26 January 2006

2005 Birth Rates Released

Minilee Baby Bonus Failure!

Today, the Straits Times reports the official birth rate for 2005 in Singapore. Almost 15 months after Minilee's upsizing of the baby bonus in August 2004, the country's official bean counters report a staggering 1.13% increase in birth rates.

No doubt Minilee and Vivian Balakrishnan will stage a photo op at some hospital, with both of them in maternity dresses in a room full of newborns, and a huge banner overhead proclaiming MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Let me just disabuse them of the notion.

1. Over the past 20 years, annual increase in births ranged from 15% (Dragon year effect) to 2%. Minilee's 1.13% certainly sets a new record, for lowest birth increase!

2. The release by Vivian Balakrishnan, of a 3% increase in birth rate for the period of May to July 2005, was designed to be a 'teaser' of the immediate effect of Minilee's new baby bonus plans (i.e. couples who conceived immediately after the bonus was unveiled in August 2004). For the average figure for the entire 2005 year to whittle down to 1.13%, it means no one else was fooled into reproducing - aside from the few stupid Singaporeans who bred in that short period.

3. Our national propaganda press has been at it since last August, reporting anecdotes of couples giving it a go after Minilee's 2004 NDRS, to surges in hospital visits by expecting parents. As with all Leninist states, reports of good news to the Dear Leader may be are indeed slightly exaggerated.

4. Note the figure for 2000. Mr Goh's baby bonus plan was unveiled in 1999, causing an 8% spike in births. Minilee has failed to beat his predecessor's plan, despite increased gifts to conceiving couples!

5. Gavin Jones of the National University of Singapore apparently believes that Minilee's baby bonus might take time to work, and looks forward to better figures next year. How very droll. I suppose he hasn't consulted the statistical records on the aftermath of Mr Goh's 8% spike: Birth rates have fallen steadily and continuously after 2000.

6. However, I'm waiting to see if Minilee will defend himself by saying Mr Goh had an unfair advantage (2000 was a dragon year!). This, of course, will invite questions from the public, such as: Why on earth did Mr Goh throw money at couples who were already going to conceive en masse anyway?

This will be very interesting, and I'll want to see how Minilee keeps the baby bonus failure out of national discourse.

Miscellaneous musings: What has happened to Singaporeans' will to live? Survival and reproduction being irrational urges that plague all living creatures, something has tipped Singaporeans to deny this Will, to seek permanent relief.

Is it life in industrial society? Or have our leaders failed to socialise Singaporeans, that they have become conscious of social reality, and hence rationally refuse to reproduce society by their refusal to reproduce?


rench00 said...

on a personal note... would you want to have children?

rench00 said...

oh... and the argument might go that "oh you know... without the baby bonus, things would have been a lot worse, blah blah blah.... and besides, this kind of thing... it's a mentality thing... so it'll take some time to change... blah blah blah..."

having said all that... it is indeed a problem. i don't think i'll have children presonally (not least because i don't think i can find anyone masochistic enough to marry me...).

akikonomu said...

I think it's a very rational decision not to have children. Late industrial societies aren't very liveable at all.

eileen chew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
eileen chew said...

Interesting tibit. With average marrying age going upwards nearing 30 and considering that one of the large crop of dragon males born 1976 is at marrying age now, I'm guessing that the increase in birth rate won't be '04 or '05, more like '07 - '08.

rench00 said...

why do you say that late industrial societies aren't very liveable? i think it's all about expectations. perhaps our expectations have risen much faster than our ability to service our expectations.

i mean... consider the conditions in rural Peru. now that's a harsh environment. but you see people having children by the dozens (ok... that's an exagerration... but you know what i mean). compared to that environment, the late industrial society that we find ourselves in today is heaven (assuming you expect to have the same things in both situations).

so is it then a problem of controlling our expectations?

akikonomu said...

Rench: read some ethnographies of hunter-gatherer societies (say, the classic Dobe Ju book by Richard Lee)

Compare their diet, nutrition, work hours, upkeep time, and then free time. Then look at any available statistics on industrial societies.

rench00 said...

wilco. thanks for the suggestion.