Take the pledge for the family

SINGAPORE - We, The people of Singapore... may sound like the National Pledge. But it is actually the beginning of a new pledge which encourages individuals to strengthen their commitment to family.

The Family Pledge, which was launched on Tuesday by the National Family Council, urges people to "affirm the commitment of marriage between husband and wife" and "take responsibility to nurture our children, and respect our elders".

Council chairman Lim Soon Hock said it was introduced because research showed that when people make a pledge, they tend to stay more committed.

"In today's avalanche of distractions, conflicting demands, noise, pressure of work... I think it is even more imperative that we go back to the basics," he said.

"The basics refer to the family as our source of values, identity, love, care, concern, enjoyment, celebration and our higher purposes."

More than 250,000 personal family pledges were collected during the Singapore Family Pledge movement in 2010, but this is the first time a nation-wide version has been introduced. It will be distributed by volunteer welfare organisations and through social media platforms.

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing believes that the pledge is "a very good ground-up initiative".

"We hope that more people will get to know this pledge, read it, reflect upon it and then act upon the pledge," he said.

Earlier, he spoke about the importance of family during an appreciation lunch which he hosted for people involved in the organisation of last month's National Family Celebrations.

The lunch at Sheraton Towers was attended by over 200 members and partners of the National Family Council, including Mr Joshua Yeo, 31, a lecturer at Republic Polytechnic, who was there with his wife and baby daughter.

He thought that the pledge's message was especially relevant in today's world, and hopes there will be an event for young families to come together to say the pledge on a national platform. "Especially being a young father right now, I realise it's very, very challenging and I think the family pledge reminds me about the importance of marriage and also of showing love and concern."

Other reactions to the pledge were lukewarm. "It feels a bit forced," said Miss Jillian Chim, 23, a graduate associate working in a bank. "It's a concept that should be automatically or naturally instilled within the family, rather than an organisation telling you a family should be a certain way."

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