The Business of Love

The rise of singles in Singapore has been a bit of a pain for the government, who would prefer to see more people married and starting families. But as pragmatic as ever, the government has decided to turn a social problem into an economic solution. With 620,000 single Singaporeans aged 20 and above, the singles population of Singapore is a large untapped market worth S$666 million.To make the most of this huge economic potential, the government is hoping to fuel the growth of the private sector dating industry which will gradually supersede the much giggled at Social Development Unit (SDU).But the SDU is not done yet. Part of its role in this transition is to accredit dating agencies with the SDU Trust Mark, a sign of worthiness that will allow agencies to apply for S$600,000 of funding. The criteria of accreditation is yet to be spelled out, but it will include customer confidentiality, having a viable business plan and proper screening of customers’ marital status.With the lure of funding and government support, we had a go at devising a plan for our own dating agency:• It will be called I-SDU (which stands for I Seek Daring Underwear—what did you think it stood for, silly?)• We will screen all applicants and make sure that they are i) single; ii) human; iii) hip, iv) know a mojito from a martini, v) can dance till dawn. Hey, what more do you want?• We will organize regular fun activities that include drinking competitions, trips to Bali, and parties at Orchard Towers.• We will educate our applicants on important things like how not to make an ass of yourself when you’re drunk, how not to always get stuck with the tab, no-go comments such as “I really like your moustache—Sarah,” and other essentials for successful dating.• We’re sure that our applicants will meet lots of cool and groovy members of the opposite sex only—everybody seems to be doing OK when it comes to meeting members of the same sex.• We’re confident that our rate of return will be high. For every single person we enroll we will yield one happy couple—at least until the lights come on.Will we make the cut?