I just watched the latest “get married and have children” ad sponsored by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and the National Family Council on YouTube. (Yes only now — I hardly watch TV.)
It’s quite good actually. Particularly the part where the widow relates how her late husband’s “gross” habits actually let her know that he was still alive when he was battling his illness.
I presume the goal of the ad was to encourage singles to get hitched, even if their potential mate has some “small imperfections”. Well, that’s good in principle, but should not be taken too far. If they are just physical or physiological imperfections, fine. But I would strongly caution people against marrying someone who possesses character imperfections that you cannot live with and hope to change. He or she probably won’t change, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a tough road ahead.
The other thing I noticed was that in the film, the deceased husband was ethnic Chinese, while the wife, Mrs Tan, was Indian — and wearing a sari. I was very glad to see this. It reflects the reality of many relationships nowadays, as well as an ideal of a multiracial Singapore that has gone beyond tolerance to integration. It’s good too that it has gone beyond the stereotypical Indian man-Chinese woman or white man-Chinese woman interracial relationship.
Come to think of it, if getting more young Singaporeans hitched is the objective, then marrying outside one’s own race will definitely expand the selection of partners one can consider. Therefore having a society that accepts and celebrates interracial marriages could indirectly increase the marriage and procreation rate.
Ultimately, I believe that there is very little the government can and should do to encourage people to get married. I’m not even sure if taxpayer dollars should be spent on campaigns like these. (I emphasise “not sure” — I didn’t say I’m against it.) For my suggestions on what the government can do that might be more effective, read Don’t be a stupid cupid.
Read also: The stork is still not quite convinced