Sunday, June 27, 2010

Families 'worth the investment'

From the Sunday Times today, Families 'worth the investment'

And while most also favoured having their aged parents live with them, only just over half would themselves move in with their children when they got old.
But those who were aged close to or above 60 were more likely to prefer to stay on their own, said National University of Singapore sociologist Angelique Chan, who led the survey team.
She explained: 'Perhaps they don't want to be a burden and realise their adult children have their own children to take care of. They also want to age in-place, which we see in other older populations.'

I think the more important reason isn't the one pointed out by sociologist Angelique Chan. With the benefit of experience, the older folks realized that it is better to keep some distance and maintain a good relationship than try to get too close and end up with friction. Less is more.

Ours is a society where young people find their life partners on their own. No match-making here. When marriages are arranged by family elders, they will choose holistically for compatible families. Leave the young to themselves, they will mostly find someone that is compatible with themselves with little regard for the inter-personal dynamics of in-laws. Try to bring two very different families together, you must be really trying your luck here that they will get along famously. To be realistic, in-laws will keep a respectful distance from each other. Among the Chinese, the social intercourse between such families will be guided by Confucian decorum. Unfortunately this is often unsuccessful because many family aren't even unsure what is proper in the Confucian way.

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