Mar 26, 2009

The Roof Over My Head

I bought a cluster house. It won't be ready until 2011. By that time, my daughter will already be in Primary One. However, under the MOE rules, next year I will still be able to use the address of my uncompleted new house to register my daughter for Primary One.

My new home is within a 1-km radius of the school that I plan to send my daughter to. So I enjoy a healthy priority, in the admission system. That takes care of that.

I am quite happy with the price at which I bought the house. The price is already $258,000 lower than what the developer had been asking for it, five months ago.

Also, I had gotten wind of the developer's latest strategy. I realised that waiting and holding out for an even bigger discount might be a fruitless exercise. I would only run the risk that someone else might buy the unit I wanted.

The developer's goal was to quickly sell enough units (about 50%) to cover its entire construction costs. Prior to hitting the 50% mark, the developer would be feeling somewhat desperate. However, after hitting 50%, the developer would have enough funds to proceed with the construction.

The developer would no longer be in any hurry to sell the remaining units. It could leave them unsold for several years. It could sell them at a better price much later, when the property market finally revives.

With my purchase, the developer crossed the 50% mark. My purchase might have been the last big bargain that the developer would give, for houses in this particular project.

My cluster house is 4600+ square feet if you count the roof area, and 3700+ square feet if you don't. (For some reason, it is standard practice to count the roof as part of the built-in area, for cluster houses). One reason why I bought such a big place is that I'm thinking ahead.

I expect to live here for many years. And my parents are getting old. One day, they might no longer able to look after themselves and live on their own (which they currently do). When that time comes, I'm happy to welcome them to come live with me. There'll be plenty of space.

Yes, I've heard about Minister Khaw Boon Wan's suggestion that Singaporeans send their aged parents away, to live in nursing homes in Johor Baru. No, I do not think that it is a good idea. I think that it is rather despicable, actually.


Anonymous said...

that is an interesting insight as to the desperation of the developer to cross the 50% mark, which to me sound logical. I believe one of the consideration is to be close to your daughter primary school.

However, isn't it true that property prices should be down further as the recession goes on and more property TOPing?? Would we not see an increase in the default buyer/speculator? and the corresponding spiralling down of the prices??


The said...

Congrats Mr Wang.

Not meaning to pry, but if you care to share some data, like how much psf (I presume it is 99 years LH as it is a cluster housing), and which property - project name.

Would be interesting to come back here 6 or 12 months later and see the new asking or transacted prices.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...


Agree that in general, across the whole of Singapore, property prices will go down.

However, in the 1-km radius of that school, I've checked out many properties (completed as well as uncompleted ones) and in the end, after working through my personal criteria, I found very few suitable homes.

I decided that I was not interested in any secondhand properties that had been lived in for some time. I'd need to renovate, and that means additional cost + hassle.

I found one interesting new high-rise development. But the developer again had well passed the 50% mark, and was no longer willing to give discount - he'd rather hold the unsold units indefinitely.

I found another interesting possibility - a new condo project. However it was slightly outside the 1-km radius of the school.

I found another cluster house project. However it became 100% sold out on the day that I went to check it out.

I found one newly-completed semi-detached. But in the end I decided that I wanted to live in a place with a swimming pool.

I viewed 3 different units at another condo project. But in the end I decided that all units at this project were too small ...

Anonymous said...

Congrats Mr. Wang. I too just bought a property in Dec 08 and being my first property feel jittery sometimes when I read about more impending doom and gloom. I am however consoled with the fact that I have done enough research and weighed the pros and cons of buying now (and getting the unit/development/location that I want) vs buying later when the price is supposed to drop further. So far I have observed that prices in that pocket of district (09) have not dropped at all, not many TOPs are coming up there in the next year or more, and no one seems to be flipping units that they have just bought in the area. Still I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...


No, it's 999-year.

Anonymous said...


Ser Ming said...

I think it's good fortune to be able to live with aged parents. It's the least of what children can do.

Anonymous said...

mr wang, how did u come to know about the strategy? and also, how do you know whether u've crossed the 50% mark or not? just curious about the tips on property purchase...

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Finding the 50% mark is easy, for cluster house projects. There are not many houses in each cluster (usually not more than 30, often less than 20). You just ask the agent which ones have been sold, which ones are still available ...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang,

It's nice to hear that you have found your ideal home at last. All the best wishes to you.

