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)

 

 

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Nothing but “wow” is needed. I’m impressed. I’m inspired. She’s 54.

Simply wonderful.

Wow.

It’s an amazing song too. I love it. Lyrics here:

The room grew still
As she made her way to Jesus
She stumbles through the tears that made her blind
She felt such pain
Some spoke in anger
Heard folks whisper
There’s no place here for her kind
Still on she came
Through the shame that flushed her face
Until at last, she knelt before his feet
And though she spoke no words
Everything she said was heard
As she poured her love for the Master
From her box of alabaster

Refrain

And I’ve come to pour
My praise on Him
Like oil from Mary’s alabaster box
Don’t be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And I dry them with my hair
You weren’t there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When he wrapped his love all around me and
You don’t know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box

I can’t forget the way life used to be
I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound
And I spent my days
Poured my life without measure
Into a little treasure box
I’d thought I’d found
Until the day when Jesus came to me
And healed my soul
With the wonder of His touch
So now I’m giving back to Him
All the praise He’s worthy of
I’ve been forgiven
And that’s why
I love Him so much

Refrain

And I’ve come to pour
My praise on Him
Like oil from Mary’s alabaster box
Don’t be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And dry them with my hair (my hair)
You weren’t there the night Jesus found me
You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped his loving arms around me and
You don’t know the cost of the oil
Oh, you don’t know the cost of my praise
You don’t know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box

FULL transcript of the mother of the Tampines’ boys Mrs Yap (30/01/2012) – Translated from Mandarin

“Brothers and Sisters-in-Christ, peace be to you. To all the strangers who came today, I don’t know you all, but because of your love, thank you for coming today, I really appreciate your presence here today. Your support gives my family & I a lot of strength, or else I won’t be able to stand here today.”

“Today at about 4pm, while I was bathing, I heard a voice. A voice that tells me to share… how I came to know Jesus, and accepted Jesus.”

“I come to know Jesus because of my eldest son. My son Nigel is a hyperactive child, and He gave us MANY problems. My husband & I were on the brink of divorce. I’m not saying 宗教 (religion) is not good, because I know this is a sensitive issue. I just want to share with you my experience.”

“Now I do believe there is only One God. And there is really One God. And this God is good.”

“There are divine ways and solutions we were trying to seek, we even went to Malaysia to calm our child. But we couldn’t find the way. My child gave us a lot of problems.”

“But my sister introduced me to Jesus, she said “You tried every way. Why don’t you try and believe Jesus? He is also a God. Just come and try, if it doesn’t work then it’s okay.”

“So I agreed and decided to ask Jesus, it’s better to try than nothing right?”

“Once I believed in Jesus, my whole family has changed. In the past my husband and I ALWAYS quarrel. At that time I was just a new christian.”

“Being a Christian doesn’t mean we will not have difficulties, we will still face different trials. But relying and trusting in Jesus, we will definitely triumph in every trial.”

“Jesus saved our marriage. And through our eldest son, our whole family was soooo blessed.”

“Actually Donovan’s not my 2nd child, I had a miscarriage of my 2nd child after 2 months. It was difficult trying to conceive him. (cries)”

“After Donovan was born, He gave us a stronger encouragement. I believed that Donovan is from GOD, and I always thought, Nigel used to give us a lot of trouble, so God gave me Donovan to compensate what has been lost previously.”

“Actually my thinking was very wrong indeed.”

“Because GOD will SURELY give us the best.”

“Nigel, is also my BEST son, my precious son.”

“Last Saturday in Hokkien service, I was leading worship and Nigel was playing drums. My son, Nigel told me “Mummy, I don’t know how to drum, I don’t know how to drum Chinese New year songs.” I told him, “I know you can, you can surely do it!” And He really did. We were really good leading together.”

“And my youngest son, He loves to dance and sing. In Sunday school, we also paired up for dancing and singing. And we were a great pair.”

“I really thank God, that through this two sons, I have a lot more blessings than before.”

“I believe right now, they are in heaven.”

“During the night of tragedy, my sister dreamt that they were wearing white robes and a crown of glory, both holding hand-in-hand, and said ‘goodbye’ to my sister in laughter.”

“I really believe one day I will meet them in heaven one day.”

“Because of these two sons, I will continue to live on strongly… (cries).”

“I really thank you Singaporeans, for showing your love and support. I am really extremely appreciative. God is so good, All Glory to God (Hallelujah).”

Source: Multifolds Photography Facebook Page

I had lunch alone at Everton Park today. It was a lovely lunch. I had just finished a productive meeting. It was raining and had a hot bowl of fish ball tang hoon soup. But this is not just about the food.

As I was eating, I couldn’t help noticing this couple. They could be granddaughter and grandmother, mother and daughter or just friends. But whatever they case, they were talking and laughing all the time. When I say all the time, I’m not kidding. The obviously enjoyed each other’s company tremendously. And when they caught my eyes, and I smiled at them, they smiled back in spontaneous, innocent joy.

The Saturday lunch that warmed my belly and heart. Got more than my $3 worth 🙂

Oh, and for those of you who must see food, here is the lunch. Loads of crispy lard. I shouldn’t but I did 😉