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Singapore's principal matchmaker

Singapore's principal matchmaker

Dating in Singapore gets supported by the government of Singapore since a long time. The government of Singapore founded the Social Development Unit (SDU), now called the Social Development Network (SDN) in 1984 to support opportunities for singles to interact in social settings in Singapore to find a partner.

TheSocial Development Network "promotes a conducive environment for eligible individuals to meet and form meaningful relationships". The network coordinates dating activities offered by the private sector and also educates the public on single-hood issues. Policies of the network have been promoted through advertising campaigns on television and print media.

The government of Singapore tries to raise the low fertility rates of their 5.64 million citizen. The resident total fertility rate fell from 1.29 in 2007 to 1.20 in 2016 to 1.16 in 2017 (UK fertility rate 2015: 1.84 - Office for National Statistics). The citizen population of Singapore continues to age. The number of citizens aged 80 and above has doubled over the last decade. The citizen median age stands at 41.7.

The proportion of singles in Singapore is raising. 80.7% men and 68.1% woman are single in the age group 25-29, 40.5% men and 32.8% woman are single in the age group 30-34.

Singles in Singapore

13.4%45-49 years15.9%
17.0%40-44 years18.1%
24.2%35-39 years20.8%
40.5%30-34 years32.8%
80.7%25-29 years68.1%

Source: Department of Statistics, Singapore, 2017

On theSDN website you find organized events like "Fun with Bubble Bump: Running around in a field and tackling opponents is expected in a soccer game – but how about when the players are encased in a giant plastic ball ! Bubble Soccer – soccer with a unique twist" ? What about "DATING IN THE DARK !: "Plunge into an intriguing new world of mystery and sensation you have never experienced before, and join us on a culinary journey through taste, smell, touch and sound, in total darkness."

Or the "Singles Day Mega Celebration" with 100 singles taking part. Other events organized are the "Zodiac Compatibility Dinner" or "LEARN A NEW MOVE - IPMAN STYLE: Want to understand how you can Take 10 just like what you saw in the Ip Man movies ? Wait no longer. Get yourself moving and give it a try for yourself if this is your cup of tea."

In the past SDN supported the first Singapore dating show"It's a Date !" on The show was hosted by the local actor, singer and dancerChua Enlai who is best known for his work onThe Noose, a show which satirises socio-cultural and political issues in Singapore.

ADating Hackathon was also supported by the network in 2015 to create new innovative dating apps.

The question is if these government’s social development programmes have been effective as a result.Kelvin Seah Kah Cheng, lecturer in the Department of Economics, National University of Singapore personal view is that the social development programmes has not been as ineffective as most pessimists might think.

The Government also founded 2000 the Baby Bonus Scheme. Parents receive for their first and their second child 8000 Singapore Dollars (GBP 4480). Additionally parents can open a savings account for their child which gets them a cash benefit of currently 3000 Singapore Dollars (GBP 1680) and a Dollar-for-Dollar matching of another 3000 Singapore Dollars for their first child. Maternity leave in Singapore is 12-16 weeks.

Also companies not normally active in the dating world combined marketing for their products with the call for more babies. In 2012 mentos, the fresh maker, produced a 3 minute rap video to encourage citizens to make babies on the night following National Day, the day the country separated from Malaysia in 1965.

Even the Chinese zodiac of the Tiger influences the baby production in every 12th year in Singapore. The last year of the tiger was in 2010, the next will take place in 2022. Some Chinese couples are afraid that children born during the period will have the animal's fierce attributes.

Christina Mikhail from Texas lived 2.5 years in Singapore and she writes: "Singapore is ideal for new couples, families and men. It's hard being a single, white, female expat." She found it difficult to to get closer to the opposite sex. She writes: "Twenty-five girls competing for one white guy, even if he is a jerk."

Read Christinas story: Dating in Singapore, as Told by One Female Expat.

Robert Leveson came from the UK to Singapore and signed up to a dating website in Singapore. Women found him and the stories started. He thought he hit the jackpot straight away with an entertaining girl. They had some nice meals together, went to the movies and did some shopping. After two month the entertaining girl decided she was not looking for a relationship. Robert writes about women in Singapore: "They often stop dead right in the middle of something and change direction ...".

His next date was a disaster. The lady with no photo and no personality panicked as he wanted to have a meal with her in the Swissotel. Better was the Japanese. Robert dated her for a while. At some point she said: "I like to have friend who no want the sex". They stayed friends.

Read Roberts story: Dating in Singapore – or how to fail where others have succeeded.

Dating Websites in Singapore

Social Development Network Singapore
Population in Brief 2018, Strategy Group, Prime Minister's Office, September 2018
The BabyBonus website
Fertility assumptions UK
Dating in Singapore, as Told by One Female Expat
Dating in Singapore – or how to fail where others have succeeded
Cover photo by Goh Rhy Yan

Swillens, I. (09/11/2018 13:35). Singapore's principal matchmaker.
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