Sunday, March 3, 2024

Will Singapore’s birth rate increase in the “auspicious” Year of the Dragon?

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Like Lee, Stephanie Ho, 37, who is eight months pregnant with her second child, worries that her child will have to compete with more people at school.

People walk past statues of the God of Fortune and dragon sculptures as part of the festive decorations to welcome the 2024 Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dragon, at Supertree at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.Photo: Reuters

Mr Ho, the teacher, said primary school students born in past Dragon Years, such as 1988, 2000 and 2012, usually had “at least one more class”.

The Chinese zodiac has a 12-year cycle and is represented by 12 animals: the Cub, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Goat, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog, and the Pig.

“If every elementary school had one more class. [for those born in the dragon year], How many more babies are there? she said.

But Ho and Li, like many Chinese, Singaporeno one can escape the mystical charm of the Dragon zodiac, which is believed to be associated with good luck, strength, and intelligence.

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According to David Goh, a feng shui consultant and founder of feng shui consultancy Imperial Harvest, people born in the year of the Dragon have auspicious qualities.

“Regardless of their gender, baby dragons inherit auspicious traits deeply rooted in Feng Shui principles and embody a harmonious balance of strength, intelligence, and charisma, in all aspects of life. “It brings prosperity and success,” he said.

This belief has led many Chinese people to try to conceive dragon babies.Previous Dragon Age, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan And in Singapore, the birth rate has increased significantly, the BBC previously reported.

According to official statistics, Hong Kong’s birth rate increased by 5% in 2000, and China’s birth rate increased by 950,000 people in 2012.

Visitors take photos of a dragon sculpture at The Shops at Marina Bay Sands. The Dragon zodiac sign is believed to be associated with good luck, strength, and intelligence. Photo: EPA-EFE

According to official data, Singapore’s total fertility rate rose to 1.29 in 2012, the highest level in five years. The total fertility rate in 2000 rose little by little from 1.47 in 1999 to 1.6.

In his traditional Chinese New Year message on Friday, Singapore’s Prime Minister said: Lee Hsien Loong Residents called on people to “welcome a little dragon into the family.”

“Many Chinese families consider children born in the year of the Dragon to be particularly auspicious, and the dragon is a symbol of power, strength and good fortune,” he says.

“So now is the perfect time for young couples to add a ‘little dragon’ to their family.”

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Singapore’s birth rate had been on the decline since the 1960s, but increased in the previous year.The total fertility rate is The lowest value in 2022 is 1.04which is almost half the alternative level of 2.1.

“Birth rates are declining all over the world, especially in developed countries like Singapore. Each generation has different aspirations. Many young people want to develop their careers or spend quality time with their partners. and pursuing other interests,” Lee said.

“Couples who want to have children may put off starting a family, not realizing how quickly it becomes difficult as the years go by.”

Brian Josal, 23, from Singapore, is among those hoping to own a “little dragon”.

Hosal, who is a baby dragon himself, said he wanted to have a baby this year because he grew up in a Chinese family that placed great emphasis on cultural beliefs and superstitions.

“I think it’s very cool to be a baby dragon. It’s the only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac and it should be a good year,” said the Indonesian-Chinese. “Being about 24 years older than your kids seems pretty good for being a cool, young parent. That’s an important factor for me too.”

A child poses with a dragon-shaped balloon at the Lunar New Year market in Singapore. Singapore’s birth rate had been on the decline since the 1960s, but increased in the previous year.Photo: Xinhua News Agency

But there is an irony in having a child in a year widely considered to be more auspicious, warns Tan Poh Lin, a senior researcher at the Institute for Policy Studies.

“Demographers have long believed that large birth cohorts are less likely than small birth cohorts because of increased competition for limited resources, from admissions and jobs to housing and desirable marriage partners. “We have hypothesized and observed that social and economic life prospects worsen,” she said.

“By trying to have babies at the same time based on superstition, parents inadvertently create coordination problems and are unlikely to produce the benefits they hope for in their children.”

Nevertheless, the rarity of auspicious events like the Year of the Dragon could still “upend the calculations” for couples already thinking of having children, Tan noted.

Pan Qingyi, 38, who is due to give birth to her second child next month, has no idea about the zodiac or astrology.

“I don’t think it’s all that important or different. When I hear a lot of people talk about their fortunes in the Year of the Dragon, I think, ‘Oh, this is going to be a good year.’ But actually, I’m really happy to have my second baby. ”

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