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Will Singapore’s birth rates get a boost in ‘auspicious’ year of the dragon?

While being a “dragon baby” – being born in the auspicious year of the dragon in the Chinese zodiac – has made her feel “special”, Singaporean Laura Lee, 24, said it came with a price: fiercer competition throughout her academic life.

“I like to read about [the Chinese zodiac] and check my fortune, so it’s quite fun but at the same time it’s quite annoying having so many people to compete with academically,” Lee said, pointing to the larger cohort sizes in primary and secondary schools due to a preference for dragon babies.

“We had two or three classes [in the cohort] more compared to our seniors,” she said.

Like Lee, Stephanie Ho, 37, who is eight months pregnant with her second child, is also worried that her child would have to compete with more people in school.

Ho, a teacher, said there would typically be “at least one more class” for primary school kids born in past dragon years – such as 1988, 2000 and 2012.

The Chinese zodiac has a 12-year cycle and is represented by 12 animals – the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

“If every primary school has one more class [for those born in the dragon year], how many more babies are there?” she said.

Those born in the Year of the Dragon have auspicious qualities, according to David Goh, a feng shui master and founder of fengshui consultancy Imperial Harvest.

“Dragon babies, irrespective of gender, inherit auspicious qualities deeply rooted in the principles of feng shui, embodying the harmonious balance between strength, intelligence, and charisma that heralds prosperity and success in all aspects of life,” he said.

In 2000, the birth rate in Hong Kong increased by 5 per cent and in 2012, China saw births rise by 950,000, official