Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Solving the low fertility problem....

“If we go on like that, this place will fold up, because there’ll be no original citizens left to form the majority, and we cannot have new citizens, new PRs to settle our social ethos, our social spirit, our social norms. So my message is a simple one. The answer is very difficult but the problems, if we don’t find the answers, are enormous” 

We have to be very clear about why we want the fertility rate to go up.  LKY said it very well in the above speech why we need to solve our the population problem and why immigration is not the answer. If Singaporeans who form the core of this country shrink and immigration is used as a solution, much  that we value and want to pass on as a people will start to diminish. Immigration makes the problem worse not better.

Some others have argued that we have an ageing workforce and we need more immigrants to prevent us from losing our competitiveness. Here is the situation:
Yes, our resident workforce is ageing however our total workforce is young. Why? The resident workforce form 2M of our workers and we have 1M foreign workers on work permits and employment pass that are renewed with age as a criteria. The total workforce is "artificially" young as result of the transient component that is "refreshed" every few years. In recent years we have a rising structural unemployment as older Singaporeans find it hard to get good jobs precisely due to this skewed demographics brought about by the foreign influx. So to argue that we need more immigrants to offset an ageing workforce to compete economically is incorrect because we have already overcompensated for this problem in the last 10 years.

So the best way forward, I would argue is to solve the low fertility problem and not resort short term approaches that worsen the situation. Raising our low fertility rate is, however, not an easy thing to do. For a start we have to understand why our fertility rate has fallen. One clear reason is the success of the PAP govt "Stop-at-2" policy that spent a good part of 2 decades telling people to have fewer babies. The PAP govt then move on to a eugenics based policy - they wanted only graduate mothers to have more children. We see the remnants of this thinking in the HOPE scheme [Link]that gives incentives to less educated and poorer parents if they have fewer children - this help "the poor to have fewer children" type schemes is highly discriminatory and depresses our fertility rates. 400,000 or 25%-35% of Singaporean workers have low income [Link] so govt fertility boosting schemes are far less effective if we leave out this large group. In the past few years, the govt has given out incentives in the form of tax rebate that only can be fully utilized by higher income groups - giving money to those who already have money as an incentive to have children is far less effective giving it to those who are poor and  need the extra financial help to raise their children.

We have to superimpose what the PAP govt has been doing on thephenomena of falling birth rates in developed countries.

Developed countries have low birth rates because
  • It is expensive to look after large families
  • More women prefer to concentrate on their careers
  • Increasing sexual equality has meant women have more control over their own fertility
  • There is a ready availability of contraception and family planning advice

In Singapore, it was a deliberate effort on the part of the govt to encourage married women to work to mobilize more people to expand the workforce for economic growth. In fact,  if you're filling the tax forms, you will notice a large number of incentives to encourage married women to work and if a woman is a housewife looking after her children, the family loses out not only on her income but the tax breaks given to families with both parents working. These days due to the rising cost of living, many families have no choice but to have both parents working or they will face financial hardship. As a survival strategy, when we move from developing to developed country, child mortality falls and training/education rises in importance so families in developed countries have fewer children so that they can concentrate their financial resources to nurture a smaller number of children successfully.

All the above explains why our fertility rate is low ...but why does Singapore have the lowest fertility rate in the world?   Our fertility rate has quite incredibly plunged below that of Japan. Singapore has the lowest fertility rate in the world if we count independent nations. If we look at territories, we are right down with Hong Kong & Macau which are part of China[Link]. The 3 places with lowest fertility - Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong also have the highest population density in the world.  High density = high stress = high housing cost = low fertility?

The above tells half the story about fertility. Now for the other. 

Research shows that while fertility rate falls when countries go from developing to developed status, if further economic advancement is made say in per capita GDP, the fertility rate rises back up[Does economic development drive the fertility rebound in OECD countries? ]. When you go from developing to developed country status you have fewer children so that you can educate them better. But if there is further economic advancement and you make more money adding another child to the family becomes less of an issue:

Strangely, it is another phenomena that Singapore shows an abnormaly ...our per capita GDP has risen yet our TFR has fallen monotonically. On paper on a per capita basis. we are richer than many of the European countries with higher fertility rate ..why hasn't our fertility rate rebounded? The answer to that is our income inequality is the highest among developed countries and the increase in GDP is concentrated in the top 10% of the populace - the fruits of our economic advancement have not been shared widely but the cost of this economic progress in the form of higher housing cost, higher cost of living is shouldered by all.

