MORE people aged 60 and above in Singapore got married last year, with the number double that of 2004 for grooms and brides, while fewer people under 20 years old said "I do" compared with 10 years ago, statistics have shown.
And there were many May-November romances too. Last year, there were 374 bridegrooms aged 60 and above, 129 per cent up from 2004's 163. Among those who tied the knot last year, 151 married women at least 15 years younger than them, according to data from the Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS).
There were four elderly men who married women in their early 20s, reported Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao yesterday. Only 12.6 per cent in the age group married women similar in age.
According to Belinda Yuan, President of Aoxiang Counselling Service, most of last year's elderly bridegrooms were divorcees or widowers looking for their "second spring".
"Most of them wedded women from China and Vietnam, who were eager to acquire residency here through marriage," Ms Yuan told Zaobao, adding that the men seeking young brides do not see themselves as old and are still keen to pursue love.
Leng Chin Fai, director of Fei Yue Community Service, said people now no longer look askance at re-marriage involving elderly as social values have changed.
"Instead they are happy for them as they have found someone as their partner in their old age," added Mr Leng.
Agreeing, Pauline Straughan, a sociologist from the National University of Singapore, told Zaobao that divorcees now are generally optimistic about married life, undeterred by their prior experience.
The DOS figures also show there were 5,036 women last year who married men younger than them - among them one above 60 years old whose husband was in his early 30s.
There were 68 brides aged 60 and above last year, compared with 34 in 2004.
Meanwhile, much fewer teenagers tied the knot last year than in 2004, down by about 78 per cent from 135 to 30. Also, marriages involving the age group 20 to 24 decreased by about 55 per cent, from 1,374 to 621.
Ms Yuan believes the non-interference policy of modern-age parents - even if a daughter is pregnant or has been co-habiting with her boyfriend - plays a part in the downtrend.
According to Mr Leng, young couples also want to have stable jobs and a house before they get married.
Source: My Paper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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