Chinese New Year Survival Guide for Singles

Hi guys, I’ve been invited as a weekly blogger/columnist for my friend’s dating app Love Out Loud Asia, check them out. This is my second post and you can read it here as well. 

Chinese New Year is in the air (literally, being played in supermarkets and shopping malls) and I can practically smell the bah kwa already. Before you start to dread the inevitable “when are you getting a boyfriend/girlfriend/getting married/having kids” questions, here’s a guide to question sidestepping and ban-luck huating during this festive period(results may vary):

Auntie Interrogation 101

I used to wonder if every year, just before Chinese New Year, aunties would hold secret gatherings around Sheng Siong supermarkets to exchange ideas on ways to grill the “youngsters” with awkward, unanswerable questions in exchange for an angbao. Then, I realised the questions are pretty much standard. In fact, so are the answers:

  • “Got boyfriend/girlfriend already?”
    • “Waiting for you to introduce to me.”
    • “I’m dating someone already, but don’t tell my mom!” Proceed to fantasize with the auntie.
    • “Actually, I’m gay/lesbian…….Just kidding!” (This one’s my favourite, simply because aunties are so homophobic.)
  • “When getting married?”
    • “When you sponsor my wedding lor”
    • “Waiting for baby first, nowadays fashion to shotgun wedding!”
  • “When is the baby coming?”
    • “When you volunteer to babysit. You know childcare costs nowadays…”
    • “I don’t know auntie, the sex is really too good to give up.”

Side note: It is strongly advisable to collect your red packet before using these responses.

Photo credit: The New Paper

Photo credit: The New Paper

You are now entering a Fat-for-Free zone

With once-in-a-year snacks lying around the house, it’s so difficult to resist munching on just one. It always starts with one. Before you let yourself go on those devilish little things, here’s a friendly calorie reminder:

Snack (Portion size) – Calories
Peanut Crackers (3 rolls) – 418
Bak Kwa pork (1 slice) – 370
Pineapple Tarts (3 pieces) – 246
Kueh Lapis (1 slice) – 240
Love Letters (3 rolls) – 168
Yusheng (1 serving) – 145
Roasted nuts salted (1 handful) – 123

Jogging, 2.2m/s, 30 minutes, 60kg person = 200 calories. FYI, jogging at 2.2m/s gets you 18minutes on a 2.4km run. Go figure. (As in, there goes your figure.)

D-Day (or Day 1-15)

To Wear

Being finally able to wear that shirt/dress you’ve been saving since Christmas is another Chinese New Year highlight. Pro-tip: save your better pieces when you’re meeting new people. Your cousins have probably already seen the most unglam side of you.

To Bring

Besides the pair of mandarin oranges and mahjong investment capital, some might forget to bring an ample supply of name cards. Here in Singapore, it’s pretty full-on if a guy asks a lady’s number  a few hours after meeting her, so name cards are a good grey area to play around in. And throw him a lifeline, ladies; give him your name card if you think you might be interested.

Credit: David Coppini

Credit: David Coppini

To Do/Talk

  • Always offer to help the host with serving or cleaning up. A little goes a long way in improving impressions.
  • Be up-to-date with the latest happenings (i.e. Bangkok protests, Li Na and Wawrinka, Woodlands Checkpoint fiasco, Stephanie Koh, Juan Mata)
  • Go easy on the alcohol. The last thing you want to do is get drunk at your friends’ place.
  • Leave your thoughts on Anton Casey at the door.

That’s it for me this Snake Year. <insert generic, boring and narcissistic post about how this year had a lot of ups and downs (no shit, really?!) and hope that the new year will treat you better>

Have a good one, boys and girls.

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Top 10 Lies Singaporean Men Tell Their Women

Hi guys, I’ve been invited as a weekly blogger/columnist for my friend’s dating app Love Out Loud Asia, check them out. This is my inaugural post and you can read it here as well.

