Ride on Jubilee success to turn birth rate around

The rise in the number of babies born last year is extremely welcome, as it is an issue that matters deeply to Singapore ("600 more babies for SG50"; Feb 3, and "SG50 baby boom: One-off or new trend?"; Sunday).

That the number of babies born in the Year of the Goat, which is not a traditionally popular year, could outdo the number born in the Year of the Dragon should show that such considerations no longer figure heavily in Singaporeans' baby-making decisions.

This spurt need not be a one-off. There must be no let-up in urgency to make sense of last year's baby phenomenon.

An increase in monetary perks and enhancement of family-friendly measures - likely the gestures most welcomed by parents - for a second year may be just the catalyst needed to trigger a repeat boom, and for it to gain a foothold to become a trend.

The birth increase momentum is too rare not to ride upon, and offers a case study too good to miss.

This is one investment that has paid off for Singapore. Another successful year with more babies born will make the Jubilee year not only a milestone year but also a turnaround year.

Ooi Mun Kong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2016, with the headline 'Ride on Jubilee success to turn birth rate around'. Print Edition | Subscribe