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Lee Kuan Yewborn September 16,Singapore—died March 23,Singaporepolitician and lawyer who was prime minister of Singapore from to During his long rule, Singapore became the most-prosperous country in Southeast Asia. Lee was born into a Chinese family that had been established in Singapore since the 19th century.
Lee Kuan Yew became the longest-serving prime minister in world history. Lee rose through the ranks of his country's political system before becoming the first prime minister of Singapore on June 5,
There was giggling and banter among the students, but that was all part of the course material as their teacher, Suki Tong, led them into the basics of dating, falling in love and staying together. The course, which is in its second year at two polytechnic institutes, is the latest of many, mostly futile, campaigns by the government to get its citizens to mate and multiply.
Its popularity last year has led to talk of expansion through the higher education system. The courses are an extension of government matchmaking programs that try to address the twin challenges embodied in a falling birthrate: Too few people are having babies and too few of those who are belong to what Singapore considers the genetically desirable educated elite.
For 25 years, the mating rituals organized by the government - tea dances, wine tasting, cooking classes, cruises, screenings of romantic movies - have been among the country's least-successful social engineering programs.
Last year Singapore's fertility rate fell to a record low of 1. But even a replacement-level rate would not be enough for today's planners. The government recently announced that it was aiming to increase the population by 40 percent over the next half century, to 6.
Infor example, when the government began offering cash bonuses to couples with more than two children, the newspaper printed tips for having sex in the back seat of a car, including directions to some of the "darkest, most secluded and most romantic spots" for parking.
Singapore is a topiary nation, constantly trimming and pruning itself into shapes that it believes improve on nature. As the modern world weakens traditional family ties, for example, families are given financial incentives to care for their elderly parents - or taken to court for neglecting them.
Singapore is known for its campaigns to get residents to be polite, to smile, to be tidy, to speak proper English and not to chew gum.
Who was lee kuan yew?
Inthe country's master planner, then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, declared that too few of the country's most eligible women - the ones with college degrees - were marrying and having children. He set up the Social Development Unit to address the problem and since then the government has been Singapore's principal matchmaker.
In addition to its tea dances and moonlight cruises, the agency also acts as a lonely hearts adviser, with an online counselor named Dr. Love and a menu of boy-meets-girl suggestions on its Web site, www. Change your watch and they notice!
Skipped your morning shower and sprayed on deodorant to cover the smell - they notice! What does this mean? Well, bathe regularly, change something about yourself, be observant and compliment the lady.
In other words, said Annie Chan, director of a matchmaking agency, "Our government wants smart ladies to meet smart guys to get smart children. But in Singapore it is impossible to get very far from thoughts of money and the workplace. These guys may have other things on their minds besides romance and babies. Singaporeans quite seriously describe their society as being driven by a local concept called "kiasu," a desire not so much to get ahead as, rather, not to lose out.
That concept might be applied, for example, to a person who pushes ahead of everybody else to get into an elevator. This single-mindedness, in life as in elevators, seems to leave little room for social graces or for romance or procreation.
But even while working on the solution, Chan seems to be part of the problem. She is 39 and has been married for four years, but said she does not have the time or energy to have children. At the end of the day, business does interfere.
It is a lot to ask of a college course to break attitudes like this.
Three year-old graduates from last year's inaugural course at Singapore Polytechnic still seemed imbued more with "kiasu" than romance. Despite everything their teachers had told them about multitasking work and love, none was in a relationship.
And nothing they had heard in class seemed to have dented their stereotypes about the opposite sex. They are male chauvinist pigs.
They're annoying and childish. And they won't give in to you. They're just not mature. Guys are more outspoken.
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We don't like a girl to be more outspoken. Kamal Prakash, who hopes to be a lecturer in mathematics, gave voice to what appears to be the common theme here, both among young people and their elders.
Asia Pacific Singapore succeeds at managing everything - except dating. It suggested covering the windows with newspapers for privacy.
Another former student, Tian Xi Tang, was quick to respond.