Every Singaporean child born next year will receive a special Jubilee Baby Gift to mark the 50th anniversary of the country's independence.
The gift will be "a uniquely-Singaporean keepsake filled with practical yet symbolic items for our Golden Jubilee babies", Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu, who oversees population issues, said last night.
Its exact contents will be up to Singaporeans to suggest. People with ideas are asked to send them to the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) in the next seven weeks, until May 15.
A five-member panel led by Families for Life council member Anita Fam will advise on their suitability. A list of the top ideas will be drawn up for people to vote on and the leading items will be in the gift set.
This newest call for gift ideas comes about a week after the end of an earlier call for ideas to celebrate Singapore's golden jubilee.
Yesterday, a focus group discussed items for the gift and Ms Fu told reporters at the event that these should be celebratory, not monetary.
"We would like to have the parents keep this for many years and perhaps for the baby to pass (it) on, maybe 20, 30 years later and say, 'This is what I was born with'."
Her idea? A sarong with which to carry a baby, designed with a motif of the Singapore flag, as "it signifies the bond between parent and child".
The baby gift also emulates the NPTD's soft-sell efforts, like its book of parenthood stories to encourage couples to be parents.
While she does not think parents will have babies just for the gift, she said "if we can all celebrate family and newborns, it will hopefully encourage more to think of having their own family".
Ms Fu, who is Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, and Foreign Affairs, also underlined the important role of the family in Singapore's development. She said: "As we celebrate Singapore's past and honour the contributions of our Pioneer Generation, we also set our sights on the future. Children are our hope for the future and our Golden Jubilee babies symbolise our hopes and aspirations for the Singapore of tomorrow."
Ms Fam told The Straits Times the gift should not be money: "We are so practical as Singaporeans, we'd spend it on milk powder and nappies. It should have retention value."
Her suggestion: "A onesie or a bib with a logo on it."
Singaporeans with gift ideas can send them to Jubilee Baby Gift microsite http://www.nptd.gov.sg/jubilee, or hand them in at booths to be set up islandwide. The first two will be at Jurong Point (April 5 to 6) and VivoCity (April 12 to 13).
Focus group discussions on gift ideas will also be organised by government feedback arm Reach. People keen on taking part can e-mail email@example.com to register for the sessions.
This article was published on April 2 in The Straits Times.
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