Why the new baby package misses the sweet spot by a mile

January 24, 2013

RSCN1544Let’s start with a very simple question: why do young couples start a family? Do you really believe, they do so because they can jump the HDB queue or take to any of the trinkets offered by the government?

The only reason why young couples will have children is because they see older couples deriving happiness, joy and spiritual growth from raising kids. This can only give younger couples the faith and confidence to do the same.

But in Singapore since the baby incentives are really only focussed on new births and not on those who already have children – that simply means the latter will not benefit the baby package. And what the government would do well to ask themselves is when they prioritize only the needs of young couples and marginalize wholesale the needs of those who already have kids – what sort of message are they really sending out to young couples?

Could it be the message is simply this:

“Once you have a kid. We will give you the goodies. After that you are on your own. Sorry, it’s every man for himself!”

Since the cummulative cost of raising a kid these days will probably add up to million +++. Why would young couples even feel encouraged by these one off baby bonuses? It makes no sense. As every day these young couples can see for themselves how the family man has to even break his back just to keep his family above the water line. Life for the family man is so unbelievably hard and expensive in Singapore. As there seems to be a standing policy to past the cost down to the user. Even schooling needs to be supplemented with out of pocket tuition. Just imagine it, the family man even has to replicate what the schools are supposed to do – to rework what they have wither failed to do or did not do very well. Let’s not even go into the cost of health since I wish this to be only a short tete de tete. As for owning a car – that’s now a forlorn dream only for the rich. And on top of this, there are maybe 1,001 issues that simply makes raising a kid in Singapore a lousy proposition.

A wise government who wants to encourage young couples to start families will do everything possible to make the life of the average family much better throughout the whole
journey of raising a child – not only providing incentives when the child is born. But this may also include defraying the high cost of raising a kid in Singapore till perhaps university.

Such rounded and holistic policies can of course emerge from a world class government – and it is regrettable that we are still a very long way to go it seems in Singapore.

I may be wrong. But this is my feedback. I felt like simply sharing today.

Darkness 2013

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“People are not stupid. They can calculate. Make trade off’s. And they do all this with this one objective in mind – to maximize their utility. In other words people will always gravitate towards the highest benefit. So let me ask you a simple question.

Let say one day the govt wants everyone to grow soybean as their planners see this as a crop of the future. Strategic even to the wealth of a nation. Let’s say they even encourage farmers to clear land to grow this crop by providing subsidized fertilizer, loans and cash incentives – do you think any farmer will just switch to this crop?

No one will do it. Only stupid farmers will jump on the band wagon. But farmers are not stupid, they just look stupid. But trust me they are not stupid. And the reason is very simple – these incentives really only address the front end. What about the middle and the tail end of things?

You see farmers only see things in terms of seasons, cycles and moon phases. They known the beginning is sweet, but what about the middle and the trailing end? What about AFTER the crop has been grown? Is the market for soybean stable? If it fluctuates too much, can the government be counted to come in plough back their tax and levies to see that industry through hard times? As farmers gave willing to the coffers of the exchequer during the good times. Will there be a spirit of give and take?

As you can see these are hard nosed calculations that the wise farmer will always make when confronted with even the juiciest offer- after all commercial farming is just like raising a family. It is a long term game – so tell me, who in their right frame of mind will even be seduced by mere trinkets?

But I think, the best advertisement for the government would be to have maybe one or perhaps two model farmers who have successfully planted and harvested soybean. As once other farmers can see that these farmers are doing well – then it’s only a matter of time that soybean as a crop will be widely grown.

But if a govt doesn’t even bother with the middle and the tail end. But only provides a solution for the front end. Then I think all they are doing is setting themselves up for failure. To put it another way, the people who planned this just simply have no idea what they are doing – they have even less conception how to motivate, influence and cajole people to take the plunge into a financially risk free family life – frankly, I wouldn’t even trust the idiot who signed on this lattest baby incentive to manage my compost heap.

You decide whether that super duper idiot who hatched this baby incentive is right or me. Bear in mind, I am prepared to bet one million dollars that he fails miserably to reverse the tide. Of course that fucker will probably fold his arms at the end and say, “at least, we tried our best.” My point is he didn’t deliver anything near the average, good or even the best – it’s a crappy bonus scheme that will simply insult the intelligence of many young couples and I can’t think of a bigger turn off.

Either way what you need to understand, our baby blues is already in the clear and present danger zone – by now all the flashing alarm lights would already have gone off. So this matter requires a serious no nonsense approach – but from what I am able to make out, all those super duper idiots seem to do is to treat it lightly by putting the least imaginative person to craft yet another useless panacea – so good luck to them. Moral of the story, never get a sheep to do a foxes job! if this stings – then suck it up as a man and roll with the punches. Bc this only took me 10 minutes to write – there is plenty more where that came from – you have no idea how much I am holding back. Really I mean well.”

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