Earlier, it was reported by international NGO, Save the Children, ranked Singapore together with Slovenia, as the world's best countries for children to grow up. Singapore was ranked 33rd the year before.
Yesterday (Jun 3), a happy PM Lee responded on his Facebook page saying that Singapore's ranking as the joint best country for children to grow up in, reflects his government's success in "giving every child, regardless of background, the best possible start in life".
He said he was happy to read about the Republic's top rank, tied with Slovenia.
"Each of these harrowing gauges is considered a 'childhood ender'," said PM Lee. "We are fortunate that these grave threats to children are rare or do not exist in Singapore."
Although Singapore frets about social inequality and should never cease striving against it, "this report is a timely reminder that we have not done badly at all".
"While tackling our social problems, let us not lose our sense of reality and perspective," he said.
In a separate Facebook post last night, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said Singapore's ranking in the survey "is a result of peace and stability, law and order, access to education and early childhood education, good nutrition and general upliftment across society, which has kept extreme child deprivation well at bay".
The report by Save the Children, surveyed 175 countries across eight indicators:
- under-five mortality rate
- child stunting
- out-of-school children and youth
- child labour
- child marriage
- adolescent birth rate
- population displaced by conflict
- child homicide rate
Singapore won countries such as Sweden, Finland, and Norway in the ranking due to the scores on children being out-of-school.
Some commenters on PM Lee's Facebook fanpage were not convinced of his statement.
Koh Kheng Wah wrote, "“Best” but not necessarily the happiest. Scrap PSLE, and when majority of kids don’t need tuition and it’s a truly inclusive environment, only then I believe such report."
Priscilla Joseph wrote, "If you talk about safety aspect I would totally agreed, but education wise it’s tough on the children also standard of living is high and expensive... not a place you want to live in when you are old or retired."
Umar Kassim wrote, "Best place for growing up kids ha ...? Bluff who ? See today's kids got no respects for elders, self centered , selfish. ..kia si kia su and most of all greedy like nothing . Best place to grow up as snobbish monsters."
Emily Tan wrote, "In terms of material needs, children of today are much fulfilled than kids of my times and before, but in terms of mental and spiritual growth, children still need help..."
Debbie Chan wrote, "You should listen to the youths in school uniforms, swear at the playground and outside school. I beg to differ. Our kids don't face low standards of living like the early times yes but are they growing holistically in areas like self-assurance, pride, resilience, diligence (and) honesty?"
1 in 2 Singaporean millennials are pessimistic about job prospects
While Singapore may be one of the 2 best countries for children to grow up in, many would become disillusion and pessimistic in their job prospects when they grow older.
In a global survey of 19,000 millennials conducted by the ManpowerGroup 1.5 years ago (Nov 2016), it found that half of the Singaporean millennials are pessimistic about their job prospects.
In comparison, at least six in 10 millennials in countries such as China, Mexico, Australia, Norway and India, were confident of their career prospects. The most pessimistic group were from Japan, where fewer than four in 10 millennials saw bright futures and successful careers ahead.
In addition, about 14 per cent of Singapore millennials said they did not think they would retire, and believed that they would work until the day they die.
And early this year, Jobstreet.com published its Job Happiness Index for 2017, showing that close to half or 45% of Singaporeans are unhappy at work.
In terms of age, millennials are generally happier than their older counterparts but as they grow older, they become less happy at work, it seems.
So, in conclusion, PM Lee may be happy that his government's policies are "giving every child, regardless of background, the best possible start in life", but as they grow older and start entering the workforce, they become less optimistic.
It begs the question of what's the point in bringing up a child safely and healthily only to find themselves drowning in pessimism when they reach adulthood.