Mixed views about unwed having children

SINGAPORE - A poll on whether unmarried couples should have children drew a close split in opinion during a studio discussion with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong broadcast last night.

The poll was sparked off by a question from fashion designer Jo Soh, 36, on why de facto couples or single parents couldn't have children and still have the same access to subsidies and rights.

Echoing her thoughts, a single mother in the audience guest services manager Adora Doganis, who has an eight-year-old daughter, said she was not keen to get married, and wanted to have more children, but was not able to get a HDB flat.

However, senior manager Gopala Krishnan disagreed with the sentiment, saying that he would like his three children to marry and have kids. He questioned if expectations were too high when finding the right partner.

When PM Lee asked for a poll from the 50 participants, 46 per cent said 'yes', while 54 per cent said 'no', reported The Straits Times. He remarked that the results were quite close, and added: "We have to progress gradually and we have to be very careful of unintended consequences."

He said: "As a policy, we should stick to encouraging traditional families. There will be some families who operate in different ways, we accept that."

At the forum, PM Lee also discussed topics ranging from pre-school education to attitudes towards foreigners. Participants came from all walks of life from university students to chief executives.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat and members of parliament Indranee Rajah and Intan Azura Mokhtar also participated in the forum.

natlim@sph.com.sg

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