N ew Taipei City’s Department of Civil Affairs is trying to encourage childbirth and gives out 500 golden spades each year to boost people’s pregnancy rates. However, Dr. Liu Yuchih submitted a letter to the media, pointing out that pregnancy requires sperms and eggs, not shovels. If a couple’s sex life is vibrant, the natural pregnancy rate within a six-month period can be around 60 to 70 percent, he said. New Taipei City government claims that the 333 new couples who tied the knot in a joint wedding ceremony in New Taipei City and took the golden shovels home have a pregnancy rate as high as 60 percent. That the government would intentionally use statistics like this to make its performance look good and stress the golden shovels’ effect in boosting pregnancy is ridiculous, says Dr. Liu.
He pointed out that any person with their head screwed on knows that pregnancy requires sperms and eggs and has nothing to do with shovels. It should be seen as nothing more than harmless superstition, so why waste government money on activities like this that promote sheer pseudoscience? Furthermore, that the government would put instructions for using the golden shovels on its official website, explaining that displaying the front side of the shovel will give birth to boys and displaying the rear side will help bear girls, is unbelievably absurd, says Dr. Liu.
Huang Ching-i, Chief Secretary of New Taipei City’s Department of Civil Affairs, responded, saying, “‘Golden spade’ sounds similar to ‘getting a new baby soon’ in Taiwanese. The practice of giving golden shovels is a traditional custom for the purpose of encouraging childbirth and also to help people who are anxious to have a baby find peace of mind. The public strongly supports it, and many other cities and counties have followed suit. So people should look at the bright side of it. There is no need to be so harsh and critical.”
Photo: Lai Hsiao-tung, Liberty Times
(Liberty times, translated by Ethan Zhan)
Photo: Lai Hsiao-tung, Liberty Times
1. give out v. phr.
發放 (fa1 fang4)
例: I think that the government should give out free condoms before Valentine’s Day every year.
2. tie the knot v. phr.
結婚 (jie2 hun1)
例: Please consider tying the knot with me, Juliet.
3. custom n.
民俗，風俗 (min2 su2, feng1 su2)
例: Indigenous customs and legends are so intriguing.
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