From 2 Is Enough To 3 Or More

The above was the First Day Cover issued on National Day in 1974. What’s so special about it then? It’s probably one of the most popular campaign in the 70s.

Do you still remember this popular logo of the 70s? That’s the Family Planning logo! So what’s Family Planning all about and the changes from the past till now.

All the while I thought Family Planning only started in the 70s when the Singapore population was dropping then. At that time there wasn’t such a thing as Internet for me to check it out haha. All that we saw are those Family Planning posters and TV or Radio ads.

Below are some popular posters on Family Planning;

This one with the phrase “Girl or Boy, Two is Enough” – this was the most popular phrase in the 70s.

“The Second Can Wait” – this one was for those who were married and probably telling them that the second child can wait, no need to rush for it.

This one probably was probably asking couples not to rush into marriage. Look at the age of that couple in the poster…still wait….

What a contrast compared to now! In the 70s, the government was advising the people to “Stop At 2”, that’s try not to have more than 2 children per family. Why?

In 1965, on the average 1 baby was born in Singapore every 11 minutes. Check out this link here.

So birth rate already started to fall since 1957 to 1970. I remember there was such policies as “population disincentives” for couples having 3 or more children. You may read about it here too. So all these were very contrasting to our current “Have 3 or more if you can afford it” and tax incentives for more children. Why the 180 deg. change in policy? Probably due to the very successful implementation of the first Family Planning campaign.

You may take a look at Singapore population from the past. You may note that in some years, there was negative growth too. It’s rather funny that in the 1966 to 1968, Singapore is consider over crowded with a population of almost 2 million then in an area of just over 2 hundred square miles. But now, though we have reclaimed lots of land from the sea, what population are we aiming at? 6.5 million?

Besides Singapore, Hong Kong also facing the same population boom in the 60s and 70s. Below are some interesting TV ads from Hong Kong.

In 1972;

In 1973 (very similar to our “Stop at 2”);

In 1983 ;

I like this ad best;

Interesting right? How I wish to find some of our local ads too..

In 1975 National Day, we also had the Family Planning float;

and the one in 1968;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

And before the Singapore Family Planning and Population Board,what do we have? You may wish to read about the Singapore Family Planning Association (FPA) from the 30s to 72.


10 Responses to “From 2 Is Enough To 3 Or More”

  1. 1 Victor Koo Monday, April 21, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    It is fortunate that the “Stop At Two” campaign was not held in the 1950s. Otherwise, I might not be here to type this comment. You see, I am the fifth child in the family.

    I think the reasons why the “Have 3 Or More” campaign is not as successful as the “Stop At Two” one include the following:

    1. People are afraid that our official projection might be wrong again so they hold back. As they say, “Once bitten, twice shy.”

    2. Nowadays with the cost of living in Singapore so high, very few people could afford 3 or more. Some even prefer to have no children, otherwise known as DINKS (dual income, no kids). Prices of petrol and rice have just rocketed to unprecedented highs; and

    3. With the high stress levels of life in Singapore, fertility of couples takes an inversely proportional dip. Couples are also marrying and having children later as they focus in building up their careers first. Older couples have more difficulty conceiving.

  2. 2 py Monday, April 21, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    An interesting revelation to the campaigns which were around when I wasn’t even born.

  3. 3 laokokok Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 8:44 am

    You are right Victor.
    py, thanks.

  4. 4 Philip Chew Friday, May 2, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Just like Victor Khoo if the ‘stop at two’ family planning were to start earlier, say 1966 I would have one son less. My fourth child was born in August 1967. My wife would like to have one more, but then with the family planning campaign I decided against it. My youngest son is going to be 41 and he has two children. I am now a grandfather of 5 from my children. Thinking back, had I decided to continue, I might have more than 4 children and 5 grandchildren. My family tree is shrinking now. My father has 6 children, I have 4 and my sons have 2 each. According to the trend now, I dread to think that my grandsons might have only one each or none at all. I have a family tree starting from my great grandfather and I am afraid that it might end with my grandsons or great grandsons.

  5. 5 Fay Monday, March 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    This was helpful, yes drastic changes, if you’d ask me. But anyway, I’m glad they introduced incentives for 3 and the subsequent kids. I am the third kid in the family and benefits are aplenty, from housing priorities to school admission.

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  1. 1 Singapore low birth rates were caused by PAP themself! - Trackback on Monday, February 27, 2012 at 1:47 am

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