Choice of marriage partners was made not by the partners themselves, but made by their parents with the help of a marriage go-between. Hence in the past especially in villages, husbands and wives did not meet each other prior to the wedding day. Sometimes, when children are suitable for marriage, their parents will ask matchmaker to help them keep a look out for suitable candidates or the matchmaker themselves will go to those families that have children suitable for marriage, volunteering to matchmake for them. Usually once a marriage is successful, the matchmaker will be paid an angbao as a token of appreciation from both families. Matchmaker is usually a form of living for some individuals. The matchmaker will try to matchmake both families based on their family background and social position.
Matchmaking continues to exist but arranged marriage is now becoming extinct as people have the freedom to pursue their own love and marriage. Their parents will not ask matchmaker to look for suitable candidates.
Also, matchmakers today have evolved into a business concept. They are now operated as a form of agency whereby people interested to look for partners or rather want to enlarge their social circle; they pay some money to become members of the agency which will arrange them to go for some activities.
Due to low birth rate in Singapore, the Ministry of Community development, youth and sports has came up with a scheme known as dating treats! The Dating Treats! are offered by accredited dating agencies and subsidized by the Social Development Network (SDN)These are packages put together by all the dating agencies for singles to try out their services or events. Some of the packages are worth up to HKD$2500 but now are offered to all singles at just HKD$250
Background information for SDN: Social Development Unit was formed in 1984 to promote marriages among graduate singles while Social Development Services (SDS) was set up in 1985 to promote marriages among non-graduate singles. The 2 units were merged on 28 January 2009 to reap economies of scale, enlarge the outreach and provide more opportunities for singles to meet. The unit was renamed Social Development Network(SDN) to forge an extensive network of singles, resources and partners and to create an environment conducive for singles to meet and forge meaningful relationships.