Letter from a Singaporean living in Hong Kong

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At a television forum on September 24, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong suggested Singaporeans should not focus too much on work-life balance, as there are hungry competitors like India, China and Vietnam out to steal Singapore’s lunch. The dilemma is, if Singaporeans do not have a proper work-life balance, they may not have incentive to produce more children due to the stress of work. Prime Minister Lee and his government have been trying to encourage Singaporeans to produce more children, which will reduce the need to import foreigners. Hence, Prime Minister Lee’s two goals of getting Singaporeans to be productive and to be reproductive appear to conflict with each other.

Only a few days ago during her visit to Singapore, Myanmar opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi said, “What is work all about? What are human beings for? What are human lives about? So I think singapore perhaps could learn from us a more relaxed way of life, perhaps warmer and closer family relationships.”

Toh Han Shih
A Singaporean in Hong Kong