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A new government video to boost the birth rate is sparking an online backlash  

The one minute video has been negatively received, with many views saying that it ignores the challenges of raising children
  • The Social Welfare Bureau says it will take into account the feedback to the video, and will release new clips acknowledging other perspectives.

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UPDATED: 25 Jun 2024, 5:19 pm

A new video produced by the Social Welfare Bureau that is aimed at encouraging couples to consider having children has been the subject of ridicule, with many online users criticising the messaging and what they see as the government’s tone-deaf attitude. 

Released on various platforms including Facebook and YouTube on 13 June, the one-minute video depicts a couple who are inspired to bear a child after meeting their married friends’ children – a baby boy and a young girl. “Bearing and raising children adds to one’s happiness,” the clip declares. 

In the twelve days since the video was uploaded, it has already amassed 270,000 views on Facebook and over 1,000 comments, many of which are negative.

Some residents are critical of the messaging, noting that the authorities have overlooked the obstacles that couples face, including the lack of sufficient maternal leave, problems finding child care, the cost of housing and education, as well as long work hours.  

One resident who was interviewed by TDM acknowledged that the government provided child rearing subsidies and allowances. However, she noted that “it is not just about how cute the children are when they are small. It is more about how to nurture them and plan their future.”

In response to the online backlash, a Social Welfare Bureau official, Choi Sio Un, told local media that “there are different insights and suggestions. We will listen to them as a reference and will pay more attention to future similar campaigns and information.” 

[See more: Young Macao residents don’t care much about marriage or child rearing, survey finds

He said more videos would be released, addressing the issue from a different perspective. 

The birth rate in Macao has been on a decline, with official data revealing that the number last year stood at 5.5 per thousand people, the lowest the figure has been since 1985. 

Local associations have called on the government to take action by developing a culture of marriage and having children, as well as implementing better support measures for families. 

Macao is not the only place to have launched videos to encourage childbearing. Singapore, for example, released a viral rap video back in 2012 to encourage its residents to “manufacture life.” 

UPDATED: 25 Jun 2024, 5:19 pm

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