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Date [ 2012-12-20, 14:25 ]

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) by Ramani = This does not mean putting a price on the head of your child and what its payback will be.
 If you have children and you begin putting monetary value on them, that is applying a wrong set of values.


Referring to reports from the Welfare Department, raising a child in a medium income group, with adjustments for the cost of daycare and housing, plus health insurance and fees for a college education of four years, then with living expenses from the age of 18 to 25, the total cost could very well come to a staggering RM350, 000. This are said to be

 "conservative" calculations.


Mrs. Alliyah, a social worker feels,” …most parents want to give their children the best head start possible and this could very cost them with today’s rising educational fees, something close to a million ringgit.” This would include what has already been mentioned above.


This situation of the high cost of raising children today has discouraged some couples from having children. Mrs.Padmawathi reveals, “My husband worries that as our planet is already straining under a huge population, along with detritions of the environment, it is better not to bring in anymore lives.”


Faith Chan was curious to know how much it would cost for her and husband to raise their children, and how much it would cost us to send them to college. She decided to ask parents who had already run the treadmill and had calculated the cost of raising their children. Most important, how were they able to send their children to college, especially when they had one wage earner bringing in a moderate income.

She set about to get answers to these questions. What surprised Chan was that those who were very co-operative and responsive to her queries were all mothers having between two to eight children. One of the most common methods these women used was to stretch their ringgit. In other words being plain thrifty. Others worked towards the day their children would have to go to college. So they saved whatever they could, checked out what financial aid they could apply for, what scholarships were available and what loans they could get. They also encouraged they children to take up part-time jobs during school holidays or while waiting for exam results.


When told the idea was to find out the cost of raising a child in today’s world, all the mothers protested strongly. One said, “This is like counting a maximum cut-off amount of money that can be given up in exchange for a child." All mothers agreed, "There should be no calculation how much it is going to cost to bring up a child when it is born.” They also added, “If that was the case, no poor family will ever have children.


One mother, Mrs.Alwi, a young widow, made an important point,”We seem to have forgotten what children really need.”


The answer to that was unanimous. All children need to know they have heir parent’s unconditional love. This was something that a price tag cannot be put on.


Unconditional love can be translated as parents, rich or poor, who give them their time, are there when their children need them.


This does not mean that being financial stable is not important. It is, but it has to be tempered with being financially responsible. A parent cannot say, “If my son cannot get into university, then I will not send him to school.”

All parents want to give their children the best. But in the end, parents can only give them what they can, and that is the real cost of raising children. This cost varies widely from family to family. It has been calculated families in the very high income group spend twice as much as those from the lowest income group. While the high income group spends about RM500, 000, the low income group spends about RM250, 000. This has been calculated for a period of 17 years and is just the average; There are families who raise children on an even smaller figure.


One mother asked, “What is the cost of an education that states personal success and financial greed are the most important things in life? What are the moral costs of treating children like commodities with a ringgit value?


The negative effects can be seen in countries where the cost of babies has been set too high against the national economy. The population control policies of India and China have millions of abortions performed every year. What is more abhorrent is that abortions have become sex-selective. Many unborn baby girls are aborted because in these countries, girls are not as valued as boys and considered more expensive to raise. Mainly due to dowry payments when girls reach marriagble age.


The end result is the aging populations of France, Russia and Germany. Singapore has its elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew mourning the fact that "there'll be no original citizens left to form the majority if the indigenous population does not open itself to procreation.”  Japan is another example where you now have right now has old people with robot babies with no real grandchildren to cuddle.


Getting back to the mothers who took part in the survey, not one had calculated the cost of raising their children. They are not irresponsible mothers, but those that know that the value of their children cannot be counted in dollars and cents. Their children’s value rises above all monetary value. These mothers also do not think about their children looking after them when they grow old. To them, these are simply their children and whom they hope to raise to the best of their ability.


Ranjit Kaur put it in another way. “My children turn me into a person who willingly wants to be good, be virtuous and make sacrifices. See how a father tenderly cradles his newborn daughter. Or when a tired mother bathes her daughter. Of course, our kids drive us crazy at times. And they might break our hearts. But it is our children who make us better parents. And in doing so, make us better citizens. If this happened to all parents then this will be a better world.”


So without doubt, Children are infinitely precious.
(Korean Press/ Ramani Rathir)


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