updated 28 Apr 2012, 11:22
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Sat, Apr 28, 2012
The New Paper
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I need help getting hitched
by Benson Ang

LOOKING at entertainer Foyce Le Xuan, you wouldn't think she'd need any help finding a guy.

Indeed, the actress/singer/host in her 20s has no problem finding someone to go out with, and has dated fellow celebrities in the past.

But when it comes to looking for a husband, she's doing it the really old-fashioned way - she's using a matchmaker.

'I've always wanted to find a boyfriend, but I don't know why I've never been able to find him from the people around me,' she said.

Foyce is among a growing number of young and attractive single women - people who look like they have dates booked months in advance - who are looking to matchmaking agencies in search of mates.

Dating agencies The New Paper on Sunday spoke to said they have seen an increase in 'higher quality' women signing up with them.

Foyce has signed up for next month's Bedazzled fiesta, a week-long dating convention where the organisers will try to matchmake her with five prospective guys, with whom she will go on one dinner date each.

If all goes well, the man she eventually chooses as the date to the fiesta's gala dinner could very well be her future husband, said Foyce, who intends to get married in two years.

Deciding on a potential husband in one date is a big decision, she admits, but Foyce believes the five guys she will date are already the best people for her because they were chosen by professionals.

Ms Ada Wong, one of the event's organisers, said the five men will be chosen based on how well they fit Foyce's preferences in terms of their finances, hobbies and attitudes.

'Choosing the guy from among the five is a first step towards getting to know him,' said Ms Wong, 30.

'After the event, there's still a long journey ahead for the two of them.'

Trusting the matchmakers is all important, said Foyce, who met Ms Wong at a party two years ago.

Is Foyce still single because she's too picky?

No, that doesn't seem to be the case - all she is asking is that he must be sensible and confident, have strong moral values, and be musically-inclined.

She also hopes he'll be 1.7m to 1.8m tall. She is 1.6m tall.

But he does not need to have a degree, and doesn't even need to earn very much.

'I just want a normal guy,' said Foyce, who has had five boyfriends, all actors or singers.

She says she doesn't want to date entertainers any more because it can be quite complicated.

She added: 'Being in a relationship is something I really want, but as a girl, I can't go around being assertive, right? This way, the organisers do the work for me.'

But why the sudden need for a guy?

Foyce said she wants someone to accompany her on functions, parties and sponsored events, and doesn't want to have to persuade male celebrities to accompany her to such events any more.

'I want someone permanent,' she said.

Another young and attractive woman who has turned to matchmakers is Miss Stella See, 32, who is self-employed. She said: 'I'm so busy working, so I usually don't get to meet more people.

'Matchmaking lets me get to know people outside my comfort zone.'

The practice is 'normal', Miss See insisted, adding that 'everybody does it nowadays' - a trend that dating agencies have noticed.

Mr Kelvin Ong, 36, director of dating agency Singles Mingle, has said that when he started matchmaking two years ago, the women he saw were mostly in their 30s, and early 40s.

Now, he sees women in their 20s approaching him for matchmaking.

'Some of these women are so pretty and beautiful. They've achieved so much in their careers, and some even have Masters degrees,' he said.

Ms Wong agreed, and added that she is often surprised at how eligible and attractive the women who sign up for her services are.

Mr Ong doesn't believe that the higher number of attractive women flocking to dating agencies means they are getting more desperate.

'It has more to do with the growing acceptance of matchmaking, which is why more people are signing up,' he explained.

'More people are also thinking of settling down and having a family early.'

Buck up, guys

However, while the girls seeking dating help have become prettier, the 'quality' of the men remains 'as per normal', Mr Ong said.

'The men still come to our events in T-shirts and jeans, whereas the women now tend to dress up nicely, with well thought-out themes,' he added.

Some feel that one reason why men might find it harder to sign up for matchmaking could be that it is a blow to their ego.

Still, there are guys like finance manager Rick Peh, 30, who see no shame in this because he feels there is much more to matchmaking than finding a mate.

'It is also to increase my social network, and know more people. If I meet someone, then I meet someone,' said Mr Peh.

'If I just go with the specific agenda to find someone, then it's not very healthy.'

He believes matchmaking is becoming more popular nowadays because the media is reporting on it more favourably.

'People are also more open... (to) matchmaking.'

But not everyone is so keen to jump on the matchmaking bandwagon.

Civil servant Johan Wong, 25, said: 'Matchmaking seems artificial. I'd rather see people in their natural environment, which will give me more confidence about whether they are sincere people, and not simply there to get married to somebody they think is eligible.

'Love is still a very personal issue. I won't feel comfortable leaving it to the hands of another person, or even a company.'

readers' comments
Rather than calling local men to buck up, the girls should realise that a society based on male-female equality is detrimental to marriage. You cannot have your cake and eat it. If you want to be equal to males be prepared to live a life of a spinster. Because the number of eligible males seeking you out will dwindle; many are just put off by women and younger males prefer the company of other males.
Posted by cylon6 on Fri, 30 Jan 2009 at 02:09 AM
why cut off avenues of meeting more people? matchmaking these days does not mean you marry the first person who is introduced to you.

modern as we are, we are also very busy people. If you can pay others to do your household chores for you, surely you can pay someone to help you meet more people and potential partners!
Posted by Forum goddess on Thu, 29 Jan 2009 at 15:16 PM
I have to say that Johan's attitude to finding his mate sounds like a great idea but is likely lead him nowhere.

How many Singaporean men can honestly say that they are putting effort to involve themselves in "natural" environments to meet potential girlfriends? And, for goodness sake, does anyone choose a future mate by virtue of environment of meeting? Stop setting unrealistic and unimportant criteria that, on deeper thought, are often just excuses for inaction.

Going through a dating agency is also not akin to leaving "to the hands of another person, or even a company". They can only facilitate the start and what follows after that depends 110% on the guy and girl. That should be the last concern on his mind.
Posted by roblimch on Wed, 28 Jan 2009 at 21:28 PM
Singaporeans love imported goods. Singapore isn't exactly a country that is proud of its own goods, so much so this has extended to choosing their spouse. Or is it really so?

We buy Apple Ipod over Creative Zen. Look at Japanese and Koreans, fiercely protective of their manufactured products and women.

So is it true that Singaporean men really think that foreign brides, foreign women are better?

Fundamentally, everybody wants to be proud of their local products, proud of their country, proud of their women, proud of their men. Perhaps, Singaporean men and Singaporean women just don't make the grade for each other. Perhaps, men and women are not really talking about this topic to each other and they are always talking within their own gender, creating myths and warped perceptions about the opposite sex.

This might be .....
Posted by solsys on Wed, 28 Jan 2009 at 11:57 AM
Locals like Johan Wong is why a female friend keeps getting matched with ang mohs at her matchmaking agency. Matchmaking has been around for ages and if you don't meet people around your "natural" environment, then you need help. No one is asking you to marry your date! Otherwise, be prepared to be single. Buck up local men!
Posted by poppirina on Wed, 28 Jan 2009 at 09:19 AM

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