Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

A popular mainland Chinese cable TV show that attracts over 100 million viewers per episode continues to strike up controversies across the country.   It is similar to a condensed version of “The Bachelor” where 24 eligible ladies express their interests over 5 bachelors in each weekly episode, with the bachelors making their ultimate decisions after a few rounds of shortlists by the ladies. 

The show’s popularity lies largely on the eligible ladies.  Most are attractive models, former beauty peagent contestants or from well off families.  Yet like any other reality shows, viewers are mostly attracted by the unrehearsed snappy exchanges on stage.  For this show, there are plenty of this, from the bachelorettes.

“Is it because I’m just too beautiful?”

“I just know you need a beating the moment I hear you speak.  Let me get a whip now.”

“Looking at you make me realize that coming to this show is both a game and a dream.  Now I’m woken from my dream.” (upon seeing a bachelor with ordinary looks)

“We have to face the reality here.  The reality is that men turn bad when they got money.”

“Why is it me again? Damn, all I want is a low-profile life!” (upon selected by the bachelors repeatedly)

“Your clothes are from the 1930s.  Wait till it’s the 30s to look for your wife then.”

“I want the elite of the men, the talent of the elites, and the prince of the talented.”

“Never know what wine feels like till you are drunk, what love feels like till you have loved, what wealth means till you have been poor.”

“A person with my beauty and talent deserves no one less than David Beckham.”

“This is a dead-end with utterly no future.  Any woman who choose to be with you will never find light.”

The most renowned and controversial quote comes from a bachelorette in front of a bachelor who loves riding bikes.  “I’d rather cry on a BMW than laughing on a bike.”

Due to the candid exchanges on screen, the controversial show receives continuous censorship by the national broadcasting bureau on their “materialistic” influences.  However, the 100 million and plus viewers who tune in definitely find something that resonates: the overwhelming craving of wealth in today’s China.  Worse yet, everyone want to take shortcuts.  If you can capitalize on your looks, bodies, youth and social status, do it before it’s too late.  There is this oldest Chinese saying, “Laugh at the poor but not at the prostitutes,” that summarizes this prevailing but wicked notion in today’s China.  Well, if we are talking about those who are too underprivileged to even make their own living, the measuring stick may need a bit of fine tuning.  Though for a substantial portion of the viewing audience, plus those of the wealthy middle classes here in Hong Kong, the alarming phenomenon of generations X, Y and Z circulates around the dream of falling into the comfort of wealth and security right after coming out of college.  Paying the dues?  Going after my dreams?  No, not for me, if there is a bigger meal ticket up for grabs.  Dreams are far secondary.

Then there is this outcry of eligible ladies in their mid 30s in Hong Kong who complain that they can never find their other halves because no one is good enough for them.  Sure they are super eligible.  Most of them have successful careers and are financially independent.  They look down upon on guys who are indecisive and aimless.  They look for men who are secure, even more financially stable, and to top it off, willing to invest in extensive amount of time and efforts to woo them and make them feel like goddesses.  That’s not a bad dream, but you would think all that education and life experience would have prepped them to be a bit more realistic and tactful in the lesson of mutual support and give and take.  Think about the competition, ladies.  Be vulnerable, for once.  It’s no business transaction.

It certainly goes both ways for sure.  Too many men refuse to grow up and prefer to forever stay in our childhood utopia of computer games and instant gratification.  That is alright as long as a secure meal ticket is on the table.  “No, I just want a job that doesn’t take too much work and effort.  I can live with what I make now.”  The only thing is that they don’t realize they won’t stay 30 forever.  There will always be younger, fitter, and more aggressive new generation coming in and grabbing your jobs, in a second.  What’s the future, guys?

When young attractive people are going on television not to showcase their talents but to participate in some reality dating shows, I’m not sure whether I should shake my head or applaud them for making a run of fulfilling their childhood fantasies.  For many of them, I suspect that marrying someone rich literally is the bedtime story read by their parents.


