What happens when the government tries to play matchmaker? - My first SDN event
“If you see someone you like, just pounce on it,” my mum tells me as I jokingly mention to her I’m going for matchmaking.
For almost 30 years, I wear my singlehood almost like a superpower. Apparently, super single can be used to describe someone as well. It is almost as if the proverbial marriage train is something that I forgot to claim my ticket on. And that I’m a bypasser watching over with binoculars, recording vividly on the alternatives to a conventional monogamous relationship, or breaking apart the systemic building blocks of marriage.
My perverse interest in observing and writing about relationship seems to be a beacon attracting interesting conversations on singlehood, less the ones telling me that I might change my mind about my I-don’t-want-kids narrative and that I’m going to be so lonely when I get older. That’s an entire tale for another day.
So back to the matchmaking saga.
According to Wikipedia:
The Social Development Network (SDN), formerly of Social Development Unit (SDU) and Social Development Service (SDS), 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.
As I mentioned in my previous articles, that childbirth could be seen as a national duty in a country with an ageing population and a declining population. It’s no wonder our government tries to chirp into the intimate portion of our lives. For the singles, playing matchmaker, and for the married, playing child inducer.
For someone like me, in which the only spark I see, is the firework that lit up the night on the so very regular, special national occasion. My duty to myself is to find cheap and fun activities that I could keep my very single soul entertained.
Most people are aware of the huge baby bonuses doled out by the government. But not many are aware that SDN organises events and top up your wallet credit with $100 twice every year. Well, provided you are legally single.
29 November 2020.
My first heroic venture into a mass dating event, hoping to find the spark in my life and to start a family of my own.
Nope. Take that sentence and reverse everything I just said.
The cheap nature of me is enthralled by the prospect of someone or some government body being vested in my dating life. Or rather the lack thereof. Honestly, the new highlights of my life are hunting down free money and cheap thrills. What’s better to milk singlehood than having the government subsidising 50% for the event?
I’m a woman who doesn’t entirely enjoy being treated to a meal unless entirely necessary or being persisted on. I secretly calculate the yearly expenses that a guy has to put aside to ask women out a meal on the basis of the price he pays for the meal and goes out for a meal, in hope to garner some attraction cookie, at least once a month on a timespan of one year. My frugal self frown on the fact that men are wasting money on high probability dead end.
Anyway, back to the event, the activity of crime is art-jam. Perhaps an act that cultivates the nurturing spark among date potentials. Sitting with me, my poly friend, a robotics PhD student and a guy who is brutally honest about the fact that he just wants to join the art jam for the painting. High-five to fellow cheap souls.
In the first few minutes, we are all polite and courteous with each other, saying niceties about our fellow table mates progress. And of course, the usual casual small talk, so typical of any event.
But soon, I was experiencing a mental meltdown, as the more feverish I paint, the more it looks like a pile of shit to me, for a lack of better descriptive word. At this point in time, it becomes a jabbing session between the PhD student and me as to who has the worse art work. Critiques and flaws started to peel off our mouth as we laughingly did so.
It’s hopeless. I thought. I’m going to bring this home and burn it.
Looking at my friend, who has almost completed her artwork, sending an alarmingly loud SOS cry. This 2 hours art-jamming session, which meant to be destressing might just cause me to go into a state of panic.
She arrives like the Sailormoon she added to her painting to save the world, and defeat the evil of amateurish artistic grip on me. Giving me precise guidance as to how I could blend my artwork and portions that I could build upon.
Then, bit by bit, the table falls into silence as I switch into my competitive mode to not have the lousiest drawing on the table. Whoever says art-jamming is relaxing has obviously not done it with me.
When a remark is blurted off as to how silent this table has become. I quickly shot it off that, “Yea, I’m focusing. As long as I don’t want to have the worst looking artwork around.” If I am allowed to breed, I am sure they will be loud foul-mouths going around, offending people. But make no mistake, deep within, is a gentle soft heart.
With a painting of a cup of coffee that I could proudly hang on my wall. Are we at a dating event still? Truth be told, all along I know that my special power is what keeps me special till this very day. Why will I choose to lose this power till a much bigger spark could replace it in my life?