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)

 

 

This is 29-year-old, Kseniya Simonova, a Ukrainian sand artist or “Lady of the Sand” as she likes to be called.

This piece is beautiful.  She is clearly dedicated and has put in A LOT of hard work. I appreciate that in anyone, not just artists. In this clip, from the semi-finals of Ukraine’s Got Talent, she uses her art, music, setting, theatrics and her costume to good effect. It clearly moved the audience. Even without sand in their eyes, many were crying.

She eventually won Ukraine’s Got Talent.

This 8-minute piece is called “You are always nearby” and it is a story of a young couple who were separated by the war. “The young Lady and little Son were waiting for the Man to come from war, but he was killed. In the end he came to their window and watched them with a sight of love and hope.”

Not only is she talented and passionate, she dedicates her time to help children who need medical treatment and economic help. She also a champion for pregnant women who had considered abortion because of lack of resources but decided to have a child in spite of economic challenges.

I can also learn from her dedication. Together with the help of her husband, they spent months looking for the right sand to use (reminds me of Michelangelo looking for the ‘perfect’ slab of marble). Eventually they found the perfect sand – volcanic sand. The only place they could buy it from was from a group of geologists. However, it cost too much. Instead of giving up, her husband Igor, sold all his printing equipment from his little magazine business to buy 3kg of sand. When she started on sand art, she was a mother of a little boy – cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, playing with her son during the day.  She would start working on her craft from 10pm to 4am every day. It was so difficult that she felt like giving up in three days. But she persisted, and in her words, her discouragement “vanished into thin air.” The craft was physically demanding, requiring her to stand for hours on end but she kept going. I salute her passion, commitment, dedication and hard work.

She attributes her gifts and success to God.

Read more about Kseniya and her story here.

I’ve got the attention span of a distracted goldfish. So for an ad, which is essentially what this is, to have me glued for the full 3 minutes is no mean feat.

Love the copy and the lengths they went to film this.

The conclusion? Follow the Frog.

Kudos

Love this song. It’s happy and the lyrics are wonderful.

—————————

Little darlin’ don’t you see the sun is shining
just for you, only today
If you hurry you can get a ray on you, come with me, just to play
Like every humming bird and bumblebee
Every sunflower, cloud and every tree
I feel so much a part of this
Nature’s got me high and it’s beautiful
I’m with this deep eternal universe
From death until rebirth

This corner of the earth is like me in many ways
I can sit for hours here and watch the emerald feathers play
On the face of this I’m blessed
When the sunlight comes for free
I know this corner of the earth it smiles at me
So inspired of that there’s nothing left to do or say
Think I’ll dream, ’til the stars shine

The wind it whispers and the clouds don’t seem to care
And I know inside, that it’s all mine
It’s the chorus of the breakin’ dawn
The mist that comes before the sun is born
To a hazy afternoon in May
Nature’s got me high and it’s so beautiful
I’m with this deep eternal universe from death until rebirth

[chorus]
You know that this corner of the earth is like me in many ways
I can sit for hours here and watch the emerald feathers play
On the face of it I’m blessed
When the sunlight comes for free
I know this corner of the earth it smiles at me x5

This corner of the earth, is like me in many ways
I can sit for hours here and watch the emerald feathers play
When the sunlight comes for free
I know the corner of this earth it smiles at me

I love the Christmas Season. This is a nice one from Muji 🙂

 

On Saturday, I got this email that made me very happy:

Dear Danesh

Thank you for entering your play for consideration to Short+Sweet Singapore 2010. We have now finished assessing the scripts that were submitted for our festival.

We are pleased to let you know that your play The Last Birthday Party has been included in the shortlisted plays.

These shortlisted plays have been sent to our Top40 directors.  They are currently in the process of reading through all the scripts and then selecting their preferred plays.  This process should take around a week. Short+Sweet will then make the final allocation of plays to the directors.

We are aiming to have the season finalised by the end of May. We will be in touch with you again later this month, to let you know if your play has been selected by one of the directors for this year’s Short+Sweet Singapore festival.

Kind regards
Nicole Stinton
Festival Director

I was most pleased to receive it because last year, when I took part with another submission, I did not get past the first round. If I get through the final round, my short play will be produced! I’m so excited and really pray that I will be selected.

Will keep you guys posted. You can read more about Short and Sweet, here.