As a new mum, Tin Pei Ling hopes to address issues faced by working mothers. Find out what she will be campaigning for at the General Election 2015.
When your job puts you in the glare of media and the eyes of the public, there is additional pressure and challenge to be able to strike a balance between work and personal responsibilities.
Ms. Tin Pei Ling is no stranger to both, especially now that she is a new mum of a three-week old baby.
theAsianparent had the exclusive privilege to meet with this busy mother to find out how surreal things have been since welcoming baby Kau Hee, and how her perspective on policies have been redefined.
This is the second installation of a two-part interview series, and has been edited for clarity and brevity. Read the first installation here.
Do you think there is enough support for new mothers in Singapore?
We need to be open-minded in supporting new mums.
I’m glad that maternity leave is four months now, as mums can get peace of mind and time to bond with kids. I think, though, if you are looking to promote six months of breastfeeding, four months might be short.
However, the modern mum does want to go back to work. It’s a struggle between work aspirations and baby time. There are some mothers, especially those who have contract jobs or are in blue-collared positions, who do not want to take the full four months in fear that employers may pass them up on certain assignments. In terms of appraisal, they worry how they will be affected too.
More paternity leave is helpful. The additional week will hopefully help with the proliferation of companies adopting it. You can mandate paternity or maternity leave, but if employers do it half-heartedly, there will still be stress on the mothers and fathers.
Companies need to embrace the importance of family. One way is to allow more flexi-work arrangements. For example, Ernst and Young has quite a supportive environment that helps to take away the stress from working mums who still want to contribute while caring for their kids.
Colleagues’ support is also very important; understanding, appreciating and the reciprocal effect. When you are away, they have to cover your job, so mums need to know how to reciprocate too. As a nation we need to embrace family togetherness, we need to live according to that value and show support for each other.
What are your thoughts about child care education in Singapore?
I hope there will be more child care centres, even in mature estates, and I’ve been lobbying for this.
It will be very useful to ensure a minimum high quality standard across the board. If there is a ministry such as the Ministry of Education (MOE) to mandate about child care education, it will assure parents that child care can be a safe place for their children.
What is your message to parents in Singapore?
I know it can be very stressful raising a kid. The environment is challenging but we have conditions better than other countries. I hope parents continue to stay strong to have the best environment and best possible starting point for their kids.
I can fully empathise with what they are going through and the fight for young families. I hope to be able to represent them and be their voice in parliament.
Addressing the case for single mums:
Who would not want to have a full family. I am sure they would love to have a husband around if possible.
The reality is that mother and the child are intimately linked to each other. If the mother is not able to have enough resources the child will suffer.
The primary focus is on the child; making sure every child has a good starting point in life. The support for child is the same across but for mothers, not quite.
Every child should have the same footing. This is an area the Government is also looking into. I believe the Government is also rethinking this area, and I think the focus should be on the child.
There needs to be a common understanding as this is a complex situation for society to agree on what needs to be done. It will be easier to accept policies if the prevailing thought is to have a consensus, much like how employers need to embrace and understand, instead of being mandated without full acceptance.
There are four things which I will be campaigning for, in no particular order:
- Young families and mothers, with my renewed sense of mission
Hopefully, that will give an assurance to parents and allow them to focus on their ambitions.
theAsianParent thanks Ms. Tin Pei Ling, for sharing valuable insights on her thoughts on the upcoming campaigns that she will be standing firm with. As parents, we are thankful that the Government is taking steps to extend support when it comes to starting a family and raising children.
We wish her all the best in the upcoming Singapore General Elections 2015.