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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Confessions of a Singaporean.

It’s National Day, the time of the year to be proudly Singaporean. But have you ever (or, do you) wanted to leave Singapore for good? Go to another country where there isn’t so much stress and lower cost of living etc.

Well, I have a confession to make on National Day: I wasn’t always so patriotic as I am now. Hell, I actually managed to get an Australian PR. So why I am still here in sunny Singapore? Here’s my story:

Like many of you, I grew up reciting the Pledge and National Anthem every morning in school. I took National Education and Social Studies subjects and began to appreciate Racial Harmony at a young age, seeing a melting pot of cultures converge every year on February 15th.

Photo credit: Marsiling Secondary School

Photo credit: Marsiling Secondary School

You could say I was a success of the government’s education policies (or brain-washing propaganda, as some of you narrow-minded folks may call it), swelling with pride every year on National Day or in the company of overseas visitors.

Up until I started having Physics Tuition at Sec 3.

Every week, aside from teaching Physics of course, my Physics tutor would complain about the government’s rulings and methods. Now, I’m not a very big fan of going to jail for blogging, so I’ll stop here. But suffice to say, my tutor showed me the other side of the coin.

Soon, I began to see his argument with high COEs, ERP, tight media policies etc. The anti-PAP sentiment was exacerbated by compulsory National Service, two years of my glorious youth, shoved into a obscure location in Singapore, learning skills of (hopefully) zero practicality.

So when I was given the choice to go to Australia for university after army, I left Singapore without a second thought. I fell in love of Melbourne within my first year. The weather, the friendly people, the brunches and cafes, the lifestyle. What’s not to love?

My absolute favourite brunch place in Melbourne, MART130.

My absolute favourite brunch place in Melbourne, MART130.

Given my accounting major at university, I applied for and was granted my Australia Permanent Residency after graduation. I found an admin job at Commonwealth Bank (one of the Big 4 banks in Australia), where I thought I could kickstart my career. Even bought myself a AUD20,000 Toyota Corolla. I was finally doing it, leaving Singapore for good.

But soon, cracks were appearing.

If I went back to Singapore, I could save money on the rent (but lose out on the freedom, hi Pa and Ma, I know you read my blog). I could be surrounded by  friends and family again, speak in my fluent Singlish, walk the streets at night not having to look over my shoulder, have an equal footing in the corporate world, my peak hour trains would arrive once every 3 minutes, pay 3.5% tax for $3k/mth, and the best of all, I could have my chicken rice. And ba chor mee. And nasi lemak. And char kway teow. And ba kut teh. And Teochew steamed fish. And roti prata. And laksa. And claypot rice.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

What I’m trying to say is, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s true: You don’t know what you’ve got, until it’s gone. I left Singapore, not knowing how much I took it for granted. Now that I’m back, there’re so many small things that I appreciate now. I’ve been on the other side, and not every country is a bed of roses, Singapore included.

The irony is that being away made me realise what home really means to me.

Happy Birthday, Singapore.

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The negativity of it all.

We Singaporeans are an unhappy lot.

No, it was not the Gallup survey that jolted me to write this post; I am not one to believe in labels. A partial yes to because I listen to my family’s, friends’ and fellow Singaporeans complaints on a daily basis.

I was inspired after seeing how a blog post complaining about Singaporeans complaining was the most shared-about link on Facebook during the recent haze situation (read: “Dumb and Dumber Singaporeans Reactions to the Haze“). I want to believe the author’s good intention was to hold a self-reflecting mirror against the ugly side of Singaporeans, but I fear he/she was just ranting against the ranters. Just look at his/her choice for a title.

Photo credit: 9GAG Singapore

Photo credit: 9GAG Singapore

Are we really unhappy? Sure, we complain a lot. But I think everyone needs a stress outlet. An emotional unload is much better than plotting someone’s death. But are we complaining too much?

I read an article in The Straits Times many years ago on the complain culture in Singapore. The author theorises that it is the deeply ingrained Asian teaching of humility that causes us to complain so much. Makes a bit of sense: You’re better off showing your shortcomings than flaunting your achievements… right?

If your company finally recognises the hard work you put in with a fat 10-month bonus, you’d hardly be taking a photo of your bank statement and sharing it on Facebook. What if the reverse were to happen? Coming in on hard times, your company decides to cut your salary by 10%. Your reaction? I’m sure the world will be the first to know, for at least a week.

But what does all of this unconsciously do to you? You guessed it: you’ll undoubtedly be miserable. All you’re exuding is unhappiness, I can’t see how you can be happy. You are what you speak. Somehow, humility can be a double edged sword.

Grumpy Cat.