I must agree that the very thought of sending our parents to live away in a foreign country when they become old is both disgusting and despicable. As most of our parents have given us unconditional love, it would be ungrateful of us to treat them otherwise when they become old.

It would be understandable of a small proportion of our families are doing it under some kind of special circumstances which leave them with no choice, but to propose or promote it as a national policy is a different thing altogether.

What has happened to our values in life ? What has become of our confucian values that our system is so proud to associate it with ? Are our Ministers and bureaucrats so devoid of any compassion or filial piety ?

Don't you agree that it's such a shame that our cabinet is so lacking with thoughtful people with your kind of qualities ?

Anonymous said...

cluster house so small, i dont like it haha

let me guess mr wang, isit at 6 avenue? or town area?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the purchase.

I take issue with your words, stating the Minister Khaw suggesting we send our parents to JB. He did not suggest. He only said it is an option which people are taking in face of financial differences between SGP and JB.

Such remarks will dilute your good standing amongst discerning readers, that is ME.

Good luck!

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...


Yes, some cluster houses are quite small. Mine is of good size though. I bought a corner unit, so it has a big PES all the way from front to back, which makes it like a semi-detached.

Anonymous said...

He only said it is an option which people are taking in face of financial differences between SGP and JB.

So were MOS Gan and MOM Minister listening to Minister Khaw when this was said?

That financial differences between even Malaysia and Singapore requires more action and sense on the part of manpower planners than to say "they are cheaper."

Anonymous said...

mr wang

haha im happy 4 u lar. in any case buying a house is not just about getting the "biggest" house but considering the whole package including proximity to school, mrt and shopping centres, environment etc etc

Anonymous said...

what is PES?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Means "private enclosed space". It's the area which is outside the house itself, and which belongs to you.

Garden, backyard, patio etc are usual examples of PES.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your home purchase. It is rather innovative way to end the article. And we wonder why some people can be so heartless... Obviously gahman shares the same viewpoint since these elders are no longer contributing to GDP...

Anonymous said...

Sometimes price fluctuations for landed private property can be as much as 40% over a period of 1 to 2years.

A relative of mine bought a semi-detached house for just a million in Nov 06. In mid 07 another sale fetched $1.2 million. In Mar 08 another fetched $1.4 million. (All same row, same sq ft). Since then no transactions (URA website).

So the price trend is hard to predict in future, especially with this out-of-ordinary recession.

Disparaged citizen said...

Is your new place at hillcrest area?

Anonymous said...

Congrats! As much as I agree prices will fall, I think if you have specific needs and have found the right unit, it's not a bad time to buy. I believe the further drop in prices in the coming months won't be that much for quality units within a development. I think waiting longer just means missing out on the better located our laid-out units.

In any case, for those buying a forever home, the potential drop in price is not as big a factor compared to those shopping for investment properties and more concerned about rental yield.

Anonymous said...

what khaw did was more than suggest or just state "an option"!!!

In 2006, when he first brought up the issue, he explained unambiguously that the goverment is thinking of buying cheap lands in Johor to build aged homes. In 2009, when he revisited the same issue, he explained - again without ambiguity - that he had just visited Johor's aged home built by Singapore companies. His motive is clear: to solve Singapore's old age problem by building nursing homes in Johor, either directly by the govt (2006), or by encouraging Singapore companies to do so (2009). But either way, that's the solution - Johor Bahru.

Yes, we are discerning readers and we are able to discern what Khaw is really up to, versus the excuses that his doggies are cooking up to save his ass!

Just an option? My ass!

Jimmy Mun said...

Wow, Mr Wang, you have swung from extreme frugality to ... ermm whatever, with this multi-million purchase, and you may yet win big, if you share my view that SGD is going to devalue heavily and inflation will spike.

And in the extreme case, you can grow your own food in the garden.

And as much as I am not a PAP supporter, I myself had consider my own retirement in Malaysia. After all, when you are not looking for a job, Malaysia is really not that much worse than Singapore, but much more affordable. JB in particular is so near, one can visit Singapore with ease. Penang is shaping up to be a major retirement destination for the Japanese.

