In which we ask three men to get candid on a very hot topic.
*left to right* Paul Gerken (British), 32- Shaun Tupaz (Singaporean), 28 - Gareth Fernandez (Singaporean), 26
“Growing up in Singapore, we’re almost programmed to be a certain way. We are typically more conservative and we have views about what men and women should do or be like.”
The dating scene is Singapore has evolved, though it’s still very tame compared to larger cities like New York and LA. Speaking strictly from a male’s point of view, I feel like girls here are too guarded. When they think ‘dating’, they think ‘finding that special someone I can spend the rest of my life with’. Growing up in Singapore, we’re almost programmed to be a certain way. We are typically more conservative and we have views about what men and women should do or be like. Expats are generally more in the moment. It’s no wonder girls look to expats for their sense of adventure. Generally, I think locals are always going to be more reserved, because there is always a possibility of bumping into that person again. And Singapore is such a small place – everyone knows everyone!” SHAUN
When I first got here seven years ago, it was all about Lady’s Night on a Wednesday... now, it’s all about swiping right. However, even Tinder has gone through a cycle. Tinder was great when it first launched, but now it seems like a lot of people are reverting to trying to find real connections because the hassle of trying to find, chat up, meet and then ultimately get nowhere with someone is a bit too time consuming. One of the unique things about Singapore is the big international mix of people, but it’s also very transient, so people are often on the move. Also, many come to Singapore as couples, so they’re already partnered off. A broad difference [in dating for expats and locals] might have to do with HDB housing! It’s not that easy to get a place of your own if you’re not married. That puts a different perspective on relationships. A lot is said about the 5Cs, and my experience is that you can expect to cover the bill a lot of the time, but it’s not always like that.” PAUL
I think [the dating scene here] is pretty good. Maybe it’s an Asian thing, but we’re all really kaypoh, so we’re bound to introduce friends to each other and set them up. I’ve tried (and failed) to set friends up a bunch of times. Most of the people I’ve dated are second or third degree friends. The only [difficulty an expat might have in dating a local girl] is the cultural barrier. That said, I’m a Eurasian guy. My mum is Chinese and my dad is Eurasian, so we’re also very rojak. Technically, I have to cross cultural barriers with any girl I date too! As a Singaporean man, I grew up believing in practicality above all else. And a practical guy is often a thrifty guy, and a thrifty guy doesn’t fork out hundreds of dollars for flowers, and is unlikely to book tickets to Paris for the weekend without months of kiasu planning. So while us Singaporean guys do great in terms of stability, we may not score too high in excitement. On the flipside, guys from a different culture can come across as very romantic, as they are more outgoing, more adventurous, and more confident. Based on my conversations with female friends, stability – both financial and emotional – is highly valued. I think it’s because everything here costs a bomb. Seriously though, an average date costs about a hundred bucks if you count normal cafe food and an Uber ride.” GARETH
“I grew up believing in practicality above all else. And a practical guy is often a thrifty guy, and a thrifty guy... is unlikely to book tickets to Paris for the weekend without months of kiasu planning.”
Text Compiled By Karen Fong.