Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Year of the Tiger = Fewer Births

Thus far, we’ve had an amazing trip to Thailand, and have discovered the busy metropolis of Bangkok, the quiet and peaceful environs of the northern province of Chiang Rai as well as the sunny, clear-watered beaches of Phuket island.

The one thing I haven’t found is any useful fertility tips. Usually on my Asian travels, I can pick up some Buddhist advice or modern recommendation, but none yet. They do believe that snakes and elephants are lucky, so I’ve done my best to be kind to both while we’ve been here.

I did find an interesting article, though that the leader of Singapore is calling for couples to have more children. Yes, you heard that right, the Prime Minister asked for his citizens to get busy.

The city-nation saw its lowest birth rate ever in 2009. And, it may get worse before it gets better. The majority ethnic group in Singapore is Chinese, and many couples are superstitious about having children born in the Year of the Tiger (which just started with the Lunar New Year on Sunday) because it is regarded as “holding risks and uncertainties.”

In an effort to encourage more births, the government is launching campaigns and offering incentives (Not sure what, perhaps tax breaks or free IVFs) to provide a “pro-family environment.”

Singapore is a fairly first-world country, so it bothers me that instead of campaigning for their own less fortunate, helping the poorer nations that border the country (or if they’re so worried about the declining population, open the border and allow some immigration to the country), or advocating for some other noble cause, they’re promoting procreation. I’m no sociologist or psychologist, but persuading people to have more children could result in more child abuse, feelings of resentment, etc. I really don’t see much of an upside here.

Boy, I’d hate to be an infertile there. On top of all of the pressure you put on yourself, you have the leader of your country pushing for pregnancy. Perhaps I would just walk around with a fake belly (a la Will Schuster’s wife on Glee) to avoid being harassed.


  1. Interesting, that would be a crappy place for an infertile person to live. I've never heard of leaders pushing for people to make babies lol. Crazy stuff.

  2. Oh yeah they were all about us having babies out here too (Australia). Financial incentives and whatnot from the government. They've stopped talking so much about it now. But yeah, not a great time to be infertile, hearing about how we should be having babies - what we wanted nmore than anything - and not being able to.

    But despite saying they wanted to up the birth rate, they went on to make doing IVF harder and more expensive *headdesk* Not a great time to be infertile.