An interview with Sam Tan, an organizer of dating events in Singapore
Slurping soup. Picking noses. Talking about your ex boyfriend or girlfriend. These are just some of the things that you should never do on a date, according to dating events organizer Sam Tan, 33. He runs mingling.sg, which organizes dating events for singles.
I caught up with Sam and asked him a few questions about the dating scene in Singapore.
Sam, what sort of events does an online dating portal such as yours, organise?
Dating events should be something that people will want to do during their leisure time. Our activities are organised to provide opportunities for singles to meet and enjoy each other’s company and are meant to widen one’s own social circle. In the next couple of months, we will be organising activities such as drinking events in pubs, barbecues or even relaxing runs at East Coast Park.
What are the chances of people finding Mr or Miss Right through these events?
The chances of finding the right person at these events is quite high. You get to meet so many people who are also interested to meet someone special.
Mingling in a group with a similar mindset may actually produce more productive results. In singles events, the ratio of males to females is generally 50:50, so there is a greater opportunity to make friends with the opposite sex.
What is your advice to those who can’t seem to find their Mr or Miss Right?
Going to singles events would ensure that you have a better chance to meet other like-minded people and is a good way to screen your potential Mr or Miss Right first too, before you even start dating. This is because at such events, you would be able to actually see the way a person talks, acts and behaves, so it would give you a better chance to select a person whom you are more suited to.
Do you feel it’s more difficult nowadays to meet your special one through normal channels such as via work, sports, etc.?
The normal channels don’t work so well these days. We spend a lot of time in the office and dating a colleague may look like a good idea at first. If things are good it is great. Things will get complicated when the couple argue or even breakup. It will be hard to work together in the same office if there are differences. Engaging in sport is good, but Singaporeans tend to engage in solo sporting activities. For example, jogging, which is the most popular sport in Singapore, is mostly a solo activity unless you are taking part in mass runs, so there would not be a lot of mingling.
What things should a person not do, on a date?
Dates should not talk about their ex girlfriends or boyfriends and dig their noses. They should also avoid all antisocial activities such as messaging on the phone. Bad table manners such as slurping soup and coffee (except in Japanese company, where slurping is considered as polite) and eating with your mouth open is also very rude and off-putting. When sharing dishes of food from the centre of the table, also do not keep grabbing all of the food – leave some for your date. You don’t want him or her to go home still hungry.
Apart from restaurants and movies, what other activities could a couple do on a date?
A couple should have common hobbies or things that both enjoy doing together. Going for long walks together, cooking a meal together or even watching their favourite tv shows would be activities a couple could do. As long as the activity is enjoyed by both, anything would be fine.
Should a couple go Dutch when dating?
There is no rule saying that the men must pay or that the couple should go Dutch when dating. The couple should talk about it together and decide on this jointly. However, on special occasions like birthdays, maybe the birthday person can be given a special treat.
What level of intimacy should a couple adopt on a first date?
It should be at a level that both parties are comfortable with. Generally, on a first date, time is spent on getting to know each other, so the emphasis should be on talking and learning more about the other person. Verbal communication is very important on a first date, so there should probably be very little physical intimacy present. If it does happen, maybe holding hands is all that should happen. But both parties should be comfortable with it.
If you want to find out where to sign up for singles’ activities, check out Sam’s dating events website at mingling.sg
*Photos reproduced with permission from Sam Tan
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