Singapore is launching yet another campaign to promote dating among its notoriously love-shy singles as the city-state grapples with low birth and marriage rates, reports said Thursday.
The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) issued a tender this month through the government’s official procurement website calling for proposals on how to encourage singles to date.
“This tender is called to engage a communications agency to conceptualise, plan and implement a public communications campaign to promote dating,” said a notice monitored on the government’s online procurement website GeBIZ.
No details of the tender were given on the website, but the Straits Times said the winning bidder will produce a television commercial to promote dating and draw up a “unique dating concept” to get singles to interact.
Targeted at people aged 20 to 35 who do not date, the initiative is the latest effort by the government to act as matchmaker for its loveless singles population.
It comes amid falling marriage and fertility rates in the tiny but affluent island-state with a population of about five million, more than one million of whom are foreigners.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in February urged citizens to ignore superstitions about the Chinese zodiac and make more babies during the Year of the Tiger in order to reverse falling birth rates.
He said Singapore’s fertility rate had dipped to its lowest level ever at 1.23 babies per woman in 2009, down from 1.28 in 2008. This is well below the 2.1 replacement rate needed for a stable population.
The marriage rate hit 6.6 marriages per 1,000 residents in 2009, down from 7.8 in 1999, the Straits Times said, citing government statistics.
Initial reaction to the government’s latest campaign at playing Cupid was cool.
“I think it’s a bit silly,” Koh Hoon Kiat, 25, a university graduate who is single, told AFP.
Asked if the television commercial will prompt him to find a dating partner, he said: “I can say that it’s unlikely to do so… I’m not at a very desperate stage yet.”
Previous government attempts to heat up romance and encourage couples to make more babies have so far failed to reverse the falling birth rates.