Sunday, March 25, 2018

Opinion: Exercise sensitivity when addressing people, discussing marriage and child-bearing

It is a common practice among Asians to address people unknown to us, as auntie or uncle (Me? I’m no auntie, call me an uncle, see if I care; last Sunday– 18 March 2018, The Sunday Times).


This auntie and uncle-dom is probably done out of respect, but perhaps if the person is younger it is better to call them brother or sister. 


It is true that during the Chinese New Year festival, the probing questions would often be about marriage and child-bearing.  Most couples would want to have children after they get married to grow the family tree.  Certainly, the arrival of a baby is the most delightful, wonderful and incredible event in a married couple's life.   


However, there will newlyweds who would want to focus on building their careers first.  There will also be the issues of financial and energy resources being challenged.  Who is going to look after the baby when both partners are busy at work?  Will the in-laws want to help out in babysitting?  All these matters need to be ironed out before the couple sign on the dotted line. 


There could also be women who may have problems conceiving a baby? Despite several advances in fertility treatments, many couples still remain unable to have any children of their own.

If people, relatives included, keep on asking why the wife does not have children, there is a tendency that the woman can becoming depressed and feel she is not worthy to be a good wife.  That is when the relationship with her husband become shaky. For there are couples who break up, blaming childlessness as the cause.

As marriage and child-bearing are personal and private matters, we need to be mindful in expressing our views as we need to be able to understand the feelings of young courting couples, as well as those who are starting out as husband and wife. 



Raymond Anthony Fernando



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