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Excuse Me, Do I Know You?

Have you had complete strangers requesting to “friend” you on Facebook out of nowhere?  [Read my earlier post on Facebook Depression] If you do, welcome to the 21st century.  It’s no big deal, according to my up and personal polls with my Gen-Y friends.   Apparently, in this day and age, you can stick to the old school traditional etiquette of meet-and-greet in the social arena, or you can cut to the fast-and-easy hit-or-miss fast food culture of what kids (and grown-ups) do nowadays.  Quite frankly, you do can tell a bit, even if not a whole lot, of what kind of person someone is, from his or her Facebook page.  In today’s well acceptable “etiquette” of background checks, it just seems that I better conform and get accustomed to making friends, or at least acquaintances, through the mighty powerful platforms of Facebook or LinkedIn.

Whenever you feel the need to ask such question, count your blessings.  At least you are interesting enough (or weird enough) for someone to come knocking.

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Dating has definitely turned digital.  The following interview by Kurt Gregory of NBC news sure explains why many says the excitement, mystery and the butterfly feelings at the early stages of dating will soon go extinct.  It’s definitely easier and time-saving, but somehow it’s also quite sad. 

Dining experts say smartphones and social networks are changing the way America dates.

“21% of our surveyors say that they are more likely to ask out a date via text message or e-mail or Facebook versus only 9% who said that in our 2009 survey”, says Tiffany Herklots, Zagat’s Director, Communications.

Zagat’s Dating & Dumping Survey also reveals that like today’s employers, a large number of digital daters do their homework.  52% of Zagat’s surveyors admit to Googling their date before they meet.

Other dos: find your date’s likes and dislikes, food and drink included, and pick a place where you can have both good food, and good conversation.  And, there are the digital don’ts.

“Using their mobile phone or their blackberry at the table, texting and tweeting, is a sure-fire way to turn off your date,” says Herklots.  And if the date and/or relationship just isn’t working, “21% of our surveyors have admitted to breaking up over e-mail.  11% of them have admitted to breaking up via text message”.

Digital dating – helping you to love them or leave them.

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No To Facebook Depression

I had no idea that some kids end up feeling even worse after seeing Facebook updates of their happy looking friends having a good time.  Apparently it’s called “Facebook Depression”.  Right, those status updates are so “in-your-face” and more often than not, bragging the hell out of oneself, as I covered earlier on my advice for these people.  Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, a Boston-area pediatrician and lead author of new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines, said that “…it can be more painful than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other real-life encounters that can make kids feel down, because Facebook provides a skewed view of what’s really going on. Online, there’s no way to see facial expressions or read body language that provide context.”

No doubt Facebook can be a popularity contest for those who aspire to be followed or idolized, regardless of what age they are at.  I choose to play no part of that.  I use Facebook to let my friends know whenever a blog post is published, and I leave it at that.  I believe some may find it annoying if they don’t find my posts relevant to their liking, and they might have hid my updates using the site’s privacy settings.  For those who are tolerant enough to leave me unhid, I choose not to add to their burden by planting self-promoting catch-phrases on each update like some people I know.  I choose to let my friends and readers decide whether my posts are crap or inspiring, and I am not going to rob them out of their freedom to make their own judgements. 

Well, if it’s a commercial establishment then it’s another story.  However, Facebook is Facebook.  I would like to see it remain as a social networking platform, at least on my news feed page.

The other form of “Facebook Depression” lies with relationship matters.  I come across this Top 10 Facebook Etiquette Rules on Relationships from yourtango.com which is just too hilarious not to share.

