From an extensive list of suggestions that included transport vouchers, bibs, milk powder, money and subsidised education, the possible gifts that could go into a special package for Singapore's 2015 babies has been whittled down to 15 items.
They are mostly practical ones and include a baby rattle, baby sling, feeding set and special medallion.
The public has until May 15 to pick five items off the list at www.nptd.gov.sg/jubilee. The final Jubilee Baby Gift package - meant to mark Singapore's 50th year of independence next year - will be announced in the middle of the year.
A five-member panel chaired by Families for Life's Ms Anita Fam drew up the shortlist from 6,500 suggestions submitted through platforms like feedback booths.
The panel took note of feedback from focus group discussions, such as the need to make sure gifts are reasonably priced and non-perishable, the National Population and Talent Division said yesterday.
It said the 15 items fulfil some of the following elements: "Care" for the baby; "Celebrate" the baby and family bonding, or "Commemorate" the birth.
Madam Adilah Aziz, who tied the knot just last year, jotted down baby clothes as her choice at a feedback booth in Jurong Point - an item that made it to the shortlist.
The 30-year-old marketing executive said: "The gift itself is an unexpectedly sweet gesture, but the fact that all of us have a say into what goes into it is what I really appreciate."
Focus group participant Edna Teo, 51, stressed that gifts should not be extravagant. She said one participant raised the idea of free education - but only as a joke.
"If you give them money or something expensive, everyone will want a piece of it. That's not the reason for the gift. It's to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday," said Ms Teo, who is self-employed.
Mr Ervin Ha, who attended a separate focus group discussion on Monday, said the gifts could be more meaningful if Singaporeans were roped in even after voting closes.
The 37-year-old, who intends to try for a baby next year, said Singaporeans can chip in by volunteering their time and skills to knit, pack or design gift items.
The business consultant said: "If we work together, we can make something from the heart."
Items on the shortlist
•Baby sling •Multi-functional shawl (to be used as baby blanket or nursing shawl) •Diaper bag •Set of baby clothes •Hooded towel with bath toy •Set of bibs •Sippy cup •Baby feeding set •Baby rattle •Baby book •Wooden toy •Baby growth chart wall stickers •Scrapbook for baby memories •Family photo frame •Special medallion/coin
This article was published on April 17 in The Straits Times.
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