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Gift pack for babies born next year to celebrate S’pore’s 50th birthday

SINGAPORE — With ideas from the public pouring in on ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Republic’s independence, it was announced yesterday that all Singaporean babies born next year, including those born overseas, will receive a gift pack from the Government that could consist of practical and commemorative items.

TODAY file photo

TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — With ideas from the public pouring in on ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Republic’s independence, it was announced yesterday that all Singaporean babies born next year, including those born overseas, will receive a gift pack from the Government that could consist of practical and commemorative items.

The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), which will fund the Jubilee Baby Gift, is calling for suggestions on the items to be included in the gift pack. It has ruled out giving cash handouts, as parents of newborns already receive monetary incentives under the existing Marriage and Parenthood Package.

There could be about five to 10 items and the idea is to make the gift pack “a meaningful, significant (and) tangible keepsake with heritage value”, the NPTD said. Among the gift ideas thrown up at a focus group discussion yesterday were a chain with a key, baby shoes and bibs, while Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu suggested a sarong with a national flag motif, which she felt is practical — parents can use it to carry their child or during breastfeeding — and signifies a parental bond.

Separately, the two-month call for celebration ideas from the public — which ended on March 23 — has garnered a wide range of suggestions including organising a local music festival, reviving the Kallang Roar at the new National Stadium and holding nationwide quizzes on the Republic’s history.

A spokesman for the Singapore50 (SG50) Programme Office Secretariat said it is looking through all the ideas submitted via the various platforms to see how they can be incorporated into the celebration plans under the respective SG50 committees.

To date, the secretariat has also received almost 60 formal applications to tap the SG50 Celebration Fund, which was set up to seek and support meaningful ground-up initiatives. The applications ranged from charity and volunteerism initiatives to music and visual arts platforms. Applications for the fund are open until Aug 31 next year.

Speaking at the focus group discussion, Ms Fu described the gift pack as the nation’s little birthday surprise. “As we celebrate Singapore’s past and honour the contributions of our pioneer generation, we also set our sights on the future ... our Golden Jubilee babies symbolise our hopes and aspirations for the Singapore of tomorrow,” she said.

The public can submit ideas through the Jubilee Baby Gift’s microsite (http://www.nptd.gov.sg/jubilee) or at feedback booths islandwide until April 15. The first two booths will be set up at Jurong Point on April 5 and 6, and at VivoCity on April 12 and 13.

Singaporeans can also register their interest to participate in focus groups on what to include in the gift pack by emailing outreach [at] reach.gov.sg.

Between April 18 and May 15, the suggestions will be collated and curated in consultation with a five-member advisory panel comprising people-sector and community representatives. The panel, which will advise on the suitability of the items and the design, will be chaired by Ms Anita Fam, who serves on the council of Families for Life.

During this period, the public can vote on the shortlisted items.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, an NPTD spokesperson said: “We envision the gift to consist of a small package of items that newborns in 2015 could use in their early years. It would also have commemorative elements and serve as a token from our current generation to the next.”

She added: “As parents of Singaporean newborns already receive a cash gift under the existing Marriage and Parenthood Package, there is no intention to have a cash gift as one of the items.”

The budget for the gift pack will be finalised after the public engagement efforts are completed.

There were 32,000 citizen births last year and the NPTD expects the figure to remain about the same next year, although it is hoping for more.

“I don’t think parents would have children just for the gifts, but I think if we can all celebrate family and newborns, we hope it would encourage more to think about having their own family,” said Ms Fu.

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