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  1. #1

    [Sad] No money, no honey for older, single men

    They say women are turned off by their low pay
    By Yen Feng

    IF NOT for his meagre salary, Mr Ko Guan Chui is convinced he would have married by now.

    Two years ago, the 37-year-old warehouse assistant was set up on a blind date with a woman from China, but she ceased all contact after learning he earned only $1,200 a month.

    Recently, he went on a date with a Malaysian woman arranged by his parents at McDonald's. 'The same thing happened,' he said. 'After she heard what my job was, she stopped talking. She was more interested in her fish burger than in me.'

    The number of singles in Singapore has been on the rise for more than three decades and it has become common to defer marriage into the late 20s or even 30s.

    But bachelors like Mr Ko - low-income, lowly educated and pushing 40 - actually do not mind getting hitched. The only hitch? They cannot find a mate.

    Since the issue of educated men marrying down, rather than their educational equals, was first discussed openly in 1983 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the situation has changed. About two-thirds of graduate men now marry graduate women, compared with 37 per cent in 1983.

    But women continue to have little desire to marry down. Many echo what Ms Helen Chiang, 33, a sales executive and diploma-holder who is single, said: 'If I make more money, then why marry? I want to marry someone to take care of me, not the other way around.'

    While the latest census found that the proportion of single men grew across all sectors of society, the rise was more pronounced for those aged 35 to 44 and who did not go to university.

    Last year, singlehood was most prevalent among men with below secondary school qualifications. In the 40 to 44 age group, 24.1 per cent of these men were single, compared with 12.9 per cent who had degrees.

    For men aged 35 to 39, the rise in the proportion of singles was sharper among the non-tertiary-educated, compared with those with diplomas or college degrees.

    In this age group, among the men with only secondary school education, the proportion of singles rose nearly eight percentage points last year, from 18.3 per cent to 26.1 per cent, over a 10-year period.

    The proportion of university graduates who were single grew only 3.5 percentage points in comparison.

    In other words, the less-educated male is finding it tough to attract a partner.

    It is a phenomenon that will continue, said demographers, pointing to problems ahead concerning single, elderly males without family support and care.

    Yet, little is known of this group in the national dialogue of getting Singaporeans to mate and make babies.

    In interviews with 25 men who fall into this category, almost all said it is their financial situation that makes them not a prime asset to the Singapore woman.

    The 25 are aged 35 to 44 and work in mostly unskilled jobs, driving trucks, packing boxes or checking supplies at warehouses and factories.

    Many do not take home more than $2,000 a month.

    A chunk of their salary goes to supporting their elderly parents, with whom they live.

    Their courting arena is limited to KTV lounges, hawker centres, foodcourts and fast-food restaurants, where affordability trumps atmosphere.

    Or the Internet - though this medium tends to attract undesirable candidates, said the men. A few have turned out to be adulterous housewives, or even 'lady boys'.

    'No, it is not difficult to find a girlfriend,' said Mr Lim Xi Yang, 40, a technician.

    'Not if you have cash.'

    His last relationship was when he was in his early 20s. The Institute of Technical Education graduate earns about $1,300 a month.

    'If you don't have money, how to be a good husband, a good father?

    'There is a lot of pressure on men to pay the bills.'

    Local women scorn them, they said, because most are in better-paying jobs than they are.

    'They want LV, they want Gucci, they can buy (these brands) themselves. They don't need us,' said Mr Paul Wong, 37, a cook.

    Others have turned to foreign women, who they believe have more modest needs, but the prospect of securing their residency here can be daunting.

    Latest official figures released last year showed that eight out of 10 marriages in 2009 between a citizen and a foreigner involved a local man.

    In all, about 7,000 Singaporeans married foreign brides, most of whom are Asians.

    Matchmaking agencies have sprung up to help local men source for brides in places such as China and Vietnam.

    A successful match can cost as much as $10,000.

    But that is only the start.

    Members of Parliament said they usually encounter a handful of men in each weekly Meet-the-People session who say they need help extending their brides' stay here.

    'Occasionally, I will have a case of the man exhausting his life savings on a marriage that unfortunately fails,' said Ms Grace Fu of Jurong GRC, adding though that this has happened in some local marriages too.

