Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing was quoting ex-DPM Wong Kan Seng when he said Singapore could turn its dismal total fertility rate (TFR) of 1.2 around, as Nordic countries managed to do, if it accepts women having children out of wedlock. That should make him popular in those countries, children born out of wedlock are usually associated with the "b" word.
In March 2011, Wong had quoted OECD figures to show that Sweden, Denmark and Norway have a high TFR because many people there are having babies out of wedlock as much as they are within marriage. What the keechiu general conveniently skipped was the qualification by Dr Yap Mui Teng, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, "although parents may not officially get married, they are more or less in stable cohabitating relationships... Sometimes they go on to marry after a child is born." Something Brad Pitt and Angelina Joline planned to do, after having 3 biological and 3 adopted kids.
Dr Yap cited research published in 2005 to state, "Where they start from is a pro-individual approach - where individuals are supported in pursuing their aims and lifestyles - it didn't start out as a policy to encourage child bearing." In other words, they had children of their own volition, not simply to feed the state with economic fodder.
Singapore women, like the men, are resigned to being pawns in the GDP game. Nine months of labour are nine months of economic loss. That's worse then the opportunity cost of Reservist Training. Some women are even given the pink slip for getting in the family way. And there is always the possibility that the slim waistline will go to pot.
The Daily Telegraph ("Half of India's surrogate babies for UK" reported that British bankers, senior civil servants, executives at MNCs and even National Health Service doctors are having babies through surrogates to avoid pregnancy and child birth. Women in India are being paid up to US$9,000 to donate eggs and carry babies to term. And since most Singapore kids are raised by Filipina domestics anyway (whose maternal roles have extended to carrying the NSmen's backpacks), mom won't have to miss a single day of work. Wong, before he lost his million dollar paycheck, had said that a solution (to the TFR issue) was not just a matter of taking what works elsewhere and trying to apply it here, societal context mattered. Well, it looks like we have something workable here. After all, we have extensive experience outsourcing to India. Why stop at babies?