WRITTEN BY DS
I am a little late on this writeup (blame the Olympics, I guess) that is inspired by Sumiko Tan, so apologies to those who are reading.
In her article on 27 July, Sumiko started with “Here we go again”. She has written yet another article on singlehood and marriage! Well, some people may say “not again”, but I don’t. I think it is an amazing skill to be able to write again and again on the same topic, and I admire that.
Sumiko’s elaborations on “singlism” or discrimination/unfairness against people who are unmarried/childless are quite true. I am one of them that ‘feels’ it too as even though I am married, I don’t have kids so I also lose out on the subtle and not-so-subtle benefits given by the company and government.
Are singles really short-changed? Well, let me see if I can answer that. The short answer is, no. There is a little over-hype of marriage, especially to those who are single. Don’t believe me? Haven’t you heard the tons of marriage jokes circulating, for example “those who are out want to get in and those who are in want to get out”, or “when you say I do, you are done!”? Lest you misunderstand me, I must say that I am happily married and not in a state to want to get out.
As in all things in life, there are pros and cons in marriage, and most probably the singles do not have the experience and can’t appreciate the cons clearly. The biggest negative that one get out of marriage is a loss of freedom. It is really no joke when you hear people mentioning about getting ‘permission’ from their other halves to buy something. Indeed, there is a wide range of things in the life of a couple to align in marriage, for example clothes, food, housing, priorities, children, parents, etc, to promote harmony in the relationship. Even something as big as your job or career could be affected.
So, singlehoold isn’t so bad if you really enjoy the singlehood ‘perks’ like freedom and a more care-free life. The biggest problem of being single is probably loneliness. This is pretty subjective from person to person, so for someone who gets really lonely when alone, singlehood would be a really bad choice. So, despite the loss in special benefits to couples with kids, I think singles generally have it easier in life. Many of us would probably have experience taking care of babies and toddlers of families and relatives when we were young, to understand that it isn’t easy to bring up kids. So, even though the benefits given by the government and corporations to people to have more babies may not really change the minds of those who are unwilling, they can be considered as significant rewards to those who succeed in multiplying and replenishing the earth. To me, such people have made such big accomplishments that the rewards to them are well deserved. And I thank them, especially those that have more than 2 children, for they compensate for people like me that chose to bypass the “duty” to multiply.
So, if you are not one that strongly believes that the earth is over populated, than we, the unmarried/childless, should all take our hats off and happily accept our extra duties when the mums and dads take their deserved breaks to tend to their children. After all, if nobody fulfils this duty to replenish the earth, mankind would have no future, and shouldn’t what we do in life be ultimately for the common good future?