'Who do you love more? Your husband or your child?'
This was just one of the many pertinent questions that was discussed in the 2016 Prudential Relationship Index (PRI) forum, held on October 20th at the Reddot Design Museum, Singapore. The event was streamed live on Facebook from 6:30 pm onwards.
Guests of the Prudential Relationship Index forum were seated in red plush chairs as the Band of Doodlers began work on the doodle wall, simultaneously piquing the interest of the audience and setting the mood for the intellectual-emotional spectacle to come. In about two hours time, this wall was going to transform into a work of art.
Meet the Panellists
Hosted by Funnyman of Singapore, Gurmit Singh, the PRI forum had an impressive panel - big names from various fields, confronting the banal yet complex topic of human relationships, particularly those in Asia and Singapore.
- Ms. Angela Hunter, Executive Vice President and CMO, Prudential Assurance Company, Singapore
- Mr. Jason Wong, Chairman, Focus on the family, Singapore. Founder, Yellow Ribbon Project. Founder, Dad’s for Life movement
- Ms. Paulin Tay Straughan, Sociologist, Vice Dean and Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NUS
- Ms. Roshni Mahtani, CEO and Founder, Tickled Media. Founder, Female Founders Network
- Ms. Helen Lim-Yang, Principal Consultant, Rohei Corporation Pte Ltd
- Ms. Jade Seah, Actress, host, model
How would you fare in this social experiment?
The event was kickstarted by the hugely popular Prudential Relationship Reconnect video, which has already gone viral with over 22 million views worldwide.
This poignant social experiment examines if we would be able to reconnect with someone better, simply by staring at that person for 4 uninterrupted minutes, notably sans digital devices. 12 real life couples were chosen for this ad and the results are heartwarming, to say the least.
Ready for the 2016 PRI findings for Singapore?
This video set the tone for the rest of the discussion, which was mostly centered on the 2016 Prudential Relationship Index (PRI) findings for Singapore. If you didn’t know already, the PRI is a score which measures our relationships with partners, children, parents, friends and relatives.
Interestingly, Singapore ranks 7th out of 10 countries in Asia with an index score of
68/100. Vietnam is 1st and China is 10th. Ms. Roshni Mahtani couldn’t help but exclaim, “C’mon, Singapore! We need to be at #1! Where’s our kiasu mentality?”
‘Is the concept of work-life balance too utopian?’ + other discussion highlights
Like it or not, our relationships are at the heart of whatever we choose to do in our lives. In today’s hectic world, we often take our relationships for granted and don’t give them the importance they deserve.
Would you believe that 32% of people in Singapore say their partners sometimes prefer their mobile phones to being intimate with them? And that, every week, 24% of married people seriously consider leaving their partners?
How can we bring back that missing spark in our lives? The PRI forum offered plenty of information and advice on today’s relationship issues, and how simple acts can re-ignite your relationship with your partner and/or children.
“Nothing beats that face-to-face connection”
Ms. Paulin Tay Straughan couldn’t have said it better. The more digitally connected we are these days, the more emotionally disconnected we seem to have become. Mr. Jason Wong commented on the poverty of relationships: “The richer we get, the poorer we become.”
Everyone seemed to agree that, while digital media has been instrumental in connecting across distances, it has also made us curious about everybody else’s lives but our own. So much, that we now prefer our phones to intimacy!
Find that elusive work-life balance
Leave your work, at work. You don’t have to be available 24 hrs a day to respond to that email or IM. “Are Singaporeans working too hard to give time to their relationships?” asked one Facebook user. Perhaps for some people, being at work is more rewarding and a morale booster, more than being at home, reasoned Ms. Tay Straughan.
Children need their Daddies too
Dads, stop shying away from your fatherly duties. Ms. Mahtani talked about how, in spite of running a start up, her husband made sure he spent at least an hour in the morning exclusively with their baby.
Having Daddy around can also help split the load for Mummy. Ms. Helen Lim-Yang recounted the days when her kids were little and she and her husband would split the study load between them.
Spend time together as a family
Having your Sunday lunch together, and going on family vacations are instrumental in strengthening the bond that you share as a family. “Time is the currency of relationships”, said Mr. Wong. So invest in your time, just as you would invest in your money.
Work on your marriage
When children come along, we often neglect our spouses and take them for granted. Ms. Mahtani commented that, “When we put the question ‘Who do you love more: your husband or your child?’ on our theAsianparent Community app, 70% actually claimed to love their children more than their husbands.” Of course, for most mothers, kids will still be kids, even when they have entered adulthood. “My poor husband is waiting to be #1 again”, said Ms. Tay Straughan.
Sharing similar values and hobbies works
Ms. Mahtani believes that in spite of the two of them being super busy entrepreneurs, their marriage works because both of them share the same passion.
“It’s all about compromise,” she shared. “If your spouse loves technology, and is always on his/her phone, then get on technology yourself. Find common ground, because that’s what glues a marriage together.”
Marry because you love
And not because you want that HDB flat, said host Gurmit Singh, to peals of laughter. Mr. Wong’s view was that, “Marriage should add to your life, not add trouble to your life.”
Watch the full video here:
Husband’s and wife’s careers don’t have to be at the same intensity all the time
It is okay for one partner to slow down a bit, if it helps the family, especially the kids. Mr. Singh talked about how he and his wife had decided earlier on, that whoever earns more, would go out and work, and the other would stay at home to look after the kids, an arrangement that was likewise endorsed by Ms. Angela Hunter.
Ms. Mahtani gave a contrasting point of view, stating that one’s career does not have to take a backseat just because of the children, and that it was possible for both partners to lead fulfilling, successful lives. Ms. Hunter summed it up nicely when she said that at the end of the day, it all boils down to personal choice. What is important is that you have the freedom to make that choice.
Don’t forget to laugh
Ms. Jade Seah remarked that you should be able to laugh together as a couple or as a family. Laughter really is the best medicine and can iron out most of the differences in your life.
Enjoy each other’s silence
Mr. Singh described his definition of happiness as lying down on his wife’s lap, under a tree, on a sunny day and not talking. At all. Hardly surprising, since 62% of people in Singapore believe that being comfortable in each other’s silence is important.
Define your quality time
Your quality time should be the time when you are the most alert and receptive. “I don’t want your washed out time, I want your prime time!” demanded Ms. Tay Straughan.
You don’t even have to follow textbook rules. If you enjoy playing computer games with your family, go for it, shared Mr. Singh. Quality time should basically be time that is the most enjoyable for your family, a time for nurturing your relationships, to laugh, and to just live in the moment.
An instantaneous effect
After well over two hours, it was finally time to wrap up the discussion. The Band of Doodlers had finished their artwork. And what a masterpiece it was! They had gathered the panel’s inputs on relationships and created fun doodles out of them.
Thanks to the witty repartee between the hugely entertaining host and truly remarkable panelists, the session was most informative and insightful for the audience. In a move that should be wholeheartedly encouraged, Prudential is planning to conduct the PRI survey every year.
The biggest impact that this forum made? Everyone wanted to go home and spend some time with their families right away. And for that alone, it must definitely be commended and supported.
Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below.