Under orders from a family that feared my disappearance into oblivion and with a driven sense of mission and newly discovered optimism, I signed up on a dating website on arrival here in 2008.I quickly discovered the most pleasing and liberating aspect of dating in this part of the world: you don’t have to prove you’re not an axe-murderer. I thought I’d hit the jackpot almost straight away as I started exchanging emails with a very nice, open and entertaining girl about my age (34) who liked my jokes. She seemed attractive enough, although her photo did suggest that she had a lampshade attached to her cheek.Not unless I decide to cross without the guidance of the green man, a crime against humanity here in Singapore. My past is littered with examples of unrequited love, pointless pining and disastrous misjudgments.My success rate is slightly more impressive than Gordon Brown’s attempts at smiling, and just as pretty. Though finding a woman here has been far easier than in the UK, keeping or understanding them has been a whole new ball game.“I moved to Singapore five years ago with my husband, but after ten years of marriage he decided that being married wasn’t what he wanted.Though we separated last August, I really only hit the scene in March this year.” Susan* broke up with a long-term boyfriend in her 20s and has been single for just over a year.People are very trusting here and I was pleasantly surprised to get viewed and contacted by women who barely knew me, offering telephone numbers (HPs – I did think they were brandishing bottles of brown sauce until I realised that stood for ‘hand phones’, mobiles) email addresses and suggested meeting places. However, she looked human and smiled nicely, so my rigorous selection procedure ushered her through and we met up and had dinner. I was charming, even if I do say so myself and the setting was great – Rochester Park.
Let me preface this with a few important considerations. Admittedly, I tend to look down at the ground when I smile and I look better in suits than shorts, but I don’t stop traffic.
One difference I’ve noticed is that Malaysian women tend to be more willing to go on second dates – something we can learn from.
Maybe it’s because of the faster pace of life, but Singaporeans and Hong Kongers are quicker to judge potential dates.
They even have mosquito spray on hand to ensure that you are not eaten before you eat. A few nice meals, trips to the movies, some shopping and ice cream, we’ve all been there. They often stop dead right in the middle of something and change direction, rather inconvenient when you are behind or alongside them.
I would entertain, pay and generally be the archetypal gentleman, and I loved every minute of it. They also appear to have different ideas about what "dating" means.