Family life: Taking a '365-day approach'

SINGAPORE - A youtube video about reunion dinners attracted more than 1,000 views after it was posted two days before Chinese New Year.

The National Family Council followed it up with two contests on Facebook inviting people to pen their thoughts about reunion dinners. The posts attracted more than 350 "likes" and about 100 comments.

More such conversations on social media and radio can be expected as the council refocuses its efforts to build stronger families.

It has a new name - Families for Life - and a logo shaped as a speech bubble to reflect this approach towards engagement, said council chairman Ching Wei Hong last Friday, when the changes were unveiled.

Formed in 2006 to promote resilient families, the council has 10 volunteers appointed for a two-year term by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

Former workgroups under it, Marriage Central and Dads for Life, will be consolidated under Families for Life.

Marriages in Singapore hit a 50-year high in 2012, when about 27,930 couples tied the knot, but fewer are choosing to have children.

Mr Ching, a father of two, said: "Families today are facing increasing complexities, such as balancing work-life demands and caring for young children while looking after elderly parents."

Announcing the new plans at Blisshouse Restaurant in The Central shopping mall, Mr Ching said: "Apart from large-scale family-centred events, we want to boost touch points to enhance family life through a '365-day approach', to encourage families to spend time together more regularly beyond festive or special occasions."

The council hopes to have more "two-way conversations" on family, with people sharing their experiences and advice on family matters. Upcoming plans include online chats with counsellors and experts in family matters, and photo contests on Instagram.

Civil servant Melvin Lee, 26, who is single, said he supports the greater efforts to go online.

"Even older people are going online to connect with their children and grandchildren overseas," he said.

For more information on other activities organised by the council, go to

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