12/07/2004, 00.00
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Too much work, not enough kids

Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Singapore's low birthrate is due to tiredness. According to a survey of 200 couples carried out by the Sunday Times newspaper married couples are too tired to have sex.  Three couples in five have sex only once a week and the reason is that, once again, they are too tired.

Sociologists are not surprised. Survey results mirror what society values most: work, career and social status. "The definition of success has changed," said marriage psychologist Frederick Toke. "It is measured not by your family, but by your career and social status."

Tan Thuan Seng, president of the Christian group Focus on the Family Singapore, agrees. "People are more selfish now because of the focus on individual freedom and pleasure." The net result is that relations within the couple suffer.

Most of the couples polled still placed love as their number one priority, followed by financial security, children and then sex. But for one woman, children are an impediment to financial security. "They're parasites, like mushrooms growing on trees, feeding on the host."

Singapore's low birth rate has become an urgent concern after the fertility rate hit a record low of 1.25 children per woman last year compared to 5.8 in the sixties. In 2003, only 35,000 babies were born.

Other analysts warn that economic growth could run aground if the labour force becomes too old.

A few months ago, the government announced it would encourage the birth rate by extending maternity leave and reducing working hours to encourage people to meet and . . .

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