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Children to Order

Singapore, 1987

A radical family planning programme reduced the birth rate so drastically in Singapore that the state had to take measures to get its citizens to produce more babies. The government, however, was only interested in progeny for the elite. Academics were given material and social incentives, whereas the lesser educated got their social benefits slashed, if they had more than two children. The purpose of this policy was to build up a national elite that would ensure Singapore’s technologically advanced future. Paradoxically, when over-population was the problem, women had mainly benefited from the state-ordained equality of the sexes. The excellent training facilities and good job perspectives proved to be so attractive, that many women chose to pursue a professional career rather than get married. Family planning in Singapore is a classic example of social manipulation. The then Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, frankly admitted that his country’s incredible economic growth and prosperity would not have been achieved without State intervention in the reproductory rights of its citizens.

a film by Gordian Troeller
in cooperation with Ingrid Becker-Ross
original title: Nachwuchs nach Maß
camera: Gordian Troeller
sound: Ingrid Becker-Ross, Elmar Schmidt
editor: Annerose Koop
colour
43 minutes

This film only exists in a German version.

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