15 September 2017, by Nicholas Quek
Freshmen year is probably the closest thing Singaporeans will ever have to a hunting experience. As crude as a comparison that may be, that’s a common image among Singaporean university students when it comes to the dating scene during Freshmen year.
Every dining hall meal is a potential scouting expedition, every hallway conversation an opportunity to ‘go for the kill’, to put it bluntly. The first two to three weeks are generally cavalier, but as the first few months pass rumours emerge, couples develop, and the who’s who of the dating scene becomes steadily apparent.
I’m not going to comment on the underlying nature of this scene, and whether it’s wrong or right. The dating culture of a school is largely determined by the students themselves, who can for all intents and purposes do as they please. No, what I’m going to talk about is the rare species found in such an environment – the evergreen. Namely me.
What is an evergreen? The term originates from the Traffic Light game usually played among university students, where the different colours of the traffic light indicate different relationship statuses, with green symbolising single and available, orange symbolising a potential relationship with someone, while red symbolises someone who is officially attached to someone and in a committed relationship. As such, evergreen describes someone who has never been in committed relationship before. Namely me.
There isn’t a real pressure from my peers to be attached though. For as globalised as Singapore is, we still have a very conservative society that evidences itself in low attachment rates, at least compared to other countries. About half of the student population is attached, but there’s no real stigma towards those who aren’t, or haven’t been.
Should there be though?
Getting attached, or rather getting married, is a social norm. It’s expected – one could argue even needed. My parents have long beheld horror stories of distant relatives who have remained single either by choice or circumstance, and expounded on the pains of growing old alone.
Singapore’s government (though for more practical than social reasons) has also long encouraged young people to get married and start families. And for the most part, I agree with it. I do want to get married, start a family. Marriage is a social norm for a reason – most everybody wants it, including me.
But for now, marriage, and even a girlfriend, is a speck of dust in the horizon. And that’s alright! Relationships are an important part of life, but that’s not all there is to life. Life consists of so much more than that; family, friends, passions and hobbies – I’ve got a lot to keep me occupied till then.
And if I don’t get attached? Then so be it, sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way we want it to, and that’s alright.
I wanted to end off the post here, but upon review I realised that my fatalist attitude towards dating might not make for the most interesting reading. So just an update, I do have my eyes set on a really attractive girl I met at the student café. She’s an amazing cook, has an amazing personality – I gotta say I’m pretty stunned. But meh, freshmen year is long, university longer – who knows what can happen?
But yea, she’s really cute though.