Romance at the Speed of Light


Recently, Dave, managed to dig up an old advertisement poster where the Canadian Government tried to encourage women to go west and get married with statements like “anything in skirts stands a chance”. It of course reminded me of how different things are today. Women, for one would not stand for this kind of malarkey. We have all grown more mature as a global culture and are better educated on issues like etiquette, equality, respect and commitment. Yeah, right (sarcasm).In today’s mad rush of living, is there time for love, romance and family? Many people are finding it hard to cope. Some caring governments are once again entering the fray to help out and surely the award for the most “caring” government goes to Singapore.

Singaporean professionals are too busy spending more hours than there are in a day, just to achieve the minimum 5 C’s required to enter the dating game. How are the poor dears ever going to find a match and get married? The super-caring Singapore Government has been in a huff and a puff over the fact that fewer citizens were getting married and many of them later in life. Even when married, the couples were not productive. According to statistics for 2002, Singaporean women give birth to 1.37 babies in a lifetime, down from 1.87 in 1990. Since a replacement level of 2.1 is required to keep a country’s natural population stable, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong elevated baby-making to a national priority. The concern was that the declining fertility rate would lead to economic crisis, increased security risk and political instability.

With admirable determination, the Singaporeans took action on bachelors and bachelorettes. In 1984, the Working Committee on Marriage and Procreation was formed with the task of increasing the birth-rate. Figuring that Singaporeans respond well to financial incentives, they introduced the “baby bonus’ incentives. I do not have figures to show how successful this program was.

This did not solve the issue of fewer and later marriages. Thus the Social Development Unit or SDU was formed which came out with 70 recommendations for increasing baby production. SDU was to succeed where earlier efforts failed because they would tackle issues like dating and matchmaking because as was said earlier, hardworking Singaporeans do not have time for such distractions. SDU’s efforts have earned them the nickname of Single, Desperate and Ugly.

Not swayed by such popular opinion, SDU went on to implement their plan which included compulsory dating courses in the first year of Universit, the “Love Boat Cruises” and the “Love Plane Flights” which include on-board lectures on seduction. The latter two, were subsidized holidays for singles and I believe, if any couple ended up getting married, the fare for the holiday was reimbursed.

Nowadays, Single, Desperate and Ugly hides behind their campaign brand of “Romancing Singapore” which organizes state-sponsored matchmaking events like speed dating (e.g. meet 6 guys/gals in 60 minutes), rock climbing for couples (an opportunity to get sweaty), love boat river race and midnight walks, just to name a few.

SDU produced an official eight-page guidebook called “When Boy Meets Girl! The Chemistry Guide” which teaches busy engineers and IT nerds how to court a girl, where to go, and what to do on a date.
Don’t you hate it when
the chemistry’s all wrong?
Singapore even has its own celebrity love guru, Dr. Wei, who also is known as Dr. Love. Dr. Love runs love cruises, Baby Planing Camps and was planning in 2004 to do an “edutainment” reality TV show called “Dr. Love’s Super Baby-Making Show”. This never materialized, perhaps because it went too far for “prudish” officials, despite Dr. Love’s assurance that it would be done very clinically. Hmmm, very romantic indeed.And has all this government plotting worked? In 2003, Durex did a sexual habits survey amongst 34 nations and Singapore ranked last for the second consecutive time. With Singaporeans reported having sex less than 8 times per month on average or 96 times per year. For the curious, it was the Hungarians, fortified with spicy paprika that took first place with 152 rolls in the hay per year.

Alas, so sad to see the fine efforts of Single Desperate and Ugly produce such poor results. Perhaps the expert readers in the blogosphere can give some advice on how we can avoid a movie entitled, “The Last of the Singaporeans”.

“I am a Satire, yes?”

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