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CNN Today

Year of the Golden Dragon Crowds Taiwan's Hospitals With Babies

Aired February 4, 2000 - 1:36 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We all expected a millennial baby boom, and doctors are working overtime in Taiwan, but it has little to do with the year 2000.

CNN's Mike Chinoy tells us what's so special about the year of the dragon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The year of the dragon is supposed to bring good luck, and because of that in Taiwan it is bringing babies, lots of them.

"Dragon babies will be more successful," says Lin Hsiu-Ying (ph), who's expecting any day. "They'll do better in school, life will be smoother. That's why parents want a dragon baby."

At Taipei's largest hospital, prospective parents are flocking to pre-natal classes. Taiwan officials say they're expecting a 30- percent increase in the number of births across the island, from 350,000 last year to well over 400,000 this year.

"We're increasing the number of doctors, nurses, and staff," says obstetrician Dr. Hung Teng-hsiu, "especially as it's a golden dragon year."

The dragon has always been considered the most auspicious sign on the Chinese astrological calendar, but this is also a golden dragon year, which comes just once every 60 years. Add that to the Western millennium and you can see why the maternity wards will be bursting.

(on camera): Being born in the year of the dragon has its drawbacks, though. The surge in births will mean greater competition for school places and for jobs, not to mention the burden of higher expectations.

(voice-over): "Because of all the competition," says Tsai Ying- Ming (ph), who's expecting her first child, "I have some friends who don't want a dragon baby. They're thinking of waiting a year or two."

But that's a minority opinion. With the arrival of the lunar new year, most expectant parents here appear convinced their lucky dragon babies will overcome whatever obstacles they may encounter. Mike Chinoy, CNN, Taipei.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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