Boost young people's self-confidence with opposite sex

One reason for more people staying single, suggested in the report on March 11, is that Singaporeans are rather socially awkward ("More young people staying single").

Certainly, not many of us would or could bring ourselves to approach a member of the opposite gender in public and start a conversation.

What is lacking is probably some self-confidence. Building such characteristics in people should start from a young age.

Children should be taught how to interact with the opposite sex in school.

For example, in co-educational schools, project work groups can be assembled to ensure a mix of genders. Boys and girls can then get accustomed to interacting with each other, instead of being comfortable only when working with those of the same gender.

Prom nights for graduating students, perhaps even for primary school pupils, are a good way to introduce students to boy-girl interaction. Such events could include dances, with students having to partner a member of the opposite sex.

Perhaps students could be made to find their own partners for the dance. This could teach them how to approach a member of the opposite sex, a prelude to asking someone out in the future.

That said, however, schools will have to carry out a vigilant and effective sexuality education programme, to ensure that attempts to get students more comfortable with the opposite sex do not go awry.

These ideas can also be expanded to universities and workplaces.

They could organise events such as Social Nights, similar to the military's Officer Cadet Night, where everyone has to find a partner of the opposite gender, who cannot be a relative, to attend a mass social gathering-cum-dinner.

This suggestion, if anything, tackles merely the problem of Singaporeans' social awkwardness.

Doing so may increase the chances of an individual finding a life partner and, hence, marriage.

In the end, we cannot help people decide whether or not to marry or to have children.

Young working adults and soon-to-be university graduates have to realise that they carry the responsibility of creating the future generation of young people, who will, in turn, carry the responsibility of supporting them in time to come.

Henry Choong Kun Lin