The Singapore government is worried: If citizens don’t start procreating more aggressively, the city-state’s economy will be in dire straits.
If Wei Siang Yu, Singapore’s self-styled “Dr. Love,” has his way, some of the city’s married couples may soon be receiving instruction in baby making as they soak in relaxing bubble baths.
Wei, an Australian-trained physician and sex guru, plans to start a midnight TV talk show where the bathtub will replace the sofa. A second program in the pipeline will have couples from different countries, including Singapore, compete in a race to conceive, according to local media reports.
In Singapore, babies are more than the newest reality-TV fad. They figure prominently on the government’s agenda, too. Parents in the nation now receive 20,000 Singapore dollars, or $11,827, per child in tax rebates for having a second, third, and fourth baby
It all boils down to economics, of course. If Singaporeans don’t accelerate their rate of procreation, in just 25 years only 8 percent of the citizens will be between 15-24. And the fewer young people around, the more purchasing decreases, and the shakier the economy gets. And, as is happening today in Europe, the effect on pension funds can be catastrophic.
So Singaporeans have a lot of work to do to catch up. Time to get busy.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.