It's hard to believe there's anything more wonderful than a new baby, but Singapore might have come up with it. With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on families in a number of ways, including a reluctance to bring a new child into the world, the Asian city-state wants to at least help with the financial aspect: Couples who give birth between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2022, will be eligible for a S$3,000 ($2,250 USD) Baby Support Grant. The money is on top of the ongoing "Baby Bonus" cash gift that can be worth as much as S$10,000 ($7,330 USD).
The grant money is Singapore's way of addressing reports that many couples have planned to delay any big life and financial decisions -- like having a baby -- during the pandemic. Singapore also has one of the world's lowest birth rates, at 1.14 births per woman in 2018.
"The government will spare no effort to help couples meet their marriage and parenthood aspirations," said Indranee Rajah, a spokesperson in the prime minister's office. "We also hope that more businesses and community groups will play their part to support couples juggle work and family, provide affordable goods and services for young families, and ultimately, create a Singapore that is made for families."
Life in Singapore:
- Singapore is home to the world's first night zoo, where guests can go on "safaris" to see how more than 1,000 animals behave and interact at night.
- Singapore has four official languages -- Tamil, Chinese, Malay, and English -- but most folks speak "Singlish," a mixture of English and Malay, Hokkien, Cantonese, Mandarin and Tamil phrases created by Singapore's multicultural society.
- To keep the skyline beautiful, Singapore limits the height of any building to 919 feet (280 m).