Valentine’s Special | As the Valentine’s Week is underway when people around the world express their love and affection for their partners, friends, and family members, Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, urged young couples to consider having more children to address the country’s declining birth rate.
As Singaporeans celebrate Chinese New Year on February 10-11, with an additional holiday on Monday due to the festival falling on Sunday, the Prime Minister’s call for boosting the population comes amid efforts to address demographic challenges.
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While addressing annual Chinese New Year, Lee Hsien Loong encouraged couples to consider having children during the Year of the Dragon, a period considered particularly auspicious by many Chinese-origin families.
Why Chinese New Year is considered auspicious to have babies?
Chinese New Year is considered auspicious for having children primarily due to cultural beliefs and symbolism associated with the Chinese zodiac.
In his annual Chinese New Year message, Lee highlighted the dragon’s symbolism of power, strength, and good fortune.
He assured couples of the government’s support and suggested that now is an opportune time to welcome a “little dragon” into their families.
Recently, the government extended paternity leave from two weeks to four weeks on a voluntary basis, aiming to ease the burden on parents.
Lee emphasised that while such measures facilitate parenthood, the decision to have children remains a personal one for couples.
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Notably, Lee Hsien Loong himself was born in the Year of the Dragon in 1952 and celebrates his birthday on February 10th.
Singapore’s fertility rate drops
In 2022, Singapore’s resident total fertility rate reached an unprecedented low of 1.05, dropping below the previous records of 1.1 in 2020 and 1.12 in 2021.
The total fertility rate represents the average number of live births per woman during her reproductive years.
Since 2017, Singapore’s total fertility rate has consistently remained below 1.2.