When I was studying the Singapore population back in 2004-2005 as part of my 'Major Research Paper' (supposedly a Chinese High innovation as part of the Integrated Programme to make good use of the time otherwise used to prepare for O Levels), the total fertility rate of Singapore stood around 1.26. It was already pretty controversial that time because people were basically screaming about how our country has been below replacement fertility for many years and that the people were not reproducing themselves.
In the Population in Brief 2011 (pity I didn't have such a reference material during those days when I was working on the research), it seems that fertility in Singapore has fallen even further but it seem to have stopped being such a big deal as the government internalized the social message at large, 'don't bother us with this matter'. There's even a line that says, "We recognise that getting married and starting families are personal choices and decisions." And in a typical Singapore-style bossiness that cannot tolerate inaction or lack of response to something deemed unsocial, it went on, "The Government aims to create a pro- family environment, through a comprehensive set of measures, including the Baby Bonus cash gift and co-savings, tax reliefs and rebates, as well as child care subsidies."
In the latest LSE100 module which I recently completed, we explored the question, 'Is Population Growth a good thing?'. I was thrown back into a world I was familiar with from research and study of Human Geography back in High School. The Demographic Transition Model, Pro- and anti-natal policies, the 'development as a contraception' argument and so on. It was both interesting and somewhat annoying that themes in the discipline hasn't quite changed much. I guess the discipline is in itself shaped by the themes so I can't expect too much. But to consider population growth over a longer period and look at its dynamics from the perspective of the development of the human civilization and forward is interesting especially when you add technology, resource constraints and the notion of ideas into play.
And of course, more dramatically, the world just crossed a new milestone of having 7 billion people in the world - I remembered that the 6 billion mark was crossed some time in late 1999; my Geography teacher used so say that she and her geography class got the chance to watch the countdown (or count-up?) to 6 billion. More so than ever, we're all just another tiny soul wandering around the increasing crowded surface of our planet.