Designer of SG50 birth certificate inspired to have baby

Ms Wang Shijia with the folder for the special birth certificate, both of which she designed for babies born next year, to commemorate Singapore's 50th year of independence.
Ms Wang Shijia with the folder for the special birth certificate, both of which she designed for babies born next year, to commemorate Singapore's 50th year of independence.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Hardly any mother can claim to have designed the birth certificate of her newborn child. Being able to do so is pushing Ms Wang Shijia to have a baby next year.

She has already got the "harder" part done - she is the designer of the commemorative birth certificate that will be given to all Singaporeans born next year, the country's 50th year of independence.

The certificate, unveiled by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu last week, will feature a coloured state crest, instead of the usual monotone one, and an "SG50 baby" seal.

It will come in a gold-coloured folder decorated with abstract Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid prints and a bright red baby rattle. On the inside sleeve will be a congratulatory message from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Said Ms Wang: "This piece of paper is the first document that says you're Singaporean and you're part of this family." She hopes she will have a child in time for him or her to own one.

The real estate agent turned graphic designer had put off starting a family while carving out a career. Now at 38, time is running out and she feels she can wait no more.

"My husband and I want a baby, and if it happens next year, that would be best. It would be like a jubilee bonus just for us," she said.

After leaving the real estate industry in 2012 to pursue her passion for art, she has focused her energies on creating designs that celebrate Singapore's culture.

She came up with the label Ang Ku Kueh Girl and Friends, for example, that features a range of characters based on local food items, such as ang ku kueh, png kueh and curry puff.

Besides the special birth certificate, all babies born next year will also get an SG50 Jubilee Baby Gift set as part of a series of plans celebrating Singapore's golden jubilee.

The gift pack comprises eight items: a special medallion, a multi-function shawl, a baby sling, a baby book, a photo frame, a diaper bag, a scrapbook and a set of baby clothes. The items were picked after a month-long poll that ended in May.

The pack will also come with a bag-tag designed by a group of Lasalle College of the Arts students.

A spokesman for the National Population and Talent Division said the set is being put together by Singapore firm Noel Gifts, and will be unveiled in December.

Ms Wang, who also had a hand in the Jubilee Baby Gift project, said she hopes the keepsakes will make an already special occasion even more memorable.

On the topic of babies, she said: "I didn't think having a kid was a priority (before)... and we didn't really put our minds to it. In hindsight now, maybe having a kid at a younger age is a good choice."

yanliang@sph.com.sg