(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has taken a proactive stance on the nation's declining birth rate, encouraging young couples to embrace parenthood during the Chinese New Year celebrations. As Singaporeans mark the festive occasion on February 10-11, with an additional holiday on Monday, the prime minister, born in the year of the Dragon, urged couples to consider adding a "little dragon" to their families in his annual Lunar New Year message.
In his message, PM Lee emphasized the joy and fulfillment that come with family life, especially the experience of raising children. Acknowledging the global trend of declining birth rates, particularly in developed societies like Singapore, he highlighted the symbolic significance of the dragon as a representation of power, strength, and good fortune.
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Lee stressed that the decision to have children remains a personal one for couples, recognizing the challenges and rewards of parenthood. Expressing confidence that parenthood is a deeply rewarding journey, he encouraged couples to consider the joy of bringing up children and contributing to the continuity of family traditions.
The prime minister addressed the concerning trend of declining birth rates globally and specifically in Singapore. In 2022, Singapore recorded its lowest-ever birth rate at 1.05, a decrease from the 1.1 and 1.12 rates in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Indranee Rajah, a minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), attributed part of this decline to the lunar calendar's Year of the Tiger, historically associated with fewer Chinese births.
In response to the persistently low birth rate, Singapore implemented measures such as relaxing regulations on egg freezing and extending paternity leave to four weeks. These initiatives aim to address the challenges posed by declining fertility rates and aging populations, echoing similar concerns faced by countries like South Korea, China, and Japan. Prime Minister Lee's appeal for a demographic boost reflects a strategic effort to counteract the demographic challenges that Singapore and other nations in the region are grappling with.
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