Singapore's Population Problem
Blogged by James Preece on 3rd August 2012
The population density of the United Kingdom is 660 people per square mile and we are forever hearing that the country is full now and there are too many people especially when irresponsible fools like myself insist on having children. The Phillipines has a population density of 795 people per square mile which is obviously far too many. People need condoms!
Meanwhile over in Singapore the population density is an incredible 18,513 people per square mile. Yet for some reason the government there seems to think there is a population problem?
In 1986 the government also decided to revamp its family planning program to reflect its identification of the low birth rate as one of the country's most serious problems. The old family planning slogan of "Stop at Two" was replaced by "Have Three or More, if You Can Afford It." A new package of incentives for large families reversed the earlier incentives for small families. It included tax rebates for third children, subsidies for daycare, priority in school enrollment for children from large families, priority in assignment of large families to Housing and Development Board apartments, extended sick leave for civil servants to look after sick children and up to four years' unpaid maternity leave for civil servants. Pregnant women were to be offered increased counseling to discourage "abortions of convenience" or sterilization after the birth of one or two children. Despite these measures, the mid-1986 to mid-1987 total fertility rate reached a historic low of 1.44 children per woman, far short of the replacement level of 2.1. The government reacted in October 1987 by urging Singaporeans not to "passively watch ourselves going extinct."
The cause of Singapore's troubles? Well, in the 1960's they swallowed hook, line and sinker the story that children were a problem. They paid women S$10,000 to be sterilized after the birth of their second child. Now they are paying women S$20,000 if they will have a fourth!
Children are the future of our families, our countries and our civilisation. When governments stop people from having children, it's like a loan - we might feel richer today, but in the future we will be poorer.
So we come to the cause of this blog entry. A reader sent this in... Mentos (the mint people) have made a rap video for Singapore National Night, designed to encourage people to have babies. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry but I should tell you not to watch this in front of the kids.
Is something that shallow really going to solve the problems in Singapore?