    The fear of having what little savings they have depleted by opportunistic wives makes Mr Anthony Toh, 42, wary of the dating game.

    The customer service operator described the strategy employed by some foreign women here as 'seduce and slaughter'.

    'Even if you have not much money, they still want you to pay for everything,' he said.

    Mr Steven Low, 37, who is unemployed, had this advice for bachelors: 'Overseas girls have fewer expectations. But if you meet the girl at a disco, better run.'

    His girlfriend from China, whom he met at a pub, dumped him after he lost his job in 2007. They had been dating for seven years.

    The majority of men interviewed agreed that local women were preferable to foreigners.

    Mr Patrick Koh, 36, said he tried dating a few foreign women after striking out with local girls who sniffed at his job, but the language barrier proved a hindrance.

    The driver with a cargo company, who draws a $1,800 pay cheque, said: 'Chinese girls, Vietnamese girls, I talk and they talk, but both also 'catch no ball'.' The phrase means unable to understand what is being said.

    All the men expressed a profound sense of fatalism when it came to finding The One.

    'If it happens, it happens', 'depends on fate' or 'see how' were common responses when asked if they hope to marry this late in their lives.

    Mr Ho Mun Kok, 44, a hawker assistant, said he recently had what he thought was a very nice chat with a Chinese woman who works at a prawn noodle stall at a hawker centre.

    He asked her out to watch a movie but she said no.

    'Now I avoid her. Pai seh lah,' he said, using the Hokkien word to mean embarrassed. He earns $900 a month.

    The situation is 'very sad', said Dr Gavin Jones, a sociologist at the Asia Research Institute.

    While men stuck in dead-end jobs were generally less likely to find partners anywhere in the world, this phenomenon appeared to be especially pervasive in Asian societies, he noted.

    'It's linked to culture. In Asia, women still covet what sociologists call 'hypergamy' - the desire to marry someone more successful.

    'I have a very pessimistic feeling for these men.'

    For Dr Tan Ern Ser, the issue is about sustainability.

    'While romance is not about dollars and cents, most people do need to consider the costs of settling down, setting up home and bringing up children before they take the plunge,' said the assistant professor of sociology at the National University of Singapore.

    Dr Tan and MPs suggested changing social attitudes to help men and women escape the lonely hearts club.

    'Persuade women to lower their expectations, and encourage men to upgrade themselves,' said Dr Tan.

    'There are some who would argue that love conquers all, including stigma and poverty.'

    Mr Chan Soo Sen, MP for Joo Chiat, agreed. 'I don't believe that it all comes down to your paper qualifications - there is also yuan fen or fate,' he said.

    'If both sides are prepared to give and take, there will be opportunities. Men, you have to be confident to overcome your personal issues.'

    The men may be more likely to take relationship advice from Mr Tan Kiat Keang, 36, who has been dating someone in Malaysia for two years.

    Last year, the construction site manager bought a small house in Johor Baru for his girlfriend.

    He stays with her on weekends; she visits Singapore during the week on her days off.

    'Find a house you can afford. If Singapore is too expensive, find (it) somewhere else. Women want to know you can give them a stable home,' he said.

    What about marriage and kids?

    'Maybe someday, who knows,' said Mr Tan.

    'For now, if it's just companionship, I don't mind it too.'

    [email protected]



    THE BACHELORS


    BACHELOR 1: THE ROOKIE
    Ko Guan Chui, 37, warehouse assistant
    Monthly salary: $1,200
    Education: N levels
    Lives in: A four-room HDB flat in Tampines, with his mother, younger brother and brother's wife
    No. of relationships: Zero

    MR KO has never had a girlfriend. He was too shy to approach anyone when he was younger, he said.

    He is making up for lost time now.

    The warehouse assistant has met women from China and Malaysia - through relatives, at work and online. He said he hoped to find a wife before turning 40.

    If he fails, he joked, it 'may be time to become a monk'.

    He prefers Singaporean women. But he added: 'Foreigners are okay too, but communication may be a problem.'

    He currently has a crush on a colleague, who is from Malaysia.

    So, is he going to ask her out?

    'I don't know. She is beautiful, but she also looks a bit fierce.'

