Procreation ‘not our forte,’ says Singapore MP

February 6, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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AFP

A Singapore lawmaker has a simple explanation for the city-state’s lack of babies: procreation, he says, is “not our forte.”

Loo Choon Yong also suggested that because more free time did not necessarily result in more babies, people should work on Saturdays, a report in The Straits Times said.

“We should accept that as a people, our procreation talent is not our forte — nothing to crow about,” Loo told the legislature on Wednesday.

The government announced last year that it would double spending on incentives to address a baby shortage that threatens the city-state’s future.

Previous efforts by authorities in the fast-paced, money-oriented and high-stress society failed to significantly raise the number of children.

Government figures say Singapore had a fertility rate of 1.29 babies per woman in 2007, well below the 2.1 children per woman needed for the population to replace itself naturally.

While failing to boost the population, working only five days a week may also have affected Singapore’s work ethic, the report quoted Loo as saying.

“I urge the government to take steps to determine whether our productivity and competitiveness have been affected by the five-day week,” he said.

Most companies in Singapore work five days a week.

“I have nothing against our young Singaporeans having fun and partying. But I hope they will work as hard as they play,” the MP was quoted as saying.

Loo was back in parliament on Thursday and could not be reached.

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