Given all the above evidence, it is clear what needs to be done. The burden of higher cost of living and cost of raising a child has to be addressed. The govt needs to reach out to all including the large segment of low income Singaporeans to solve this problem - it has to stop all discriminatory practices. In the area of education, the govt has to step in to aid poor families in the area of pre-school and give more help to these families to raise their children.  Housing price increase has to be moderated and kept below the rise in median income in order to generate surplus financial resources for middle income families to raise another child. Overall cost of living (inflation) has to be kept down relative to wages - if you look at the chart above on fertility vs PPP (Purchasing Price Parity), fertility swings back up wages rise relative to cost of living.  Take care of healthcare so that parents can have more children without worrying about rising medical costs and especially children born with congenital health issues because this is one of the biggest fear of parents when they have children ...when people find out the govt does not cover these children in its MediShield and parents receive little help to care for these children, they will have fewer children.

It helps a lot if life in Singapore is less competitive and less stressful. We can start with the education system which has turned into one big sorting machine obsessed with exam scores and streaming. There is intense competition for homes, cars, jobs etc.no thanks to the huge influx of foreigners that made scarce resources like COE and housing even scarcer.  

Many of the things that needs to be done to encourage Singaporeans to have more children are things that also raise the quality of life for Singaporean families. It is not a question of whether Singapore has the resources to do this - we seem to have no issue spending $10 billion a year on defense in an increasingly globalized world where nations around us depend on international trade and cannot afford to misbehave...we don't question this high level of spending which is higher than Malaysia and Indonesia combined. But what is the point of spending so much on defense when the people you're defending faces the threat of decline by way of low fertility. The question is whether we have the will to fix this problem and not resort to short term "non-fixes" like importing more people and making the situation worse.



94 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...The burden of higher cost of living and cost of raising a child has to be addressed."
Lucky Tan

If this is so important, why LKY did not address this in his speech? Or did he?

So do you think the 60% elected PAP govt will look into this if LKY did not mention it?

And if PAP govt don't care about this, what next? Lucky Tan will become politician?










Anonymous said...

I will vote for you if you run for election.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, the current batch of Ministers lack the political will to address and solve the low fertility problem caused by the OLD Man who had already overstayed his welcomed.

Vote for Change in 2016.

Anonymous said...

Our education system has also rob the job of parenthood and childhood. The stress of this system does not make much sense.

At the end of the day, we will just have kids who are exam smart, nothing more !

FIrst thing MOE can do is reduce the class size and put teaching and children above all the other crap KPI.

Education should be GST exempted, this includes all tuition centres and enrichment classes.


I am sure more people would not mind to have kids.

Anonymous said...

60% will rather vote PAP to have more foreigners than to make more babies.

Anyway, whether 60% or 40%, all are equally fertile and can make more babies. So just like who they want to vote, it's up to them whether they want more babies or not.

Anonymous said...

"Our education system has also rob the JOB of parenthood and childhood. The stress of this system does not make much sense."

correction it should be:


"Our education system has also rob the JOY of parenthood and childhood. The stress of this system does not make much sense."


JOY instead of JOB.

Sorry.

Anonymous said...

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110616/164646607.html
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed an amendment to the national Land Code to provide free land parcels to families with three or more children, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

Russia is serious. Is Singapore serious? Give a free HDB for families with 3 children. Surely our population will increase.

Don't waste precious time with non-effective incentives of a few thousand dollars.

Anonymous said...

"Give a free HDB for families with 3 children."
Anon 15/8/12 13:04

Give first or born first then give?

Not so easy lah.

Anonymous said...

Lucky Tan,

we all know what is the solution is. Vote out PAP just like we vote out Lim Yew Hock government because the PAP has long becoming the Lim Yew Hock government, and even worst than Lim.

The reason is why people are not willing to listen to PAP and create babies because they lost all hopes on PAP. To them, PAP is liar, deceptive, self-serving greedy bastard that will never change. PAP is just hopeless and want to continue to exploit and milk the citizens with zero accountability, transparency and responsibility. Just take a look at how SHAM insult the public by the reply to Sylvia Lim.

