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Besides those who treated the SDU with contempt, there were others who simply did not take the SDU seriously.
One popular joke that was conceived in the early days was that ‘SDU’ also stood for ‘Single, Desperate and Ugly’.
As for those in the age range of 40–44, the proportion single at 2005 remained high at 15–17 per cent for males and females collectively.
The number of marriages has steadily increased over the years from 2004 (22,189) to 2009 (26,081) and crude marriage rate (per 1000 resident population) has been on the rise from 6.4 in 2007 to 6.6 in 2009. The mean age for first marriage has increased from 28.7 to 29.8 (males) and 26.2 to 27.5 (females) over the last 10 years.
Prior to the founding of the SDU, a Great Marriage Debate had been raging.
Besides coordinating and facilitating dating activities offered by the private sector, it also serves to educate the public on singlehood issues.
In fact, there was an outcry by the public at large about the unfair use of taxpayers’ money to subsidise leisure activities for graduates, especially since they already had a higher income.
Some were also displeased about the fact that civil servants who were single were given three extra days of leave to go on SDU-organised cruises.
Lee had also expressed worry that the dearth of children produced by graduate women would lead to the faltering of the economy and ultimately a decline in society.
Although Lee had not explicitly stated that the SDU would be set up in response this problem, he had promised that tough measures would be taken by the government to curb the problem.
The SDU was thus formed in January 1984 to provide opportunities for single men and women to interact socially.