Polygamy – it is something that has not existed in our conversations for a while, or even in national debates. And that is only because polygamy does not really sync with our sense of propriety, moral values and how we define ourselves as a people.
Yet it was that very same practice of a single man having more than one wife that led to the stratospheric jump in birth rates during the 1950s and 1960s. Birth rates were such that it compelled our sitting government to come out calling for a halt in the ‘unsustainable’ birth rates in the early 1970s.
As a mark of comparison, the birth rates stood at something like 5.26 births per woman in 1961 in Singapore compared to the abysmally 1.24 rate now that is well below the replacement rate. It was 6.14 births per woman in Malaysia in 1961, says the World Bank.
And what is just interesting is that Malaysia does recognise polygamous unions for Muslims and has not had a problem tackling falling birth rates.
True, polygamy may sound as bugaboo to many of us here, especially among the cohort of feminists and those whose parents were in polygamous relationship.
But what is false is that children in polygamous are unhappy and unhealthy individual as there is no evidence to the contrary. What is evidential now is that divorce, remarriage, degrees of surrogacy have indeed painted the picture of polygamous unions in Singapore without much of us putting a definitely deleterious spin to it.
Sure enough most polygamous unions are moved by religious like it is with the Mormons thus explaining why the population of the United States is always rising and not dropping. The United States is the only developed nation in the world with a rising population and the reason for that perhaps is, of their ability to recognise rather uniquely having a faith should not hinder one from expressing that faith through marriage experiment.
Legalised polygamy for just be good for we will never know that the hordes of foreigners living amongst could just be in a polygamous union back in their home nations.
Rightly, the only reason why polygamy is frowned upon in a developed society like Singapore is because too much of financial resources educating and raising children, than say in an agrarian society where farmers raise children so that these striplings could help them in the farms.
Maybe if Singapore authorities recognise polygamy to a certain degree and afford the same kind of financial assistance to children born in such unions, we could possibly see a reversal of the falling births that have creased us since the 1990s.