Here’s my theory: A large number of Singaporeans react more strongly to bad news than to good news. Watch:

  • COE prices hit record highs: National uproar.
  • COE prices experience sharp declines across the board: *no reaction*
  • ERP raises by prices by $1: A death curse to the gahmen every time you hear the beep.
  • ERP slashes rates during school holidays: *no reaction*
  • Boss comments on your mistakes: Your boss doesn’t know anything and doesn’t deserve to be where he/she is.
  • Boss compliments your work: *no reaction*
  • Someone cuts you in traffic: Every fiber in your body wants to cut him back.
  • Someone gives way for you to cut him: *no reaction*

True story right?

So here’s my proposal: Reverse that. Over-react when something good happens; shouldn’t you be doing that? Good news doesn’t come by as often as anyone wants.

Bad news? Well, you could a) cast it aside and focus on the better things in your life, or b) try to make the best of a bad situation and learn from it. It’s a win-win situation, I’m telling you.

Examples you say?

The recent haze situation made me fall ill, but I didn’t go blaming neighbours and being miserable. Instead, I reveled in 9GAG Singapore‘s reliably good antics on the haze, proposed for friends to crash over at my place to watch Game 7 of the NBA Finals (every cloud has a silver lining) if gahmen were to issue a stop work order and warmed my heart when I saw this video.

COE prices went up? Good, take some of that saved up money to go to the Maldives. MRT delayed? Good, more time to complete level 4,830 on Candy Crush. Phone ran out of juice? Good, your boss can’t contact you for a valid reason.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Also, never forget the everyday, small things in life that make YOU happy. Your mom cooking your favourite dishes. Having a drink or two with your friends. Watching your favourite team win. Being able to listen to your favourite music. The trains arriving every 2 minutes. That cute guy/girl checking you out more than once. Being able to have all these at your doorstep: Ba Chor Mee/Ba Kut Teh/Chicken Rice/Char Kway Teow/Roti Prata/Nasi Lemak. A round of DoTA. A KTV session. Sunday brunch. An episode of The Noose. Saturday badminton sessions. A good glass of wine in good company. I could go on forever.

You will only have a bad day if you let it.

Happiness is a choice. Choose happy.

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The Rise Of The Well-Dressed Singapore Man

Call it bias or tunnel vision, but I’m in the opinion that a fashionably dressed man will leave a better impression than a lady with good fashion sense, at least in Singapore. This is unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re a man into Darwinism) due to the severe disregard of fashion among the male population in the land of the Merlion, as compared to their lovely counterparts.

I’d like to take this opportunity to raise my imaginary Lychee martini glass to all the Office Ladies (OLs) in Singapore. On behalf of all the men having lunch at Raffles Place, I would like to thank you for making the world a better and more beautiful place with your dresses and pencil skirts. I’d thank all of you personally, but you know what Singaporean women are like. Rejecting men in clubs is the national pastime here.

And let’s not forget the short shorts (nope, it’s not a typo) that is so prevalent everywhere as well. Now, that’s one thing we can be thankful of the weather here for.

Turning our attention back to my fellow brethen, I can almost peer into all your minds now: an image of the proverbial Singapore man, wearing an A|X T-shirt (loosely, I must add), decked out in loose cargo shorts and fitted with Tat Seng slippers.

No? Not the man you’re thinking of? How about the man wearing a polo shirt which might date back to when Sir Stamford Raffles first landed in Temasek, combined with the typical loose pair of jeans with <nsfw, viewer discretion advised> a pair of CROCS. (Ugh, the horrors).


Not until recently.

You can start to tell, that a culture has been slowly, but surely, seeping into the hearts and minds of the guys here. Call it a vanity complex, if you wish. It started innocently with a prevalence of male colognes. Then, it was the increased attention on men’s skincare.

That was just the tip of the vanity iceberg.

Shorts and pants were getting tapered, shirts are hugging more bodies and men were exchanging tailor contacts. You can count more loafers and skinny jeans worn at Orchard Road than Filipinos at Lucky Plaza on a Sunday afternoon. Did you notice the rising trend of “hitting the gym”? And the results are showing. I used to quite the beast at Yio Chu Kang gym, now I am but an average guy amongst protein-guzzling nineteen year olds.

Photo credit: image was shared on the most male oriented website in Singapore, barring the dirty ones. Heh.

Photo credit:
This image was promoted on the most male-oriented website in Singapore, barring the dirty ones. Heh.

So now lads, it’s a sink-or-swim situation all of us are facing. No one’s going to put a gun to your head and threaten that you dress properly, but I urge that you hear me out.

