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SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift: We Consult You Before We Spend Your Money So You Can’t Complain

sg50 jubilee baby gift

Peter Lin

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I bet you parents of babies born this month are really feeling pek chek. If your baby had just waited a few more weeks to escape their mother’s womb, you would be eligible for some pretty neat baby goodies. But because your newborn is a kan cheong spider, you end up missing out on the SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift. Or did you?

What SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift?

It’s a bunch of 8 items that tell you your baby is born in 2015. As if you didn’t know that. Oh, and it’s also because your baby is now part of the next 50 years of the Singapore Story. As if everyone born in the past 50 years is now considered outdated.

These 8 items are: a commemorative medallion, a scrapbook, children’s books, a diaper bag, a baby sling, baby clothes, a multi-functional shawl, and a photo frame. And they come to you in a specially-designed suitcase that’s a little too bulky to be really practical.

Okay, seriously, I think it’s great that Singaporeans want to give something to babies born in 2015, to commemorate Singapore’s 50 years of independence. But it really doesn’t take a genius to figure out what parents need, especially if they’re on this life-changing adventure for the first time.

But get this, it took a 5-person “advisory panel”, supported by months of surveys and roadshows in order to get enough feedback to find out parents need baby clothes.

My doctor needed one second to look at me when I was born to say, “Please, cover him up.”

 

Was all that effort REALLY necessary to come up with a simple gift?

Okay, so you take five very busy people, including an NTUC Director and a Raffles Hospital obstetrician. You bring them together as an ad-hoc advisory panel (since obviously deciding how to celebrate SG50 isn’t part of their day job description). They then need to organise several focus groups and months of feedback booths.

And when the results are in, your extensive research reveals the most popular items are, a shawl, a baby sling and baby clothes. SERIOUSLY?!

That said, it also baffles me how NDP goodie bags are constantly filled with absolute junk year after year. So maybe there is something to be said for public consultation.

If only they were so thorough in surveying the public when increasing public transport fares.

 

How much does the SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift cost?

The actual cost of the Gift was never disclosed. What we have below are our estimates based on the cost of similar items. Do note, these are just the costs associated with the Gift itself. We did not factor in other costs like the logistics and administration of distributing the Gift.

Specially-Designed Suitcase -$50

  1. Commemorative Medallion – $27
  2. Multi-purpose Shawl – $20
  3. Baby Sling – $46
  4. Set of Baby Clothes – $68
  5. Diaper Bag – $70
  6. Scrapbook – $70
  7. Family Photo Frame – $12
  8. Set of Children’s Books – $37

Total estimated cost – $400

Statistically speaking, we’re expecting about 30 thousand babies next year. Yet, even with economies of scale, we estimate the cost of the SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift will probably not go below $300.

 

Did Singaporeans really vote for these 8 items?

For 7 of the 8 items, yes. The scrapbook and the photo frame were naturally two of the least popular items chosen. The dictionary definition of “pragmatic” has a picture of Singaporeans.

For something relatively unpopular, the cost of the scrapbook does seem excessive. In the above estimation, it’s about 20% of the total cost. Even if scrapbooking is a growing hobby among young parents, that’s no reason to spend one-fifth of the cost on something not everyone wants.

What’s worse, the set of children’s books was NOT among the top 8 choices! At a little over 10% of the cost, there was no explanation given why it replaced the baby feeding set, which would have cost about the same price and might have been more urgently needed. Unless we expect SG50 babies to be born literate, why are we giving them books instead of bottles?

 

How we would have better spent the money?

It’s obvious that new parents would probably find the SG50 Baby Gift valuable. But parents for whom this is not their first child would probably have most of these items. Shouldn’t the money have gone to a cause that everyone could appreciate? Like a discount on prenatal checkups?

After all, as you Singaporean parents already know, the “Baby Bonus” barely covers the cost of the birth itself, let alone everything that comes before and after that glorious event.

Looking ahead, it costs a quarter of a million dollars to raise your child for their first 16 years of life alone. Even with all the benefits you can get from the government you still need another $200,000 at least of your own money. A nominal amount like $300 is a great start to an investment trust fund for your child.

Yes, these suggestions are not glamourous, they aren’t shiny like the commemorative medallion we’ve yet to see. But the truth is we don’t need a Jubilee Gift to celebrate the sacrifice of parenthood. If we want these babies to be the future of Singapore, we should be concerned about their present.

What would you have included in the SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift? Share your ideas with us!

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Peter Lin

I am the poster boy for reinventing one's self. I've been a broadcast journalist, technical writer, banking customer service officer and a Catholic friar. My life experiences have made me the most cynical idealist you'll ever meet, which is why I'm also the co-founder of a local pop culture website. I believe ignorance is not bliss, and that money is the root of all evil only if you allow it to be.