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Singapore Is Using “Modern Fairytales” To Encourage People To Get Married & Make Babies
March 24, 2013
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Three Little Pigs in Singapore.jpg
Images via The Singaporean Fairytale

Instead of fending off the Big Bad Wolf, these three pigs are hitting the clubs on ladies' night.

This is a morality tale, Singapore-style - all part of a six-month campaign by the country's Family Council to encourage young people to get married and have babies.

The campaign was created by four final-year university students and includes 15 rejigged fairy tales, such as The Fairy Godmother, The Tortoise and Hare and Humpty Dumpty that are meant to encourage procreation.

According to a Guardian report, Singapore has a rapidly aging population, a declining birthrate, and a population that works the longest hours in the world.

In fact, a study by the recruiting company Robert Half found that 96% of Singapore employers expect employees to be available while on vacation or during out-of-office hours.

In the new Humpty Dumpty tale, the egg meets his downfall, not by falling off a wall but by working too hard.

The caption with the image below says Mrs. Dumpty was drunk and furious: "He meant to jump... He worked 80 hour weeks and never got home. Murderers all of you!"

Not exactly a subtle message.

Humpty Dumpty in Singapore.jpg

The campaign also includes reimagined versions of Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White - with each one offering a lesson on fertility, flirting, sex or marriage.

And, as with any fairytale, there's always a moral to the story.

As The Guardian writes, "The lesson with "careless" Alice, for example, is that 'the extended adolescence of twenty-somethings today has a biological cost for women' and the story ends with a stark warning: 'After 40, [fertility] drops 95%."

The campaign manager Chan Luo Er says "Fairytales are very accessible, as almost everyone grew up with [them]. Our little poem on a woman's declining fertility as she ages ties in quite nicely with the Golden Goose."

All of this is aimed at people 21 to 30 years of age, with fairytale pamphlets being handed out at universities across the country.

According to 2011 figures, Singapore's birth rate of 1.20 children per woman is well below the 2.1 figure needed to sustain its population.


The government has tried different ideas over the years to encourage procreation.

A report in the Australian, says Singapore increased cash bonuses of nearly $5000 for parents of newborn babies.

It also introduced a week of paternity leave for fathers, as an incentive for couples to have kids.

However, a piece in The Real Singapore says those kind of initiatives "miss the mark".

The report says it's "difficult to make couples want to have children. Demographers have long known that no one is going to have a baby just as a favour to their country."

Other critics say the government is old-fashioned and out of touch by pressuring women into getting married and having babies.

They say it isn't considering women who choose to be single, don't want babies, or aren't in heterosexual relationships. And they say the real issue isn't fertility - it's work-life balance.


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