Change the PAP government, we change our mindset, otherwise this govt sit down and shut their fart up.

Tan Kok Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tan Kok Tim said...

Immigration is not the solution?

It will be so if the Govt continues with the policy of pensalising the lower income group in favour of encouraging the well-educated to have more children.

The top rungs of society cannot have enough children to fill the big hole, the headcount. If we continue the present policy for another 10 to 20 years, the hole has to be filled with more immigrants.

Openly we can say we will control the number of immigrants allowed in, but when the policy stares at us down the road, the doors to immigrants will have to be opened wider in 30 years time.

Tan Kok Tim said...

Baby bonus has not worked. What else will?

Many Singaporeans will give ideas and solutions, but what should the new Ministry do to reverse the trend of falling birth rates? Will it be up to the task to come up with solid and not half-baked and short-sighted policies to effectively reverse the trend?

Go for economy of scale to swing the trend of falling birth rates around. How?

Have professionally run 24-hour creches in all HDB estates, especially located near to the 1,2 and 3-room flats, and half the cost of operations to be subsidised by Govt and allow FWs/maids to be part of the staff in cleaning up the premises, etc. to reduce cost.

A 24-hour creche will mean some parents due to work or other commitments or personal reasons can leave their child there for the night. They can choose to bring the child home any time since it is a 24-hour creche. This will help relieve lots of stress on the young parents in taking care of the child everyday of the week.

This is the first hurdle that young parents have to cross balancing work life and bringing up a child.

Tan Kok Tim said...

More child births from the lower income group is the answer.

The stop-at-two policy in the 1980s aimed at the lower income was a great success. To make the U-turn now, and to encourage more child births, the Govt should target at the lower income group, which is a big base of the pyramid. If we do have a few more child births from the summit of the pyramid, it is a bonus. I hope the Govt will not
overlook the wood for the trees in formulating their U-turn policies to encourage more child births from the lower income group. The rich do not need the same help that the lower income will hope to receive from the Govt. Hope for more child births must depend on this group. The Govt should not dig and carry soil from the valley to heap it on the summit.

Anonymous said...

Any sensible, would be parent, would have to consider whether bringing a child into Singapore society is really a conscienable choice, given that the child has to bear the heavy burden of cost of living, particularly housing, education and healthcare.

Of course, everyone is aware of that and I am just repeating the obvious. But our Government seems to think that those are not the reasons and keep on harping on the wonderful standard of living without touching on the other aspect of survival of the average citizen.

For example, we have just been reminded that we are now the richest country in the whole world to live in!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. the solution is just across the borders. Import more malaysian and indonesian and give them citizenship. Problem solved. everybody happy.

Anonymous said...

People will only make babies when they feel safe and happy.

That's why during war, there are very few babies born.

Anonymous said...


re comments on the defence budget: basically, you're saying that the 'warfront' has shifted. today, it is not a battle to keep out invaders, but to have more children. obviously, the 'defence' budget has to also be diverted.

as for people not producing because they want the kids to have the best, this attitude is possibly self defeating.

people with less become more creative, are hungrier, more determined, more resourceful. in other words, they have spurs stuck in their hids.

Anonymous said...

Two sperm were swimming through a woman's body.
The first said, "Whew. I'm getting tired. Just how far is it to the uterus?"
"The uterus?" the second laughed. "We're not even past the throat yet!"

One possible reason for low fertility?

Anonymous said...

Why does it take 50 million sperm to fertilize one egg?

Like PAP politicians, they won't ask for directions either!

Anonymous said...

I believe many people understand the problems and have suggested solutions.
But the eilte Govt thinks they know best and we are largely ignored. Whatever, we suggest it is countered with something else,like what happen during parliamentary sessions. They are always on the defensive and cantankerous.

Lets hope some of the die-hard Pap voters will wake up.

Anonymous said...

Glad you pick up on my previous comments that our defence spending now exceeds Indonesia and Singapore combined and we need to question how much spending we REALLY need to deter potential enemies.

The key question is why spend $12 billion on defence when $8 to $9 billion was sufficient to keep the peace. And since the greatest security threat we face is a declining population which will mean a future shortage of NS soldiers, shouldn't $3 to $4 bil per year be saved to channel to programs to increase the fertility rate.