And Mr Wang, there are many types of old people in the world. Some of them are warm and cuddly, like your parents are probably. My late grandmother would throw faeces at people, and greet people with female anatomy, not a radical change before senility too. Family matters are difficult for outsiders to judge.

Anonymous said...

Minister Khaw has always struck me as a pragmatic Health Minister with some enlightened views on health care and the costs of an aging population. However, I feel that the suggestion to send aged parents to JB (albeit not mentioned explicitly in the Straits Times article) has gone too far. Pragmatism should never override basic human decency.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

I love your ending paragraph.

It boosts your good standing amongst discerning readers, that is ME.

Despicable masked policies from them are nothing NEW. It's just that there are very few avenues in tightly-controlled Singapore to protest them. Despicable COW must be exposed.

Anonymous said...

congrats mr wang
you have indeed done lots of research and thought before buying, am sure it is a balanced decision

I think I know which area you are, bishan-upp thomson between Catholic and St nics???

Lucky Tan said...

Congratulations on your purchase. You didn't buy at the peak, but I'm not too sure if you bought at the bottom. Hope you didn't borrow too much to buy it.

I bought mine about 10 years ago during the other crisis - the Asian crisis...I was persuaded that the recession was a good time to buy. The lesson I learned it is property is 'not a good investment'. Not only do you pay the banks interest on your loans, you need to service it over such a long period and worry about the debt incurred, your job etc. I'll finish paying down the entire loan this year....I'll be glad this whole thing is closed and over for me.

If it is a lease hold, the remaining lease who be shortened by 10-20 years by the time the property is paid up. The 3-4% paid in interest per annum eats into any profits and so on.

I'll never do it again. If I had to do it over, I would have bought a HDB flat...keep the extra money and feel more secure through the ups and downs of this highly exposed, export oriented economy.

Anonymous said...

"I expect to live here for many years."

Tsk, tsk, don't be so presumtuous. You never know when the Grim Reaper may drop in for a visit. Many perfectly young and healthy men dropping dead like flies these days.

Anonymous said...

Shall we guess which pri sch mr wang is aiming for his daughter? :p

My guess = CHIJ Toa Payoh! :D

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"Tsk, tsk, don't be so presumtuous. You never know when the Grim Reaper may drop in for a visit."

Oh I have that possibility covered as well.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"And in the extreme case, you can grow your own food in the garden."

Alas, it's all ceramic tiles. However, I can collect rainwater and install solar panels. :)

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Thanks, Lucky.

I've done my maths ... Of course, no one can't pin down the future with 100% certainty, but I think that my finances will be comfortable.

arevl said...

Just curious, Mr Wang, can you share which district did you buy your house in?


Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...


The said...

Well, Mr Wang,

From the little details you provided, I can only narrowed your house to 3 possibilities:
1) Aston Residence
2) Simon Place
3) Jewel @ Chuan Hoe Avenue

If you paid about $2m for Aston, then you have a good deal.

My guess is that you got yourself a unit at Jewel. Prices were going around $1.2m, $1.3m and $1.4m - so if your got yours just above $1m, then you have a good buy.

However, I guess the conservancy charges much be quite high, given the maintenance of a swimming pool by only 12 units.

No, I am not a property agent.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Not telling, LOL.

The said...

Your silence is deafening...


Anonymous said...

We must ASSUME that most people here have a HEART, and I extend this same courtesy to MP Khaw.

I even extend this to the very people who are quick to jump onto the bandwagen to denounce MP Khaw and his comments which may have been taken out of context.

Whether there was a plan or plot to rehouse elderly citizens to JB, using state monies to buy and build up Nursing Homes or Retirement Homes for Singaporeans, I still say it was only an option to be considered.

I am no PAP-lackey.

At first I also took issue with such a blatant show of disrespect for our aging elderly, but I soon realised it was the manipulation of certain editors in the main media and also some disgruntled bloggers in cyberspace.

One thing is for sure: the message is still the same, if you want to stay in Singapore, you'd better have lots of money or have a family who has lots of money to support you in your retirement.

MP Khaw on the "mission" to recce JB, should be taken in a positive light. Giving Singaporean options is better than staying offtopic.

So wise up people, comment and blog responsibly. Otherwise we will not be taken seriously and be diagnosed as noise-makers only.

