One of my first memories is that of being put in nursery school.
I was four at the time, and my recollection of the event as a whole is still fuzzy, but the memories that HAVE stuck with me are crystal-clear. Sort of like a necklace where you don't see the links but notice the jewels.
I remember standing in the entrance, wearing a shirt the same garish yellow colour as the walls. I don't remember my mother leaving me at some point, but I do remember I cried.
I was herded into a room around which several tables were placed, bins built into them in which various toys were placed. I don't think I played with the toys, but I was fed a small bowl of maraconi cooked in clear soup and didn't really want much to do with the other kids.
I cried again when my mother came to take me home.
The memories are few and faint, but the impression stuck with me all the way: it was completely and utterly shitty for me as a four year-old brat; I can only wonder what it's going to do to a one year-old.
I am so thankful that my mother quit her job at a cannery to raise my siblings and me. She said the job sucked anyways, and that my dad earned more than enough at his job in an oil refinery to support us. I've heard it said by the women in the manosphere that one of the major results of feminism was getting women to abandon their roles as mothers and have other women raise their children, after which the state can step in and "regulate" things to their liking.
In Singapore's case, we skipped the whole "feminism as a societal movement" step and jumped into the endgame. That being, of course, of utter state control of our kids, and we put them there willingly. Of children effectively being raised by the state, the opinions of men and women being damned. Part of this, of course, is helped by the fact that they market themselves as educational, and we Asians are stereotypically mad about this "education" thing.
Enough to not just place our six-month to one year-olds into the hands of other people, but form long queues just for the chance to do so.
Part of this, I believe, arises from the "you're a failure if you're not educated" mindset. Getting vocational or technical education is seen as being a failure - the only "acceptable" route in life for both men and women is to go into a set of prestigious schools throughout their childhoods, go to university and get a high-flying job. The Institite of Technical Education was known as "it's the end" in my day, and for a reason.
Are you a manual labourer? You're a fucking failure, that work's only for Bangladeshi labourers.
Are you technically educated? Electrician, plumber, air-conditioning repairman? You're a fucking failure for having a blue-collar job. You'll never get anywhere in life, stand aside while our government spends tax dollars on glorious Biopolis which creates didly-squat new jobs for locals.
Are you a stay-at-home parent? You're a fucking failure, go out and drive the nation's glorious economic success already. Might it cost more to work than actually stay home and take care of your kids as a mum or dad? Ssh, don't listen to those idiots.
When I was nine, I was asked to write a 80-word essay on what my parents did. The teacher's comments were as such, where I'd written my mother was a stay-at-home-mom:
"This is too stereotypical."
Glad you think of my mother that way. And the government wonders why our fertility rate is rock-bottom, and keeps on trying to apply the carrot to women and the stick to men in order to breed.
I'm not saying that no one should be educated (far from it, everyone needs a safety net of independent earnings if things go south), but young people who actually want to raise families - for all the government claims otherwise - might appreciate it if they weren't seen as hopeless fools who can't contribute to glorious economic progress of strong nation-state for bright future. Families? Who cares about such quaint, outmoded notions? Pop out a couple in your 30s, hand them over to the state like good workers and go straight back to running in that little rat treadmill. Not enough future workers for glorious state? Import "foreign talent", problem solved. Keep on importing like no tomorrow. To make an economic analogy, too bad someone thought sacrificing all the capital goods for consumer goods and forgetting about tomorrow's consumer goods was a good idea.
Oh, and guess whose fertility rate is actually above replacement? The Malay community, which is predominantly muslim, of course.
Somehow, I'm not surprised.
Within walking distance of where I live (less then thirty minutes), there are seven daycares. Some of them are government-run, some of them are the brainchilds of local entrepreneurs, and yet others claim to be "Montessori certified", which essentially means "put your kid in here, and they will be SMRT!" Every day I see long lines of parents dropping off their young kids at 7 am, the school-going ones arrive at 2 in the afternoon, and then at 7 in the evening it's another mad rush to collect their spawn before it's too late.
If you don't want to be a daddy or mummy, that's fine. All the more power to you. But don't pop one or two out for prestige and pretend that you are when grandma is raising your children and you just pour in the funds. And there are lines of parents, taking queue numbers just for the opportunity to jump their one-year-old into a glorious educational education facility of re-education according to state standards.
As Judgybitch points out here so elegantly: "The moment you decided to bring another person into the world, you agreed that YOUR NEEDS ARE NO LONGER FIRST."
I remember reading in the local newspapers stories of children getting attached to the Filipino/Indonesian maids that're hired to keep house while the parents work at their jobs, and of course, said parents (especially the mothers) are as distraught and confused as the children when the maids inevitably have to leave, although for different reasons.
Well, fucking DUH.
Who is it that your children see day in, day out? Who picks them up from school? Who cooks their meals, soothes their hurts? Who is there for them? Speaks with them? Dad? Mum? No, it's the damned maid.
You outsource the raising of your kids to someone else, and find it amazing that your children feel zilch attachment to you? They hardly ever see your face, and then you expect them to love you? Donating sperm or your womb doesn't get you your parent certification, it's just the entrance exam.
These fathers and mothers have no right to bitch and moan when their children can't sleep at night without cuddling a t-shirt the maid used to wear (real story here) or complain about rebellious kids who don't respect them.
I, for one, will NEVER fucking put any hypothetical kids I might ever have into a daycare of any sort. Even if it means quitting my job, being a stay-at-home-dad, pissing the hell out of my hypothethical wife's hypergamous instincts (although if it does come to this, I'd be fucked anyways and my filter when it comes to women horribly broken) that I'm not making more money than her. Not until they're five and old enough to go to kindergarten, anyways (or four and nursery, if it comes to that).
I know that some parents actually think they're doing their children a favour by giving them a head-start on their education. To which I say: why not do it yourself? Would you rather have more control over what your kid's learning, or just trust those fellows with degrees in child education (Cappy Cap knows all about such degrees) know what they're doing?
Because, amazingly, I think it's fucking important to be a dad even when reality dictates that it's a vanishingly small chance that I will, and that means being more than a fucking ATM machine.