The Singaporean dating culture is flawed in it’s own special kind of way.
The Singaporean Culture and It’s Flaws
I grew up in the heartlands of Singapore, in a traditional Asian culture family. Through the years of roaming around the streets of Singapore heartlands, drinking in the skylines of Singapore. Singapore weird place. It is a traditionally Asian cultured society that is influenced by Westernized culture and values at the same time. It’s kind of getting sandwiched in between. That often results in a clash of values, and beliefs, when it comes to sex, dating, and relationships.
However, this unique experience has given me some insights into how culture, mainstream narratives has influenced me in how I perceive sex, love, and relationships.
Our Culture Blurs the Lines Between Love, Lust, and Sex
I think most Asian parents would look down upon the fact of you bringing a girl home or you bringing a boy home. For some reason, this is seen as “immoral and unethical”. This, ultimately, is a source of sexual shame. Whereas, the truth of the matter is that it’s not immoral or unethical to have sex with someone else when consciously agreed on with both parties.
It’s no surprise that people that has trouble with this has got extremely strict parents.
One of the traditional Asian cultural beliefs is that you have to have a great connection with a girl before you can have sex with her. This is why girls complain that guys only want sex, and why guys complain why girls are needy. In the end, causes a lot of manipulative and nice guy behaviors where you get the male part buying gifts and spending time, effort and attention in hopes at the end of the day receiving sex.
Sex, love, and relationships should all be seen objectively at the end of the day. It does not mean that you want to fuck her, that you love her. Wanting the fuck someone, and a committed relationship are two separate issues. There’s psychological research that shows that we attraction and love is first lust, followed by passion and then followed by commitment.
Ultimately, sex should be pursued if you’re sexually attracted to her, and a long committed relationship should only be pursued if there’s a long-term compatibility in the relationship and NOT because you want to have sex with her.
The Singaporean Dating Culture Ties Economics to Long Term Relationships
One of the cultural nuances of Singapore is that public housing is only purchasing upon marriage or what we call registration of marriage. This can cause a problem, a blog post by MoneySmart.Sg claimed that one of the top reasons Singaporeans cancel their flat purchase is because they break up before collecting their keys.
Note: I’m not here to make a political statement but merely just writing out my observations.
Our country went from a small fishing island to an economic powerhouse in the matter of half a decade and almost everything in the country was engineered and pushed towards economic means and gains. I have nothing wrong with economics, however, when economics and seen as an end to relationships, that’s where people make decisions they are not ready to make, and shit hits the fan.
I’ve heard a foreigners comment that Singaporeans are more interested and worried about public housing instead of the quality of the relationships when it comes to marriage.
The purchase and availability of public housing should not be a determinant of whether or not you should stay in relationship. That’s merely codependent behaviour.
Singaporeans are Not Emotionally Independent Before Getting into Long Term Relationships
It’s also a cultural norm for Singaporeans to stay with their parents till they are married. This is because rent is expensive in Singapore and it’s not a cultural norm for both male and female to look for their own places when they have moved out.
I’m not against staying with your parents, but forward thinking dating coaches and experts have mentioned the psychological benefits of gain independence from your parents.
People from both sexes move away from their parents at the age of 18-21 in Westernized cultures but in Singapore, you’re allowed to stay with Mum and Dad all the way till 35. It’s often stated that the guys who don’t get this part of their lives handled are often still living with Mum and Dad.
Healthy relationships at the end of the day are two independent individual support each other and not two intertwined codependent people ‘needing’ one another. I know, this sounds too laymen in this blog post but I promise I’ll write a longer article backed with research on this one.
Moving out has huge benefits as I’ve always seen an increase in productivity and drive whenever I’m traveling solo in another country and I’m renting out my own place.
The Traditional Metric of Success Is Not Helpful Anymore
Certain cultural narratives, influences, and beliefs that are instilled in us growing up in Singapore are no longer helpful anymore. There’s no particular party to be blamed here, it’s merely an evolution of economics and culture.
