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    Mar 01, 2016

    Leaplings run into un-4-seen situations

    IT CAN be a leap in the dark for those who want to wish Alia Zulkifli happy birthday.

    They are told on Facebook on Feb 28 that the birthday of the Singapore Institute of Technology student is the next day but the notice disappears on March 1.

    "I get the occasional 'I don't know which day to wish you!' from my friends in non-leap years, which I find quite funny," she said.

    This being a leap year, her friends likely had no problem sending birthday greetings to Ms Alia, who turned 24 on Feb 29 yesterday.

    For "leaplings", as those who are born on Feb 29 are called, having fewer birthdays is just one of the unusual and sometimes annoying situations that they find themselves in.

    Feb 29 is a feature on the 365-day Gregorian calendar once every four years. As it takes roughly 365.24 days for the Earth to completely orbit around the Sun, a day is added to a leap year for the Gregorian calendar to catch up with the solar year.

    Singapore Management University undergraduate Norman Yam, who also turned 24 yesterday, said some people think it is a joke when he says he was born on Feb 29.

    "Most of the time, nobody believes that it's my real birthday. I often have to show my ID," he added.

    He also cannot register his birth date sometimes when creating accounts online. "On some websites when that happens, I put my birthday as Feb 28 instead," he added.

    Civil servant Teanna Tan, 24, gripes about not getting the same birthday privileges as others.

    "Places like the zoo, for instance, give free entry every year on our birthdays but I never ever get it. I only have the chance to enjoy birthday privileges once every four years so that's not fun," she said.

    The chances of someone being born on Feb 29 are one in 1,461, which means there are about 3,700 leap year babies here in Singapore's population of about 5.54 million.

    Despite the downsides of being born on Feb 29, Ms Alia said it is all in good fun. "There's actually a Facebook group dedicated for 'leaplings' from around the world and we all share our same problems."