  1. Relationship status is a mutual decision.
  2. It’s OK to look through your friend’s friends for people you might want to meet/ date/ friend. It’s not OK to skip the middleman on the introduction.
  3. Ask first before friending a close friend’s ex-squeeze.
  4. It’s OK to remain friends with someone you used to date on Facebook.
  5. Posting a ton of pictures, videos and comments regarding a recent, failed relationship is a bad idea.
  6. As with all things, there is such thing as too much information.
  7. This is sort of an addendum to 2 previous rules, but it bears its own space: don’t friend an ex’s new squeeze if you’re not actually friends.
  8. Know the difference between the Wall and a message.
  9. Again, the interweb is not a therapy session and shouldn’t be used with severely impaired judgment.
  10. Above all other rules (in this actually is in the Facebook rules), do not create a fake page as a way to punish an ex.

Don’t you just love this?  For the complete write-up with clarifications and examples (if you ever need anything more really), check this out.

Happy Facebooking, and don’t end up making yourself look laughable or pityful, please.


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Men’s Best Friend

What does it tell you when you find a dog, men’s best friend, more reliable and loyal than your partner? 

I know it’s a sick thought, but that is what I felt when I bumped into the world’s friendlist golden retriever tonight.  The love it generates is the most selfless and unconditional, ever.

Whenever I feel disllusioned towards relationships, I can’t help to turn towards dogs.  Is it pathetic?

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Boys Don’t Cry

I don’t believe in that “Boys Don’t Cry” crap.   Well, as long as you are not like John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives who cries over not only on his rise from humble beginnings as a janitor, to talking about his hopes for children, winning the election, and even debating over bills with the opposite party.   That’s probably a bit much, even for me.

I believe in internal strength rather than the ability to hold back pain and tears.  It takes more of a man to own up responsibilities, fights for what he believes in, carries through to the end and even admitting defeat.  If you can’t do any of this, you won’t earn my respect even if you are a macho cowboy on the outside. 

I think I inherited my sensitive side from my mother.  Back when I was small I could see my mother tearing up softly over some stupid local soap operas on TV.  I would chuckle over it because I always thought the plots were lame and intentionally sentimental even at my age.  Then one time my parents took me and my elder sister to go to see the 1982 hit movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.  I was excited to see a sci-fi movie with tons of cool graphics and special effects, and all the marketing programs in town were hard to miss.  I do not recall much of the plot now (other than being reminded on every E! feature of Drew Barrymore), except that I cried my eyes out by the end of the movie.  My parents had to console me walking out of the movie theatre.

Then the next crying moment was a much more serious matter, and it was the June 4th Beijing massacre in 1989.  I was watching the Hong Kong TV news program with tears when millions of otherwise politically immune HK citizens went to the streets to protest against the Chinese government, shortly after seeing what happened in Beijing.  I cried over the unity of the people from all levels.  I cried over how helpless we were at the moment.

Fast forwarding 11 years later, Korean soap operas were starting to create a sensation in Hong Kong, which had been largely dominated by the Japanese for those who were not content with local TV programing.  I never found myself having the patience to sit through 18 to 24 episodes of a soap opera series, so when I learned that there was a 2-hour director’s cut version of the year’s (2000) hottest soap opera Endless Love, I grabbed a copy to see what the big fuss was about.  I didn’t see it coming.   Yes the plot was super lame and cheesy, and the characters were unreal.  Though there was something about the characters crying on set for over 90% of the show, coupled with emotional soundtrack and poetic scripts, that caused me a panic attack.   I told my colleagues about it the next day at work, and everyone were eager to get the DVD from me.  For the next few weeks, all I saw were colleagues with red swollen eyes showing up at work in the morning. 

The sad thing is that Korean soap operas somehow failed to innovate over the years.  So after 4 dozens of story lines about babies being switched at birth, handicapped girlfriends with blood cancer, kids being abused and harassed by school teachers, and grandparents donating their organs for their kids, our senses have become numb once again.

Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain was another all-time hit in Hong Kong in 2005, though for some reason I couldn’t see it at the movie theatre when it opened.  The extremely moving ending brought me to tears for a good half hour.  Thank goodness I was at home with an abundance supply of tissue paper.

