There are many reasons that Taiwan has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates. Women are getting married later – at about 30 rather than the earlier average of 20~24 in 1984. Many women, put off by their husband’s traditional Asian values and expectations, are in no rush to add to their burden as homemaker and child-rearer. Couples also want to be able to provide for their children, and often feel with the rising costs of education, that one is enough.
Taiwan’s falling birthrate is a serious issue that could drastically reduce the country’s competitiveness and productivity – which is why the Taiwanese government is now offering incentives (cash stipends, among other things) for people who have children.
Last year’s extremely low birth rate however, when pregnancies screeched to a halt, is due to an additional cultural twist: in Chinese culture children born in the year of the Tiger are unlucky. Those born in the year of the Tiger will face life long ostracization. They aren’t allowed to attend weddings or other important social gatherings, for fear that they will bring bad luck.
Year of the Tiger in Chinese Astrology
In astrological lore, people born in a Tiger year are regarded as courageous idealists but can be sometimes aggressive or over-sensitive.
‘There are superstitions, which are still popular in rural areas,’ He Xingliang, an ethnologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the German Press Agency dpa. ‘People think the tiger is fierce, and that people born in a Tiger year will harm family members,’ He said. *(click here for source)
According to Chinese superstition, Queen Elizabeth, Marilyn Monroe, Jodie Foster and Demi Moore are all prone to bad tempers, and wild or unpredictable behaviour.
‘In the old days, people believed that Tiger girls are tough people,’ Xiao Fang, an expert in Chinese folklore at the Beijing Normal University, told China Daily. ‘They are too strong, maybe strong enough to overwhelm their families’ lives,’ Xiao said. *(click here for source)
Imagine being one of the few babies that WAS actually born in the year of the Tiger – would the parents always treat them like ticking bombs? Does assuming personality at birth actually cause the perceived personality to develop?
Based on my imperfect understanding of astrology, I’ll admit that I’ve already considered that it might be better to have a quiet and intelligent Capricorn child, or an eager and enthusiastic Sagittarius, rather than a moody, ruthless or emotional Scorpio, Aries or Leo. But to have the majority of would-be parents in a country avoiding an entire year? Think of the repercussions to this astrological superstition!
What do you think? Can and should children be “engineered” by birthing them at certain times?