12 Aug 2010, 9.00AM
At the recent National Family Celebrations, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that the basic tenets that make up a strong family – love, respect and filial piety – remained deeply entrenched and that it was important to keep family ties strong. The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has also launched a new campaign on filial piety with the tagline “How one generation loves, the next generation learns”.
REACH’s platforms have since seen passionate discussion on family values and how to strengthen family bonds.
While contributors generally agree on the importance of family, one contributor notes that there should be no necessity for MCYS to initiate a campaign promoting filial piety, as these values should be an intrinsic part of our Asian culture and heritage. Another contributor highlights that the concept of filial piety has degenerated to become duties and responsibilities, void of feelings. He reminds Singaporeans to treat parents with gratitude and love. Others feel that filial piety is subjective and lies in the eyes of the beholder. Contributors agree that there is no measure for filial piety and that Singaporeans should follow their hearts in these matters.
Contributors also spoke on how the practicalities of daily living impacts on how families value and care for each other. In this regard, some contributors feel that the high cost of living in Singapore makes it difficult for those with their own families to financially care for elderly parents. Several contributors shared their personal struggles in this regard, and urged for more help to be given to lower the cost of living in Singapore.
Others, however point out that filial piety is not limited to material well-being, and that contributors should look beyond this to also show love to, and cherish their elders. In this regard, they note that financial well-being should not be an obstacle to practising filial care and piety. They urge Singaporeans to set aside more time to spend with their families to strengthen their family bonds and kinship.
They also surfaced the issue of work-life balance, with contributors pointing out that our ‘kiasu’ social culture has resulted in Singaporeans’ spending more time on work, and less time on their families. They feel the long working hours in Singapore goes against promoting family bonding. Contributors also call for society to provide the necessary support for Singaporeans to care for parents without being disadvantage during job interviews, work performance appraisals and corporate downsizing.