Overcame stigma, found love

Ms Tricia Kiang, 22, turned to dating app Paktor two years ago because she was working long hours as a chef and found it hard to meet people.

She found the app user-friendly and went on a few dates.

But nothing clicked until she saw Mr Matthew Teo's profile on the app in July last year.

 
 
 

She found him good-looking and saw that they both liked food and shared the same faith.

The attraction was mutual.

After two days of intense texting, they met for coffee at a Starbucks cafe near Dhoby Ghaut.

At first, they were awkward with each other, but the ice was broken when they discovered that they both liked green tea.

Ms Kiang, who is an undergraduate at the Singapore Institute of Technology, says: "When we first made eye contact, sitting across the table from each other, we were both a bit shy and I remember laughing about it."

During the first three months of dating, Mr Teo, 21, who is doing his national service, made every effort to find out what she liked and planned interesting activities for their dates.

When she expressed a wish that someone would bake her a rainbow cake with matcha filling, he got a baker to do just that for her 21st birthday.

Mr Teo says: "I try to be as sweet as possible to her."

He has met her family and friends, although she initially had reservations about telling people how they met.

She says: "Of course there's always a fear that people will judge once you tell them you met online and, sometimes, people will question whether he is trustworthy.

"But after my friends and family met him, they accepted our relationship."

While Mr Teo's single friends are still "quite sceptical"of dating apps because of the prevalence of Internet scams, Ms Kiang says many of her single friends are not.

She adds: "I think it's pretty common for Singaporeans to use these apps, especially when everyone is glued to his mobile phone and people are busy with their careers. Dating apps help busy Singaporeans meet people without the hassle of going on blind dates and to match-making workshops."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Overcame stigma, found love'. Print Edition | Subscribe