or What is wrong with you guys?!

Romancing Singapore is a year-long celebration staring in February. The aim of this Festival is to "celebrate life, love and relationships", as the organisers put it.

Started in 2003, Romancing Singapore (RomSg) is currently organised by Family Matters! Singapore Task Force and the Singapore Tourism Board, together with five other Community Development Councils (CDCs). It was originally a month-long festival, aiming to make Singaporeans aware that "love is in the little things" (the slogan for RomSg). It was also started up to promote a feeling of romance in Singapore.

You see, for the past few years Singapore has been in a pretty dismal state with regard to romance. In this arena, we have been KOed. The Durex survey for 2003 revealed that Singaporeans had sex an average of 96 times per year only, a decline from the 110 average of the previous year. That's below the American average of 118 times per year, and well below the global average of 127 times per year. Singapore was ranked as one of the last, if not the last, in this survey.

As can be deduced, Singaporeans aren't really into this romance stuff.

A result of this is that the birth rate has also been falling dramtically. Singapore's birth rate has not been able to replace the aging population, since the current replacement rate stands at 1.4, far below the required 2.1 for sustaining the economy and meeting defence and manpower needs. Last year, the number of births hit an all-time low. Postulated from the statistics of births from January to July 2003, there would only be an estimated 37,000 births (Singapore needs 50,000 births at least).

And if that's not enough bad news, there is a decline in the percentage of singles getting married1. To combat this trend, the Social Development Unit was set up by the Singapore government. The SDU, as Singaporeans affectionately term it, is also known informally as "Single, Desperate (and) Ugly". This is supposed to reflect on the people who attend its many social and matchmaking activities, though not necessarily true. One of the more famous activites held by the SDU is "speed dating", where a guy gets to meet a girl for 7 - 10 minutes, talks to her and then swtiches to another person. At the end of the event, everyone writes down their choices and matches are made based on mutual liking.

As Singapore is a pretty conservative country (the majority are Asians and the Asian mindset is pretty fixated on values), no marriages means no sex, and no sex means no babies. Among the married couples, stress means no sex, and that means no babies. Some of this also chose to be DINKs (Double Income, No Kids couples) as well, and that means no babies. No babies means lack of manpower, which means Singapore will shrink in its economy etc., etc., eventually collapsing into a black hole and bringing the whole Earth with it.

I digress.

In comes Romancing Singapore to save the day, no, the year. Various activities, like dinner at the Ritz-Carlton for a discounted price, Tango courses and a Wine-and-Dine cruise are on the calendar of events. Perfumes are being developed by tertiary students specially for this "Festival". Throughout the whole thing, the Singapore Government hopes and hopes that because of this, Singaporeans will just go out, grab someone at random, get married immediately, and give birth to babies in the dozens.

Talk about a nanny state! One wonders how we could live without the Government...

1 I do not have the figures for singles vs married people in Singapore. However, you may believe this for truth.

Romancing Singapore: http://www.romancingsingapore.com/
Who's Doing It and How Often? (Durex survey): http://marriage.about.com/cs/sexualstatistics/a/sexstatistics.htm
Birth rate of Singapore: http://www.getforme.com/previous2003/previous151203_decliningbirthrate.htm
Population of Singapore: http://www.getforme.com/population.htm
SDU: http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0716/p01s02-woap.html

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