Thursday 3 April 2014

Jubilee gifts for kids born in Singapore's 50th year

SG50 Baby Jubilee gifts unwrapped: white photo frame, scrapbook with stickers
By Audrey Tan, The Straits Times, 20 Nov 2014

A white photo frame and a colourful scrap book that comes with stickers are just some items that parents of babies born next year can look forward to.

Both items, part of an eight-item SG50Baby Jubilee Gift, were shown to the media on Tuesday by the National Population and Talent Division under the Prime Minister's Office. Other items, which include a baby sling, medallion and diaper bag, will also be unveiled this Sunday.

In June, it was announced that every Singaporean baby born in 2015 - Singapore's Golden Jubilee year - will receive the Jubilee Gift set, which also includes a shawl, a baby book and a set of baby clothes.

On top of the Gift items, the Government is also rolling out a suite of courses for parents of SG50 babies from March 2015.

Parents can head to community centres and resident committee centres around the island to attend classes ranging from scrapbooking classes to baby massage techniques.

More details on the courses, such as the types of courses on offer and how to sign up, will be put on the People's Association (PA) and SG50Baby websites in early 2015.

The PA is partnering the National Population and Talent Division to offer the courses, which aims to equip mothers and fathers-to-be with parenting skills.

Ms Tan Swee Leng, PA director of the Lifeskills and Lifestyle Division, said: "Parenthood is an exciting journey for many new and expecting parents... From the learning of baby care tips to creating a scrapbook to store precious moments of the child's growing years, parents next year can look forward to a variety of parenthood related courses at various community centres and resident committee centres island-wide."

Not one but eight gifts for the Jubilee baby
Book, photo frame among items picked from over 6,500 suggestions
By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 28 Jun 2014

SINGAPOREAN babies born next year will receive not one but eight presents in a gift set that marks the country's Golden Jubilee.

These are: a special medallion; a multi-functional shawl; a baby sling; a set of baby clothes including a T-shirt and a pair of shorts, rompers, mittens and socks; a diaper bag; a scrapbook for memories; a family photo frame; and a book parents can read to their children.

The keepsakes, announced yesterday by the the National Population and Talent Division, topped the list in a month-long poll that ended in May.

During the period, people picked the items they most wanted in the gift set. Their choices were whittled down from more than 6,500 suggestions.

"We felt that Singaporeans are ever practical and so there are very practical items in the set," Ms Anita Fam, chairman of the Jubilee Baby Gift advisory panel, told The Straits Times.

"But we also wanted to add a softer side and touch of sentimentality, so that's why we have the medallion, baby book and photo frame, which will remind them of their child being born in the jubilee year," she added.

Said the mother of two teenagers: "I'd have loved to have received these gifts (when I had my children). When we were looking at them, we had so much fun - they were beautiful."

When asked if the number of items was deliberately chosen because eight is an auspicious number among the Chinese, she laughed and said it was purely a coincidence.

The gift set is part of a series of plans celebrating Singapore's 50th year of independence.

Others in the works include a new heritage walking trail and a New Year's Eve countdown party at Marina Bay.

The final designs of the keepsakes will be made public when they are ready.

More details on how parents will receive the Jubilee Baby Gift will be announced later this year.

Ms S. F. Yip, who has three children under the age of 12, said the items, especially the sling, would be useful.

"The gifts are not like the baby bonus which helps the family monetarily, but are more like something to bring added joy to the family," added the 44-year-old.

Mr Tan Yong Bin, 28, whose wife is expecting their second child later this year, said the gifts were thoughtful but similar to the ones hospitals give to new parents when they are discharged.

The consultant, who has a 20-month-old daughter, suggested that the book could have "nice kiddy illustrations of Singapore's history".

As Ms Fam noted: "The gifts are not a good reason in themselves for having a baby, but it's definitely icing on the cake."

Special coin top choice for Jubilee Baby Gift
Commemorative medallion leaves 14 other shortlisted items trailing behind
By Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, The Straits Times, 20 May 2014

THE hottest pick for the Jubilee Baby Gift bundle is a special medallion or coin.

