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Ralls-Tan credits the SDU with helping her find her husband.Four years after signing up for its computerized matchmaking service, a marriage adviser called her with "the perfect guy." They were married in 2000 and now have a 6-month-old girl."Without the SDU, we never would have met,'' says Ralls-Tan, laughing. We'll have at least three."Currently, the average Singapore woman has 1.6 children 2.1 is the rate demographers think Singapore needs to maintain its population without immigration.Over at Liquid, a neon-lit bar not far from the business district, the young singles seem less concerned about allegations of eugenics than exasperated by government paternalism.Derisive laughter rises from the young hipsters reclining on a red velvet sofa when the unit is mentioned."This is about social engineering, about maintaining the oligarchy.''He says the SDU makes an implied judgment that only university-educated people should marry university-educated people, which reinforces barriers of race and class.In 1985, the government created a dating service for nongraduates, called the Social Development Service, partially in response to claims of discrimination.
To critics, the focus on "educated" men and women today is merely a politically correct way of targeting the ethnic Chinese.Later, in a 1990 speech, Lee said that the preference of educated men for less educated women was a national dilemma because it meant "50 percent of graduate girls will either marry down, marry foreigners, or stay unhappy."As the economy has grown and educational and career opportunities have opened to women, many men have been taken aback by a new breed of independently wealthy and assertive women, the government says.The response for many educated Singaporean men, officials say, was to seek out less educated brides at home, or find them in China, hoping that they will accept traditional gender roles."A lot of our single women today have their own jobs, their own careers, and they are demanding more," says the SDU's Ms. "That doesn't mean they should be doomed to being single."One ethnic Malay graduate, who asked that his name not be used, sees it differently.Whether the evils of a local slang "Singlish" or the need to flush toilets after use, no social issue is too big or too small for government intervention."People actually think that the state knows best,'' says David Jones, a Southeast Asia expert at the University of Tasmania in Australia.According to the government, alarm over a low birthrate prompted the creation of the SDU in 1984.