Singapore

Two boys born at stroke of midnight on National Day

Gloomy skies marked the morning of National Day, but for the family of Mr Eddy Kurniawan, it could not have been brighter. Yesterday, his first child was born.

The boy is one of the first two National Day babies of this year. Both Singaporean babies were reported by separate hospitals here to have been born naturally at exactly 00:00:00 hours, the stroke of midnight on Tuesday night.

The arrival of Emir Rayhan, whose name means "prince" and "flower in heaven", at Raffles Hospital 12 days earlier than expected was a surprise. But it did not faze Mr Kurniawan, 28, an airport emergency services officer.

His wife, 28-year-old Housing Board administrative executive Rabitah Razali, endured 18 hours of labour to deliver the 3.3kg 50cm-long Emir. When it was over, Madam Rabitah burst into tears, after the extreme pain she had endured.

She said: "I feel quite honoured because this is a special day, and we can celebrate with the whole nation."

Madam Rabitah even requested that visiting family and friends observe a dress code of red and white.

Someone sent her a text, joking that since Emir was born on National Day, he should be named Sang Nila Utama, who is said to have founded precolonial Singapore.

At Mount Alvernia Hospital, former Singapore Airlines stewardess Soh Bei En, 29, welcomed her first child, Matheus Tan Pin Xu, who was six days overdue and weighed in at nearly 4kg.

Ms Soh and her husband, Mr Tan Shi Chang, an HR executive, 34, chose the Chinese character "pin", which stands for "personality", and "xu", which means "bright and cheerful" for their baby's name. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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