It got 61 per cent of the near-20,000 votes received from the public, on items they want for the gift set for Singaporeans born next year, the country's Golden Jubilee.

The commemorative medallion left the 14 other items on the shortlist trailing behind, with each getting less than 50 per cent of the votes.

During the month-long poll that ended last Thursday, people were asked to pick their top five favourites for the gift set.

Poll results, posted on the Jubilee Baby Gift website set up by the National Population and Talent Division, show a multi- functional shawl getting 47 per cent, followed by a baby sling (44 per cent), and a set of baby clothes (42 per cent).

The least popular was a baby rattle (11 per cent).

People had earlier submitted more than 6,500 gift ideas, which were whittled down to 15 by a five-person advisory panel for the public to pick their top five.

The final set of items will be announced later this year.

Singaporeans born next year will also receive a special commemorative birth certificate.

Accountant Christine Low, 32, who plans to have her first child next year, said that the coin was the only item to pique her interest.

"Baby clothes and sippy cups are useful, but if we're talking about celebrating our 50th year, we want something with historical value," she said.

"A coin is something I could show my child when he or she is older, to say, look this was a special year for us."

Chairman of the Jubilee Baby Gift advisory panel Anita Fam was not surprised the medallion came out tops.

"The choice shows it's not just practicality. Singaporeans want emotion, and sentimentality," she said.

"That's what the Jubilee Baby Gift is all about: getting excited and celebrating the special year together."

15 items shortlisted as possible jubilee baby gifts
By Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, The Straits Times, 17 Apr 2014

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 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

Ideas for 'practical yet symbolic' keepsake items are being sought
By Goh Chin Lian, The Straits Times, 2 Apr 2014

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, 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 to register for the sessions.

More than 4,000 ideas for S'pore jubilee baby gifts
By Toh Yong Chuan, The Straits Times, 14 Apr 2014

GOLD coins, a year's supply of nappies and even free education.

These were among more than 4,000 public suggestions for gifts that could be given to Singaporean babies born next year - the Republic's 50th anniversary.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu said yesterday that the authorities will study the ideas before deciding what goes into the gift pack.

The Government announced two weeks ago that every Singaporean child born next year will receive a special Jubilee Baby Gift.

The National Population and Talent Division, which is leading the giftpack drive, has been gathering gift ideas online and at road shows.

Yesterday, the Government's feedback unit Reach set up a booth at the VivoCity mall to ask passing shoppers for their suggestions. Ms Fu, who visited the booth, said the pack is likely to contain no more than 10 items.

The authorities will draw up a shortlist based on the suggestions and let the public vote on the gifts next month.

"We are not looking at, for example, free education and free childcare for the babies," Ms Fu said with a smile. "That will always continue to be something we pursue under our normal policies to encourage marriage and parenthood."

She added that the gifts should serve three purposes - to be celebratory, commemorative and of practical use to the baby's parents. One item is likely to be a book. "Something symbolic to remind parents to spend time to read with the baby, that will be something in the package."

Ms Fu acknowledged that the gift pack is not likely to boost Singapore's fertility rate. "I am not looking to the baby gifts to improve the total fertility rate drastically." But, she said, "I hope that some parents will think about the issue, about starting a family".

Singapore's total fertility rate - the average number of children born to each woman - was 1.19 last year, well below the replacement rate of 2.1.

VivoCity shopper Grace Teo, 43, suggested that a cast of the baby's footprint could be part of the gift package. "My three daughters had their footprints made into casts when they were babies and they were meaningful," said the housewife.

Also at the booth were civil servant Mustaffa Mohd Salleh, 30, and his wife Nor Shahirah, 25.

Mr Mustaffa suggested giving a baby Merlion because "it is Singapore's symbol" - though he said such gifts would not encourage them to have children for now.

"It is too expensive to have a baby in Singapore," he said.

The public can suggest gift ideas until May 15 at

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