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Over at Liquid, a neon-lit bar not far from the business district, the young singles seem less concerned about allegations of eugenics than exasperated by government paternalism.
"This is about social engineering, about maintaining the oligarchy.''He says the SDU makes an implied judgment that only university-educated people should marry university-educated people, which reinforces barriers of race and class.
In 1985, the government created a dating service for nongraduates, called the Social Development Service, partially in response to claims of discrimination.
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.
The response for many educated Singaporean men, officials say, was to seek out less educated brides at home, or find them in China, hoping that they will accept traditional gender roles."A lot of our single women today have their own jobs, their own careers, and they are demanding more," says the SDU's Ms. "That doesn't mean they should be doomed to being single."One ethnic Malay graduate, who asked that his name not be used, sees it differently.
It also runs seminars and campaigns on "marriage awareness."The SDU's most recent innovation, however, is "speed dating," a year-old program that challenges singles to get to know each other in seven minutes or less and, hopefully, exchange phone numbers.
With 25,000 current members, the SDU has had its share of success.
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.
Our training has helped to produce some of the most successful matchmakers in the world.
Our network contains hundreds of matchmakers and matchmaking companies throughout the world.
The current racial balance about 75 percent Chinese, 15 percent Malay is important to the government.