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Pick-up lines from the SDU

Singapore’s Social Development Unit (SDU) is a sort of government-funded dating service to help those who have spent their lives putting academic achievements and other forms of personal enrichment before relations with the opposite sex. Or, as they say, people who just want to make more friends. It sounds a little weird that a country’s government would run an outfit like this, but I suppose part of it might be motivated by a sense of guilt.

Growing up as a teenager in the 90s, I clearly remember just about every authority figure, mainstream media outlet, Aunt Agony column, parent, and teacher sharing the view that so-called Boy-Girl Relationships (or BGR, as was the sickening but popular term) were only to be pursued once one had completed higher education. The most important thing, it was said, was to graduate and have oneself a safety net before allowing the opposite sex a chance to derail your life. The subtext was that this denial-of-self was only patriotic, as we were a fledgling nation always on the brink of being swallowed by the odds, and every last one of our degrees was needed to avert disaster. The fabled Lazy Grasshopper had become a Drop-Out Lothario.

Our government has always erred on the side of caution when it comes to assuming that most people know what’s best for them, and I sympathize completely, but intervention is historically marked by unforeseen consequences. Who knew that biological instincts could be dulled by neglect? In any case, I don’t know the SDU’s success rate, but I do know they have a quarterly publication called “Duet” filled with well-meaning articles like the one below.

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