Focus on the Family Singapore kicked off its 9th State of the Family (SOTF) on 2 February with Guest-of-Honour Minister K. Shanmugam addressing some 340 participants from schools, social service agencies, faith-based organisations, and community partners.
In Minister Shanmugam’s address, he stated that strong families remain the bedrock of our society, and that we each have to play a part in building strong families and marriages.
Emphasising the need to prepare younger couples for marriage, he said, “I think we can do far more than we do today to prepare young people to understand what marriage really means, because it is a life partnership to share, to spend the good moments together, but also, crucially, to deal with day-to-day life and what it means for religious beliefs, money, bringing up children (and) housework.”
With the theme of Family in the Coming Age, the event, which was held at Capitol Theatre, covered a local analysis of observed trends on family life with an emphasis on sexuality education and the next generation.
Minister Shanmugam also had the opportunity to respond to the youths in a question-and-answer session facilitated by Joanna Koh-Hoe, CEO of Focus Singapore.
He explained that the reason why Singapore is one of the most religiously diverse places in the world and yet there is relative peace and harmony is because people know the laws are very strict, and that there is a very clear framework that outlaws hate speech.
Additionally, we go beyond laws to inculcate a culture of respect here, referring to the various policies such as housing and schooling that have been put in place to bring people together and encourage inter-cultural relationships.
He also raised the issue of the internet as a challenge as it has led to a reduction in face-to-face social interactions and an amplification of negative human feelings.
He explained, “There are many other things that can happen where people form their own communities and become very hardened in their views and unwilling to compromise...that is a real risk but we will keep doing what we can in our schools, in our grassroots, in our housing estates, and in fostering NGOs like this to try and do better.”
The youth interview segment was followed by a local analysis of observed trends on family life with an emphasis on sexuality education and the next generation, presented by Alicia Boo, Chief, Impact at Focus Singapore.
Key trends and results that were highlighted include:
Sexual Integrity in Marriage:
Focus on the Family Singapore’s Marriage Quiz in 2022 revealed that 30% of participants found it difficult to share deeply with their spouse.
About 31% found it difficult to keep their sexual relationship interesting.
According to Whole Life Inventory (2016-2020), 39% reported viewing porn in the past 12 months. With the exponential surge of porn viewership, it is not difficult to imagine the far-reaching and negative consequences of habitual porn use on the individual, their marriage, and even their children.
Sexual Identity for the Next Generation:
Focus’ Parental Concerns Survey 2022 showed 65% are most concerned with increased exposure to LGBTQ ideology in the media.
Increasingly diverse views about our culture’s stand on sexuality issues may lead to contention on what schools can or should be teaching our kids.
Only 17.5% of youths and 9.5% of young adults have open conversations about sex with their dad or mum. (Whole Life Inventory, 2016-2020).
The report was followed by a lively panel discussion on the key family trends. Guests on the panel, which was moderated by Focus on the Family Singapore’s Programmes Lead Chong Ee Jay, were:
Mr. Gregory Vijayendran – Partner, Rajah & Tann and Marriage Builders Alliance Co-facilitator
Ms. Yvonne Kong-Ho – Parent, Educator & Youth Developer
Ven. Daniel Wee – Vicar, Church of our Saviour
At the end of the event, Focus Singapore launched its new Talk About Sex video series, a micro e-learning programme designed to help parents build an open, healthy approach to Sexuality Education at home. Covering topics like “Where do babies come from?” and “What is a crush?” parents can easily access each video via a weekly link sent to their email inbox, accompanied by tips and conversation guides. Find out more at www.family.org.sg/TASVideos.
Registration has also opened for its upcoming Relational Health & Sexual Intelligence webinar on 4 March, where parents can gain insights and practical tools on how to equip their child to make wise sexual decisions. Register at www.family.org.sg/RFRKSexualIntelligence.
About Focus on the Family Singapore
Focus on the Family Singapore is a local Christian charity with Institution of a Public Character (IPC) status dedicated to helping families thrive. Upholding the family unit as the basic building block of a thriving Singapore, we partner individuals and organisations to promote strong families through differentiated programmes, trusted resources, family counselling and content placement in various media.
Find out more: www.family.org.sg/StewardshipReport
© 2023 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
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