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Reinstate old social networks for singles

Marriage is a lifelong commitment. It is unfortunate that some marriages end so soon after they begin ("Break-ups soon after marriage at 20-year high"; Aug 16).

Many of the reported break-ups are between Singaporean Chinese men, who tend to be older blue-collar workers, and their foreign wives. This is a great concern.

While choosing a foreigner as a wife is a personal choice, the Government should not ignore the circumstances leading to it - the perception that Singapore women have high expectations of their husbands-to-be, a lack of opportunity to mix with the opposite gender, and an individual's long work hours, to cite a few examples.

It was a mistake to merge the Social Development Services (SDS), which promoted marriage among non-graduate singles, with the Social Development Unit (SDU), for graduate singles, in 2009 to form the Social Development Network (SDN).

While the rationale for the merger was to reap an economy of scale and enlarge the outreach, it benefited mainly graduate males and non-graduate females.

Our local males are less ready to marry someone who is better educated than them. Hence, any successful union between a graduate male and a non-graduate female is one fewer candidate in the pool for the graduate females and non-graduate males respectively.

The time spent on courtship also correlates to the success of a marriage.

A longer courtship allows time for a couple to understand each other. In the case of failed marriages between couples from different countries, a reasonable time for courtship may not have existed, hence leading to a break-up later on.

I hope the Government will reinstate the SDS and SDU, as the SDN may not have achieved its intended outcome.

Chee Chi Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 30, 2015, with the headline 'Reinstate old social networks for singles'. Print Edition | Subscribe