    BACHELOR 2: THE REALIST

    Lim Xi Yang, 40, technician
    Monthly salary: $1,300
    Education: ITE graduate
    Lives in: A four-room HDB flat in Jurong, with his mother
    No. of relationships: One

    MR LIM is not sure if he will ever be married. If he does, it will prove only one thing, he said. No, not that he has found The One, but that he has made it.

    Growing up was difficult because his parents often quarrelled at home over money. They are now divorced.

    With the cost of living so high now in Singapore, Mr Lim said, he just would not be able to afford a wife and children.

    The technician said he has tried his hand at dating - by meeting women at KTV lounges, but stopped after realising most women there were foreign-born.

    Some turn him down because of his salary; other times, he is just not confident the relationship will last because of his income. He dated a Singaporean woman for a few months when he was 26 but it did not work out.

    'Will I marry? If the right one comes along, yes. But I must have enough money first.'

    BACHELOR 3: THE ROMANTIC

    Aden Ng, 43, taxi driver
    Monthly salary: $2,000
    Education: O levels
    Lives in: A four-room HDB flat in Kallang, with his parents
    No. of relationships: One

    'IF YOU are a cabby, forget about local girls. Only Chinese women for you.' This is the advice Mr Ng has heard - over and over again - from friends and family members.

    He ended his relationship with a Singaporean woman last year.

    They had been together for several years. To this day, he said, he is still not quite sure what changed.

    'She just suddenly turned cold. She said she had no more feelings for me.'

    While other men may not mind women from China, Mr Ng said he is not quite ready to give up on finding a sweetheart from Singapore.

    'I refuse. If we don't have the same culture, we won't understand each other,' he said. 'Anyway, my Mandarin is really not that good.'

    Channel NewsAsia :: View topic - Tharman - No money, no honey, bachelors dying for GST helps

  2. #2
    Communication barrier with Chinese girls? Maybe time to brush up on your broken Mandarin and speak proper Putonghua. I got C6 for O level yet have no problems communicating with anyone in China.

  3. #3
    don't need divine help yet...

    since females are now getting married at 30 means the males should be 40 and above...

    dun worry la...

    sure will find a mate, just by the time u do mate, factory expired liao.

  4. #4
    Moderaper Entropy's Avatar
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    Don't you guys find the faces of the 3 guys...

    It may be more complicated than just money...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy
    OMG! Yes! now that u mention it... yes.... they do look a bit like u...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by LgO-sluglives View Post
    OMG! Yes! now that u mention it... yes.... they do look a bit like u...
    Quoted

  7. #7
    Moderaper Entropy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LgO-sluglives View Post
    OMG! Yes! now that u mention it... yes.... they do look a bit like u...

  8. #8
    Local women scorn them, they said, because most are in better-paying jobs than they are.

    'They want LV, they want Gucci, they can buy (these brands) themselves. They don't need us,' said Mr Paul Wong, 37, a cook.
    I totally agrees on this!
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  9. #9
    ಠ_ಠ Undarken's Avatar
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    Many of my female friends said must have at least $4k per month...

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by LgO-sluglives View Post
    OMG! Yes! now that u mention it... yes.... they do look a bit like u...
    Long lost brothers?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Undarken View Post
    Many of my female friends said must have at least $4k per month...

    GCP
    huh?? Standard drop liao meh?? I tho must at least $5k per month??

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by longsiew View Post
    huh?? Standard drop liao meh?? I tho must at least $5k per month??
    They mean $4k pocket money, not $4k take home income.

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  13. #13
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    Mr Steven Low, 37, who is unemployed, had this advice for bachelors: 'Overseas girls have fewer expectations. But if you meet the girl at a disco, better run.'

    His girlfriend from China, whom he met at a pub, dumped him after he lost his job in 2007. They had been dating for seven years.

    he quite power managed to stay unemployed from 2007 to 2011
    "Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies." -- Voltaire His last words on his death bed when asked by a priest to renounce Satan.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LgO-sluglives View Post
    OMG! Yes! now that u mention it... yes.... they do look a bit like u...
    ur wrong...

    one of them is him...
    "Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies." -- Voltaire His last words on his death bed when asked by a priest to renounce Satan.

  15. #15
    I Circumvent Warranties p|sangp|sang's Avatar
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