PM Lee hopes S'pore's marriages & births come 'roaring back' in auspicious year of Tiger

Time to be a Tiger Mum/Dad.

Joshua Lee | January 30, 2022, 10:31 PM

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As Chinese Singaporeans and others who celebrate Chinese New Year welcome the Year of the Tiger in the coming days, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wishes that married couples will welcome more than just good luck and even better health this year.

Specifically, something that tugs at your heartstrings and goes through diapers more quickly than your paycheque allows.

Auspicious year of the Tiger

The Prime Minister has Singapore's birth rate on his mind, especially as many consider the Year of the Tiger to be an auspicious one to produce an offspring.

Side note: If you think planning for a baby to arrive in an auspicious year is practice that has no currency today, think again.

In 2012, the last year of the Dragon (considered the most auspicious among the 12 zodiac creatures), the total number of live births in Singapore hit 42,663, a spike from 39,654 live births in 2011. That number has been on a downward trajectory since then.

PM Lee added that the Covid-19 pandemic caused a dip in the number of weddings initially. Birth numbers also fell.

But after two years of living with Covid-19, marriages in Singapore have "caught up" and returned to pre-pandemic levels, he said.

"Covid-19 or not, parents and grandparents still greatly look forward to welcoming new arrivals. The infants bring joy and warmth to the whole family, and carry our hopes and dreams for a brighter tomorrow."

The prime minister added that the government provides support for  Singaporeans who want to start and raise families, citing the Baby Support Grant as an example.

The grant gives new parents a quantum of S$3,000 per child if their child’s date of birth or estimated delivery date is anywhere from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2022.

Urged Singaporeans to exercise social responsibility

Aside from expressing his wish for the country's fertility rate to go up, the prime minister acknowledged that the pandemic has made it difficult for many Singaporean families to gather, especially those who have family members living abroad.

However, initiatives like Vaccinated Travel Lanes and progressive resumption of air travel brings hope that more families can reunite this year to celebrate Chinese New Year, he said.

Even so, he urged Singaporeans to exercise social responsibility and take precautions to keep their family members safe.

"Please remember to adhere to safe management measures, and keep up basic hygiene practices such as washing hands and using common utensils when sharing food. If you feel under the weather please stay at home, isolate yourself and get ample rest, just in case you are infected. There will be ample time to catch up on New Year visiting after you recover."

Vaccinate to protect loved ones

PM Lee also took the opportunity to plug the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, urging everyone from the young to the very old to get their shots.

"They reduce your chances of contracting Covid-19, and more importantly greatly lower the risk of serious complications, including for the Omicron variant," he said.

"In the new year, let us work together to resolutely overcome the pandemic with the strength of the Tiger, and seize new opportunities to build a better Singapore with the boldness of the beast."

You can access the Prime Minister's Chinese New Year Message in full, both in English and Mandarin, here.

Top image credit: Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash