In response to what that NUS girl said:
Frankly, true love is hard to achieve and/or hard to define. I am trying to explain it as a married man’s perspective. In my write-up, I shall focus on materialism and its correlation with finding true love, as in marriage as a philosophical target. I assume that local men and women have the average courtship skill-set. My approach is qualitative, and based on my experiences.
Many of my friends in my age band i.e. 25 to 33 yrs old aren’t married. All are Singaporeans. Why? Of course there are many aspects impacting our local man and women, i.e. The social, political (i.e blaming the government policies), economical, status, race and religion aspects. I will attempt to decipher every aspect of it.
You are an NUS girl, full of potential, grace and perhaps suitors. I don’t know much on your boyfriend’s background so I assume he is of the same status as you, an NUS hunk!
As a student, I don’t think he has the means to get you somewhere high-class as opposed to Sushi Tei and get you something more expensive like a purse or handbag on his own unless he is from a well-to-do family. Frankly, you are right, a card is nothing. He should get you a gift from the gift shop.
The problem with young local men
The well-to-do boys
Let’s talk about a typical well educated local man. “Why are they like that?” you girls might ask.
Those who are well-to-do are gradually increasing and they can’t help it, young men want to show off a bit. Some are immature, they think driving their dad’s car, going to hip places and spending their parent’s money buying LV bags for their girlfriends make them look good. I am not saying all are immature, a few of them are actually born with a silver spoon, and it’s a norm for them to chiong high-end only. NUS girl, you may want to shop in this department instead. Of course, tough luck, competition is very intensive. You may question why are rich boys increasing? Let’s look at the number of rich people in Singapore and the rich-poor gap. Its more defined now as compared to the past.
The poor boy
Okay, now let’s turn to the chronic ‘poor-local-boy’ syndrome. Many are trying to act like rich boys, working part-time, trying to save as much as possible or ripping off from their poor dads etc, so that they can actually do something great or influential like buying a LV wallet for themselves or dress up looking cool or buying gifts for a girl he fancies. There are many other instances and the basis to these actions are to show-off, gain recognition, be part of a group, be someone interesting and showing off to girls.
The aloof and unrealistic!
There are also boys who are thrifty and seek glory elsewhere in gaming, playing sports or just plain stingy. I have two younger brothers in the late teens and early twenties. For my late-teen bro, he is an avid gamer, it will be a few years till he matures and divert attention to girls. As for my early twenties bro, I believe he had matured long time ago due to my bullying and guidance, setting examples on my share of social adventures and failed relationships. I was a poor-local-boy trying hard to peacock my way into a girl’s heart and/or skirt. I must admit, I was a bad example. However, he’s still unattached because he’s short (162cm), not a standout and not very much a peacock(show-off to girls)! I have told him to lower his expectations and look elsewhere, he refused. He prefers to shop local.
“Why? Are you Xenophobic?” I asked.
“Well, since childhood, I’ve only mixed around with local girls, and naturally my dream girl is an average local next-door neighbour!” He replied. “Its not that foreigners are inferior, its just that I have never seen them lest mix around with them at all. How do I know? Bro, you’ve got a Vietnamese wife, beautiful and intelligent, but it took a hell lot of time to understand each other’s traditions, culture as well as the induced habits. You may find it interesting but I just want to find a girl who can click with me and understand me with the ‘local’ mindset without going through the hassles and barriers of cultural differences. I am not seeking interesting or complementing differences. I am just seeking someone similar to me.”
“Goodluck bro! or Fat hope haha, 你为了一批树放弃了整个森林呀!(giving up the whole forest for the few trees)”
Well, many will say, love CANNOT be measured by status, money and flaunting coolness and money again. Young boys being men, it will take time before the mindsets mature, then its a whole new game plan for courtship.
Problems with maturity and independence
Social and Political aspects
You see local men are subjected to a fair bit of limitations and thus criticisms. You see most men live with their parents well to their 30s till he can get his own apartment. You have to applaud the government for that privilege. I have many foreign friends in our age band, most move out of their parents in the late teens (to the boarding school in the city) and move around independently. They start driving at the age of 16 or 18. All my relatives from Malaysia and all my friends from China, Australia, Korea, Bangladesh and even Nepal are independent at a young age. They either have no choice but to move because of work / education or it’s a norm. There are many pros learning to be independent. But bloody hell, you CANNOT expect a SINGAPOREAN SON to move out of the parent’s Choa Chu Kang flat and shift to a $600-700 rental room at Bukit Batok and expect him to be able to study and work at the same time. I can imagine mummy saying “heh son, take MRT to my house and have dinner at home before you take MRT go home ok?” How convenient and yet inconvenient! Its meaningless. Do also note that our education system is a time consuming pressure cooker.
Some say Singapore is small and convenient, you don’t need a car, SMRT and SBS are your best friends. Overseas, country big, no choice, car cheap, drive. Our foreigner friends have the freedom to go places, road trips, adventure, see things, drive their girls around, go romantic places, watch sunset. Whereas in Singapore:
“Dad, can I borrow your car today? I need to move some equipment to Pasir Ris chalet and BBQ there with my friends. I will fetch some of them from here at CCK.”
“Take MRT lah, petrol expensive nowadays.”
“Dad, very heavy lah, the equipment and I also have to fetch my gf there, I agree with her to take your car already.”
“Ok son, here’s the car key and $50, help me fill up the tank before you go ok?”
Usually I would pump $20 and keep $30 for pocket money haha!
So, if you take SMRT and SBS, for the load you are taking and hassles changing stations and stops, it will take about 2 hours to get there from CCK to Pasir Ris, standing. Singapore transport ‘Boleh’ lah !(‘can do’)
Therefore, some girls complain their boyfriend cheapskate, no money but take MRT or buses to gatherings or take her friend’s bf’s car there instead. Si beh lose face sia, my bf. Go home even worse, no bus no MRT, take taxi must share costs.
Where is the room for our local boys to grow? Where is the space for independence? In many countries, the house is BIG!!! Friends can come over and have BBQ and fun at the house. By night, they could drive down to the pubs for beers or the roti prata store for supper. I experienced this in Malaysia, with my relatives. Then again, Singapore is small and expensive, can’t help it.
Conditions for Singles buying a HDB:
My dad will cut in and comment, “heh son, in my days, car is cheap, but I am also poor, so I used the company’s pick-up and drove your mum to East Coast park for a swim, fishing and picnic. Don’t need to spend so much in Orchard road lah”
“Dad, my gf hates the sun, and besides, now East Coast Park, can’t swim, nothing to see and abit dangerous leh, a lot of homeless and foreign workers there, not safe to ton overnight. Shopping is her preference also.”
You see, we have also become daddy’s or mummy’s boy. We regularly communicate with our parents and live off them (the car and living expenses till graduation) throughout our adulthood. They are constantly watching. Can’t help it though, we live together under one roof, they would also nag at us. That’s even after national service. Soldiers revert back to ‘convenient dependency’ when they come back to their comfortable homes, with food prepared, washed laundry and pocket money.
My wife was surprised that I have to seek advice or ask permission when we first bought our HDB. She was also surprised that I regularly inform my parents on major decisions, i.e. jobs or going overseas for holidays or when I am considerably sick. Well, to us it seems normal and respectful, but to them, the foreigners who have years of experience living on their own, we seem a little more dependent on our families for help and advice.
Older, mature men
Well, perhaps they have much more maturity in them. The work and life experiences have already prep them for the future. Its harder to change their mindsets and most know what they want. Money, they have, girlfriends, they know where to find. If you choose them, perhaps you have to get used to them. If they are cheapskate, don’t expect them to change. If they are fat, perhaps they will get fatter in middle age.
Usually by this age, the few good men are harder to catch. They are usually attached, engaged, or if not, may be some don’t believe in marriage or have serious behavioural issues women don’t like.
Men and women: Our irrational expectations
Okay, now you have competition. Statistics show a high level of cross-nationality marriage (Singapore).
Behold, some men think they (foreigners) are prettier, curvy, sexy, demure, all the desired characteristics of the girl they want to marry. Perhaps, they are easier target to attain. Don’t be offended local girls, the trend is there, but if you are pretty, I am sure you won’t face any suitors’ supply shortage. Traditionally, beautiful local women are very desirable by both local and foreign ‘Bobby Tonelli’ types. The statistics apply to women too. Men in general, are visual creatures. You see some local men have stupid and unrealistic expectations; they would go for the better ones and never try for others on the shelves. My brother and some friends are examples, height below 170cm, prefer the challenge of local women but, gear towards long legs, demure, cute types and can still look average. HUH??? Average looks but cute, tall and demure? I have reasons to believe they have watched too much movies with beautiful women or porn.
Besides, where is the space and room for advanced courtships? Like sex? Oh heh pre-martial sex is frowned upon in our society. We should wait till we get married or engaged at the very least.
“I will report you to the police and you shall be charged a rapist ok! Don’t play play ah.” The protective parents will say that to their daughter’s prospective boyfriends.
If the prospective boyfriends are tall ‘handsome’ angmoh, wha some mums would dare to say this to their daughters, “heh girl, very good job leh, don’t marry guys like papa okay? All the best, go out with him and don’t come home tonight!”
Left on the shelves… what happened???
Local men and women left on the shelves face some problems like parents pressuring them to find a boyfriend and get married asap. For men, we have a solution, you can go to a marriage agency to buy a bride. For women, its more complicated, they could depend on dating websites or match-making agencies. The stigma is still there for attending match-making events still at its infancy (compared to western nations). Plastic surgery is an option and gradually accepted in Singapore. However, why would you go for it? “Just to look good and attract my men? NO WAY! My ego doesn’t allow it.”
Then, we discovered some solutions:
Yes, its make-up! The schools don’t teach you that because its social stereotyping and we should leave it to the parents instead. BUT, why do I have to look like them, especially those typical stereotypes to attract men??? NO WAY! IF YOU LOVE ME, LOVE ME FOR WHO I AM, WHAT I LOOK LIKE, LOOKS DON’T LAST, LOVE DOES!
I am sure there is one in a hundred men who don’t go for looks. That’s assuming they are not homosexuals. Even many homosexuals go for looks. All I could say is good luck to you. Good Game!
I couldn’t imagine mums and dads teaching their children these:
“Eh, my son(daughter), dress nicer ah before you go out today, attract more girls (boys) home okay? I let you use my master bedroom!”
“Ok girl, let mummy teach you how to kio (catch/hook up) men, ok? Firstly, make-up like this, dress sexy, go for the kill, test him, play hard to get first but leave some skin for the hook!”
“Boy, your father was once a master pick-up artist, pioneer batch, I shall impart some skills to you. Firstly, Peacock theory, dress to kill, stop talking, let the girl talk, you listen and sympathize, no need to provide solutions. Lastly, move her to another location which both of you can be alone. Don’t ask her where she wants to go, just say, let’s go there. Remember son, take the lead.”
That’s almost impossible, but the following are (from 21 to late 20s):
“eh, girrrl, why you use my lipstick!”
“Why you put so much make-up today, and you dress so little, look so HIAO (overly sexy) for what? And now what time already? Still go out for what?”
“Boy ah, go out for what? Tomorrow you still have school lah, you want to fail exams issit? Fail already don’t bother to come home ah, cut off your pocket money!”
“Boy(girl), what do you see in this girl(boy)? School is more important, there is still time, there is still plenty of opportunities after graduation in the workplace.”
“My dear daughter, you are soooo busy nowadays, hardly get to see you, we are kinda worried about you leh, you know there is much more to life than work. Money not important lah… come take a look at some pictures… you see the details, aerospace engineer leh, or this one, colorectal surgeon! Wha heh this one got potential leh… potential MP grade”
“My dear son, we have brought you up well, you know… its time to repay us…”
“Mum, don’t worry, I give you $1200 per month already not enough meh?”
“Son, noooooo, you’ve misunderstood, I mean its time to have children, we don’t need your money, we still have plenty, but you know we are old already, quite boring and restless, we will die early if we don’t find anything to do. With a grandchild, I am sure I can help you take care, no need to worry! You know ah, all your cousin and nieces are married and have children already… look the grandparents are soooo happy”
“Mum, I don’t even have a girlfriend, besides its not easy to find these days”
“Are you free tomorrow? I bring you to my very good friend’s house, we pay a visit to her daughter ok? Just heard she broke up with her ang moh bf leh, she complain he very 花心(flirt) and prefers local guys now. Don’t worry, she’s your age, ready to settle down.”
Nowadays, our open society is getting more complicated. We have issues like Foreign nationals with the sole target of hooking up with retirees with plenty of CPF monies. Some call it 第二春！(The second coming). The old muddleheaded men would divorce their wives and marry these 乌鸦(crows)！My friend’s parents got caught in it. If my dad goes for it, I would personally castrate him and expose the crow online, offline, everywhere. (just a threat but the latter is true)
Lastly, living in a westernized country like Australia, their society is an eye opener for me. Too promiscuous, freedom of expression and desires hold true. My wife told me most of her angmoh colleagues have marital issues. Its either divorced or separated. Her 53 year old married lady colleague openly told her that she meets another man for sex every Friday or Saturday, no strings attached. Her husband had another girlfriend until he got cancer.
You won’t believe it, 41% of the marriages <10years end up in divorce:
Our country is increasingly being westernized and globalized, some trends are inevitable. Our local cultures and traditions are too weak to withstand such pressures especially when we have mass immigration policies in place for 6.9m population by 2030. Its either we go with it or out of the market. I am sure the single, old and lone elderly will be well taken care of by our government, fingers-crossed.