1. I’m on the way, but I’m stuck in a MRT delay/massive jam.

This is the male equivalent of the classic “5 more minutes” line. It’s so much easier to blame factors we aren’t in control of, and this excuse gets overused more often than not. Chances were, he lost track of time on his DoTA/FIFA game and left the house at 6.45pm for a 7pm date.

Obviously the best hero in DoTA.

Obviously the best hero in DoTA.

2. Looks aren’t important

Men are visual creatures; we like what we see. Except for that rare, select few of men, most of us are firstly attracted to the looks. Then the character assessment and chemistry might come later. But it’s primarily looks. Besides, it’s nice to have a trophy around the arm.

3. I’m working OT tonight

Another “oh-I-can’t-help-it” lie. This one’s really convenient to use though; there isn’t a set time for him to finish his work (when is work really ever finished anyway?), he has free play on whatever time he wants to end and he doesn’t have to answer any calls or reply any texts. Don’t fret ladies, maybe he’s really working overtime to buy that nice engagement ring?

4. Meeting a “friend”

When he says “I’m meeting a friend” without mentioning the friend’s name or whereabouts, you know something is up. Normally he would say “I’m meeting Jason later” or “I’m catching up with my army buddies”. So what’s with the minimalist approach this time? Although technically it’s not a lie; friends with benefits are friends too, right?

5. No, you don’t look fat in that.

Let’s be realistic: Before both of you started dating, y’all were working your asses off at the gym. So on behalf of the Singaporean male population, allow me to say it: “Yes you look fat in that dress, that’s because you’ve gained weight”. Please don’t kill the messenger.

6. I love you

Guys will say anything to get into your pants ladies. Men don’t take the word love as seriously as women. A lot of us use the word “love” loosely, some of us say it in a moment of flurry, only to regret the commitment later. Pro-tip: Don’t take the first “I love you” too seriously.

7. I’m just friends with her, I practically treat her like a sister.

Really? It’s funny, because I never had a crush on my sister, or brought her out on a romantic date before. It is pretty rare for guys to have close platonic friendships with the opposite sex without initial attraction first. He also wants to avoid all the unnecessary questions about her, so he simply uses a “sister” label.

8. I was in Commandos/Guards/<insert Combat Unit> during National Service, but got injured so I ended up being a clerk.

There’s nothing more important to a man than his pride (or ego). Very few men will openly admit to feigning injury, a.k.a. “chao keng” for an easier life during the NS period. Obviously a man wants to give his woman a sense of physical security and protection, so it’s always convenient to get “injured” in the line of duty for your country. Ah, so patriotic.

9. Nah, that girl’s not that pretty.

This is one of the good lies, or “calamity-avoidance” lies. You’re talking to him about a mutual friend or are with him when both of you see an attractive woman. If the girlfriend asks if he thinks that friend or woman is pretty, there is only one right answer.

10. Oh sorry, I didn’t check my phone/Whatsapp lagged.

When you’re with him, he’s on his phone ALL. THE. TIME. But surprisingly when he’s out drinking with his mates, he forgets to check his phone? Well if it really urgent, I’m sure he can pick up your call. But in the meantime, like most people, he would check his notifications drag down box on his phone to avoid being “online” or “last seen” on Whatsapp.

Before I end this topic, I like to give this humble bit of advice to any lady who is starting to suspect your man:

Action speaks louder than words. Don’t fall prey to his words so easily. See that he really follows up on his words. That way, you can separate the good eggs from the bad ones.

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More courtship advice for the boys.

Guys, one piece of advice on courtship: Never, ever brag. Never say how good you are at something. There isn’t a single valid scenario for you to brag. You think it’s charming, making the girl all excited about how much you can bench. (DO YOU EVEN LIFT, BRAH?) No, you just made yourself sound like a jerk/douchebag.

