Special birth dates for all 6 members of this Singaporean family

Special birth dates for all 6 members of this Singaporean family
(From left) Lucius Loke, Andrius Loke, civil servant Yau Mei Siong carrying Kaius Loke, civil servant Shamen Loke, and Justinius Loke.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Birthdays are special but for the Lokes, it is especially hard to forget with all six members of the family boasting special birth dates consisting of repeated numbers.

Mr Shamen Loke, 40, was born on Jan 1 (01/01). His 39-year-old wife, Madam Yau Mei Siong, was born on Sept 9 (09/09).

Eldest son Lucius, an energetic and bubbly seven-year-old, was born on June 6 (06/06). Four-year-old Andrius, who is the most adventurous of the lot and learnt to ride a two-wheeled bicycle at the tender age of two, was born on Jan 1 (01/01). Talkative and jovial Justinius, two, was born on April 4 (04/04). And just a month ago, Kaius, the baby of the family, was born on Oct 10 (10/10).

The four boys were delivered naturally - their births were not induced on those particular dates, the parents told The Sunday Times.

"It is truly a blessing. Each one of them is a godsend," said Mr Loke, who selected their names.

Lucius, Andrius, Justinius and Kaius mean light, courage, justice and joy in Latin respectively, he added.

However, the perfect record almost did not happen for the couple, who are both civil servants.

Baby Kaius was supposed to be due on Oct 13, said Mr Loke. "We did not plan for our fourth child and when we knew about his arrival, we didn't expect the date to be Oct 10.

"We felt that it would be a bonus if it happened. The most important thing was that both baby and mother are safe and sound."

The coincidence is "better than winning the lottery", joked Madam Yau, who started experiencing contractions three days before the birth of her fourth child.

"I was not very confident of making the date. As the date drew closer, people around us kept their fingers crossed."

Not that the couple buy lottery tickets with these numbers. But Mr Loke's father won a few times with the combination '1199' - the double '1's for Mr Loke's birth date and '9's for his wife's.

"After our firstborn, relatives and friends would anticipate the birth dates of subsequent pregnancies," said Madam Yau, whose two older sons are aware of their unique birth dates. When she was pregnant with her fourth son, the two boys would tell their little brother in her womb "to come out on Oct 10". This happened nearly every night, she said.

But there are no secret formulas, added Madam Yau, who believes her boys "picked" those birth dates themselves. "We hope it will be a story that they can tell their children and grandchildren in future."

Her gynaecologist Ben Neo of Ben Neo Clinic for Women, who delivered all four sons, said he has not seen anything like the Lokes.

"It is unique that all six members of the family have such birth dates," added Dr Neo.

But Mr Loke has no intention of expanding the family's collection of special birth dates with more kids.

"There are times when I think, 'How would my daughter look like if I had one?' and 'How different would I be as a father if I had a daughter?' " he said. "I wish to have more children but in reality, it is not practical considering our ages, finances and time for all our children."

Mr Loke met his wife when they were undergraduates at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

During their courtship, they were already talking about their unique birth dates. The couple were married in 2006.

The licence plate for the Lokes' white Toyota Estima - as well as their previous two cars - has '1199' on it. The family lives in a Housing Board executive maisonette in Toa Payoh. "We did not date and marry each other because of our birth dates," Madam Yau said. "We met in NUS and we hit it off."

Nobody would have guessed then that her family's birth dates would later become a conversation starter.

Even filling up registration forms at clinics and pre-schools would draw people's attention to their birth dates, she said. "When I respond that all my children came into this world naturally, they would be in awe or amazed."

Their unique birth dates also make it difficult for loved ones to forget their birthdays, chuckled Madam Yau, whose brother, incidentally, was born on Oct 10 (10/10).

"People close to us think we are special and must have been greatly blessed to have these birth dates."

Mr Loke too, admitted it is not possible to forget his kids' or wife's birthdays. He considers his family as "his greatest achievement".

"The moment I step home and see my family, I just feel lucky and contented," he added.

"People often ask me whether I buy 4D, but I tell them no, I already have the best prize at home."

When she was pregnant with her fourth son, the two boys would tell their little brother in her womb "to come out on Oct 10".

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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