Top image: Zachary Tang / RICE file photo
‘Family’ can mean all sorts of things. On The Bear (and inside bustling restaurant kitchens), the term conveys a lavish feast, a communal respite before the tumultuous chaos of a bustling shift. Stitch invokes the native Hawaiian concept of ‘Ohana’—nobody gets left behind or forgotten. And for Dominic Toretto and his gravity-defying brethren, it’s the very cornerstone of existence.
But across all its interpretations, the string that ties families together stays the same: a group of people with emotional ties, mutual support, shared history, and a sense of united belonging. Bloodlines become secondary, a footnote in the melody of interconnected souls.
Today, families come in different shapes and sizes—no longer limited to the traditional nuclear family model of a married couple and their biological children. As much as people like to fit its definition in a neat little box, reality is more than a little messy.
The problem lies in the inherent complexity of human relationships, which defy simplistic categorisation. It demands a nuanced understanding that transcends rigid boundaries. And what we don’t understand, we judge, we alienate, we stigmatise.
Different Families, Differing Stories
The othering of unorthodox families manifests in several ways, most of which lie in systemic affairs and societal values. Thriving in Singapore doesn’t come easy, especially when it comes to adoption, fostering, blended families, single parenthood, and other non-traditional arrangements.
Stories of their experiences are few and far between. And even if they do pop up, it would take sensationalised content to make people sit up and pay attention.
How refreshing it is, then, for RICE to be presented with an opportunity to tell stories of unconventional families and the relationships amongst its members with an organisation that directly supports all types of family structure.
This unique collaboration will bring forth a series of compelling stories crafted by aspiring content creators that highlight the richness and diversity of family life in the country. Both RICE and PPIS are leveraging their respective strengths to curate and present authentic narratives that showcase the myriad of family structures, traditions, and values that exist across Singapore’s diverse communities.
As a social service organisation established in 1952, PPIS has spent decades working with women of all ages to carry out their multiple roles in society. With 10 centres islandwide, their focus on supporting women and their families with holistic assistance and quality services aligns with RICE Media’s commitment to fostering understanding, empathy, and inclusivity.
Over the last couple of months, RICE worked together with aspiring content creators to craft compelling stories about local individuals with intimate experiences in family structures that defy convention.
Eight creatives answered the call to volunteer as content creators—they teamed up with PPIS social workers to produce both editorial and video content, promoting a deeper understanding of the diverse family dynamics that contribute to Singapore’s social fabric.
Through multiple workshops and consultation sessions, these budding content creators learned from RICE Media’s team how to tell meaningful human interest stories that also emphasise the important services PPIS has to offer for women and families.
Consider the tale of Madam Lydia and Madam Erica, who quickly had to learn the logistical and emotional challenges of fostering children haunted by broken homes. There’s Madam Siti, who struggled to hold on to her daughter’s love after remarrying. There are the accounts from Dayana, Hanif and Shafiq—children of divorce learning how to overcome their underlying childhood trauma.
The Kaleidoscope of Kinship
In the mosaic of their stories, the pearls of wisdom gained are unveiled in the revelation that family is a canvas onto which a multiplicity of strokes may be cast. Over the next few weeks, these content creators will premiere their work in public on RICE.
The narrative of what makes a family is inextricably intertwined with the symphony of the Singapore spirit—a song that defies conventions, embracing the spectrum of human experience in all its complexity and grace.
PPIS Oasis presents a story about foster parenting in Singapore.
PPIS Vista Sakinah presents a story about the hidden challenges faced by parents who remarry.
PPIS Family Service Centre (East) presents a story about male mental health in Singapore.
PPIS SYM Academy presents a story about the importance of family therapy.
PPIS 7OAKS Preschool presents a story about child development and childcare.
How Young Is Too Young To Get Married?
Inspirasi PPIS presents a story about young marriages in Singapore.
Experiencing Your Parent’s Divorce as a Child
PPIS As-Salaam presents a story about support for divorcing parents and single-parent families.
Burnt-Out Parents: Should We Be Concerned?
PPIS Family Service Centre (West) presents a story about self-care for parents and caregivers.