As an example, if the government comes up with a program to give $500 maintenance per mth per child for the 2nd child onwards, and it helps to increase child births by say, 20,000, the cost is only $120 m per year. If the child support last up till the time the child reaches 18 yrs old, then the total cost is only $2.2 bil. This compares with $54 bil savings over 18 years if the govt cuts $3 bil from defence annually.

The numbers suggest we need to take a serious look at how productive our defence spending really is. The motherhood statement that we need to spend 5 to 6% of GDP to feel more secure does not make sense in our current context when our GDP is now much larger then late 60s when the policy was first conceived and when we risk "folding up" because our declining fertility rate is the MOST serious security threat we face!

Anonymous said...

flaw: govt has its own agenda

Anonymous said...

Mr Lucky Tan,

Another outstanding piece of work.

Yours grateful Singaporean

Anonymous said...

Harry, the Pro Alien Sperm, was determined to be THE sperm that will fertilize the egg.
In order to guarantee this, he trained day and night so that he will be strongest and fastest sperm in his cohort.

Very soon, the big day arrived.
The sperms were released, and Joe, the Pro Alien Sperm was swimming far out in front of all the other sperms.
Very soon, the other sperms lost sight of Joe.

Suddenly, Joe, the Pro Alien Sperm appeared in front of all the other sperms ... but now, swimming rapidly in the opposite direction.
Joe looked scared.
His face was white with fear.

"What's wrong Joe? You are going in the wrong direction!" shouted one of the ordinary Ah Beng Sperm.

"Turn around! It's a blowjob!" replied Joe.

Anonymous said...

Why is sperm white, and urine yellow, in colour?

So that the Men-In-White will know whether they are coming or going.

Anonymous said...

I think the way to solve the fertility problem is recognise that men and women are getting married LATER in their lives. This means chances are they will likely have kids much later, say late thirties or early forties.

For the longest time, the PAP govt has been sending FEAR messages that women who give birth in their late thirties or forties is likely to have deformed or retarded babies. While the risk is marginally higher, its not signficant to warrant such a scare tactic. PAP thought by giving scare tactics, people will get married younger and have kids when they are in their twenties.

The REALITY? Men no longer wants to marry women who are in their thirties because they scared the woman give birth to deformed children. And those who are ok with marrying a 30 something woman end up not daring to have a child because they scared they kena deformed kids. So they end up as DINKS. No one wants to bring a deformed child to suffer in this world

So what should PAP do? STOP THE FEAR MONGERING. Andy Lau's wife has a perfectly healthy child when she was 45. Zoe Tay had a perfectly healthy child was she was 45. As long as mother is healthy, there is no such thing that the child will be deformed. CHANGE PERCEPTION. Tell people its ok to have a child even if you're in your late thirties or forties.

Change perception because people are getting married later. And stop fear mongering that only twenty-something women can give birth to normal child. This will also solve the marriage of convenience problem when men buy 18 year old foreign brides to bear children because Singapore women are too old by the time they finish their studies and start their careers.

Anonymous said...

Q: What do PAP women call Viagra?
A: Batteries

Lye Khuen Way said...

Lucky Tan have always amazed me. How come the Civil Service and their political masters could not see the issues like Lucky and many others?

I always believe that another important mental block to young Singaporean couples ould be that affordable housing and child-care. Free child-care?

Law Sin Ling said...

Lucky Tan has produced a commendable analysis on his part. It is a phenomenon of modern society that economic advancement leads to restrained breeding. A common reason is related to the increased attraction on time and money from industrial products of distractions. Gone is the age where humans had only kinship to occupy their time.

I am not entirely persuaded that high cost of living is an autonomous factor. Rather, it is a contributory factor that drives the population to rationalise their commitment of time and money to the indulgence of the distraction previously mentioned.

I am strongly convinced that a lowered fertility rate does not naturally end in the terminal state Singapore has. What Singapore, in contrast to countries with larger population, cannot withstand is when EMIGRATION rate crosses the threshold beyond which the population invariably declines towards accelerated extinction without introducing foreign substitutions in a hurry.

Sgcynic said...

