08 September 2011

Perhaps This Also Apply To Chinese Malaysians

by Malaysia Chronicle

"It was very embarrassing", says a PhD student, age 27, questioned by Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

She had a burning question for former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew last night. Given the big influx of immigrants here in a short time, and a dilution of the national identity, what can we do to create a sense of belonging and foster social cohesiveness, she asked.

She told The New Paper last night: “He’s Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Of course, I expected him to ask me questions. But I thought he would ask what I would do to create a sense of belonging.”

Little did she expect the elder statesman to turn the tables and fire a string of questions at her instead. And rather personal ones at that.

Following her question, Mr Lee spoke about the fast ageing population. That, plus the drop in the fertility rate, are major worries for Singapore’s leaders.

Last year, the total fertility rate – which measures the average number of children born to a woman over her childbearing years – was at an all-time low of 1.15.

Mr Lee said: “The birth rate today, the fertility rate, is 1.01. In other words, for every couple, you have 1.01 babies.

“The Institute of Policy Studies has the grim statistics of 60,000 migrants a year to keep our economy young. We can’t digest that. 20,000 maybe, 25,000 – that’s a stretch – but certainly not 60,000.”

The answer, said Mr Lee, is to get couples to have a fertility rate of 1.8 babies or better still, 2.1 babies. Then the population can replace itself.

Mr Lee paused and looked at her.

“How old are you now?” he wanted to know.
“Twenty-seven,” she replied.

The queries came thick and fast: Are you married? (No) When will you finish your PhD? (In two years) So you’ll be 29 then. Do you have a boyfriend? (No)

That was when Mr Lee drew attention to the biological clock and a woman’s child-bearing years.
After 35 (years old), the dangers of having children with Down syndrome rises, he said.

“My advice, please don’t waste time. I hope you get your PhD and your boyfriend,” he added.

The audience laughed loudly and she turned red.

She told The New Paper: “It was very, very embarrassing. At that moment, I wanted to hug myself and disappear.

“My mind turned into a total blank when he started asking those questions.”

Almost an hour later, she still looked shocked when we spoke to her.

“I agree with what he said about how people are getting married later and postponing having children. It’s unavoidable,” she said.

After attending the forum alone, she went home and told her parents what happened.

What did they say?

“They told me, parents will naturally want their kids to get married... but I’m not in a hurry (to get attached). Let things take their natural course,” she said.

Read more here.

P/S: Numerous sectors of Chinese Malaysians have talked about the dwindling number of Chinese population in respect to the other races in the country. Perhaps Mr. Lee KY has hit the correct button which may also apply to the Chinese in this country whom ever growing kiasuism mentality created the scenario.


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