The SDU provides subsidized mixers, trips, and computer matchmaking services to college-educated Singaporeans.
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Karen Ralls-Tan remembers a time when her dating prospects were bleak."It was just hard to meet people," says the 31-year-old civil servant.
The Social Development Network (SDN), formerly known as "Social Development Unit" (SDU), is a governmental body under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports of Singapore (now the Ministry of Social and Family Development), which works closely with the community and commercial sectors to foster opportunities for singles to interact in social settings in Singapore.
Besides coordinating and facilitating dating activities offered by the private sector, it also serves to educate the public on singlehood issues.
The impetus for the establishment of the SDU stemmed from the findings of the 1980 population census.
The results showed an increasing proportion of unmarried graduate women – a trend compounded by the preference among local men for women with lower educational qualifications than themselves, while graduate women preferred better-educated men.
When it was first established in 1984 as SDU, it functioned on its own, organising activities for its members without the help of commercial agencies.
It was only in 2006 that the then SDU decided on a major change in approach: it let the private sector be the main provider of matchmaking and dating services, focusing instead on accrediting and funding private dating agencies and projects.
These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.