“I don’t want to be tied down,” famously said by one Lily Aldrin.
More young Singaporeans are taking a leaf out of Aldrin’s book, and the future of our country is a bleak one. According to The Straits Times, the percentage of singles in the 25-29 age group has now hit 70%, and it is damaging our country’s fertility rate.
One survey has shown that the number of singles in Singapore have been growing in the last 15 years. In 2000, the percentage of singles in the 25-29 age group was 51.7%. In 2015, it rose up to a whopping 71.4%.
Educated and career-driven
So why exactly are more people saying “No” to marriage?
During an interview with The Straits Times, NUS socialogists Paulin Straughan and Tan Ern Ser said that the high percentage is in view of the fact that these better educated Singaporeans are choosing to put their career first before settling down.
Many of them eventually do get married as they become older. However, Straughan is worried that if a woman marries past the age of 25 to 29, it is less likely for her to “conceive naturally or have a larger family”.
To tackle the issue, Straughan recommended targeting efforts to promote earlier marriages at singles; employers to urge their employees not to work overtime; and universities to organise social activities.
Ang baos have increased
In another report by The Straits Times, the price of wedding tables has also increased. For instance, a table at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia can set a newly-wed back at S$1,878. The highlight? It doesn’t even include the GST.
The monstrous price is due to inflation, a tight labour market, and the soaring food cost. A quick estimation by The Straits Times shows that a guest should put in at least S$220 in the red packet to cover their meal if they were to attend a wedding dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia.
During an interview with The Straits Times, Tan Weiwei, the founder of Chere Weddings & Parties, shared an interesting tidbit — couples who get married at a later age might have something to do with this phenomenon.
Apparently, their high expectations is the one of the factors that’s causing the skyrocketing prices. The sky-high cost of being married is just the beginning.
Trouble is still brewing
In a recent poll organised by not-for-profit group Families For Life, work-life balance is the No.1 concern for married couples. Last year, it was financial management.
The poll alone proves that more couples are caught up in their careers and struggling to spend quality time with their loved ones. Judging by the increasing demands and high-lost living in our country, it’s not a shock that there are many young Singaporeans choosing to delay marriage.
We’ve got a lot on our plate — the last thing we need is something we’re not ready for. Most of us can’t commit to a dating life, much less a marriage.
Another solution – dating agencies
Combining the three pointers above, where Singaporeans have higher aspirations than before, thus not wanting to settle down, and that work life balance is one of the most important concerns of married couples – rising cost of living certainly doesn’t help too – this really paints a bleak picture for Singapore.
So what can be done?
Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo has recently shared her two cents on our local dating scene. In a Facebook post titled “Dating – ‘Gangnam Style‘”, she compared the dating culture between South Korea and Singapore.
Unlike South Koreans who have no qualms with approaching dating agencies, Singaporeans are shyer to get help for dating. She wrote, “Single Koreans may be discreet in not openly advertising the fact, but if asked, they won’t deny it either.”
After visiting popular dating agency, Duo, in Gangnam, she wrote about her experience, while referencing the viral hit song, Gangnam Style. She described it as “deliberate, but still fairly cheerful and relaxed”, and ended her post with a thought-provoking question.
Could this style of dating help our local singletons?