Brilliant use of cognitive dissonance to make a point.

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Channel News Asia (CNA) carried an article this morning headlined, “Singapore best place in Asia to be a mother.”

We were actually number 15 globally in this table based on a study by “Save the Children.” The article assumes that Australia, which was at number 9, is not part of Asia.

rankingI read CNA’s headline and thought, “Oh boy. This is going to a lot of Singapore mothers’ knickers in a twist.”  While there are comments on CNA’s thread on their Facebook page both applauding and denigrating the article, here are some of the detractor’s comments (unedited):

“But is it the best place to be a children? They are so stressed over academic achievements here. A lot of ppl I know wish to migrate with their kids for a more stress free life.”

Agree with this article, but they should also post an article Singapore rank in bottom half as a place to be a mom based on other categories. Don’t only write the positive, also look at the negative, that’s how the nation can improve.”

“Best place? Mum stresses for Child’s education, not included?”

It goes on – you can go to their Facebook post to see all the comments – good and bad.

Personally, I thought it was odd that we were ranked the “best place in Asia to be a mother.” When I read CNA’s article, I came to the realisation that the context was not painted adequately. The “Mothers’ Index” by Save the Children is derived from health, educational and economic factors. Their work seems aimed at developing countries where women’s mortality, safety, and economic progress are major issues. These are not issues faced by developed nations like Singapore.

Here is a quote from the CNA article:

“In Singapore, lifetime risk of maternal mortality has been cut by 80 per cent, child mortality decreased by 25 per cent, gross national income per capita doubled and percentage of women in parliament increased six-fold over the past 15 years, the report noted.

Singapore has done well on the index, far ahead of its regional counterparts, with significant cuts in maternal and child mortality, as well as improvements in the percentage of women in leadership positions in the country,” said Greg Duly, Regional Director for Save the Children in Southeast and East Asia.”

So the foremost issues that concern the organisation seem to be mortality, economic and leadership progress of women.

My hunch is that the issues that make being a mother in Singapore challenging are our education system, time with child, stress, and money (lower and sandwiched class). These do not seem to be measured in the study.

The headline, “Singapore best place in Asia to be a mother,” in my view, is a sweeping generalisation. Yes, it is true based on the study but a wider context to frame this statement would have been more accurate.  For example, “Singapore best place in Asia to be a mother” with a sub-head that clarifies that it is based on mortality, economic progress, etc. The article could then elaborate on issues Singapore mothers face.

This sweeping headline will no doubt create much debate and conversation online. Oh wait, that could have been the intention.

In which case, ignore all of this.

Link to State of the World’s Mothers Report (Full Report)

 

 

Image Source: http://able2know.org/

It’s not often I would admit liking a rebuke. Last night, I went to a dear friends’ place for dinner. They have 3 kids who are fond of me. I usually see them a few times a year. For a variety of reasons, I apparently hadn’t been over for the whole year.

As always, it was nice to be there. Before dinner, mommy and daddy called upon the 9-year-old daughter to say a prayer before the meal. This is how the prayer went:

Dear Lord, thank you for bringing Uncle DD back after more than a year (emphasis hers, not mine). Thank you for friends and family and this meal. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ooops. Kena whack. I promised to be a more regular visitor in 2014.

But to be honest, being scolded in prayer never felt so good. Aw.

During dinner, she asked me when I was leaving to make sure I wasn’t going to eat and run. She later on thanked me a few times for coming. Yes, I stayed until after her bedtime. 🙂

This story deserves to be shared. And shared widely.

Reblogged from mrbrown.com

psdelete

Wanjun and her husband, who have a five-year-old son with autism, want to thank the couple who paid for their dinner and left a note for them that said, “Special children are born to special people. Have a nice day.”

A couple sent a note to Mr Brown that deserves to be shared widely. It’s about a heartwarming and happy experience they had recently. In gratitude to the anonymous angels, the couple asked Mr. Brown to “help me (them)  put the word out in the online community.”

Kudos to Mr. Brown for doing so. Thank you.

“My family and I had been at the receiving hand of an anonymous sweet act of kindness at dinner earlier today. And I would like to get the word out but unfortunately my husband and I do not have FB (it’s impossible but true).

My husband, my son, a friend and myself had dinner at PS Café at Palais Renaissance today. And this couple paid for our dinner anonymously. We only knew about it when the wait staff came to our table to inform us that the couple had paid for our dinner. They had also left us a note.

The note was written on the serviette of PS Café and it reads “Special children are born to special people. Have a nice day.”

My son is turning five next month and he is autistic. He has a fascination with fans; from ceiling fans to stand fans to wall fans. And PS Café has got ceiling fans and they placed a fan on the floor as well.

It so happened that the couple was sitting near to the fan on the floor and my son was hanging close around their table looking at the fan. My son did not disturb them but as probably already know, he lacks social cues so he did not know that he was standing too close to their table. The couple did look bemused at my son’s fascination and joy in seeing the fan. And I did mouth a sorry to the couple but I am not sure if they saw it.

When the waiter came to inform us of our paid dinner, I was quite shocked. In fact, I thought the waiter wanted to inform us that they would charge us for the water glass my son just broke.

My husband and friend ordered coffee after dinner just to make sure that the bill has truly been paid for. And we really did just pay for coffee only.

I read about a similar thing happening in the US recently and it went viral (this story, I think -mb). But I didn’t expect it to happen in “cold hard Singapore”. And least of all, I did not expect to be at the receiving end of such a random act of kindness.

Like I said, I do not have FB (or Instagram and Twitter) but I really would like to thank this couple. I can try to write to The Straits Times in their forum page but I am not sure if my letter will be selected for publication and of course, not sure if I can really convey my thanks to that couple.

So that’s why I am writing to you right now as you have a super wide reach. Most importantly, I believe you and your wife can understand our predicament; the terrible terrible heartache in our hearts that never goes away.

Most times I comfort/encourage/bluff myself that God sent my son to me because he knows that I am equipped to provide the many assistance that he will need to get on in life.

And when the going gets tough; this little act of kindness is like how the Chinese describes as “sending coal in the midst of a snowstorm”.

So I would really hope you can help me to put the word out in the online community. I will be able to thank the couple, hopefully raise a teeny weeny positive awareness about autism in Singapore and perhaps let Singaporeans know that we are not all that hard and cold a society.

I would also like to let the couple know that I will pay it forward when the opportunity arises.”