As much as it can appear to sound sweet and what not, it makes me raise an eyebrow at best. Relationship status aside, here are a few reasons on why this postcard can get offensive:
Being in a relationship is not a sign of evolution in humanity
This kind of reminds me of high school where your “cred” was shot up if you managed to get a significant other. Then you realise you still needed to finish your assignments and pass your exams to get to the next stage in life, significant other or not.
Same thing here – while being in a relationship may change, mature, or evolve you as a person, it is not the requisite. Life on its own is enough to build your character; it’s a matter of choice of what you believe and make yourself out to be.
And I believe this is a major reason why people get mad at all this advertising to push us all to get hitched. It’s a psychological robbery of our societal choices: if you wanted to get accepted, get a boyfriend/girlfriend and get hitched ASAP or you’re not as “evolved” regardless.
There’s no one fixed structure in relationships
It seems like the message that comes with all this marketing is usually the whole hurry-up-and-get-married-so-you-can-have-babies-for-us caboodle. Now here’s comes the killer – not every relationship has to have one man and one woman. As much as you’d want to argue with me on that, it’s the reality of things.
So what are you saying? That queer people don’t fit? That people who choose to be single don’t fit? What about people who choose to stay celibate? Are they not “evolved”?
Affairs of the heart are not coding problems
I cannot say this enough. You can change HTML codes, you can alter bank numbers, and the problem will be solved. Anything to do with the mind and the heart are totally different. All this marketing presents unneeded pressure to both sides of the coin.
Singles feel the pressure to get attached because people think of them differently. Couples feel the pressure to get married and have children because it seems to be what they are expected to do.
The choice to settle down and start a family is never an easy one, and it’s never as straightforward as you think. Apart from the tangible issues (financial), the intangibles play a huge role – compatibility (you don’t want to spend your life raging over each other because you got together out of pressure), careers (high school reference – you still need to pay your bills), confidence (not everyone is ready all the time), and your other life goals.
And if you haven’t noticed, it’s never easy to calm the heart and mind every time something negative or disturbing happens. If you got over your emotional problems with a snap and everything disappeared, then good for you. Not everyone’s like that.
A Family is a Family is a Family. Not a unit, not a figure.
I think the greatest thing that irks me is how families and people are being reduced to mere numbers. General rule for me – People are people. Or to paraphrase C.S.Lewis, you are a soul, you just have a body. If people are being seen as nothing but figures or headcount, it’s difficult to move forward because you take away the very basic thing about being human – the soul.
Singapore’s population issue has been hanging over our heads for the longest time, yes we know that. However, attempts like this do not only offend people, it insults their choices in life. That is the main problem about this – CHOICES.
The route you set may be safe. The route others decide to pave for themselves can be a good thing as well. At the end of the day, people just want to know that they have choices and be respected for them, without the societal pressure.
Therefore, I’d say this – societal issues are not a disease which you can stick a hypodermic needle in and hope the problem goes away in the shortest time possible. If you really care about your people, shoving these messages down their throats in a base environment (that almost contradicts natural and creative development, might I add) you’ve created is not going to help the situation.
Note: A good friend of mine, Raven Silvers, wrote a piece on this as well. And yes, it’s not just about conforming or social issues, it’s a vicious cycle that will harm the psyche of our people.