Independent singles make for attractive partners

I support Mr Chua Boon Hou's suggestion of a singles village ("Build 'singles village' to help young people get hitched"; March 16).

In a previous job, I spent many nights bedding down - sometimes on a sofa, sometimes on a fold-up bed - in my friends' "singles apartments" in different European cities.

While most of these had en-suite shower facilities, the flats were little more than a large room with a section for cooking and perhaps an alcove for a bed. My friends often had to use communal areas to store bulky items (such as spare mattresses, large suitcases and other items for occasional use), do the laundry, and so on.

I agree with Mr Chua that young Singaporean singles should be able to rent such flats at reasonable rates for a limited period.

Sure, there is the advantage of bumping into other singles in the building, and forging long-lasting friendships and partnerships.

More crucially, it is imperative that young Singaporeans learn to live independently: No taking the laundry home to mum (or maid) and eating out every day.

There is something to be said about men and women being able to run their own lives that makes them very attractive to potential partners.

It is very different from living in university accommodation where meals are provided, a beneficent parent pays for your upkeep and you do not have to obsess over dress codes.

A young working adult living independently has significant choices to make.

The physical and emotional space to practise making those choices will prepare us for a lifetime partnership when the right one comes along.

Lee Siew Peng (Dr)


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2016, with the headline 'Independent singles make for attractive partners'. Print Edition | Subscribe