'Create a baby' reality TV show goes live

By Yeoh En-Lai

Singapore - The prize: $100 000 (about R677 000) - and a baby. Ten couples from around the world could compete in a reality TV show in Singapore to see who can procreate first, the city-state's self-styled sex guru said on Thursday.

"We've not started the recruitment, but people have heard about it," said Wei Siang Yu. "The main prize is the baby, of course."

Wei said he hopes the show, "Dr Love's Super Baby Making Show," will be beamed across the world and shown locally by MediaCorp, the government-owned national broadcaster, later this year.

Keith Cheong, an executive with the marketing and distribution department of MediaCorp Studios, confirmed that the company is discussing producing the reality show with Wei. But details of the deal are yet to be finalised, he said.

"I don't think there will be anything pornographic," Wei said when asked about screening in notoriously censor-happy Singapore, where the government constantly urges citizens to start families to reverse an aging population trend.

Nine foreign couples and a Singaporean couple will take part, he said. They will lead their normal daily lives of work and play, but will have their movements closely monitored. The winning couple will be the first to test positive with a pregnancy test kit, Wei said.

"It's about conception, not about birth," he added.

A worldwide survey in 2003 by condom maker Durex showed that Singaporean couples had sex on average just 96 times in 2003 - making them the least sexually active respondents among the developed countries surveyed.

Singapore has made baby-making a top national priority after it recorded its lowest-ever birth rate last year since independence in 1965. Only 37 633 babies were born in 2003 - way below the 50 000 it requires for defence and economic purposes.

The self-confessed nanny state has so far tried to impassion its citizens into mother- and fatherhood with tax breaks, cash bonuses, state-subsidised child care, and even a state-sponsored dating agency.

In August, a government-appointed baby-boosting committee is expected to outline a slate of new initiatives designed to motivate its citizens in the bedroom. Among proposals under consideration: six-month maternity leave for mothers and subsidised infant care facilities.

For more visit: Wei Siang Yu at meggpower.com

www.meggpower.com and Social Development Unit at lovebyte.org.sg - Sapa-AP

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