SINGAPORE – In the realm of matchmaking, one Vietnamese bride agency is making waves by placing a hefty price tag on the journey to love.
B & G Vietnamese Bride Marriage Agency recently took to Facebook to announce their 17-year-old client’s search for a Singaporean husband. However, potential suitors must meet a financial benchmark of earning at least S$4,800 per month just to enter the “talking stage.”
The controversial post has ignited a fierce debate on social media platforms, with over 1,400 comments and shares on forums like HardwareZone.
Some critics labelled the matchmaking approach as “money-faced,” accusing the agency of treating the search for love as a financial transaction.
In response to the backlash, Eric Koh, the 64-year-old founder of the matchmaking agency, defended the stringent income requirement. He emphasized that it aims to ensure financial security for the young bride-to-be after marriage.
Koh stated, “I want to make sure guys will not harbour any thoughts that they can easily marry a young girl.”
He further justified the S$4,800 threshold by explaining that it represents the minimum income necessary for someone to support a family as a sole breadwinner.
Unfazed by the criticism, Koh takes his “income requirement” seriously, even going as far as scrutinizing payslips and bank statements of interested men.
He sees himself as the gatekeeper, asserting that those who don’t meet the financial criteria won’t even have the chance to get to know the young bride.
In 2022, Singapore saw a significant rise in the number of marriages among its citizens, with 24,767 recorded, marking a 5.7% increase from the 23,433 in the previous year. This uptick represents the second straight year of growing marriage rates since 2020.
Out of all the marriages in 2022, 33% were between Singaporean citizens and foreign partners, a slight rise from 29% in 2021.
Court records from Singapore reveal that between 2011 and 2015, divorce filings involving a Singaporean and a non-resident or between non-residents increased from approximately 1,015 to 1,314.
Conversely, divorces among Singaporean couples saw a decline. Transnational divorces now make up about one-fifth of all divorces in Singapore.
Notably, migrant women face particular challenges in divorce cases due to their immigration status and the policies affecting them, placing them at a disadvantage in these proceedings.
In its 2020 research paper, Singapore’s leading women’s rights and gender equality advocacy group, AWARE, noted the following: “Quah in her research on the experiences of low-income divorced migrant women in Singapore pointed out that a loophole exists in the marriage and immigration policies, which a Singaporean citizen husband could exploit.”
“During the first three years of marriage (when marital dissolution is generally disallowed), the citizen husband could cancel sponsorship of his migrant wife’s visit pass, leaving the migrant wife with 14-30 days to leave Singapore, then file for divorce when the marriage has reached its three-year mark.”
“With the wife unable to physically be a resident in Singapore beyond the usual 30-day SVP period, she would be entirely excluded and unable to contest any divorce claims, unless she had the ability to retain legal counsel in Singapore to represent her.”
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