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Singapore's cupid taps mobile trend

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's government-run dating service has decided to tap into the island nation's love affair with mobile text messaging, in the hope more young people will tap out those three little words: "I luv u".

Members of Singapore's Social Development Unit, the country's officially sanctioned cupid, will be able to send 40 free messages over their mobile phones to eligible professionals.

A computer will match the singles after analyzing members' age, occupation and gender, the Straits Times daily newspaper reports.

The Singapore government -- worried about low population growth --encourages women to get married and have more babies by offering tax breaks.

The SDU acts as an official dating agency that organizes parties and other activities for educated single people, Associated Press reports.

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"The women will be at least two years younger than the men and preferably in different professions," Sam Soon Mee, manager of Premier Club which organizes events for the dating service, was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

To play the game, members first register with a nickname.

They then "chat" using text, or SMS, messages with three other members of the opposite sex.

The next day the dating agency gets all the members together and their identities are revealed.

"We wanted to make it fun and contemporary, and also relevant to the lifestyle needs of SDU members," Sam said.

The SDU, which works tirelessly to promote state-approved romance in the island nation of 4 million, has used a number of unusual methods in the past to break the ice and ultimately get Singaporeans to have more children.

Beyond choreographed outings for shy singles, the official body introduced "speed dating" in April where members get just seven minutes to see whether love is in the air.


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