More men in lower income and women in higher income groups unmarried

Go on a date and get RM1,166

Four out of 10 Singaporeans who took the plunge last year married foreigners, creating an emerging trend of cross-frontier matrimony as local women continue to dodge Cupid’s arrows.

WHEN the tight-fisted government gives away anything resembling free money, people here sit up. Such things rarely happen.

In an effort to encourage 75,000 singles to wed, it is subsidising 90% of their dating costs worth some S$500 (RM1,166) each.

The state’s matchmakers, who began operation in 1984, are doing this for a crucial objective – to raise matrimonial rates.

At the same time, a government campaign will be launched to get singles between 20 and 35 years to actively expand their social circle to find life partners, even using a dating agency.

This follows revelation that a disturbingly high proportion of young men and women in Singapore are staying out of wedlock.

An official Population in Brief 2010 report showed that significantly more Singaporeans were shunning marriage last year compared with a decade ago.

The proportion of men aged 30-34 who are single has reached a shocking 41.9%, and that of women 29.8%, it showed.

The highest unwed rates are among men with below secondary education and women with university degrees. Both groups are turning more to foreigners.

A warning that this would happen was sounded by Minister Lee Kuan Yew two decades ago. He attributed the cause to a traditional reluctance of Singaporean men to marry women who are better educated.

Although lower than men, the rate of women marrying non-citizens has also risen. Some 90% of these foreign brides are Asian, but non-citizen grooms come from both East and West.

There are, of course, other reasons for the rising cross-frontier matrimony, including an opening Sing­apore.

Since going global, more of Cupid’s arrows seem to be hitting non-citizens.

Four out of 10 Singaporeans who took the plunge last year married foreigners – 78% being men taking overseas brides, according to official statistics. They overwhelmed the proportion of women-folk who chose foreign partners.

Romance is also following the footsteps of demographic changes.

The official statistics showed that the rate of Singaporeans marrying foreigners has risen from 30% ten years ago to 40.8% in 2009.

There are, however, other reasons for people here shunning or delaying matrimony, such as economic, housing as well as work and living stress.

Singaporeans have ex­­pressed shock to learn that 42% of men (and 30% of women) aged 30-34 are unmarried, which augurs ill for the future.

Some fear the day will soon come when a third of the population will have no spouse.

This could have a tremendous impact on society, including a decline of the family as an institution, upon which the stability of the country depends.

“Who will look after these people when they become old or sick?” asked a letter writer.

Unable to find a local spouse, more upper middle-age men are turning to Vietnam, China and Thailand – in addition to traditional Malaysia – to find wives.

The practice has become so entrenched that it drove a local lady to appeal to the government to “please help us keep our men”.

“I am very alarmed that women here are losing their appeal, with some Singapore men going abroad in their search for mates,” wrote Melissa Foo.

It did not help, she added, that the higher-earning Singaporean men were held in high esteem, especially by women from China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and India.

“This would not be a problem if not for the fact that many Singapore women are still unmarried.”

To encourage the men to seek their brides locally, she suggested: “Why not give a large bonus to the men who marry local spouses? ”

Actually a growing number of Singaporean ladies are unmarried by choice. Psychologist and author John Marshall Townsend wrote this about them (in part) as follows:

“Like women in the United States, Singapore women apparently prefer to stay single rather than marry down.

“Those who have succeeded in high-status occupations that were previously closed to them have indeed rejected what is traditionally considered feminine.

“These women successfully compete with men. They may place their careers above love and marriage for years or even indefinitely, and in their ambition and assertiveness, they are equal or superior to most men in their professions.”

However, a Singaporean said it was a tough act for a married woman to successfully balance family and career. This is discouraging career women to wed.

Among the lamenters was Minister Mentor Lee who referred to his neurologist daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling as a case in point.

After saying that one-third of men and women in Singapore were single “and quite comfortable with their lives”, Lee said: “My daughter is one of them. What can I do?”

Dr Lee, who runs the National Neuroscience Institute, is 55 and single.

Her father is worried about who would look after her and the home when he is not around.

As for marrying foreigners, some Singaporeans welcome it as a plus point. “Apart from the diversity, this out-breeding is good for society,” a teacher remarked to me.

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One Response to “More men in lower income and women in higher income groups unmarried”

  1. Does anyone know where I can find a good STD dating site that is free to browse the personal ads? Julie J.

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