July 16, Except for one thing: The same organization also happens to be the world’s only government-run dating service. Singapore’s Social Development Unit SDU and programs like it have helped earn this tiny nation a reputation as the ultimate nanny state. Whether the evils of a local slang “Singlish” or the need to flush toilets after use, no social issue is too big or too small for government intervention. According to the government, alarm over a low birthrate prompted the creation of the SDU in But to many Singaporeans, the SDU’s focus on “educated” singles is nothing short of social engineering: an effort to preserve the current racial balance between the city’s Chinese majority and the Malays, who tend to be less educated. The SDU provides subsidized mixers, trips, and computer matchmaking services to college-educated Singaporeans. It also runs seminars and campaigns on “marriage awareness. With 25, current members, the SDU has had its share of success. About 3, members of the program married last year, Since its inception, the SDU says 50, Singaporeans have been married through its offices.
Registry of Dating Agencies
While the idea of asking Uncle Sam to set you up may seem like the final act of a desperate single, in Singapore, the mixing of love and state is de rigueur: In the last 25 years, the country’s two official matchmaking agencies have , marriages to their credit. But with a birthrate that’s flat, after two decades of decline, and the average age of marriage steadily rising for women, it jumped from So in January, it announced that it would merge its agencies: the Social Development Units or SDU, which Singaporeans often jokingly refer to as “Single, Desperate, and Ugly” for the college educated and the Social Development Service for everyone else.
The goal: to offer a bigger dating pool to citizens looking for an official hookup. Most experts credit Singapore’s rising marriage age to the fact that more young people are focusing on their careers in the wealthy, business-driven Southeast Asian city-state. But finding a mate is still a mission for many — like Wai Cheong Ho, a year-old engineer who signed up with SDU after having problems meeting women.
Can the dating agencies that are currently established in Singapore be trusted? It is a government agency specialising in increasing social interaction accredited by SDN offer matchmaking services either offline or online.
There was giggling and banter among the students, but that was all part of the course material as their teacher, Suki Tong, led them into the basics of dating, falling in love and staying together. The course, which is in its second year at two polytechnic institutes, is the latest of many, mostly futile, campaigns by the government to get its citizens to mate and multiply.
Its popularity last year has led to talk of expansion through the higher education system. The courses are an extension of government matchmaking programs that try to address the twin challenges embodied in a falling birthrate: Too few people are having babies and too few of those who are belong to what Singapore considers the genetically desirable educated elite.
For 25 years, the mating rituals organized by the government – tea dances, wine tasting, cooking classes, cruises, screenings of romantic movies – have been among the country’s least-successful social engineering programs. Last year Singapore’s fertility rate fell to a record low of 1. But even a replacement-level rate would not be enough for today’s planners. The government recently announced that it was aiming to increase the population by 40 percent over the next half century, to 6.
In , for example, when the government began offering cash bonuses to couples with more than two children, the newspaper printed tips for having sex in the back seat of a car, including directions to some of the “darkest, most secluded and most romantic spots” for parking. Singapore is a topiary nation, constantly trimming and pruning itself into shapes that it believes improve on nature. As the modern world weakens traditional family ties, for example, families are given financial incentives to care for their elderly parents – or taken to court for neglecting them.
Singapore launches matchmaking initiative for startups and potential investors (MAS) and Enterprise Singapore has jointly launched Deal Fridays, Indian government’s ban on Xiaomi’s apps may hurt its long-term revenue.
The report showed that the proportion of singles in most age groups had gone up, with the biggest increase among Singaporean women aged 25 to Some have asked whether they were just a waste of time and money, and should be discontinued. The Government established the Social Development Unit SDU in January to encourage greater social interaction and marriage among graduate singles, on the back of the population census which revealed an increasing trend of singlehood among graduate women.
The SDU was conceived to fight this trend by providing opportunities for graduate singles to meet and interact through dinners, outings and other events and reducing the costs of searching for a life partner. Since , SDU has undergone several changes, including catering to both graduate and non-graduate singles as the renamed Social Development Network.
Singlehood rates are shown separately for males and females. Despite the introduction of SDU in , the trend of singlehood seems to be increasing, leading some to question the effectiveness of SDU and a few calling the scheme a failure. But it would not be correct to conclude that the SDU has been ineffective based on the rising trend of singlehood alone.
The Futility of Gov’t Matchmaking in East Asia
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