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Singapore expat dating scene

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For many expats moving to Shanghai or Beijing, dating can be a vexed question.Our online editor Mark Angus shares with us his experiences of living in Shanghai and how having a Chinese girlfriend enriched his life and enhanced his understanding of Chinese culture When I first moved to Shanghai in 2007, It was never my intention to find myself a partner.

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It’s pretty hard to tell these days, what with tight jeans, “manscaping” and stores that specialize in making the average Singaporean dude look like a lubricated human glowstick.I wasn’t implacably opposed to the idea; it was just that I couldn’t foresee the circumstances in which it might happen. Not long after I arrived, a British colleague’s Chinese wife told me that she had a friend who would be ideal for me and that I had to go out with her.Anyone who has ever been badgered into doing something by a Shanghainese woman will appreciate the barrage I was under, and so unsurprisingly I acquiesced.Sadly, guys like these aren’t anomalies in Singapore -- they’re the rule.To be fair, survivors of the post-apocalyptic desert that is the local dating scene might think me unnecessarily harsh, but after a lifetime living overseas, a girl can get pretty accustomed to some good chat.I know this would have been considerably more difficult without Lila by my side, handling the many frustrations that one encounters when trying to get about in China. Being with Lila meant that I ate food that I would never have had the courage to order on my own (even when my Mandarin got good enough to read menus for myself), and discovered some rare treats, as well as some dishes I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

One of the sweetest, most mild-mannered people you could ever hope to meet, Lila became absolutely ferocious in restaurants if she thought the food or the service wasn’t up to scratch, and more than once she got into blazing rows with waiters and then the next moment would return to chatting with me in her gentle, melodic voice as though nothing had happened.

The most recent objects of our attention were two guys in a restaurant booth next to ours, heads bent over the table, giggling over something on an i Phone, and basically acting like a pair of teenage girls.

For healthy, straight girls, I’m going to go ahead and say this kind of sucks.

I should add, however, that this was entirely a one-way street, as Lila’s English was impeccable.

We travelled together throughout China often, and as well as going to the places one might expect, we also went off the beaten track a good deal.

It was a wonderful, if at times tiring and baffling celebration, but was something that I wouldn’t have missed for the world, and that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience if it wasn’t for Lila.