The reason I’m saying this is because I just spoke to one of my female friends about how she went on a date but it felt like a one-way lesson about some guy’s achievements. Have you ever heard any of your female friends tell you: “Hey I’m falling for this guy because he is a DJ/can bench 1.5x his weight/am one of the best drivers I know/could’ve represented my country in *insert douche sport here*.”

Water Polo: Biggest amount of douche in a single sport

Water Polo: Biggest amount of douche in a single sport

There’s a fine line between confidence and bragging. It’s always better for the lady to ask you what you did as a sport during your school days or see how you drive rather than telling her outright, without reasons. Even if you played against Roger Federer in the quarter finals of the Wimbledon, play down your achievements. Correct me if I’m wrong ladies, but women like a humble guy who always aims to improve himself.

Tip: Say: “I’m really passionate about *sport/hobby/activity you’re good at* and play it quite often.” So even if you really suck at it (LOL I love playing soccer and snooker, but I’m so bad at it, I promise), if the lucky lady gets to see you in action, the expectations are already pretty low, hence your performances will certainly impress.

Ultimately, one of the qualities ladies look for in their man is making them feel comfortable, not a man of achievements. It’ll serve you well to remember that piece of advice.

Guys, Time is your friend, not your enemy. Part 2 of 2.

Read Part 1 here.

Let’s start things off with another theory of mine: Ladies hold their “value” in importance; meaning to say that if some guy whom they just met a week ago were to ask her out, and she says yes, instantaneously her perceived “value” would drop. Which makes sense: He didn’t really have to work extremely hard, thus not appreciating her as much.

What does this mean to the Men? Take. It. Slow. Society dictates that the Ladies get courted by Men, and they get that a lot. They enjoy choices, and deservingly so, as the fairer of the sexes. Why am I saying all this? Don’t get discouraged when she rejects you / doesn’t show interest early in the friendship. She’s looking out for her own value as well, that’s why playing “hard-to-get” is logical for her. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

If you ask me, the “optimal” period between first knowing her and asking her out on a date is 2 months, give or take two weeks. It’s the time when you’ve known her enough for her to feel comfortable going out on a date with you, and also not too long that you might run the risk of being “friendzoned“.

I’ve heard of many success relationship stories from my female friends, and a lot of them start with: “Oh when we just met, he got my number from my friend/added me on Facebook and started texting me about non-romantic/useless/无聊 things for 1-2 months before asking me out.” It works, my fellow brothers. Now go forth my children, make me proud.

One last thing I want to leave you with, which is a term I coined myself: Relationship foreplay (yeah, cover your kids’ ears). I’m going to go all 50 Shades of Grey now so you can skip to the next paragraph if you’re not into that kinda thing. Getting into a relationship is kind of like sex, the better the foreplay, the greater the actual sex. If you dive into it too early, there isn’t any build-up and the sex would be mediocre. But if you take too long, the mood might be long gone.

The message: Enjoy the courtship; don’t think of the relationship as the destination. It’s the journey that counts.

Guys, Time is your friend, not your enemy. Part 1 of 2.

In relation to a previous post about how people, especially males, jump into courtship and love, I was thinking about how to counter this “issue”. It seems every time some guy is interested in a girl, there seems to be some time limit or something. Which I can’t disagree with completely. There are other guys in the field as well. And most good girls wouldn’t stay single for long.

Contrary to that, I have a theory: The longer the courtship process, the higher the chance of success (the rhyme was purely by delightful accident), limited to 5-6 months.  So generally speaking, you’d have a much higher chance of scoring a date with a lady whom you’ve been texting or talking to for 3 months rather than someone you just met a week ago. However, don’t take too long. She’ll think you’re just a commitment-phobe.

This is how the male brain is wired: If he sees something or someone he likes, the first thing to do is to try to obtain it. That’s how we are. We are the more straight-thinking gender. Whereas the females like to ease into new things/people. Which I totally understand because guys have been too rash at times.

So, how can Time help you?

