theAsianparent Founder and CEO, Roshni Mahtani, shares what she loves about The Little Red Dot, when it comes to her role as mum to an adorable toddler.
National Day is this August 9th, and it’s definitely a day to be thankful, to be proud, and to celebrate. Amid the exhaustion and demands of parenthood, we may not realise how good we have it, so I’m sharing 52 reasons, to mark our 52nd birthday on why being a Singaporean parent is so downright awesome.
FINANCIAL AID & GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS
1. Enjoying one of the best maternity entitlement policies in Southeast Asia – we get 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.
2. Dads get 2 weeks of paid paternity leave AND can share in mum’s maternity leave (up to 4 weeks!)
3. Receiving the Baby Bonus cash gift (up to $10,000) – because who knew taking care of such tiny human beings could be so expensive?
4. Then getting the Baby Bonus CDA [Child Development Account], which is absolute icing on the cake. Kickstarting your child’s savings AND matching what you deposit (up to a certain amount) is definitely not something many governments are willing or able to do. Banks like POSB even offer programmes that lets you maximise the account with added perks and savings schemes.
5. The Parenthood Tax Rebate ($5,000 to $20,000) that just gives you a sigh of relief when it’s tax filing season.
6. The brilliantly thoughtful idea that is Grandparent Caregiver Relief (up to $3,000) for working mums, making one feel just a little less guilty about relying so much on parents/in-laws for day-to-day child care.
7. Handicapped Child Relief ($7,500): a tremendous help to those who need it.
8. An extra 15-25% of a mum’s income in the form of the Working Mother’s Child Relief (capped at a total of $50,000/child with Qualifying/Handicapped Child Relief) could be what lets her make ends meet or afford little luxuries in the care of her child.
9. Enlisting the help of foreign domestic workers and the subsidised government levy for the care of a child, an elder, or a person with disability.
10. HDB (Housing Development Board) flats that give Singaporeans the pride and long-term financial advantages of being home-owners.
11. Paid childcare leave days that really let us be there for our kids.
12. Peace of mind thanks to the Medisave scheme plus the savings it brings upon baby’s delivery.
13. A very low maternity death rate in terms of global rankings, thanks to excellent healthcare. I gave birth at Mount Elizabeth, Orchard, and the team there really took good care of me and my daughter.
14. No guns due to our strict gun laws.
15. No drugs (many) thanks to our harsh drug laws as well.
16. Both of these significantly contributing to our low crime rate.
17. The Dependant’s Protection Scheme that protects our loved ones when time comes that we can’t.
HISTORY & CULTURE
18. The leadership example we have in Lee Kuan Yew and his legacy of building a great and prosperous nation.
19. Being immersed daily in a melting pot of races and consequently, traditions, cuisines, arts, languages, and so on.
20. Nasi Lemak burger: when the kids are craving fast food but mum and dad want some good old Nasi Lemak – not a bad compromise!
21. Having tons of messy, yummy fun eating Chilli crab, whether on family or date night. Roland Seafood is a great place to have it, since it’s right next to Parkway Parade too!
22. Ang Ku Kueh [red tortoise cake] at celebrations and festivals bringing back happy (end-of-) confinement memories. I can still taste the ones from Secret Moments. Yum.
23. Getting competitive over Yam Seng [“drink to success”] and remembering the merry rounds at your own wedding.
24. 24-hour Dim Sum for those midnight pregnancy cravings.
25. Then heading over to Mustafa (open 24 hours a day) to walk off that huge meal and get some shopping done.
26. The rowdy Lo Hei [“tossing up good fortune”] CNY ritual that really does get you excited about the new year and what’s to come.
27. Getting to savor flavors from all over the world at Lau Pa Sat.
28. Tiger balm and all the relief it brings. Aaaaaaaah!
29. A meritocratic, equal opportunity society leading to a diverse workforce and a culture of excellence.
30. Singlish, because some things just can’t be expressed in English lah.
31. Our tiny but mighty passport that unlocks visa-free travel to so many amazing destinations like Iceland, Fiji, Peru, Switzerland, Morocco, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the UK, and Spain just to name a few.
32. And having family-friendly Changi Airport – voted the best in the world for 5 years in a row! – as the hub for all this traveling.
33. The superior service of Singapore Airlines, making trips with the kids that much easier and more memorable.
34. Add to that, direct flights to many parts of the world, letting us skip the hassle and stress of layovers.
35. Being the first country in Southeast Asia to get Amazon Prime.
36. GrabTaxi and Uber making our daily lives so much easier especially with so much baby stuff to lug around.
37. ParentTown, of course! If you haven’t already, sign up and get access to advice from experts and fellow mums/dads on all your parenting concerns. Expectant mums can also look forward to daily pregnancy and baby development notifications.
38. Our world class education system enabling generations of Singaporean children to become globally competitive and successful in their chosen fields.
39. Having relatively low school fees for first-rate education.
40. The Edusave scheme on top of this.
41. Swimming as part of the PE Syllabus in primary schools – it’s such a necessary life skill!
42. The Smart Nation drive that’s enabling our kids to learn coding in school.
43. Singapore Math giving our kids a serious edge over many other students in the world.
44. Though not as famous as its Math counterpart, Singapore Science is undoubtedly topnotch, as our students rank first in the world for both subjects.
ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES
45. From learning to cook a new cuisine to coding and everything in between, our amazing Community Centres provide endless opportunities for life improvement. The family fun fitness activities and programmes for kids also serve as great cures for boredom and cabin fever! I spent so many summers at Marine Parade Community Center.
46. World class shopping malls with so many rooftop gardens and public play areas. The City Green park at City Square is a great haven in the city, plus it’s a very family-friendly mall.
47. Because kids eat for free at so many restaurants, mum and dad can indulge their gourmet cravings with the little ones in tow. We even have a kid-friendly bar! On weekends, The Bank Bar + Bistro lets kids (aged 4-10) get a free meal when you order yours.
48. Our gorgeous free parks that let our children commune with nature and offer opportunities for active play, picnics, exercise, or just going for relaxing strolls. A visit to the Botanic Gardens or Gardens by the Bay is always good for the soul.
49. Great walking weather and sunshine all year round.
50. $6 mum and baby movie shows at Golden Village complete with diaper changing stations.
51. Year-round fun at Sentosa, so you don’t actually have to venture far for family adventures.
52. Night Safari for the thrill plus the added value of education in such a unique setting.
So there you have it – 52 incredible reasons that make us love our country even more! What’s your favourite thing about being a Singaporean parent?