TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On Saturday (Nov. 16), news broke that KMT presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) will soon announce a program to stimulate the birthrate using the sinister-sounding numbers "666."
The policy, which Han plans to announce next week with his national policy advisory group, is to be dubbed the "666 Parent Subsidy" and will offer a one-time payment of NT$60,000 (US$1,966) for a couple's second child followed by an annual allowance of NT$60,000 for every year of the child's life until the age of six, reported UDN.
Although in the West 666 is most frequently equated with the "number of the Beast" or the devil, in Taiwanese society, six is considered a lucky number because it is a homophone with the word 溜 (liu), which means "smooth."
The policy would also increase the lump sum offered to the first-born child from NT$20,000 to NT$30,000. However, the focus of the initiative will be on the second child because statistics show that out of 180,000 newborns in Taiwan, 50 percent were the first child, while 40 percent were the second.
Han's camp believes that there is room for a 10 percent increase in the number of parents opting for a second offspring. Providing incentives for a second child has also been a tactic used in Singapore and France, among other countries struggling with low birthrates.
In terms of childcare, Han's team found that half of parents want their children to be taken care of by their families or babysitters. Therefore, instead of directly providing government grants to daycare centers as is the case with the Tsai administration, Han plans to offer subsidies to the parents to give them the opportunity to choose alternatives such as parent-child centers and infant care centers.
Western netizens got a big kick out of Han's satanic-sounding plan:
"KMT doesn’t have English speaking advisors apparently."
"That should go over well with the anti-gay Pentecostals and Presbyterians they’ve been cultivating to mobilize votes in their ginned up culture wars."
"You gotta love this guy. Just when you think he can't do something more stupid, he goes out and does it."