I still appreciate Mr Wang and hope he sees my point. I read his blog enthusiastically and hope it survives long long.

Anonymous said...

"Just curious, Mr Wang, can you share which district did you buy your house in?"

You going to stalk Mr Wang? Give him a break lol.

Anonymous said...

Kayangmo: MP Khaw on the "mission" to recce JB, should be taken in a positive light. Giving Singaporean options is better than staying offtopic. So wise up people, comment and blog responsibly. Otherwise we will not be taken seriously and be diagnosed as noise-makers only.

Being critical of Khaw and his "suggestions" has nothing to do with commenting or blogging responsibly.

Instead Khaw and his ministry should be studying harder at options and solutions within Singapore to tackle this issue. For example, instead of building more private golf courses, racing tracks, or foreign worker dormitories, land can be allocated by the govt for the public purpose of elderly housing, similar in nature to how land is allocated for building public schools and other public facilities.

Not everything must be about ROI.

The said...

/// arevl said...
Just curious, Mr Wang, can you share which district did you buy your house in? ///

Mr. Wang is understandingly coy about telling us which property. My guess is District 19 - Jewel@ Chuan Hoe Avenue. It dovetails into all the details he had given so far. His silence seems to say something to me. I stand to be corrected.

Jewel @ Chuan Hoe Ave
Cluster Housing
District 19
999 years Lease Hold
TOP End 2011
11 units 3 storeys terrace Houses
1 unit 3 storeys Bungalow
Lap Pools & Gym

Anonymous said...

"Just curious, Mr Wang, can you share which district did you buy your house in?"

You going to stalk Mr Wang? Give him a break lol.

Of course not. I'm in SFO for goodness sake.

My parents bought bought a condo in upper bukit timah end of the year for 1.2 million. I kept on telling them we could get something better. Just want to see where it's located that's all.

Anonymous said...

But there no good primary schools within one km of Jewel @ Chuan Hoe leh.

Anonymous said...

i've been faithful reader of mr wang's blog and have enjoyed coming here to read his posts for some time now. to all those who have no other comments except to be nosy and to invade mr wang's privacy, i say this, 'pple like you are the reason why blogs cease to exist after a while'. Bloggers invite us into their world without insisting on full disclosure of our personal details, i hope you extend the same courtesy to them.

Anonymous said...

Just for fun, this is my guess. I think he is perfectly right not to disclose it.

Ventura Heights at district 10, plenty of good schools around. For a cluster house over 4000 sqft, it must be a Semi-D or Bungalow. Going for over 3 millions.

Personally, I would buy a older property, and put a swimming pool in. Swimming pool is not really that expensive, compared to the price of landed property

Jon said...

Nice roof. : )

About JB.
Decisions are driven by values and economics. Those who are well off can afford to assuage their conscience. Those who are not may have to live with their conscience.
Everyone's circumstance is different. Not everyone has grandparents who are enjoying their golden years.

As such,
before one judge,
bear in mind,
the binds that tie.

Anonymous said...

Ok, let me join in the "fun" too. Actually, there aren't that many schools in Sg that fit Mr. Wang's past description. In fact, I can only think of one SAP boy school and one girl school that fits the criteria: in close proximity to each other such that Mr. Wang can buy a home in between the two so that, according to him, his daughter can go in 1 direction while his son can go the other:

Catholic High Primary, and
St. Nicholas Girls

So then, the property is one which is somewhere in between the two schools and which is still under construction!

(I hope Wang will not delete my comment. After all, I did not reveal anything beyond what he has written in the past :)

Anonymous said...

Assuming it is indeed the 2 schools I said above, I must say I am quite surprised by Wang's choice. Both are Catholic schools!! I mean, Wang said he studied in a Christian sec sch, but he ended up not being a Christian. This can mean only one thing - he is well versed with Christian theology, but rejected it. Well, then, why expose your children to something that you have rejected? Aren't you afraid they may end up accepting what you reject? I mean, look, by definition, when one rejects something, it means one thinks that thing is not good or somehow has some flaws in it - else why reject it? Then why risk one's children ending up accepthing what one considers as "wrong" or "inferior"?

