The Jakarta Post
Big cities may provide better opportunities for young professionals to find career success, but their personal lives suffer.
Many young professionals struggle to find their soulmate in the city, facing issues like bad traffic and long overtime hours.
Intanika S., a 28-year-old marketing staffer, eventually decided to leave Jakarta to manage her personal life.
'I get a bigger salary with my current job in Jakarta. However, my love life seems stuck,' she said.
Intan said living in Jakarta made it difficult for her to invest enough time to establish a relationship.
'We [she and her future boyfriend] could only meet on the weekends. We would not even be able to meet if he had out-of-town job,' she said.
The traffic in Jakarta also made her reluctant to go out. 'After working all week, I prefer staying in my boarding house and watching DVDs all day,' she said. Intan said her chances of meeting new people in Jakarta were actually better, but there was not enough time to get to know them well enough to decide whether to make the relationship more serious or not.
'Now I live in Bandung. The city doesn't have traffic jams so I can easily hang out with new people,' she said.
While Intanika decided to move out of the city, another career woman, Dhenok Pratiwi, a 25-year-old media relations officer, experimented with online dating to find a new guy.
'I want to meet new people outside my working circle. It is impossible to do that the traditional way,' she said.
Dhenok, who found out about the service from a friend, said although she did not always end up with a new boyfriend, meeting new people gave her fresh experiences.
'We [people from work] end up talking about the same boring topics we deal with in the office,' she said.
Dhenok said she was scared of meeting strangers for the first time.
'I chose a crowded place where CCTV is installed. I asked him to face the CCTV,' she said, chuckling.
The difficulty these young professionals face has cleverly been made into a business opportunity by Singapore-based offline premium dating service Lunch Actually.
Violet Lim, CEO and founder, said during the launch of the service in Jakarta on Thursday that it was estimated 2 million 28-year-old professionals in Indonesia were single.
'Although the trend of being single in Jakarta is not as high as other Southeast Asian cities, like Singapore and Bangkok, the number has jumped and even almost doubled,' she said.
Violet said the main reason career people remained single was because of overtime and demanding work. 'They have no time to get to know each other better,' she said.
Jakarta is the fifth branch of Lunch Actually after Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Penang.
She said her company had been in the dating service for 10 years and had arranged close to 30,000 dates.
A three-year membership starts at Rp 6 million (US$493). 'The member gets three dates, as well as dating and image coaching,' she said.
The procedure is easy. The member comes to the Lunch Actually office in the Sudirman area. 'Our consultant does an in-depth background check and consultation,' she said, adding the consultant would handpick potential date partners.
'We arrange the date, like booking the restaurant, so the members only have to come and enjoy the moment,' she said.