The critically acclaimed 2010 local production Echoes of The Rainbow, directed by Alex Law, was a movie that resonates with many of us in terms of how we grew up and how we were raised.  I cried because it brought back memories of my time with my parents and sister when I grew up.   The movie was also shot in Sheung Wan which was within a block away from my childhood home.   If I bring back a DVD to my parents’ place, I’m sure there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the family.

Crying because of immense emotions, reflections or gratitude is a natural outlet, as long as it’s done in a controlled manner.   It’s only those crying out of fear or with an attempt to deflect blame that should be despised.  Mr. John  Boehner?  I think he needs to pick his moments more carefully. 

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Back in the years, one of the earlier lessons I learned as a consultant was how to manage our clients’ expectations.  Our client projects were mostly related to e-sourcing events with an estimated savings figure in mind.  We wanted to ensure our clients a handsome return of investment.   Yet there could still be a number of uncontrollable factors that could go either ways.  The suppliers could be colluding, the parts for bid could turn out to be obsolete, or our clients’ credibility was not as high as they would believe themselves.  The golden rule for all engagement managers therefore is to manage our clients’ expectations on a daily basis until the project finishes.

In short, managing expectations is to minimize the impact of surprises, particularly those unpleasant ones.  It requires the ability to think of all the possible scenarios that could go wrong.  I have since learned to extend this cardinal rule to my daily life, and so far this rule has not been disappointing me a single bit.

  • Investments.  I am definitely not one of those daring investors who would bank their entire net worth into a property, stock or a fund.  My lowest expectation in buying my apartment is that I can see myself living in it till the day I die.  If I can flip it and make a profit some time, it will always be a bonus.  Of course I will carefully pick properties with higher appreciation prospects, but expecting any solid return within a specified period of time is not my number one priority.
  • Entertainment.  I have been around the city long enough to know what to expect from the hundreds of thousands of restaurants, theatres, shopping malls, boutiques and bars.  As they all differ by the clientele they serve, level of customer service standard they uphold, and the dollar amount on their price tags, I set vastly different expectations just for that.  This way I know exactly what I will be getting.  If I am in an adventurous and energetic mood, I don’t mind going for crowded eateries that my bowl will be lifted away as soon as I put down my chopsticks.  If I am exhausted after a day’s work, I will go for more comfortable places where I expect pampering service and cuisine, with full expectation that the bill is going to be more pricey.  Why some people choose to swap that around always puzzles me. 
  • Relationships.  One of the reasons why many couples get into fights on Valentine’s Day is expectations mis-alignment.  Some wish for romantic elements, while some choose to be more practical.  Some feel the pressure from their peers and colleagues, and there are a million different expectations of gift choices, dining choices, and what to do afterwards.  This aspect perhaps is the least manageable in my opinion, since no matter how prepared and civilized it is with the prior planning and conversations, one always secretly wishes something more.
  • Career.  This requires no further clarification.  Everyone is dispensable, whether we like it or not.  Every decision we make or advice we provide comes with both opportunities and risks.  If we have not fully contemplated all possible outcomes, we would surely be struck by surprise.   Another thing for sure, is to manage your superior’s expectations on yourself.  He or she also hates surprises!

I know some may see this is all too conservative and behind the times.  Some believe that the society needs constant challenges to the status quo, and they are always ready to make bold objectives and changes.  I see nothing wrong with that, since deciding which path to take solely depends on how well you know about yourself.    Being honest to yourself and listening to your heart is critical. 

There is one thing that I never attempt to manage expectations whatsoever, and that is my Love towards my family and companions.  My devoted love and affection is unconditional.   Just like what the book Eat, Pray, Love says, love is worth losing balance for.


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By the time this post is published I am sure you are already sick and tired of seeing flowers being delivered around the city.  There has never been more flowers traveling on office tower elevators than any other day of the year.  Well you may be one of the many who have decided to pitch in to this multi-million dollar business day.  If so, I sincerely congratulate your celebration of love with your partner, as long as you don’t feel being pressured to do so.