Note: I am not trying to be nosy. Actually, I am wondering aloud, because I also have 2 young kids and I have rejected Christian mission schools for them, precisely because I am not a Christian - I think I can say in all fairness that in the singapore context, being a non-christian usually means one has already been exposed to Christianity and has rejected it, as opposed to say, someone who has never heard of the religion.

The said...

Anonymous said...
i've been faithful reader of mr wang's blog and have enjoyed coming here to read his posts for some time now. to all those who have no other comments except to be nosy and to invade mr wang's privacy, i say this, 'pple like you are the reason why blogs cease to exist after a while'. Bloggers invite us into their world without insisting on full disclosure of our personal details, i hope you extend the same courtesy to them.
March 28, 2009 11:07 PM

Anon @ 11:07,

I think your concern is not valid. It is Mr. Wang who volunteered the info that he bought his house. And some readers are genuinely interested in the lastest price for comparison purpose as was the case of the poster from SFO.

If a blogger chose such a "personal" topic as his own house, you cannot blame posters for asking out of curiosity. The posters can ask private questions, and the blogger can equally not answer those questions. The blogger can curtly say "Nope", which he did; or he can laugh it off by "Not telling LOL".

If Mr Wang were to start a topic on "I have bought the latest red Ferrari", would he be insulted if posters asked him about the price, or the COE, or road tax that he paid?

What a lame excuse for blogs ceasing to exist.

How personal can such data be if you can put one and one together on the internet?


James said...

There is no need to reject Christian school. i am no christian or catholic but was in Maris years ago and was not influenced at all by their preaching. At least back then they will separate the class during their morning prayer to two and sometimes we need to sing their hymms. It is still best to enrol your child to a good school without caring too much on its religious beliefs.

Hi Mr Wang would you be selling your present home? Would it be better for one to live in a HDB flat for a few years and invest in a condo/semi-detach for the purpose of renting it out to others
One can do the reverse if one prefers a larger space

This investment is of course quite risky if one's initial home is still not fully paid up and i believe such investment require both security in well paid jobs and the foresight to buy the new property at not too high a price since there is a risk of the price depreciating.What are the main risks of such investments?

Jimmy Mun said...

If one thinks their children are so feeble minded, so ill-prepared to make their own philosophical/spiritual/religious choicess, I strongly suggest homeschooling.

When I was in Catholic High, a priest giving a talk during assembly was so upset by the disinterest that he asked the Catholics to raise their hands. We accounted for only about 10%, at which point he lamented the school might as well be renamed Bishan High School. Heck we didnt even have enough Catholic teachers to run the handful of religious CCAs.

Anybody "exposed" to Catholics will know there is nothing to worry. If ever a Catholic bug you to join him/her in Church, you should buy Toto. Sure strike one.

Catholic High School, in particular, is a mission school without a mission unlike the LaSalle Brothers driving SJI or CHIJ for St Nick's. The religious aspect is very dilute. The Chinese/Confucian teachers have a bigger influence, at my time anyway. Even when Religious Knowledge was taught in schools, the Confucian ethics classes were as big as the Bible Knowledge classes, and the choice was mainly made along language lines: Confucian ethics was taught in Chinse, while Bible Knowledge was taught in English.

If there exists a City Harvest Primary School, now that is a different matter. Cue "Hotel California"...

Anonymous said...

City Harvest Primary or New Creation Primary... LOL. OMG! Don't give them ideas!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Wang,
Our gahmen just told us that we need more than 1,000 foreign docs, and even then it still would not be enough. And to think that for many years, so many of our young had to go through the naguish of being rejected by our Uni for the medicine course. Those who could afford it, go overseas to pursue their dreams. And I have my doubts the foreign-trained docs have had to go thru course criteria as stringent as ours. Another myopic gahmen policy?

lh said...

Mr Wang, can share with us your considerations in planning your finances wrt buying a property? Thanks!

The said...

Are we still baking Mr Wang's house?

Hansel and Gretel, please lead the way...

Anonymous said...

"But there no good primary schools within one km of Jewel @ Chuan Hoe leh."

I think Rosyth School is in the range. Rosyth is in the top one or two primary schools of the whole of Singapore. Even if you stay nearby, it's not guaranteed that you succeed in getting in.

