At the same time, or perhaps as a consequence, Singaporean men are not as patriarchal as in some Asian societies, but nor do they take as light-hearted approach to dating as young men do in western societies, and so they too are somewhat unsure as to how they should act and what their expectations should be with regards to relationships.
They have a fundamental belief in ideas of equality and empowerment, yet the majority would still prefer their wives to stay at home to raise children.
For many, what has come to be known as the ‘checklist syndrome’ is to blame.
At present, it is significantly below this, being 1.20 in 2011 and 1.29 in 2012 (a five-year high regarded as a blip because 2012 was a Dragon year in the Chinese zodiac).
Marriage rates are falling too, with decreases in the number of people between 15 – 44 who are married, and an increase in the median age of new brides in 2013 (27.4 years) and grooms (29.9 years) .
Singaporean women in particular find their status problematic.
Foreign influence is perhaps greater in Singapore than just about any other Asian country, and this combined with the country’s high levels of education and achievement (the modern-day corporate woman is called a Singapore New Independent Princess or SNIP) leaves some Singaporean women unsure as to their role.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many young people in Singapore regard dating as a serious business, but at the same time a similar sort of uncertainty as to that which surrounds questions of Singaporean identity also affects the world of dating and relationships.
Recent research and surveys suggest that Singaporean men feel that the standards that women expect are too high, while women are often dissatisfied by what is perceived to be the unromantic quality of their male counterparts.
The reasons for this are frequently debated, but for many the pressure on Singaporeans to succeed professionally and financially are often seen as the root cause, as young professionals wait until they’ve established their careers before they start to think about a family.
However, authorities are concerned that far too many of them are leaving it far too late.
Additionally, despite the fact that marriage rates are falling and people are getting married later, there is nevertheless a prevailing sense that marriage is the ‘normal’ state of affairs and that people who don’t marry have missed an important part of life, and although there is no open discrimination against unmarried people, anecdotally there is often the sense that those who don’t marry are atypical, and perhaps out of mainstream life.