the International Herald Tribune.

From a logical rational standpoint of mine, several reasons why this bonus scheme is not extended are surfaced. (My own speculations)

1) The government is afraid of a backlash - Encouraging parents to divorce, or encouraging parents not to marry since single-mums get the bonus anyway.
2) The government is afraid that religious groups will speak out and claim that the government is encouraging single-parent families which are abnormal.

Yet however, if couples who WANT to divorce but are held back by this shit, or if couples marry for the sake of marrying for the incentives and bonus although they serious don't want to because of many many reasons, what kind of warped family would the child end up in? A family who is bounded because of money and incentives?. Let's expect more domestic abuse.

Also it's just ironic that religious groups would speak out (if they actually do). These are groups who fight for anti-abortion and pro-life ideals. Yet they refuse to accept single-mums as a normal family. What the fuck would they want single-mums to do? Not abort but also to raise the child without state assistance? Throw their children in orphanages better to have no parents than have one? Fuck off.

Just my 2 cents.

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