Singapore is many things - green, clean and safe - but romantic it is not. As a native of Paris, it is the most romantic city (though I concede, Venice comes close). But no matter how you look at it, there is nothing the least bit romantic about strolling down Orchard Road or sipping a drink on Boat Quay. Hard commercialism has long ago stripped the area of any quaint atmosphere that could have been found. Of course, there are few romantic spots for a tete-a-tete: The Cliff or Au Jardin Les Amis, two expensive restaurants. The Botanical Garden is another, if you can avoid the screaming children and the dog walkers. But where are the dimly lit cafes, the shaded tree walks along the river, with plenty of hidden benches to sneak a snuggle and kiss? Why is it that if I want to be romantic, I have to spend money? The Romance Singapore website is full of ideas, but all commercial: bed and bubble room at the Ritz for S$450 ($2,135) or a chocolate spa for S$146. The reality is that you cannot manufacture romance. In Paris, romance is in the air (if I can remember, as it's becoming a distant memory), in the sunlight reflecting on the white buildings, along the River Seine or on a bench in the Jardin des Tuileries. And then there are the men. Singaporean women are regularly being quoted by women's magazines as complaining about the lack of romance of their local soul mates, and some even blame this for the lack of local marriages (mail-order brides are the special of the day) and procreation, dilemmas now gripping the country. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Singaporeans are quite good at exporting what they cannot muster at home. The Banyan Tree with its upmarket luxury boutique hotels owned by Singaporean businessman Ho Kwon Ping is thriving abroad by bringing back the 'romance of travel' - albeit once again at a very high cost. On a much smaller scale - but you never know it could become a big international hit - fragrances created earlier this year by nine students from the School of Chemical and Life Sciences will soon start exporting their product around the world. The Romance Singapore perfumes come in a 'His' (musky) and 'Hers' (floral) scent, retailing at S$49 each, and were initially conceived last Valentine's Day to get Singaporeans back in the mood for love. Whether they are effective remains to be seen, but with more than 18,000 bottles snapped up already, Singapore may be onto a whiff of something romantic.