Being Singaporean,  Bitching,  Family and Parenting

The Better Fathering Index: Seriously?

So Singapore’s going to have a “Better Fathering Index” to measure our fatherhood standards.

The Blogfather was not informed that he was participating in a competition to measure his worth as a father.?As far as I’m concerned, the Centre for Fathering just made the entire population of fathers in Singapore pee in their pants a little, and is even making some mothers a little pissed off.

There’s been immediate reaction from both women and men alike from the announcement. Kirsten Han wrote in her blog Spuddings, “Listening to my friends, I wonder if those behind the index even pitched this idea. Have they talked to many parents about this at all?”?Even Mr Brown remarked on Facebook, “Like fathers don’t already have enough pressures. Thanks ah.”


I can understand if the Centre for Fathering is looking to comprehensively study the collective ways of the Singaporean dad; I’ve always wanted to know what makes Singaporean dads tick, and the Centre, in tandem with the Dads for Life movement, is most well-placed to embark on such a research project. But if so, why call it a Better Fathering Index? If I’m a stay-at-home dad, do I score better because I spend so much more time with my son than a career father, or do I lose points because I don’t bring home the money to take care of the family??Fatherhood (and parenthood, for that matter) is not an economic category, a tenet of productivity, or a corporate process with a determinable deliverable. Parenting is personalised by each parent, to each child, for a very specific combination of reasons and circumstances unique to each and every family.

Furthermore, creating a benchmark just for fathers completely negates the fact that parenting is a team effort.?A child’s familial support structure is crippled at best without both mother and father in the equation, and then a child’s nurture is further enhanced or degraded when you consider the role of grandparents, siblings,?aunties and uncles,?cousins, nieces, and even the school system.

So if there’s anything I learnt from being a father, and from working with other parents and just about every single person that’s ever interacted and/or cared for my child, it’s that you do not peg parenting to a scoresheet, regardless of individual or as a family unit or as a community or on a national scale, and expect any parent to take kindly to it. It’s just rude and downright insulting.

To the Centre of Fathering and the National Family Council: ?Better Fathering Index, Singapore Jock Exchange, The Fatherzone Price Guide, whatever it is,?you might want to rethink the name of your new initiative, and please explain in much more clarity what exactly it is you want to achieve by impressing a benchmark on an unquantifiable life experience. It’ll be great if it gives us the truckload of information we need to learn how to be better fathers, but you’ll only degrade us if you grade us.

Looks like a mini-blogchain has been going around on the topic. More dads (and a rockstar mum, no less) have chipped in with their two cents’ worth:

Proof that there’s a lot of parents out there that the Centre of Fathering seriously needs to talk to first. Seriously.


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