Why every man should dress well:

  1. Boosting your self-confidence, which helps you in every aspect of your life. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, then who will?
  2. There’s no need to explain if you’re single. If you’re attached/married, what better feeling than to make your woman feel insecure cos you’re so handsomely groomed? Perfect payback for the times she went clubbing and told you “she’s just going with her girlfriends.” HA!
  3. Bumping into those obscure “hi-bye” friends and leaving them with a good impression.
  4. Instead of “How come no girlfriend?”, the aunties will be saying, “How come so handsome no girlfriend?”
  5. Motivation to lose weight/sculpturing your body to look great into those mustard shorts and short sleeve shirts.
  6. The biggest reason is your career. Want to get an edge at work? Dress smartly. No upper management wants to see a slob at a managerial position. Your clients will treat you with slightly more respect and so will your colleagues. As superficial as this may sound, your image may affect your perceived performance at work.

If I’ve managed to motivate some of you, it’s only right that I leave some tips to get you started. Now I’m aware I’m no fashionista myself (as some of my friends can attest to) but I make the conscious effort to always try to look better.

Unfortunately, I’ve exceeded my word count (and need for a social life, I have friends you know) for this post. Stay tuned for my next blog post on “Fashion Tips for Men“.

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An open letter to my fellow “80s kids”

To all my Power Ranger/Doraemon(links to the original theme songs!) friends,

It’s not very often I blog about a current affair (LOL it took me a year to post about the SMRT breakdowns), about as often as Arsenal wins a trophy. The reason being that I take numerous pains in my writing; a multitude of sweat, time, quality checks, blood, humour, spelling checks, tags, hairs, tears, expectations and links, all culminating into a single post for your enjoyment. (Speaking of which, please click on all my links, they’re funny/cute).

But, I digress.

Apparently, it was yesterday’s news (pun intended) that the government plans for our population to hit 6.9 million in 2030. This piece of news was unsurprisingly met with complaints about the gahmen, twitter hashtag jokes and tasteless humour from SGAG. (While I find the picture below from SGAG slightly offensive, I have to say some of their jokes really hit the spot). And like adding Rainbow Rice topping on your Häagen-Dazs Cookies & Cream scoop, they had to piss more people off (or piss people off more, depending on how you look at it) by saying citizens will only take up half the population.

Photo Credits: 9GAG Singapore

My personal take, however, echoes most public sentiment: Do we have the infrastructure capable of housing and moving 6.9 million people? Anyway, the gaping void in the workforce left by our “baby boomers” in 2030 needs replacing; and since our total fertility rate (TFR) of 1.2 is way below the replacement rate of 2.1, “foreign talent” would need to be roped in to support our rickety old aging population. (By the way, I don’t love or hate foreigners /endbacksidecoveringdisclaimer).

Hold on a second: I didn’t bring you all the way here to talk about boring political/infrastructure issues (I’ll leave that to bloggers who actually want to go to jail).

Realise that just 10 days ago, our “beloved” government announced the enhanced “Baby Bonus” scheme (which ashamedly kicked my fatherly instincts into life), much to the…. complaints that $6,000 cash is not enough, blah blah complain complain from most of my friends. Sigh, NOTHING pleases you guys right?

But there’s some Inception-esque stuff going on here:

“Hey, you know that if every marry-able Singaporean were to get married and have 3 kids, then we don’t need to get foreigners to come in! Here’s $8,000 for your 3rd and 4th child each, plus HDB priority if you have a child. Read: Go back babies first, leave your money housing issues to us.”

And so, the impetus is on us! I did a simple calculation. Say you were born in 1985, you’d be 28 this year. C’mon, stop being picky. Alternatively, you could get some really solid dating advice. Find a nice partner, have a kid by next year, and he/she will be ready to join the workforce in 2030! Poof! Problem solved. So now ALL of you  stop complaining about the dilution of Singapore citizens and *literally* DO something about it.

So my fellow 80s kids: Go forth and multiply. Stand up for Singapore, do the best you can. Reach out for your fellow man.

Here’s a treat for you local boys to get the hormones raging: Two (hot?) Singaporean girls with the most natural acting ever on YouTube applying things on each other:

Yours truly,

Bryan Xie

P.S. There’s a reason why it’s 6.9 million. 😉

P.P.S. I am aware this post isn’t really in the format of an open letter, but I always thought it was a cool opening. LOL.

What we can learn from the 2012 US Elections

Allow me to be upfront: I don’t really follow US Elections to a tee. Basically, all I knew for this year is that Democrat Obama was campaigning for his second 4-year term as POTUS and was up against Republican Mitt Romney.

