2 December 2014, by Jim Lim
As many of us may know, Singapore will be celebrating her 50th birthday next year. There are several SG50 initiatives going on now and one of them is the SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift. Every Singaporean baby born in 2015 will be given an SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift to celebrate their birth alongside with Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. This is a ground up initiative led by the National Population and Talent Division, meaning the gift ideas were contributed and selected by Singaporeans. This made the Gift a very meaningful one as it symbolises our collective blessings for the newborns next year.
I have the great honour and responsibility to be part of the Advisory Panel that curates the gift ideas. They were then put up for voting by Singaporeans and it was a tedious but fulfilling process. So one can only imagine my joy during the unveiling of the Baby Jubilee Gift items last Sunday (23/11/2014) at Suntec City. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu unveiled the Gift Set, which comprises of a special medallion, a multi-functional shawl, a baby sling, a set of baby clothes, a diaper bag, a scrapbook,a family photo frame and a set of baby books. Let me highlight a few items that reminded me of my own parenting journey.
It’s a misnomer to call this a diaper bag because it can be used to hold everything that new parents require for their newborn babies. This is because it comes with multi-compartment internal and external pockets with magnetic snaps and durable zippers. The water-resistant outer material will ensure that everything stays dry. A 100%-polyethylene foam baby change mat is also included in the bag. I am told that this bag has won multiple awards internationally. Being an involved father myself, I know how important a good diaper bag is. I used to think that any bag will do but soon realised that having a bag with multiple compartments really helped me get organised. Imagine rummaging through your bag looking for wet wipes when your baby is wailing away. Not something I will recommend at all. I also liked the grey colour of the bag as it will be quite cool for fathers to be seen using it. I am always hoping for more fathers to be involved with their children at an early stage as caring for a newborn helps in forming a strong parent-child relationship.
Set Of Story Books
The Advisory Panel wanted gifts that can go beyond the beginning years and we were very happy that the story books were chosen by Singaporeans. The books are written by local children’s book author Ruth Wan-Lau and illustrated by Eliz Ong. These 5 story books follow the adventures of Timmy & Tammy as they explore different parts of Singapore. I read to my children too and am always fascinated by how imaginative they can be. They will interrupt me with versions of the stories that played out in their own minds when I read to them. This is a precious experience considering that children are brought up on a diet of overly stimulating content from phone and tablet screens. These books are great to start with as parents can even bring the children to the actual locations in Singapore as highlighted in the books.
This is one item that my wife and I spent considerable money on. We went through 4-5 slings to finally find one that works well and is comfortable for our babies. When I saw the sling above, I knew that it is an expensive item given the design and fabric (100% cotton) used. I also know that it will work very well! Any parent who brought up children will know how important a sling is. I stubbornly did not want to use a sling at first and suffered from strained shoulders and backs. Trust me, new parents, you will need this!
Special SG50 Birth Certificate
Although this is not specifically an SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift, I thought it was a nice gesture for new-born babies next year to receive this special birth certificate. It will even have a message from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and be placed in a golden SG50 folder.
There has been a lot of focus this year on the Pioneer Generation. It is important as they have contributed greatly to building our nation. At the same time, we should also be giving our attention to the future of Singapore – our children. They are the ones that will lead us to the next 50 years and beyond. To really remember the spirit of our forefathers is to pass on the legacy of their unwavering grit and selfless sacrifice to our younger generations. I personally hope that the SG50 baby Jubilee Gift can help new parents begin this journey in a small but meaningful way.