Registration was from 6-6:30pm, so of course I arrived at 6:30pm. The party was held on the front lawn on the ground floor, an open area that was encircled by a simple white chain. There was huge MINI backdrop at the front and two tables with finger food and alcoholic drinks to the rear. There were also some small tables for standing and milling around.
By the time I arrived, the proceedings had already begun. At the registration table, I got my goodie bag, which consisted of a few vouchers for spas and beauty treatments, then entered the lawn area.
Since I had gone alone, I wasn't sure of what to expect and had actually decided that if I wasn't having fun, then I'd just leave early. When the MC finished with her round of quizzes, we were invited to partake of the food and drink. I helped myself to some of the finger foods and took a cup of grape juice + vodka + apple bits. I should've gone for the orange + vodka a.k.a. screwdriver.
A lady saw my drink and asked me what it was. That question led to my joining her and her friend at a table. A few others joined us and soon I was talking for a long time with some of the women there. Two Japanese ladies also joined us, and soon they were lost in a Japanese conversation with the first lady.
The basic questions that we asked were: "Is this your first time at such an event?" and "How did you find out about this event?" The most common answers were, respectively, "Yes" and "Through an email". I later pieced together that this was organized by the Social Development Unit (i.e. the Singapore government's dating agency) and omy.sg was one of the partners. MINI was a sponsor, in conjunction with the ongoing F1 race.
While I was chatting with someone, Violet Lim of Lunch Actually took the mic and gave some tips on how to break the ice on a first date. She made everyone take part by making us ask one another "What is your dream job?" That question was supposed to spur us to be creative and get to impress the other person. But in the end, we mostly went back to familiar topics of conversation, like current job and music taste and "What would you be doing now if you weren't here?"
Later, six couples who had been preselected to go on dates were brought up on stage to find out which couple had learned the most about each other. However, by then, almost everyone in the audience was more interested in socializing. So I don't know what questions the couples were quizzed about nor who won.
Around 8pm, the party had ended. There was going to be a live screening of the F1, but there was hardly anybody left. Some of us who stayed a bit longer continued to meet and talk with the others, with some contacts being exchanged. This being the 21st century, I collected Facebook contacts rather than the usual phone numbers!
Generally, this party was badly organized. There were a lot of things to complain about. Firstly, there was the food, or rather, the lack of it. We were promised "free flow of food and drinks". But for an event that was held at dinner time and serving alcoholic drinks, the food was simply not substantial. I had to grab something to eat later, otherwise I'd be starving through the night.
The other letdown was the MINI sponsorship. We were only treated to a static backdrop with a picture of a MINI car. There was no actual MINI to be seen anywhere. And the contest prizes were for things other than MINI-related items. (T-shirts had been given away earlier, but I don't know if these were MINI-branded.)
And then there was the lack of any real ice-breakers, except for Violet Lim's challenge to us. This being a singles party, where almost everyone was a stranger, it would have been good to have some kind of simple organized activities.
Fortunately, there were people who were more adept at socializing among the participants, and they were able to get the reserved ones, like me, out of our shells. So kudos to those participants, but zero points to the organizers.
By the time I left, a few of us were talking about a movie outing. So I guess something potentially good came out of it.
And yes, I've added a few new Facebook friends too.