So, news got out this early afternoon confirming Obama’s victory. I was following some of the reactions from my Facebook News Feed (I know, most reliable source EVER) throughout the day without much fanfare.

One thing really stuck though. Obama’s Victory Speech. If you have the time, please watch it. Obama is a great speaker, one of the best in our time. You may never do public speeches in your life, but there’s much you can learn, young padawan. His posture, how he pauses at the right times, his tone of confidence, the smoothness of his transitions, the progressive style and culmination of his speech, the genuine feel of his strong ambitions, how he can motivate, instill pride and show leadership, his well articulated vision and the one that really stuck to me: his idea of a citizen and his/her role in a democracy.

Image source: The Guardian

If you’re really pressed for time, or rather mindlessly scroll through 9gag, at least watch the video from 16:24 (scroll it yourself, I don’t know how to make it jump automatically LOL). Obama was thanking everyone who casted their votes, and I quote him:

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of “citizen”, in our democracy, does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

Barack Obama, 2012

Wow. I’m blown away. The level of maturity he is imploring on his people is applaudable. His re-definition of “citizen” adds such a refreshing outlook and template for all citizens from all nations to follow.

My wish is that someday, all Singaporeans will realise that we have been too reliant on our government, that we need to start looking inwardly before blaming anyone else, that it’s us that need to work harder and smarter before we complain about foreigners “stealing our jobs”, and most importantly, that the spirit of competitive enterprise is meant to push us harder to improve and innovate collectively in strength as one unit, one nation.

Congratulations Barack Obama on a resounding victory. It seems Singapore and the US share the same strong beliefs in our big dreams, but only time can tell if effort will bear fruit. May the best team win.

My thoughts on the SMRT breakdowns

I write this post with a slice of frustration. Too many times have I seen, read or heard my friends (or people that are considered my “friends” because Facebook says so and decides to showcase their flaunt of wealth on my News Feed) complain about public transport in Singapore. Or all the talk of privatisation to improve standards. I grow sick of the narrow-mindedness and childishness of it all. Sure, SMRT ain’t perfect, but allow me to share a personal story of mine.

I worked for a year in Melbourne, Australia after obtaining my degree. From 8 to 9am, trains at my station came every TEN (10) minutes. On top of that, every week, without fail, there will be at least two disruptions to a service (you will hear an announcement at 8am: “The 0820 train will not be in service today”, much to the chagrin of the commuters).

Imagine a typical day: At 0815, you’re at the train station, you wait for 5 minutes for the 0820 train that you can’t fit in, only to find out the 0830 service wouldn’t be coming. You decide to wait for the 0840 service….., only to realise that the 0830 train commuters are packed into the 0840 one that you (you guessed it!) can’t fit into. You take the 0850 service in resignation and receive a stern look from the most uptight boss in the world at 0910. Wow, 55 minutes for a journey that would take 20min off-peak. And this kind of thing is accepted as the norm. *shudders*

I remember when I first arrived at Melbourne, public transport was privatised and the company operating the public trains was Connex. From what you just heard, you could deduce they failed in their service standards as set by Metlink, the “LTA of Melbourne” (Connex trains were to arrive on time, 92% of the time; the definition of “on time” being arriving within 5 minutes of stipulated time). In other words. all Connex had to do was to deliver all their trains 3-4 minutes late to achieve 100% punctuality, which they failed at doing so.

Connex was fined a total of A$70m by the state government in 3 years(link). You’d expect a company to buck up when faced with huge fines, but things didn’t improve significantly. This is an excellent example of one of the shortcomings of privatising public transport. The Connex contract was not extended and another company Metro came in. However, it was a case of different company, same problems. I suspect most Connex employees were just re-hired into Metro.

At the end of the day, Connex/Metro employees still received their salaries, the Victorian Government received their $70m, a different company takes over in 4 years, but who suffers? It’s the commuter, who pays A$3.20 just so he/she could travel for 2 hours. I forgot to add that by the time I was experiencing the story I was talking about above, Metro was already in charge of the trains.

Hopefully, after hearing my story, you can start to appreciate our trains better. I was there at Raffles Place at 7pm, in the masses waiting for half an hour for a train home. I was also there at Clementi MRT at 8am, seeing 7 fully packed trains come and go before finally boarding the 8th train to work. Everyone (and company) has their bad days, and I think it’s really childish and unappreciative of us Singaporeans to just condemn our public transport. It’s one thing to give constructive feedback and suggestions, but a whole other thing to just write off the spine of Singapore’s growth.

Ironically, it was SMRT’s reliability throughout the years of Singapore’s development that proved to be its PR undoing. This goes to show how sometimes, Singaporeans can take things for granted.