THERE has been much publicity for the Lessons in Love workshops conducted by Dr Pat Love and sponsored by the Social Development Unit (SDU).
These workshops must be a response by the SDU and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) to the Government's call for Singaporeans to marry and have children.
Although it a reasonable idea to offer our young opportunities to learn about relationships and marriage, the invitation to Dr Love raises some questions.
One wonders why there is a need to invite a Westerner to teach our young about love and marriage. It is evident that she will teach Western ideas, norms and practices that may not necessarily be relevant to our Asian culture and lifestyle.
More important is the fact that Dr Love has said she was married three times, all of which ended in divorce.
It is intriguing that such a personality is invited as a speaker on marriage to teach our young about maintaining love in marriage when she could not sustain her own marriages.
We must acknowledge the inevitability that teachers on any subject tend to be viewed as role models, which presents a dilemma as to whether we will tell our young that marriage is not meant to last.
This is not the first time Western speakers have been invited to teach about marriage and family life, making it rather inexplicable that such an important issue cannot be taught by Singaporeans or another Asian authority on this subject.
It is time MCYS, and in particular SDU, considered the wisdom of regularly engaging Westerners to teach on marriage and family life. Much worse to have as a role model one who has had three failed marriages.
Association of Marital and Family Therapy (Singapore)
This article first appeared in The Straits Times on Oct 16, 2008