Sunday, April 05, 2009

Lee Wei Ling: “Why I choose to remain Single”?

An article written by Dr Lee Wei Ling, Director and Senior Consultant of the National Neurology Institute, who is better known to Singaporeans as the daughter of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew appeared in “The Sunday Times” today. The article was titled “Why I choose to remain Single?” in which Dr Lee shared with readers the reasons for her choosing to remain single.

Dr Lee began her article describing the great love, care and bonding between her parents, especially during this period when her mother’s health is not as good as before. Few paragraphs later, she brought readers back to her reasons for choosing to remain single, though it was mentioned Dr Lee has suitors and dated before.

As gleaned from the article, the two reasons Dr Lee gave for choosing to remain single are:

“Firstly, my mother set the bar too high for me. I could not envisage being the kind of mother and mother she has been” … Statement 1

“Secondly, I am temperamentally similar to my father. Indeed, he once said to me: “You have all my traits-but to such an exaggerated degree that they become such a disadvantage to you.” … Statement 2

Dr Lee further mentioned in the article that:

“I knew I could not live my life around a husband; nor would I want a husband to live his life around me …” … Statement 3

“I have always been set in my ways and did not fancy changing my behaviour or lifestyle” … Statement 4

I believe the two reasons Dr Lee gave are something she could resolve. Firstly, Dr Lee needs not envisage being the kind of mother and mother her mother has been. Dr Lee could take some of the good attributes of her mother on being a good mother and wife and weaves into her (Dr Lee Wei Ling’s) very own style of being a wife and mother. She needs not envisage being 100% the kind of mother her mother has been. No one is identical in the world, Dr Lee could just carve out her own style of being a wife and mother, learning from and sharing with the senior Mrs Lee at times when needed.

Next on temperament, the second reason cited by Dr Lee. I do not know what her temperament or Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s temperament is as I do not really know them well except seeing them in the news and newspapers regularly. But such thing as temperament could be worked out by finding a partner who could accommodate one’s temperament and accept one for who he or she is.. this is Love. Lets face it, a couple, no matter how close they are, will always have each’s differences and weaknesses for which they will accommodate, assimilate between them and complement with the other’s strengths.

Analysing the entire article, I believe the main reasons for Dr Lee’s choice of singlehood stems from the third and fourth statement which I have outlined above, though in the article, these two latter reasons were brought in only subtly, the third and fourth statement read:

“I knew I could not live my life around a husband; nor would I want a husband to live his life around me …”

“I have always been set in my ways and did not fancy changing my behaviour or lifestyle”

Dr Lee has shared candidly with readers her two above-mentioned perspectives, which I believe are also reasons for a bulk of local women choosing to remain single for the rest of their life. But what I must emphasize is that it is not THE reason per se for women in Singapore remaining single. A clear distinction must be made when we talk about the reasons for singlehood of local women: some women crave for companionship but due to certain reasons or circumstances, they are not able to find partners or are divorced; the other half of the equation is women who CHOOSE to remain single. It is in the later context that I believe the third and fourth statements hold true for a number of local women who choose to remain single.

The whole issue of local women or women in general choosing to remain single boils down to her frame of mind: her preferences to remain single for certain reasons for which Dr Lee has given two (statement 3 and 4). Reading this article by Dr Lee Wei Ling, I found myself reading an article similar to that written by Ms Sumiko Tan, one of the editors in The Sunday Times, for which she dishes out her experiences of remaining single, choosing to be single or her experiences as a single regularly to readers.

Lets face the fact, everyone has just one life on this earth, and all of us have limited time, we have absolute control or choice on how we want to live. I believe one’s choice of remaining single or married is entirely his or hers… the most important thing is when making this choice of singlehood or marriagehood, one must be happy with this decision. For me, personally, I find it more meaningful to have a life partner, my Dear who will walk with me, our lives together and share in the fun and together tide over challenges that life will dish out to us at times.

I would like to salute Dr Lee when she concluded her article with an encouragement to all single Singaporeans to get hitched and procreate early when the ripe time comes as late parenthood may have implications in fertility or in the off-springs as she has so rightfully cautions. To conclude, this article, coming from what is often seen as the First Family in Singapore, would, I believe, touches the heart of many Singaporeans for Dr Lee Wei Ling, daughter of the distinguished Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew still shares the same common experiences of the some of the single average folks on the streets….of course, you may say Dr Lee Wei Ling, is after all still a human being, but what I must applaud Dr Lee is the fact that she dares to bare all her thoughts and experiences of a topic which may still seem taboo to many older single ladies in this modern era, in full public view.


Anonymous said...

This article she wrote is obvious that she is helping lau lee a hand in boosting the producing rate in singapore.

Why singaporeans married late is because singapore is not exactly a cheap place to live and man wants to be ready financially before they take that step. It is no joke paying 300k for a flat and 100k for a car. We needs to be ready or we're going to dig ourselves a grave in marriage.

This is not jakarta or kuala lumpur or bangkok.

Don't just ask us to marry early, make it easier for us to do so.

Singapore Short Stories said...

Dear Anonymous,

Many Thanks for your post!

Yes, not to deny, the cost of living in Singapore is real high! Unless one can afford, having one or two children these days is the norm. I welcome the continuous procreation benefits government offers to Singaporeans.

Anonymous Craven (AC) said...

I think an additional point to consider is that any prospective partner of hers will face tremendous scrutiny, expectations and pressure - given that her family is as close to a Royal family as it can be in Singapore.

qa said...

You don't need to be rich to get married and have babies. There are many people earning not much and they are happily married with children.

Singapore Short Stories said...

Ya AC, the scrutiny is inevitable.

Agreed with you QA, it depends on how one manages his cash flow.

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