Dating agency organises session for Muslim parents to matchmake their offspring

A rare match-making event targeted at Muslim parents seeking spouses for their offspring will take place on Saturday morning.

Even before the event held at Aliwal Arts Centre - a stone's throw away from Sultan Mosque in historic Kampong Glam - participants are optimistic about finding good matches with families who share their values.

Speaking to Life! ahead of the 10am-to-noon session, one parent, Madam Rose Sumali, 55, says: "When you communicate with other parents there, you can know what kind of family they are and whether they share the same values. Maybe they will have the same expectations as us."

She is looking for a potential match for the eldest of her three children, Ms Malia Noor, whom she feels is "ready" to get married.

Ms Malia, 30, a senior administrative executive, says she is "trying a different way" of getting to know people.

She adds: "I'm quite reserved and most of the men that I have met so far were not ready for marriage. Maybe because my mother knows me well, she would know what kind of person is suitable for me."

Madam Rose, who is married to a retired taxi driver and works at an aerospace firm, says: "The most important thing is that the man has a stable job and is a responsible person."

Organised by dating agency Clique2click, the event is known by the official name First Muslim Parental Matchmaking in Singapore.

Ms Lydia Gan, 41, the founder of Clique2click, describes it as a "matchmaking session for Muslim parents to network and exchange details of their single children", including their age, occupation and hobbies.

At least 60 participants are expected to attend. The price of entry is $22.

While finding a Muslim spouse is a must, housewife Kamariah Husin, 48, whose two eldest children are single, says she has no other preconditions.

"I hope to widen my social circle. If I have a connection with another family, it will probably be because they are friendly. If I get along with the parents, our children may also have a connection," says Madam Kamariah, who has five children. Her husband, crane operator Rashid Kassim, 56, will also be attending the event.

One of her children, Ms Astika Rashid, 27, says the Clique2click event has a "more genuine touch" as the families are involved first.

"Such matchmaking sessions are not something we are used to, but sure, why not? Dating can be superficial in some ways. I've gone on dates through dating app Tinder before, but on Tinder, you don't know the other person's religion," says Ms Astika, a customer service professional whose last romantic relationship was four years ago.

Clique2click's Ms Gan says she has previously organised matchmaking sessions, but they were mostly attended by Chinese parents.

"Since 2008, I have held four matchmaking sessions which were targeted at parents. Most of the participants were residents in Singapore who had come from China," she adds.

"This is the first session for Muslims. From what I have heard from my Muslim friends, they are quite open to parents introducing possible life partners to them."

The matchmaking session includes a talk by Ms Gan on managing expectations, as well as helping parents and children communicate better regarding relationships.

"Don't put others down based on their educational qualification, income or occupation," she says.

During the first matchmaking session which she organised in 2008, she recalls that one parent said a teacher would not be a suitable spouse and this upset another parent whose child was an educator.

She says her own parents used to talk about how she should get married as she was getting older and asked if she was picky.

Ms Gan, who married at the age of 38, says she felt embarrassed and misunderstood then.

This is why she makes it a point to share tips with parents on how they can try and understand their offspring better, so that their adult children might be more open to meeting people through their parents.

venessal@sph.com.sg