  • First of all, by giving yourself more time to court the girl, you can spread out your strategies and tactics; much better than putting all your cards out on the table in 2 weeks (happened to me before, and you can guess how long that lasted).
  • Second, all the pressure is off! If she belongs to you, she belongs to you. If she chose some douchebag over you (happens all the time bro, you’re not alone), means she wasn’t really into you, meaning she ain’t worth it! Find someone who will appreciate you for who you are!
  • Next, the whole progressive style will “pressurise” the lucky lady to eventually say yes. Remember: The word is PROGRESSIVE, not tell her you like her from Day 1, only to fail then proceeding to progressive. Too late bro.
  • Also, the “cultivating” method will make her feel more comfortable with you over time, which believe me, is very very important.
  • Lastly and most importantly, it’s a test for you. How do you know it’s not another of your crushes/rash tendencies 2 weeks in? We all know how rosy the first month of courtship can be, only to slice and dice in 3 months.

Anyway, stay tuned for Part 2! Coming to a blog near you!

Disclaimer: Obviously this is not a fit-all solution to all courtships. I’m not sure how white/black/Hispanic/Indian/European/Japanese/Korean/Taiwanese/etc. courtships work. I’m speaking purely from a Chinese Singaporean male’s perspective. And for all you lucky guys who didn’t have to wait as long as I did, shame on you.

You love me? That’s fast.

After a long hiatus (yeah right, I was just being downright lazy), I have decided to pick up the pen (or mental courage) to blog again. This time though, it won’t be about pretentious investment bullshit cos I ain’t tryin’ to impress nobody no mo. Nope, let’s jump into LURRRVVEEE.

I was thinking about Love recently, being single for almost 3 months now. Having 3 ex-girlfriends that I thought was “The One”, obviously I’m more aware of my lack of self-awareness. Do I jump into the notion of everlasting love too quickly? Of course. This may be attributable to the fact that I’m a) a male and/or b) born in the Year of the Tiger. (let me hear y’all 86ers!) Let’s look at the banana first.

We live in a society dictating that it is the social norm for males to chase the females for companionship and sex. However, I really think it’s down to the basic, animal instincts. Males even fight against each other to mate with the female. (If you think about it, human males still are. Just in a very subtle way.) Which brings me back to a) being a male. It’s just us. We are biologically engineered to take the first step. To ask for some attractive female’s number anywhere. To flirt. And to some extent, jump into love. Which brings me to b).

We Tigers are an impatient, rash bunch. We jump into just about everything. When we start a new hobby, it’s like we were born to do it and starting developing a long, un-awakened passion for something we picked up 5 minutes ago. This lasts for about 1-3 months. When we meet new friends, we’re practically the cast of “Friends” and are going to be BFFs. That lasts for about the length of whichever school you were in or job. And lastly, when we get into a new relationship, we start thinking about baby names before we even learn how to use condoms.

These notions got me thinking: So how do we know if it’s real love? My answer to it is: You don’t. You just don’t know. But do you HAVE to know? Of course not. It’s love. If you can explain why you love someone, you’re just loving him/her for those reasons. You’re not supposed to explain love. When it happens, it happens.

Do you have to label yourself as “loving someone”? You don’t. You jump. Sometimes you fall. In fact, you fall most of the time. Think about just how many times you thought you knew “The One” before you finally settled on the real “The One”? And what makes you so sure that that person is “The One”? Because he can provide financial stability? Because he can make you laugh? Because she’s as pretty as she was the first time you saw her? Because she has a good family background? I sincerely hope your answer was: “Nope. I just love him/her.”

The reason why I’m talking about this is because I want people (listen up, ladies) to realise that love happens without reason or timing. Yeah sure, there’s the other school of thought where love can be nurtured (爱是可以培育). And I don’t disagree. But allow yourself to fall in love. Even if the timing is bad. Even if he/she is too different. Even if it doesn’t make sense. Cos it’s doesn’t have to.

Love trumps logic. Or else your life is just going to be the biggest game of Sudoku.