Photo by asiaone

During a Social Service Partners Conference held today (May 22), the new Minister for Social and Family Developments Tan Chuan Jin made a controversial remark that single parent and cross-cultural families are complex issues:

“A small but increasing number of families are facing complex issues, such as divorce and cross-cultural families… such trends will impact how the Government shapes its policies moving forward.”

The term “cross-cultural families” can be defined as inter-racial or international marriages, while “divorced families” clearly means single-parent families. The Minister did not further explain why are these families “complex issues” and how he define “straight-forward” families.

Photo by asiaone
Photo by asiaone

Tan Chuan Jin however did reiterate the Singapore Government’s stance on a nuclear family:

“Families form the foundation of a strong nation. Having a better understanding of emerging trends affecting families … will help us as a Government and community to better support families”

Despite having paying the same taxes and serving the same 2 year National Service stint, single parent families are not recognized by the Singapore Government and hence are denied housing subsidies and maternal benefits enjoyed by nuclear families.

International marriages between a Singaporean and a foreigner also face many obstacles like when the foreign spouse face visa and employment obstacles.

Given Singapore’s rapidly falling birth rate, do you think it is time the Singapore Government end their discrimination against single-parent and “cross-cultural” families?