Essay Example: The Traditional View of the Family in Singapore

Published: 2022-03-01
Essay Example: The Traditional View of the Family in Singapore
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Law Family Parenting
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1004 words
9 min read

State's Position in the Composition of a Family Unit and Acceptable Behavior Patterns

Singapore through its laws determines how family units should look like and the acceptable behavior patterns surrounding marriage and parenthood. For instance, the Ministry of Social and Family Development does not condone same-sex couples adopting children. The state, under the Adoption of Children Act, disregards the concept of surrogacy in which women carry children who are not theirs for a specific fee. Singapore law similarly confines in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) method that could facilitate surrogacy to married couples. The state law considers gay marriage as an illegal practice and does not recognize same-sex civil partnerships. Lastly, no law in Singapore protects individuals discrimination in the form of sexual orientation and gender expression. In a nutshell, it is evident that Singapore's laws mirror the state's wishes, ethics and morality surrounding marriage and parenting. There is a passage of message that the state advocate for a traditional family unit consisting of a father, mother and children. The laws disapprove effectiveness and propriety of same-gender marriage and parenting as they attribute them to be unacceptable behavioural patterns (Mathews, 2015). Although Judge Nair in the case of gay Singaporean says that the role of laws and authorities are to guarantee and oversee deliberate and planned parenthood, it is apparent that the rules support the development and sustenance of parenthood following the traditional family milieu. Therefore, the state has a deliberate attempt to control the constituent of a family, how it should be and moral behaviours. According to the Judge Shobha Nair, the case presented before her did not focus on effectiveness and modesty of same-sex parenting but focused on ethical issues surrounding commercial surrogacy as the gay couple spent S$200,000 in surrogacy arrangements (Vijayan, 2017).

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The aim of the Adoption of Children Act, according to the judge, was to avert the utilization of monetary resources in encouraging the transfer of lives across different hands (Vijayan, 2017). The government attempt to control the constitution of a family unit has an aim of avoiding the consequences of alternative forms of parenting because of the belief and uncertainties that the adoption of same-sex family formations can cause detrimental social outcomes with irreversible effects. According to Singapore government, legalizing same-sex marriages, civil unions and adoption of children from such surrogacy arrangements pose an enormous risk to the state and the society. As Yun (2012) suggests, traditional beliefs, values and notions accord family units special status in Singapore. The Government and the conservative majority consider them as the building blocks of the society. Therefore, restricting undesirable practices such as surrogacy, same-sex relationships and marriages is one way in which the state preserve the conceptualization of a family unit which must remain distinct from Western models family development and parenting modes (Yun, 2012). It is evident in the case of Communications and Information Minister who instructs the National Library Board to restrict children from accessing books such as 'Who's In My Family' which informs the readers about same-sex parenting and different forms of family structures (Wei, 2014). The state is preventing Western counterparts from redefining the country's traditional family unit because a significant number of Singaporeans are deep into the traditional belief that of families and parenting are the building block of their civilization. The state laws and social policies define the outlook of a family unit and acceptable behaviours in marriage and parenting. Such a family unit will endure as the country's social policies may not quickly acknowledge the Western world's definition and composition of a family unit.

Data Collection

Surveys in the form of questionnaires administered face-to-face, by mail, by telephone and electronically is the best data collection approach for uncovering Singaporeans' attitudes towards same-sex parenting. Because the research targets the larger Singapore population, the most appropriate forms of administering the surveys are electronic and using mail to reach the vast populace. The nature of the questions in the questionnaire will be semi-structured to maintain their open-ended nature of the queries that not only describe the concept of same-sex parenting but also offer opportunities for respondents to provide their views in detail.

Advantages of Surveys

According to Paradis, O'Brien, Nimmon, Bandiera, and Martimianakis (2016), the strengths of surveys include broad reach because the electronic questionnaires administered through social media platforms reach many parents as it is the mainstream communication pathway in the contemporary Singapore society. Secondly, it inexpensive to conduct surveys provided that electronic and mail delivery is the chosen form of communicating with the respondents. It is possible to standardise information and maintain their confidentiality and privacy. There is flexibility in the process of structuring questions as surveys allows different forms of queries from multiple-choice, scaled and open-ended to closed questions (Paradis, O'Brien, Nimmon, Bandiera, & Martimianakis, 2016). As the research will be dealing with parents, closed questions are preferable as they offer an easy-to-understand format, that is, responses are the form of true or false, and yes or no options.

Limitation of Surveys

The disadvantages surrounding the use of surveys include limiting first-hand observation, inability to support the in-depth investigation, and low response rate (Paradis, O'Brien, Nimmon, Bandiera, & Martimianakis, 2016). Furthermore, the use of questionnaires requires a well-educated target group thus it will be a shortcoming for illiterate Singaporean parents.


Mathews, M. (2015). The traditional view of the family likely to persist in Singapore. The Straits Times,

Paradis, E., O'Brien, B., Nimmon, L., Bandiera, G., & Martimianakis, M. A. (2016). Design: Selection of Data Collection Methods. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 8(2): 263-264.

Vijayan, K. (2017, December 27). Singapore court rejects bid by a gay man to adopt a child he fathered through surrogacy. Retrieved from The Straits Times:

Wei, T. D. (2014, July 18). NLB saga: Two removed children's books will go into an adult section at the library. Retrieved from The Straits Times:

Yun, H. A. (2012). Ideology and Changing Family Arrangements in Singapore. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 1(2): 113-119.

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