It got me thinking about Singapore’s culture in general. The stresses of the Singaporean lifestyle. The half a million dollars public housing that will probably take 20-30 years to pay off. I wasn’t particularly, of the idea of debt. I didn’t like the idea that you had to be in debt for the next 20-30 years in order to get a public housing in Singapore.
It doesn’t make any sense on a philosophical level me.
The money game that’s being played daily, the economic exchanges of them all in Singaporean society. The meaningless pursuit of cash for the sake of survival, for the sake of normality.
Countless reports and cases have stated that Singaporeans are one of the unhappiest people in the world. Our country forefathers have focuses heavily on economic growth for the last 50 years. It’s also researched that Singaporean workers are constantly the highest worked, workers in the world, beating even the industrious South Koreans.
Singapore is also reported to have low fertility rates. Research shows that economic growth in a competitive capitalistic economy is related to this low fertility rate. Because of the metrics of success in a competitive society, especially Singapore’s is a financial success, and people have more disposable income, people are more willing to put off marriages and courtships.
Have we sacrificed the other aspects of life in this mad chase for economics? Have we dug a hole so deep, economically, that we have to constantly pile up on it to keep it going?
I too am not invulnerable to these metrics of successes that society has influenced me. I do measure myself with these ‘metrics of success’. I mean, I did do an accounting degree. However, through writing, reading and sharing these ideas on this blog, it gives me an avenue to generate fulfillment and meaning in life. Perhaps, this entrepreneurial project as a dating coach can be taken to new heights in the future.
Our Obsession with Saving “Face” and What Other People Think of Us
Over the years, starting out as a pick up artist, learning about social dynamics, dating, and relationships, pick up, there’s a common trend that I notice that holds almost everyone else back, including myself.
It’s giving too much of fuck about what other people think about them.
For the people learning how to get better with girls, they are often required approach strangers, make new friends, strike a conversation in midday light or in clubs. However, some hesitate for months, for years and for years and years and more. Most people never get to a competent level in their social habits.
It’s too much for them.
That’s because deep down inside, they are over invested about what people think of them, rather than what they think of themselves. I know this for sure. I did that for years. I hesitated for years. This bled through my work, my academics and my dating life. I had tons of excuses.
Think about it. She’s probably not going to remember you if she doesn’t like you. No one around you is going to take notice that you went up to say Hi to her. Even if they did, they’ll secretly think that you have the balls and courage to hit on her.
Then there’re the parents.
Now, I’m not saying that these issues are limited to men, all Singaporeans have their issues as well. One other thing we all give a fuck too much about is what our parents think of us. Hey, guess what. Your parents had sex and you popped out. It’s your fucking life. Stop thinking about what your Mum and Dad wants you.
I’ve dated girls that are always worried about what Mum and Dad thought of her. This is despite what I tell her: “Hey look, I’m dating you, and I’m not dating your parents.”
In Asian societies it’s common to hear the term: you’re not marrying the girl, you’re marrying the family. I disagree. It’s an old traditional belief that shouldn’t hold true for today’s society, it’s also a form of poor boundaries. The way I see it, you and your partner are going to start a life together, and your lives should be independent of what your parents expect of you. Respect them, nonetheless, b
Then there’s society at large.
Asian societies are known lean towards conservative values. We’re known to give up our needs for the ‘greater good’ of society. It’s the idea of collectivism. That’s also known to be selfless and considered a good moral value.
Altruism and selflessness is can always be debated philosophically to many depths. However, from a philosophical perspective, everyone is inherently selfish. Giving up your needs for the greater good is still selfish to a certain extent. You’re deriving some sort of pleasure from such actions.
Throughout majority, sex was a strictly controlled good, and if you dated up social classes, you might find yourself expected or shot. Living in a modern world where you have the knowledge and freedom sexual partners and relationships is a gift, and something to be grateful for. I mean, thankfully, we’ve got better sex education than we did before, condoms, sex prevention measures and all that good stuff.
Lastly, I’m not saying fuck society, and you should go about the world doing just based on what you want or feel. I’m saying, stop defining your relationships from traditional societal metrics, and start basing your metric of success on values.