I would love to see Tharman's calculations to show how a couple earning less than $1k can afford to have children after they afford their 2 room flat. Great to have the government trying again to convince us how things remain affordable in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

The falling TFR is the people's silent and definitive protest against the government's policies.

If you love children, you'll bring into the world but not into this Singapore pressure cooker society.

Anonymous said...

"...The rich do not need the same help that the lower income will hope to receive from the Govt."
@ Tan Kok Tim 14:03

Yes. The rich require only one income earner whose earnings are 5 times larger than the lower income group. If the rich have 2 people in the family who earn 6 figures each they are even better off!

The poor need more than 5 people in a family to earn half of what these rich earn. Each earning less than 2K a month.

Let the lower income group multiply. The rich are very mobile and nimble.. they can go anywhere around the world to look for jobs. They also have no inclination to multiply because they want to enjoy life.

Anonymous said...

"... How come the Civil Service and their political masters could not see the issues like Lucky and many others?
@Lye Khuen Way 15/8/12 18:53

They know. They can see..

but they cannot say!

Even if they say, newspaper will distort or censor.

Anonymous said...

JOKE

Q. How does a PAP woman secretly test her boyfriend for a high sperm count?

A. She checks to see if she has to chew before she swallows.

Observor said...

One the significant problems is that Singaporean men thinks that they have to shoulder more care to children than their fathers. They do not like that their wives listen to their bosses more than them and they dislike their wives prioritising their bosses' demands than their own family demands. Today, the mother has neglected her care for her child. The singapore child is being raised by maids. When the maids leave Singapore at the airport, the singapore child cries. Because the child is not bonded to their hereditary parents.

Singapore men know they need to work harder and longer hours when they have children because their wives STILL want to work.

There is hardly any support at all for Singapore women to be professional homemakers and nurture their own children.

If mama is not a full-time mama, why would you want to have more children; as more children require more time and attention.

Today's Singapore's mothers are absent. They busy with their work. So the child suffers a less than optimal home environment.

Hence the Singapore men take a step back and says: "Either I pitch in OR we don't have more children. If we have more children, I have to pitch in more. I have to work more. I'm already working long hours. Why do I have to work more with more children?"

The decision becomes obvious at this stage.

The government needs to look at the basic needs of Singaporean and intervene. Most crucially, the intervention needs to be SUSTAINABLE.

To our government, that's an expensive option.

Solution: Immigration. It's cheap.

The Singapore society is now diluted.

Anonymous said...

Can't people see that the only reason why the govt wants Singaporean to multiply is to breed us so that we will work hard to increase the country GDP and pay tax, so as to pay our expensive ministerial pay?

Either way whether Singaporean increase birthrate or not, they will bring in more people by their immigration policy.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel for the majority Singaporeans, it will just be a vicious cycle for you and your generations....work hard, pay for expensive education, cars, housing etc but in the end not really owning any of them. They just remain as a dream, and they inculcate this impossible dream (or lie) into most of us from young, ie. to study hard, get good grades and work hard and you will get the life you want....

Most of us had been turned into rats in race, thinking yes I just need to be ahead of others, at the finishing line and I can get out of the race....but not realising the race track is actually round with no end.

Modern Serfdom. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

The excuse given by citizens that high cost of living and high cost of raising children is the cause of low TFR is utterly lame. How do you reconcile the fact that the size of families in Singapore is inversely related to the size of the family income? And that excuse flies in the face of the recent revelation that Singapore has the highest per capita income in the world.

The real problem is that the youngsters these days are shunning responsibilities. They are so caught up in the good life that they are unwilling to give it up. They splurge their earnings on creature pleasures, sparing no expense to pamper themselves. You can probably find more childish 20 and 30 yr olds in Singapore than any other place in the world. Many are immature in their thinking, behaving like kids themselves. How do you expect them to be parents?

So let's get this straight....the citizens are reluctant to have children and yet are protesting to the import of foreign labor. If you can't see a problem with this picture, then its sad to say that Singapore can add feeble mindedness to its growing list of problems.

The effects of the current tide of anti-foreigner campaign is already palpable. All the young PRC cashiers at the NTUC near my place have disappeared. In their places are local aunties. Coincidentally, the queues are also getting slower and longer. It doesn't bother me but I have already heard a few "tsk"s coming from local looking shoppers standing in the queues, something which I have not noticed before. So, if you don't want young foreigners working in this country, then make sure you have the guts to stomach the consequences. It is as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

The PAP's pro-foreigners policy has greatly contributed to the low fertility problem that we are facing today.

