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February 22, 2010

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Couples hope for a big, strong tiger baby

MANY couples in China want to have a baby in 2010, the Year of the Tiger according to the Chinese Zodiac, as they want them to be brave and strong like the animal.

The tiger represents courage, dignity and strength in Chinese culture. Babies born in this year are nicknamed "tiger babies."

Deng Weiping, 32, has been married for six years and his baby is due in a week.

"My wife and I want to start a family and the Year of the Tiger is very auspicious, so we chose to have our baby this year," Deng said.

"I hope my baby can be as strong as a tiger and have the disposition of a king," said Deng.

Many of Deng's colleagues think the same way. Among his 130 co-workers, at least seven said they planned to have "tiger babies," he said.

Hospitals said they had more expecting mothers now than the same period of last year.

The delivery rooms at the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Shandong Provincial Hospital were full, said Wang Xietong, the department's director.

Liuhuangding Hospital in Yantai City, Shandong, delivered 70 newborns in the first five days of the Year of the Tiger, one third more than the same period of last year.

Chinese have long been fond of tigers and the animal has become an auspicious symbol, said Li Hao, deputy secretary-general of Shandong Folklore Society.

But Li reminded parents that a kid's future largely depends on how he or she is raised, not which year he or she is born.

Thus parents need to pay more attention to educating their child, among other things.

The Chinese zodiac is a 12-year cycle with a different animal representing each year.

The last tiger year was in 1998 and the next one will be in 2022.


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