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Agency helping lonely hearts find love in China

Sunday Morning Post. May 17, 1998.

Singapore Notebook: BY Barry Porter

SPURNED, ageing Singapore men are heading to China in search of marital bliss.

The republic's first marriage agency specialising in mainland brides has opened, targeting Singaporean Chinese men who say they find Singapore women far too choosy.

Lina Ng, who co-owns 21st Century Foreign Marriage Agency, said: "Women in China are usually less demanding and many don't mind men who are much older than them.

"They just want someone with a stable financial back- ground, who is compatible and isn't fussy about looks or age."

S. K. Tan, who works at the agency, said Singapore women had quite high standards and were too obsessed with getting the five Cs: credit card, car, career, club membership and condo.

He said: "Our members say they find it quite difficult to communicate with Singapore women."

The agency already has more than 200 clients on its books and earlier this month dispatched its first group of eight men on a "cultural tour" of Chengdu and Chongqing.

Most were Chinese-educated, Putonghua (dialect)-speaking men in their 40s.

Some were divorcees, others widowers. For S$2,000, double the price of a normal tour holiday in China, 21st Century says it can arrange a holiday specially tailored to meet their needs.

Their tours usually last four to five days, and include visits to places of interest where the men and their dates can interact.

The men are introduced to their prospective partners in a hotel lobby, usually over coffee. Being consenting adults, the rest is up to them.

The first trip scored an 80 per cent success rate, the agency said.

Five men have asked 21st Century to arrange a second eight-day trip before the end of this month so they can get to know their prospective partners better.

The Singapore agency has links with match-making agencies in several Chinese cities, including Chongqing and Harbin. Through these contacts it has a portfolio of 200 to 300 mainland women on its books.

The women tend to be aged between 25 and 35, come from the countryside and most dream of getting a Singapore passport.

Mr Tan said: "They all hope [they can get a Singapore passport], but we can not promise them because they must go through immigration."

So far, girls from Chong-qing have proved hot favourites.

The agency said the reason for their popularity was most Singaporean men were looking for tall women and the average height of Chongqing women is said to be 1.65 metres.

 Published in the Sunday Morning Post. May 17, 1998

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