Singaporeans have to compete with ever increasing number of cheap foreigners for scare number of jobs and have to work harder and longer over the years to satisfy ever increasing demand from bosses.

Bosses, especially bosses from SME, like to threaten Singaporeans that if Singaporeans are not going to work more and more overtime, there are always abundant of cheap foreigners ready to replace Singaporeans.

Bosses are confident that Singaporeans are easily submitted to this treat and pressure because bosses know that PAP's pro-foreigners policy ensure that unlimited number of cheap foreigners are always easily available to replace any Singaporeans.

Because of PAP's pro-foreigners policy, Singaporeans have difficulty to find any meaningful jobs that will pay fairly for a fair day of work.

In essence, the PAP's pro-foreigners policy has distorted the job markets and it has the effect of causing Singaporeans to live in an era of long-term unemployment, under-employment, unstable job environment and long working hours.

In the context of this dire era caused by PAP's pro-foreigners policy, how can Singaporeans dare to have more babies?

Anonymous said...

While we're at it, let's talk about the import of foreign born talents to represent the country in sports. People talk as if the locals haven't been given enough opportunities. In my memory, all I can remember about local sports news are the controversies that surround sports figures, how athletes fell out with their coaches, how they fail to show up for practice or how there are power struggles within the upper ranks of sports organizations. And how local football teams are jeered at when they lost. Before you guys go shooting off your mouths and pinning blames on others, please pause and take a long hard look at yourselves. For many of you out there, name me a current local born sports figure that you know of. Fandi Ahmad does not count cos he is doing more coaching than playing now. I was shocked that a true blue Singaporean didn't know who Joseph Schooling is when I spoke to him last week.

Anonymous said...

Two things though: singapore is not just a country but also a city. Global cities around the world face similarly low tfr; also, even if tfr rises, it is not likely to be enough to keep our population stable. U need tfr 2.1 for that, not found in the developed world.

Anonymous said...

Given the choice between economic growth and fertility rate, the choice is clear ....

Anonymous said...

Well put, anon 23:08.

Anonymous said...

Fuck it lah. You think our government don't know how to solve the low births rates that they caused?! They are intentionally crafting out these conditions to bring about the low birth rate. They aim to waterdown the educated Singaporeans because they know educated singaporeans are a threat to their political hegemony and affluent millionaire lifestyles.

The native born Singaporean is a threat to them. That's why they are bringing all the foreigners, PRS and citizenship conversion not for singaporeans but to buffer political support and make money for themselves.

We have the world's extremely best propagandistic government. Manipulation, spinning and misrepresentation is rife in Singapore.

You kana makan by your own government.

patriot said...

PAP wants the woman folks to work.
PAP wants the woman to procreate.
PAP wants the old folks to work.
PAP wants all Singaporeans to listen to them.
PAP wants economic development.

What is PAP offering its' people?

patriot

Anonymous said...

High cost of living, high cost of bringing up the children is certainly a burden especially for ordinary folks like us. But it only constitutes part of the cause.
It requires a detail study and understanding of the cause and face the roots of the cause and address it as a system.
Re-look the perspective, study and observe by starting from a unit, a group, a family, a community and a society as a whole not only on the needs, cost, standard, value and other related issues :

1) when a child is born, at different stages of life and till his/she becomes old and decease.

2) housing, clothing, food and transport during the life span.

3) education, medical attention during the life span.

4) work, marriage, life style, commitment and retirement during the life span

5) social fairness, social and ethic value during the life span

Importing immigrant is not a solution to solve the roots of the cause.

Anonymous said...

this misses the ONE point that no one wants to talk about ..

it is how this generation sees their future ..

OPTIMISM vs PESSIMISM

if this Generation sees bleak prospects.. where life will get harder/harsher ..

then ... they will come to the conclusion that if their life will not get better.. how about their children. ?? their offspring will not have it any better AND more likely worse.. hence WHY would loving parents want that for their KIDs.. Sooo .. NO KIDs or just ONE.. upon whom they will try to give opportunities that they believe will allow this ONE to "make it" better than themself.

