Singapore speed dating 2016
Singapore's Chinese majority is one reason the state split from its confederation with Malaysia in 1965, following race riots.Lee Kwan Yew, Singapore's founding father and architect of its social policies during his 20 years as prime minister, is closely identified with policies to promote Chinese culture.Derisive laughter rises from the young hipsters reclining on a red velvet sofa when the unit is mentioned."SDU Single, Desperate and Ugly,'' says a thirty-something woman in a miniskirt and an open-backed shirt."Those guys are geeks the government doesn't think we can do better on our own,'' says another young woman.To critics, the focus on "educated" men and women today is merely a politically correct way of targeting the ethnic Chinese.In fact, in the early days of the SDU, the divergence in birth rates across racial and socioeconomic classes was a stated reason for taking action."If we continue to reproduce ourselves in this lopsided way we will be unable to maintain our present standards,'' Mr.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."People actually think that the state knows best,'' says David Jones, a Southeast Asia expert at the University of Tasmania in Australia.
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.
Lee said in his national day speech in 1984, the year the SDU was created.
Later, in a 1990 speech, Lee said that the preference of educated men for less educated women was a national dilemma because it meant "50 percent of graduate girls will either marry down, marry foreigners, or stay unhappy."As the economy has grown and educational and career opportunities have opened to women, many men have been taken aback by a new breed of independently wealthy and assertive women, the government says.
With 25,000 current members, the SDU has had its share of success.
About 3,600 members of the program married last year, Since its inception, the SDU says 50,000 Singaporeans have been married through its offices."The government isn't holding guns to people's heads it recognizes that marriage is a deeply personal choice,'' says Pamela Pung, an SDU spokeswoman.
In 1985, the government created a dating service for nongraduates, called the Social Development Service, partially in response to claims of discrimination.