Myth #1 -- Singles ars lonely, immature and/or unstable.
Myth #2 -- Singles are workaholic.
Myth #3 -- Singles who live with their parents spend too much time "growing up" (and so, less able to look after oneself; and hence children).
Myth #4 -- Singles who live with their parents have no clue about how much a bag of rice costs and have never swept the floor.
STRANGE HOW THIS TOPIC cropped up while we were discussing falling birth rates online. P. ventured a few reasons, among them was, "Singles who live with their parents spend too much time 'growing up' (and so, less able to look after oneself; and hence children)." Myth #3.
Upon first reading, i was almost inclined to agree with her. However, after some reflection, i disagree strongly. As a typical single in Singapore, i've lived with my parents all this while. When my younger brother got married, he also lived with them (and me) for around five or six years. When his children were born, i helped to carry and take care of them. In any case, i have always loved carrying and playing with the children of my other siblings who do not live with us, as well as those of friends, colleagues or even total strangers.
On the other hand, are singles who live on their own more able to take care of themselves, and hence children? Most people in America and Europe start living on their own from a young age. Are they more keen to have children? Are they better parents?
Then L. suggested, "Something might be done for single grown-up persons who have no clue about how much a bag of rice costs and have never swept the floor." Myth #4. Again, i disagree. Many married people in Singapore have maids or live-in relatives. They also don't have any clue and have almost never swept the floor. In any case, i do have some idea how much rice costs and i have swept the floor.
Finally, A. spoke of 'prolonged adolescence', "That, basically, our youth are maturing at a slower rate, taking a longer time to behave less like teenagers and more like fully responsible adults."
This makes me question further: Do household chores make a person more mature? Isn't living with other people (such as parents or in-laws) more challenging spiritually -- since one would have to deal with more conflicts potentially and may have to be a role model for the children (i.e., "how to respond to parents or in-laws")?
All these exchange reminded me of earlier comments by a colleague Y. and a new classmate W. Based on their encounters with a few singles, one cited Myth #1 while the other cited Myth #2. Privately, i wondered, "By the same logic, since the maid abusers reported by our newspapers so far are all married people, can I infer that all married people are existing or potential maid abusers?"
It seems to me that we're talking about many permutations of people:
. singles who live alone with/without kids;
. singles who live with their parents (or other relatives or friends) with/without kids;
. married people who live on their own with/without kids;
. married people who live with their parents with/without kids;
... different age groups, gender, personalities, preferences, and so on. Why stereotype people?
The word 'singles', by the way, include those who are never married, as well as those who are divorced or widowed.
According to a CNS News site, the 2002 American Community Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau in late 2003 indicated that 49.4 percent of American households are headed by an unmarried adult. The Census data also showed that of the 86 million unmarried American adults, 59 million share their primary residence with others.
As Thomas Coleman, executive director of Unmarried America (UA), the membership division of the American Association of Single People (AASP), put it, "Most of the people live with somebody, in a household, in a family-type setting of some nature. Yet, most of those families are not really recognized or properly valued by society, and the federal government does not recognize or value those families in the way that it should."
Yes, why doesn't the government and why can't many people recognize that singles are not necessarily alone, that they do have families and often have to take care of someone too?