.. even LKY knows this... but seldom talks about this point of view..

just troll the net for populations that are growing.. couple that search with developed countries.. YOU will see where we must go to continue.. .. and the PAP will juz have to GO, GO, GONER

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the "things to do list" in the blog: ie 1)officially revoke the "stop at 2 - we were wrong"; 2) reduce unfairness of income distribution totally skewed towards certain classes and race; 3) lower the real cost of bringing up babies (vs some mumbo jumbo pen-pushing point scoring schemes like HOPE), 4) revamp the stupid education system of never-ending tests/streaming our kids and going after grades and Math Olympic etc (how many have we won yet our manufacturing, R&D etc are in doldrums and academia nothing but a bunch of wimps echoing the official stance) 5) stop choosing future leaders when they are 18 yrs and stop giving poeple who never worked in real business any portfolio in govt.

Unfortunately doing all these would mean throwing out all that the PAP stands for, and we know oxbridge scholars and yes-men are not good at coping with cognitive dissonance. So the wayang will continue, and the result will be more FTs or versions of such.

Anonymous said...

Trust me. No amount of money thrown at people will make them bear children. so Lucky's solution is about using more taxpayers money to support famiilies and give things free to children will NOT make Singaporeans have more babies. Cost of living is just an excuse. The main reasons why people are not having babies are lifestyle changes and perception that its too "late" to have babies after a certain age.

The PMETs today DO NOT want to be tied down with a kid in their twenties. They want to pursue their dreams and travel around the world. That is fine. Life is short and have u noticed people with kids lose all sense of SELF and no longer have dreams for themselves?? All their hopes and dreams placed on their children. It is SAD. That's why many don't want that to happen to them. Throwing money at them to have babies will not work. Will you sacrifice your dreams for some money to have babies? Obviously not. The way it can work is tell the PMETs, it ok to pursue your dreams and passion in your twenties and thirties. And its also ok to get married later and have perfectly normal kids later. Perception has to change. Marketing message has to change.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago, somebody told me to do the opposite of whatever PAP tells us to do.

PAP said, stop your pension and get into cpf? Better to have pension so that the cpf-housing nexus would not get me into housing debt, and I get pension in my old age.

PAP said, use your cpf and buy shares? Better to not buy shares since the returns were bad.

PAP says, have more babies? Better to have 1 or zero babies. No or less stress about costs, education and future jobs.

Anonymous said...

Gahmen know what the problem is, the problem for them is they want to solve the problem without touching any of the following sacred cows:

1) No harm to business. Citizen can sacrifice, business cannot. So no shorter working hours, no longer maternity/paternity leave, etc etc
2) No encouraging the poor to make babies. Babies must come from the upper classes. So tax breaks for baby yes, subsidise low-income families with large families no. LKY is an unapologetic social darwinist.
3) No acknowledgment of past failure. No apologising. Must save minister or lau Uncle face. So no recognition that Stop-at-Two/Graduate Mother/HOPE is/was fatally flawed, no understanding that population policies must be designed to solve workforce problems 20 years from now, no policy can be designed to specifically correct a past failure

So on population, PAP has a 40-year record of failure. But Community minister still pick up high-flying-CEO paycheck. Another sacred cow cannot be touched

Anonymous said...

And the ones who are NOT having babies are the ones who are well-educated and are doing well in their lives.

Some of you here are really shallow. Do you really believe say economy goes down by 20% and cost of living goes down by 20%, people will SUDDENLY want to have babies? Why would they? Do you honestly think cost of living is the problem? The problem is lifestyle and attitude. In the past, when someone see a baby, u will go "so cute!". Now? You see people stomping and bashing up babies and saying they are annoying and making too much noise in the restaurant.

I'm just a different perspective because obviously everyone reading this piece has the same narrow view that money is the problem. It is the least of the problems. Remember, the ones not having babies are the ones doing WELL financially. They can well afford a baby - just that they feel it is not important. Chasing dreams more important in their twenties and thirties.

Anonymous said...

