PM Lee’s Chinese New Year Call: Boost Singapore’s Birth Rates

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February 9, 2024 — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore has sent out a strong message to young couples in the country, urging them to enjoy the good fortune of the Year of the Dragon by expanding their families. Lee expressed his deep gratitude for the Chinese New Year and emphasised the dragon’s cultural importance as a symbol of strength, power, and good fortune. He also mentioned how ideal it is for growing families to have a “little dragon.”

This encouragement is given against the disturbing trend that Singapore is seeing, which is a global reduction in reproduction rates that is especially noticeable in industrialised nations. Singapore’s resident total fertility rate fell to a record low of 1.04 in 2022, marking a dramatic decline in the country’s own fertility statistics.

A portion of this drop was ascribed to the Tiger Year, which the Chinese community has historically believed to be unfavourable for births. The PM’s speech underscores a larger worry about Singapore’s future demographics and the difficulties in keeping population growth at a sustainable pace.

Lee’s speech also addressed how younger generations’ goals are changing, with many prioritising personal growth, leisure, and job progress before establishing a family. He recognised the difficulties and reluctance that couples have, such as the constraints of contemporary living and the seeming closing window for childbirth. He did, however, convey his hope that more Singaporean couples will decide to become parents, highlighting the government’s dedication to helping families by implementing improved work-life regulations that lessen the strain of providing care.

The Singapore government has taken concrete steps to encourage family growth, including the recent extension of government-paid paternity leave from two to four weeks on a voluntary basis. Lee designed these measures to enable and support families, but they cannot alone drive the decision to have children. He stressed that the ultimate choice lies with the couple, urging them to consider the profound joys and rewards of raising children.

Prime Minister Lee’s message resonates with a deep appreciation for family as the cornerstone of Singaporean society. He celebrated the role of families in providing support, shaping identities, and passing on values through generations. Lee shared his personal joy in being a grandparent, underscoring the happiness and fulfilment that children bring to family life.

As Singapore welcomes the Year of the Dragon, the Prime Minister’s message is a hopeful one, envisioning a future where more Singaporean families grow, enriched by the unique blessings of new “little dragons.” His closing words were a wish for health and happiness for all Singaporeans, marking the festive season with a note of optimism and encouragement for the nation’s prospective parents.


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