When the chips are down, Singapore singles go dating

Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:54pm EST
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SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Singapore's economic downturn may prove to be Cupid's ally as dating agencies in the city state have reported a spike up in the number of singles signing up to find partners, the Straits Times said on Saturday.

Matchmakers, online dating networks and agencies were bracing for a slowdown when the economy took a turn for the worse last year but instead have seen a jump in their numbers, the newspaper said.

"Members have been telling me that they are feeling more anxious and lonely, and the economic recession has made them more worried," Matthew Tan, founder of a dating web site Gomoviedate.com, told the English-language daily.

Some agencies pulled in up to 50 per cent more members while others have attracted almost twice the number of participants in the past four months from the same period last year.

Engineer Terry Neo, 35, who no longer has to put in late nights at work, recently turned to Gomoviedate.com. He found two dates in two months, plenty for one so busy his last date prior to signing up was three months ago.

"I just want to enlarge my social circle and take my mind off job uncertainties for a while," Neo, told the paper.

Singapore is suffering from its worst recession ever and the government expects the economy could shrank as much as 5 percent this year.

"Inherently, we are all looking for companionship -- even more so when things are down," said Violet Lim, the co-founder of Lunch Actually, an agency that sets up lunch date. "You feel the need to connect with someone more acutely."

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Valerie Lee)