The solutions is simple. The problem is in the mindset if the papist Leegime.
All the government needs to do to increase the fertility rate is to make marriage and having a family rewarding for all Singaporeans. If Singaporeans are assured of heavily subsidised decent housing, free education up to U, free medical and unemploymenbt support, I am more than 100% sure that Singaporeans will get hitched and have more babies. Throw in $100,000for every newly born and u see the fertility rate skyrocketed. The country with $2 trillion of declared and hidden reserves can afford these measures. Why are we waiting ? Let's do it.

Anonymous said...

You keep parroting the same old tired argument about rising cost of living being responsible for not having kids.

Low fertility in Singapore is a CHINESE problem, Lucky, not a Singaporean problem. Malays and Indians are both living in the same pressure cooker environment but manage to have more kids. If they can do it, why can't the Chinese? All this talk of housing and cost of living is bullshit. A lame excuse. If you want to have kids you will. Otherwise you'll just come up with lame excuses.

Ng Eng Hou said...

What the government wants is for those well-off ones to have more babies, not those less well-off ones like us who make up the majority. But the problem is that those richer ones tend to have smaller families size.

Don't see any way out if the government doesn't change its mindset!

Anonymous said...

People who say that money is not an issue in having more kids are the not people who have kids.

Of course, there are people who don't want the burden to look after kids and there are those who don't want to get married so kids are out of the question.

But for those who have one or two and want to have one more, the financial consideration can be scary.

Consider the situation of a graduate couple who gets married at 28. Assuming their father is not a Minister or one of those highly paid civil servants, they would have just paid off their student loan maybe and would have just bought a million dollar house. After the 20% downpayment for the house, they wouldn't have much in the bank account.

Then they have to pay for the hospital charges for the birth of the first born which comes up to at least $15,000. A maid would have to follow because both of them will need to work.

As the kid grows older, the couple will have to consider the cost of education, tuition (because school teachers nowadays expect the student to be taught by tutors). And then you have university fees that are through the roof.

That's for one kid. Now multiply that by two or three or even four for those who really love kids. At the child bearing age of 25 to 35 when the savings wouldn't have been much, the thought itself is quite scary.

So for those PAP bootlickers who dare to say cost is not a consideration, you really don't know what is going on in the ground.

Anonymous said...

PAP Bootlickers are usually the more wealthier and successful ones. However, they too, will not be making more babies though many of them are making love to young prostitutes, bosses and top civil servants. Why?
Bcos, they do not want babies.

ah lian said...

There's this other reason for low fertility:

When more and more Singaporeans think it's better to emigrate, they won't want to settle down and have babies here.

Can the MIW really feel proud of their "success"? When many citizens find it tough to raise a family here, while many others choose not to?

I suppose they can, if by "success" they mean turning "Singapore, country and home" into "Singapore, Inc".

Anonymous said...

You guys still don't get it. You think is a 360 degrees feedback. The government does the same BUT it hinges its decision on sustaining power. No good having power if you can't sustain it. That's what the old man said.

The government does not celebrate Singaporeans! It doesn't want a situation where talented Singaporeans get anointed and recognised and get into positions of power and starts an internal departure from the PAP party.

This is in their blood and history. The Barisan Socialis were originally PAPies. Then they disagreed and broke off from the PAP party and contest against the PAP as an independent party. They were a formidable alternative.

This is precisely the situation that they do not want history to repeat itself. This time with the younger singaproeans.

The best defence is to develop other citizens and give them PRs or anoint them as new citizens with no historical baggage of the party. Hence the ultra liberal immigration policy.

There is no rigorous talent development programme in singapore. You get shoddy programmes like workfare programmes. Talent programmes are controlled with white horse policies.

Anonymous said...

as a singaporean who recently migrate to Aust. i would said, the reason why Singaporean couple is not giving birth is because we had NO TIME. We are heavily tied down by our JOB COMMITMENTS. As we are aware, our job can be replaced by FT. If the old man and the elite party don't look into this issue. IT WILL FOREVER BE A PROBLEM.

Anonymous said...

care you offer us some links to explore migration to australia, please?

Anonymous said...

Singapore Fairy Tale
-----------------------
The Millionaire Ministers really give a fuck about developing your child to his fullest potential.

Just as the Millionaire Ministers really give a fuck about the welfare of the child's parents.

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Can ask one fundamental question?
Singaporean don't want to have children or can't?
I think the solution will be very different.

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