This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

"I'm Talking About Making a Baby"

This is the title of an advertisement in Singapore encouraging residents to make babies on National Day. It has gone viral, according to a story in the yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Singapore's birth rate has been very low for a long time--a TFR of 1.2 according to the brand new 2012 PRB World Population Data Sheet, and the government has been doing all it can think of to get couples to have more children. 

When this small Asian city-state celebrates its independence Thursday, Singaporeans are encouraged to show their patriotic fervor by displaying their country's flag proudly, sharing snapshots of their favorite local foods and dancing along to a fresh new national theme song.
But there is another, distinctly unofficial, national song in Singapore these days. It is asking locals to try something else on their country's big day: Make love for Singapore.
"It's National Night, let's make Singapore's birthrate spike," a female vocalist sings over jittery synthesizers and drumbeats, as her male counterpart shouts phrases like "that's right" and "the birthrate won't spike itself!"
"Singapore's population, it needs some increasin', so forget waving flags, August 9th we be freaking," the rap continues.
This clearly sets a new standard in population policy. Whether the standard is high or low, I will leave it to you to judge. But, in another twist, this was not devised by the government, but rather by an ad agency for Mentos candy. 
The song, devised by ad agency BBH Asia-Pacific and spread via social media, is part of Mentos's plan to launch a special "I Heart SG" pack of their signature mints for this year's National Day. The agency was asked to come up with a campaign to "prove how much Mentos really 'hearts' " Singapore, according to the project's creative director, Adrian Chan.

So, does the popularity of this rap song mean that governments should privatize their population policies? We'll have to wait nine months to know the answer to that question.

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