I am not here to write about how superficial Valentine’s day is.  Millions of people had made similar observations since the day turned into a commercial bloodbath.  For those who would like to think of other reasons to celebrate this day this year, I am offering a few suggestions instead.

  1. You survived yet another Chinese New Year through over-eating, obsessive drinking, ultra-friendly relatives, and red packet giving.
  2. The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon is less than a week away.  You are not letting yourself distracted from your fitness and nutrition regime…that….started only a week after Chinese New Year.
  3. Mubarak stepped down from office.  With Egyptian citizens regaining power, dignity, livelihood and faith after bloody 30 years, isn’t everything else just seem so trivial?
  4. Janet Jackson is in town to kick off her latest world tour.  Singles now have an excuse to not hide at home during Valentine’s day.
  5. No more afraid of mainland tour guide scams.  Dispute settlements are totally negotiable.  HK$700K negotiated down to HK$120K, that’s a steal.  
  6. You got to work on time.  There were no train track cracks this morning on the MTR.
  7. You have just heard on the news that Stanley Ho has issued his 34th press release that he didn’t mean what he thought he had never said in front of his 2nd and 3rd wifes.  His 4th wife declined to comment, his lawyer said he was hired back by Mr. Ho’s 13th video recording.  Pansy, Maisy, Daisy, and Josie are preparing to make another statement outside the venue of Janet Jackson’s concert.  Now that’s entertainment.
  8. Your kids return to school today, braving the hot beds of influenza.
  9. Pizza Hut is selling beer at their Maritime Square branch in Tsing Yi!  Finally a reason to go for fast food in Hong Kong!
  10. McDonald’s is launching its wedding party package in Hong Kong.  For HK$9,999, you get 2 hours of venue rental, 50 invitation cards, a wedding gift, yummy fast food up to a HK$3,000 value, bridal bouquet, groom corsage and a pair of McDonald’s balloon wedding rings.  Each guest will also get a free McDonaldland character!  There is also a Double Apple Pie Box Cake Display for rental!  Finally!

If any of the above haven’t brighten up your day, check out this latest poll from HK Magazine.  Guess what answer has the most number of votes from readers of the magazine to the question “All I Want For Valentine’s Day is…”?

“A Date.”

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I’m sure this is going to be a popular topic, and that’s exactly why I am attracted to the 2011 Office Romance Survey results published by Vault.com.   It’s probably because we are all working extremely long hours at the office these days, comparing with our time with families and friends, that there is an increasing opportunity to mingle with our dear colleagues.  The chemistry, may bubble over into relationships beyond the strictly professional.

Now cut to the chase.  And the survey results are in (drum roll…):

  • 59% of the respondents admitted that they have participated in an office romance. 

So if you have not done it, the colleague sitting next to you has!

  • More men than women reported having short-term flings with co-workers.  However, women are more likely than men to have had a long-term, serious relationship with a co-worker. 

Ok, not surprising here.

  • 65% of the respondents said the shaky economy has no effect on their willingness to take romantic risks at work.  Willingness decreases with age.

Hmm, it seems that passion really trumps career for most people.

  • Some relationships are more acceptable than others.  For example, the most unacceptable relationships are those of different levels, within the same department, or those working on projects together.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Apparently, the further the couple is apart both physically and professionally, the better.  The point about different levels is interesting.

  • 60% of the respondents have avoided or curtailed a potential romance that they would have otherwise pursued specifically to avoid an “office romance”.

Some believes it’s the quickest means to tarnish our reputation.  The singles however often hold separate opinions.

  • 72% admitted they have an “office wife” or “husband”, someone they hang out with all the time during breaks and lunches, but not romantically involved.

This is just sad.

  • More people have dated with their office subordinates than superiors.

Managerial perks I see.

  • 33% of the respondents said they have had a tryst in the office.  More men than women.

How?  I think all offices have security cameras nowadays.  Bet it’s the thrill of excitement or getting caught.


