Ladies, the final countdown has begun. It’s your last chance to squeeze out that golden piglet. This Chinese New Year, the real party is in the maternity ward as hopeful parents-to-be race to drop a squealer before the year of the Golden Pig goes the way of the pork ball in your morning xiolongbao.
Superstition isn’t normally the cause of a baby boom, but in the world’s most populated country, having a baby this year promises wealth and prosperity. Millions of Chinese (and Koreans) have jumped at the opportunity with many couples getting married last year in hopes of popping a one-child-policy piglet. But the plethora of pig babies have not come without sacrifices on the part of the mamas, who have dealt with inevitable shortages in maternity wards, line-ups for routine testing and harried doctors.
The usual doomsayers foresee major social problems for this generation of lucky bacon bits, who have been competing even from the womb — it starts with hospital beds and escalates to competition for universities, jobs and spouses.