Anonymous said...

just for fun, my guess -
Maris Stella High School for the boy
Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' for the girl

Kite said...

Having spent many years in the US where the elderly have many options and many lifestyles, I'm rather surprised at the strong feelings about housing old folks in JB ... It does not have to be a lonesome exit to the twilight.

Since his 40s, my father had always talked about buying a house in China or Australia for retirement. It is a balance of lifestyle and expenditure - he recognised that his savings would probably stretch further and give him a better lifestyle than life in Singapore. My ex-neighbours (being Malay) bought a house in Malaysia for just such a purpose, and my mother, who is a former Malaysian with a huge Malaysian family, is also sorely tempted ...

So far, they have opted to stay put in Singapore since the family just had 2 babies, their first grandchildren in 60+ years . However, Mother and I had a conversation after observing the strong reaction wrt Minister Khaw's suggestions. I pointed out that she could have a nice 2-storey bungalow in a Thai beach resort for the price of a high-end HDB, and plenty of domestic help. At 64, my previously adventurous mother was a bit more timid and inclined to stick with her children, grandchildren and the familiar environment, but when I pointed out that I've had elderly friends in the US who take yearly trips, move to retirement villages in choice locations (ie more sun, space, less costly, etc) and generally get a life of their own, and they were not particularly well-to-do, but just saavy in stretching their dollars, and with a firm belief in building a 2nd life that is not totally dependent on their children, she could get my point.

It's not that I am overly Westernised or calculative, but I have seen some of my aunts (my mother's sisters) obsessing over their children, their daughters-in-law, their grandchildren etc. And I've also seen other elderly relatives who took holidays and plan activities (go for coffee with other old kakis, take courses etc) according to their budget to fill up some of their own time. I even had a spinster grandaunt who checked into an old folks' home of her own liking and treated the place as a hostel while she went out for all kinds of daytrips she planned for herself (but she is a rare creature who trotted the world as an amah to a rich family and went so far as to plan her own funeral and columbarian niche). It is not a bad life.

Of course, Singapore does not have the culture and the facilities to accommodate a "retirement village" lifestyle. But looking at some of the ones I've seen in Boston and Florida, it does not seem so bad.

The said...

/// Of course, Singapore does not have the culture and the facilities to accommodate a "retirement village" lifestyle. But looking at some of the ones I've seen in Boston and Florida, it does not seem so bad. ///

Kite, in my previous job, I have explored the possibility of retirement village in Singapore. The exorbitantly high land and property prices in Singapore effectively rules this out, unless the Government provide the land and building. Even so, I am not so sure about putting all the old and infirmed together in one place - it is very inviting to those who prey on this group of people.

All the more a no no for JB. In normal times, and in gated communities, there are already many horror stories of robberies, burglaries and armed attacks on able-bodied people, let alone old, infirmed retirees. We will be asking for troubles.

I believe real estate prices in Boston and Florida are much cheaper than Singapore. And the security situation is much better than Johor. Likewise, there are also many retirement villages in Australia and New Zealand.

I live in America said...

Having spent many years in the US, have you seen (1) Americans shipping their elderly parents to Brazil? (2) The federal or state government proposing to build nursing homes in Mexico? (3) American taxpayers / citizens supporting the above government proposal with personal anecdotes about how they ship their mothers and spinsters aunt to Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela?

Don't divert the issue away to talk about your mother, aunt etc. I have spent many years in the US too. Never once have I heard of any proposal by anyone - be it government departments, non-government organisation, or individual - to ship elderly Americans OVERSEAS to SOUTH AMERICA.

Don't try to bull us.

Fox said...

Mr Wang,

I know that this sounds silly but will you be getting a cat now that you're moving into a private property. I presume that you stay in a flat now where cats are still forbidden by HDB.

Anonymous said...

Solaris residence? Near PLMGSS.

Anonymous said...

To the comments about Catholic schools - I was schooled in one myself (10 years!) and it didn't catch.
The most important point about faith in one particular religion, or even atheist beliefs, is the clarity of mind that allows you to learn and assimilate the difference in another belief system, and make an informed judgement about what is right for you.
Shielding your children from exposure will merely skew their perceptino in the wrong way, and leave them defenceless against persistent evangelism when the most notorious of these strike during their formative teenage years.