Thursday, 28 September 2023

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Even Cupid has to adapt

CONGRATULATIONS! Everyone here at The Online Citizen would like to congratulate Gerald and Elena Giam on the birth of their beautiful baby girl.

Tan Kin Lian / Columnist

Alice’s boyfriend ended their relationship after three years. Alice was devastated. This was the second time that it has happened to her. She now has the difficult task of looking for a new relationship. Before she does that, however, she first has to overcome her latest disappointment, which may take some time.

Bobby worked hard on his career. He is already in his late twenties and does not have a steady girl friend. The local girls that he was attracted to were no longer available – they preferred “foreign talents” as they earned more and are more cultured, sociable and graceful.

There are many people like Alice and Bobby in Singapore. I like to suggest some “out-of-the-box” solutions to this long-time challenge.

Diversify your friends

A few years ago, I gave a talk about courtship. I made this suggestion to young people, “Have three steady friends. Do not have only one steady friend. It is too risky. You are likely to make the wrong choice”. This is what has happened to Alice.

Here are the advantages of having three steady friends at the same time.

It is easier to start a steady relationship. Each party knows that they are not taking the full risk of a tied relationship right at the start.

Both parties have the chance of learning of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes in an open atmosphere, without any pre-commitment.

It is easier to drop a steady relationship and still remain good friends, without feeling personal.

A few people told me that they did not like this suggestion. Already, it is quite difficult to manage a single steady relationship. It will be impossible to handle three steady friends at the same time.

These people are not aware of the concept of paradigm shift. They apply the same thinking to a new environment.

Under my concept of “three steady relationship”, it is not required to give the same degree of attention to a “single steady friend”.

One colleague liked the idea. I helped him find one steady friend, on the understanding that it is only “one of three”. They got married after two years and have a child now. I think they did not proceed to look for another “two steady friends”. But the concept did help them to start a relationship, which worked for them.

Stage two

After starting with three steady friends, it will be necessary to move to “stage two” within a year. During this stage, you and your steady friend agree to spend more time with each other and to reduce the involvement with the other steady friends, without cutting them off. Both parties may need to fall back to “stage one” in case the new relationship does not work.

The chance of success in “stage two” is much higher, as both parties make this conscious choice after they have gotten to know each other better during the previous months.

It’s nothing new

Some people said that my concept is nothing new. In fact, many people have adopted this method, in various forms, and it has been proven successful.

I agree. I do not wish to claim credit in inventing this idea. My purpose is to observe what works well and to educate people to give it a try. If it works for you, try it. If not, you can still find another way.

Getting a date

During my younger days, I had a difficult time in getting a date. When I approach an attractive girl, she is usually not available. It is likely that she is already attached, or does not like a humble person of modest background. Or perhaps my approach was wrong.

My first successful date came with the help of an older person – the sales manager in my company. He invited me to a dinner with a client. I agreed to go and asked him to find me a date. I was attracted to a girl in the design department. I asked him to invite her to be my date. The girl accepted the request of the sales manager. Maybe, she did not want to turn him down.

I had an enjoyable time. I remember it to this day.


If you like a particular person, it is helpful to get an independent person to help you to make a match.

This independent person can be a parent or an older relative. Having gone through the experiences of life, they are more likely to know what to look for. A marriage is more than going on a date or party. You can rely on your parents or relatives to look after your best interest. If they cannot do it well, they can engage the help of a more experienced person – yes, the match-maker.

You may not realise it, but match-making is being applied in many business activities, e.g. to find the best person to fit a job or to rent out a property.

The prospective employer needs an experienced person, known as the “executive recruiter” or “head hunter”, to find the right person to fit the job. The recruiter has to search from many available candidates. The search has to be done in both ways – the candidate must fit the job and the job must interest the candidate.

The owner of a property needs a property agent to rent out the property to a prospective tenant.

Finding a right lifetime partner is more difficult. All the more, it is important to get professional or experienced help. It is all right to get help from the modern Cupid (i.e. match-maker) and still retain the right of making the final decision.

Cupid does not need to search the whole world for you. You can give the names of potential candidates for Cupid to narrow down the search. Maybe, Cupid can give you three steady friends to start with.


Someone said, “If you keep doing things the same way, how can you expect to get a different outcome?”

For people who have trouble finding a right lifetime partner, it is time to try a different approach. I suggest the ‘three steady friends” and to get the assistance of the modern Cupid (i.e. match maker).


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