When you are in a hole. The first thing you should do in order to get out is stop digging.

How do you even link the building of BTOs to an increasing number of brides choosing to call off their wedding close to the actual event? Well, that’s what some journo (or maybe, more like intern) at Yahoo! Singapore has done in a 2-parter titled ‘Runaway brides of Singapore. It’s hilarious. Do go read the full thing (part 1 and part 2).

It starts off with this tantalising teaser (emphasis mine):

Amid falling birth rates and higher rates of divorce in Singapore comes another worrying new trend – that of young engaged couples calling off their big day right at the final moment. Marriage counsellors Yahoo! Singapore spoke to have seen more and more of such cases of young “runaway brides”. Is it the fear of missing out on that choice HDB unit or simply the immaturity of youth? Yahoo! digs deeper to find out the startling truth.

Then, the story of Ken and Janice starts to be told by no less than Janice herself:

“The pressure had been building since the day he proposed, but I didn’t realise that I was truly not ready until about a week before, and I panicked. Everything had been planned, paid for, the invitations and guestlist confirmed. It was a nightmare, but once I knew I couldn’t do it, there was no point going ahead,” said a still-emotional Janice during a two-hour long interview at her home in the East with Y! Singapore last December.

“You could  put it like this – the third party was HDB. I feel like I was forced to decide to get married early because if I waited until I was, say, 30 and ready to settle down, to wait another three to four years to get a BTO flat would leave me no time to start a family. Everyone told me that Ken and I had to hurry up and apply for a flat together and then quickly get married once the flat application was successful,” said Janice, who just started work as an accountant last year.

Janice then rationalises her decision:

“It wasn’t important to them that I still don’t know what I want with life, and I don’t know yet whether I want to spend the rest of it with Ken. It seems selfish, but it’s my life, and it’s more selfish to get married to Ken and later change my mind – divorce would be ten times more painful.”

The article then goes on to say that BTOs were being completed faster than expected, leading to rushed proposals and weddings and, of course, throws in the interview with a marriage counselor who shares other similar stories thereby giving even credence to the theory that having long wait times for BTOs and subsequently been built faster have led to this.

BTOs being built too slow and subsequently too fast have lead to this? Can I please call bullshit on this one? While I don’t know the exact number of flats being taken and subsequently given up, I’m pretty sure these are few and far between. The majority of us waiting for our flat CAN’T wait to get it sooner.

I’ve been married for some eight months now and our flat is only supposed to be ready sometime next year (we’re crossing our fingers for end of this year). Right now, we’re staying with my parents and while things are cordial (thankfully my wife and parents get along pretty well), there’s still none of the freedom (and obviously, responsibilities) that come with having your own home.

I’m willing to bet that Ken and Janice’s marriage (and the many examples mentioned in the same article) would not have eventually worked out anyway. Why? Let me list out the following facts mentioned in the article:

To everyone else outside of their relationship, Janice, 23, and Ken, 25, appeared to be the perfect fairytale couple. Secondary school sweethearts, their relationship outlasted the trials and tribulations of National Service and getting their degrees. They were an item for a whopping nine years before Ken proposed in early 2012 after they found out that their BTO flat would be ready soon,  and Janice accepted.

So let’s review what we know:

– They’ve been dating a long time.

– She’s just started working (presumably, same for the guy, after all he’s just 25).

– After all this time together, she still doesn’t know if he’s the one she wants to spend the rest of her life with.

– She blames other people for giving them bad advice to secure a flat because BTOs took some time before and now, come too quickly.

Is it just me or is this woman a floozy? She’s been together with this guy for 9 years of her life and she doesn’t know whether she wants to be with him for the rest of her life? Come on, something must be wrong here. And not wrong with the system or anyone else but with this girl. I think Ken should count himself lucky that she’s now (somewhat) out of his life .

And while this incident didn’t damage their finances, it hurt the pocket of another lady mentioned in the article- insurance agent Tay Eelin who is now out of an debt after three long years because she forfeited the $80,000 deposit that she had to borrow from family and friends when gave up her DBSS unit.

Seriously? If you can’t afford the $80,000 downpayment on an apartment, the solution is to borrow? I think the fact that they didn’t have $80,000 for the downpayment should be a sign that she and her ex-fiance can’t afford the place and the reasonable solution is to find cheaper accommodation.

As much as I despise the rigidity of many government policies, it’s stories like these that make you wonder who’s the real party to blame- the system or the people who make horrible decisions for themselves? Both Ken and this other guy should really count their blessings that these women are out of their lives. Then again, as they say, birds of a feather flock together.

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