As my wife is Singaporean, it would have been easy for me to enjoy the previously-lower baby bonuses by making Noah a Singaporean, but I chose to make him Malaysian instead (albeit all the difficulties). The most important reason for this is obviously because I am Malaysian, and with my close kins mostly rooted there, it should still be the place Noah considers his home. It would also be unfair for me to make the choice for him to serve Singapore's National Service (with all due respect) for the sake of a few thousand dollars at his birth, especially if he ends up spending the good part of his first 18 years in Thailand.
Furthermore, I do not believe that any amount of perks can help a couple make up their minds to have children. While the rewards are substantial, the joy (and life-long commitment) of parenting is not something that can be gauged, not to say 'bought', by mere dollars and cents.
Having become Daddy for a whole year now, I can confidently say that the pride of being Noah's father far outweighs that of any other award or trophy won throughout my last 30 years, simply because he has undoubtedly made the world a better place. Here's why:
- Being in Thailand with no family support, Li Li and myself have technically shouldered the full responsibility of taking care of Noah. As a result, the ONLY people he terrorises and causes agony to are his parents (especially to his Mum, considering the physical trauma suffered during pregnancy and childbirth), but being the ever-biased Noahdaddy and Noahmummy, we do not take his occasional bad behaviour to heart and choose to channel the negative energy into love that we shower back onto him every single day.
|We are happy family|
- Similarly, everyone else in Thailand absolutely adores him. From colleagues, business associates, neighbours, friends, young and old, even most shopkeepers he pass by are mesmerised by his cuteness. A company manager has asked me to bring Noah to their office just for her staff to play with him. His cheerful personality means he can bring a smile to everyone's faces. The Land of a Thousand Smiles is literally becoming The Land of Infinite Smiles because of the presence of a certain Noah Yii.
|Noah bringing even more smiles to the Land of Smiles|
- When Noah appears in Singapore or Malaysia, he will constantly be surrounded by the smiles of various relatives eager to give him a kiss. Unlike before, when everyone returns home from work lethargic before starting doing their own stuff, everyone has renewed energy once they see Noah prowling around. He has practically re-energized our families with bouts of unity and bonding. Priceless.
|Noah with my family in Kuching for CNY 2013|
- Noah has given the old folks on our houses something to look forward to.
|Noah with paternal great-grandmother|
|Noah with maternal great-grandmother|
So you see.
That's why parenting is so magical.
That's why its such a joy to have kids and bring them up the proper way.
It's not because we can have perks or more zeroes in our bank accounts, but because our little ones have already made the world a better place.