  • 70% admitted that their office romances had impacted their personal or professional relationships with other co-workers.

Yes, someone always knows, and everyone tells as soon as they find out.  Many people find that they have lost respect from their subordinates once rumors spread.

  • 38% felt a co-worker gained a professional advantage because of a romantic relationship with a co-worker or supervisor.  31% felt uncomfortable because of co-workers’ intra-office romantic relationships.

“You do what you have to do to move up the ranks,” said one respondent.  “A co-worker had a relationship that ended in a break up […] she wanted people to take sides and the whole thing was horribly uncomfortable for ages”, another respondent wrote.

  • 63% said based on their previous experience in an office romance, they would participate in one again.

Forbidden is fun?

I find the survey very revealing, and I particularly adore the new term used here: “Colleagues with Benefits”.

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Attractiveness Defined

It is always so easy to look at the flaws of another person and I find it so rare that people are eager to compliment or acknowledge another person’s positive qualities.  I don’t know whether it is the lack of security that leads to so many people finding the comfort of self-reassurance through pointing at others’ miseries.   The most obvious victim is a person’s outlook.  Undoubtedly life isn’t fair, and we all love gawking at good-looking people and the immense hotness they carry.  However judging a book by its covers can mean lost opportunities for good relationship materials.  Sure it takes time to get to know a person better, but what’s with the rush?  Does it really hurt our ego that much to be seen hanging out with seemingly less attractive people?

So if I ask you what sort of qualities you look for in your lover other than looks and physical attractiveness, I will get a million different answers, but usually it sums up to a few key characteristics.

  • Talented
  • Well it’s a rather general term, and I don’t mean you have to be a distinguished pianist to earn this title.  It is perhaps a bit easier to look at this from the other side of the coin.  Can you be with someone who is talent-free?  Then you will realize that aside from beauty, talent also is in the eyes of the beholder.  Good.  Next time you want to complain about your lover, think of what talents he or she impresses you from the start, and ask yourself whether it is still there, or just that you have a forgetful mind.

  • Kindness
  • No this is not cliché, because there really are mean people out there.  I really don’t get why people choose to stay with partners who have been ill-treating them.  To me, kindness is not only to your partner but also to people around the two of you.  However, it seems that there are quite a number of abusive relationships out there for me to even begin talking about kindness to others.

  • Confidence
  • My friends who understand me know that this is my number one rule.  Self-confidence is super attractive, as long as you don’t step into cockiness.  Too many people have fallen into the latter probably due to insecurities again, but those who are confident and humble are a catch, if you know what I mean.  Confidence is the result as well as the enabler of a lot of these positive characteristics.

  • Trustworthy
  • A man needs to be trustworthy or he has no ability to take care of his partner or has the emotional strength to enter into a relationship.  Some says it’s the holy grail of one. 

  • Intelligence
  • This doesn’t necessarily come with age, and is quite an inborn gift.  Everything is relative, but most people would not want to be with somebody who is more stupid than himself or herself.  I guess no one will call themselves stupid in the first place, but I don’t think anyone will repute that intelligence is sexy.

  • Sense of Humor
  • I will focus on the humorous attitude towards life rather than the ability to crack jokes out of nowhere.  Life is too hard and reality is too cruel.  If we can all maintain a certain sense of humor and if our partner can motivate us to move on and recharge in his or her own witty ways, how sweet is that?

  • Money
  • Okay, this is way, way politically incorrect.  But I will be daring to put it out there in the open.  You know who you are, and I don’t need to explain anything further.

So what’s the point of writing this?  Well this is meant to motivate those singles or newly break-ups that everyone has a market somewhere, as long as we continue to work toward these “universal” attractive qualities gathered from so many guys and girls.  This is also written for those superficial people who check everyone off because they consider others ugly, old, short or “out of his/her reach”.  You time is coming!

Please excuse me for my playful mood tonight.  You can see my desperate attempt developing my wicked sense of humor.

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