Bye-bye SDN!

I guess it was inevitable.

The SDNTrust Accreditation Framework will cease on 31 Dec 2022. This possibly marks the end of Singapore’s decades long journey in government-assisted and quasi-regulated matchmaking endeavours for singles here on our island. The experience for Fabrique leaves us with bittersweet memories, but can’t say we didn’t see it coming.

For someone who pores over the population data each year, the declining relevance of SDN and its accreditation framework was something I alluded to in meetings with my colleagues as early as 2019 – and which eventually sparked our journey in a different direction in the later part of this year.

The death knell came when SDN informed us that Spark Connections would be subsumed under the Changi Airport experience. Not kidding.

One could say the demise of SDN was as inevitable as the precipitous decline in our fertility rate as laid out in the graph below. Our government’s attempt to arrest the decline was met with mixed reactions, and for those of us born and bred here in Singapore, the stigma associated with SDU then was all but impossible to remove. 

There were incredulous comments here and there from a Minister or two about confined spaces and sex, but those drew nothing more than a few laughs. Few could grasp the gravity and the extent of the problem. 

Graph 1 // Source from DOS Singapore

As a Singapore citizen born and bred in Singapore, I’m filled with disappointment when senior civil servants dismiss comments from the public about how our population is now barely 60% local (and amongst that 60%, a significant proportion born and bred outside Singapore).

The typical response to questions as to why the establishment prefers to import humans to sustain GDP growth? “Don’t complain, make more babies”. Or even worse, “You don’t see the big picture.”. What big picture? Is GDP growth the panacea to all our country’s social and economic problems? What happens when we run out of options to import humans? Replace our population with robots?

I’m a big believer in robotics by the way, and I’m hoping it helps with our ageing population. But it’s one thing to “remain open to foreign talent to stay competitive”, it’s another altogether to have no viable solution at all other than to just keep importing humans like we do 90% of our food. Perhaps someone should apply our 30 by 30 strategy to our birth rates too maybe. And just like our clients who grumble about date delays and value for money after making payment, I fail to see the value in the elegant news byte solutions coming from the mind boggling amounts our political masters are paid. 

In SDN’s case, the solution from the civil service was nothing close to elegant, but came as quickly and deadly as the announcement – cut our (fertility) losses and run.

Graph 2 // Source from DOS Singapore

I would be lying if I said it (the accreditation framework) was fun while it lasted, and Fabrique has had its fair share of challenges under the framework to the extent it became cumbersome – changes in the SDN lead officer every couple of years, major staff turnover, strange observations from public tenders and antagonistic exchanges with civil servants over strong arm tactics were but some of my happy memories. In any case, I wish them all the best in their future endeavours, as our paths are unlikely to cross again.

Last but not least, it would be a pleasure to go on the journey to new destinations with you all! Stay tuned for more surprises ~

Feel free to contact any of us at Fabrique Love if you need a second opinion or simply drop us at note at WhatsApp @92986340. We’ll be delighted to hear your story too!