“Why aren’t you married yet?”

 

Getting annoyed with friends/colleagues/relatives asking you the same old question every year, especially when you just want to enjoy the great champagne and canapes? Learn some great comebacks – they come in various styles to suit your personality.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Preparing for your FIRST date?

A month or so ago, Emily who writes for U! a pullout of The Sun approached me for some dating tips. The article appeared on Tuesday, 20 Dec 2005, but unfortunately, I did not save a soft copy of it. 🙁

Anyway, here’s my email reply to her. 🙂

1. Getting the date – what’s the best way to go about getting someone to go out with you?

If you are friends to start off with, casually mention a movie that you really want to watch and ask if he/she would like to join you. Well, there’s no easy way out of this, all you have to do is take a deep breath, and ask. 🙂 If you do not ask, you will never know!

2. Before the date – grooming – how should one look for a first date? Calming techniques?

Pleasant and presentable is the way to go. Dress according to the occasion. If you are on a movie date, jeans and t-shirt for guys, jeans and a nice top for girls will do. But if you going to a fine dining restaurant, you might want to dress up slightly, guys in ironed shirts, and in my opinion, a nice sundress for girls does the trick. If in doubt, it’s always good to be over-dressed than under-dressed! Guys, remember to comb your hair, trim your nose hair, shave, and if you have a tendency to sweat a lot, a dash of cologne helps. For girls, do not overdo on the perfume. French perfumer Annick Goutal says, “Once it goes beyond your two-foot to three-foot personal space, perhaps you put on a bit more than you want to.” If you are applying makeup, keep it light and fresh. Guys are usually put off by the caked up look. Wear something you are comfortable with, there’s no point wearing stilettos if you trip over on your first date!

You are bound to have butterflies in your stomach on your first date. That’s a good sign! It means you are excited to meet him/her. Try to have at least an hour or two before the date to yourself i.e. not tied up with work, or right after a soccer match. This will give you time to calm yourself down, relax, and look forward to the date. You can call up a friend prior to the date for moral support as well!  

3. During the date – manners, behaviour… how close is too close? How close can you get? How do you show interest? What should you talk about? (Any other topics?)

Different people have different ‘comfort zone’ level. On your first date, do keep the same distance you would with a normal friend. You could easily gauge how comfortable the person is by observing his/her body language. If he/she steps backward or tilt his/her body to create distance, or perhaps crosses his or her hand to create a ‘barrier’, then you would know that you are too close.

To show interest, you could bend your body forward while you are conversing. By nodding your head while the other person is talking, and tilting your head slightly, you are indicating you are interested in the conversation. For a guy, pay the girl a compliment now and then throughout your date. If she exposes the palms of her hand facing you or twirls her hair around her fingers while she is looking at you, she’s probably flirting with you, hence showing interest in you. For a girl, to show interest, you could also mirror your date’s body language and body positions.

You could always talk about your common interests and hobbies, your passion in life, or swap travel tales. However, always steer clear of the following: politics, religion, sex and ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. And always show your most positive side on your first date. No one wants to go out with someone who’s negative and always complaining about everything and anything.

4. After the date – If it went well and you want to go out again, how do you approach it? Should you call him/her? Should the other one call you? If it didn’t go well. How do you turn a date down?

Well, there are no straight and fast rules when it comes to dating. What works for some might backfires on others.
 
Some experts advise that the girls should never make the first move. But in this modern day and age, I feel the girl too can initiate the next date. It’s always nice to just drop your date a SMS on the same day, or the day after to thank him/her for the great time you had, and maybe suggest a meet-up sometime soon.
 
If you are not interested in the person, and he/she asks you out again, always be polite and courteous. The direct approach would be to tell the person that you would like to stay as friends so as to not to lead him/her on. Or if you would not want to hurt his/her feelings, you could gently let him/her down by declining his/her suggestion for another date by telling him/her you are busy or already have other engagements. Most people would get the message after a few declines.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Lunch date service

Dear Readers 🙂

Sorry for the long absence. As I am in Singapore this week, have been very busy catching up with my piled up work. I am like having 2 jobs now… 1 in KL and 1 in Singapore. 🙂

A plug for LA… we are in The Star today! Do tell your single friends about it ya?

Thanks! Have a wonderful weekend, and you will be hearing from me real soon!

Sincerely, Violet

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Worst Dating Scenarios (Part 3)

I went out on a date with this girl, and on the second date, she started talking about buying a house and having kids, even down to selecting their names. It freaked me out. I haven’t called her since, and she’s been calling me nonstop. How do I tell her to slow down?

Run! You have a stalker at hand! Ok, it’s flattering indeed…. But seriously, without trying to hurting her feelings, tell her that you would like to enjoy the process of getting to know each other better before rushing into things. Be honest with her, and most probably, she would appreciate your honesty. If she does not seem to get it, maybe it’s time to move on.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Worst Dating Scenarios (Part 2)

 

I was set up on a blind date and the guy was a nightmare. He kept making dirty jokes throughout the date, and even when I told him I don’t appreciate such jokes, he pretended not to hear. I nearly wanted to storm off, but didn’t want to be rude. Should I have slapped him?

Do not bother to exert yourself physically. Take your handbag and pretend to go to the ladies but instead go up to the waiter to order an absurd amount of food (preferably the most expensive items on the menu). Leave the restaurant and leave him to foot the bill. If you wish to be more direct, tell him that you are not going to sit through another minute of torture, thank him for the meal and leave. Remember to tell your friend about the incident so that he/she does not set that jerk on another blind date and spoil someone else’s day.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Tribute to a Great Man

I woke up with a terrible headache this morning. It has been a long time since I felt such pain.I contemplated taking a half day off, but as I have an important meeting this morning, I decided to go to work. But by the time I got to my office, I still felt horrible… I decided to ask my colleague to help me handle the meeting.My phone rang. It’s my friend B. “Have you heard the bad news?”I was sitting down at my table, with my head resting on the table. I did not know what to expect.”Sunil just passed away.””Oh my gosh! You are kidding! What happened?””He had a heart attack last night, in Poland.””Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it! How old is he? He’s so young!””He’s 54. Doesn’t look his age at all right?”We both did not know what else to say… there was nothing left to say… after saying our good-byes, we put down the phone.B told me that this piece of news was in Straits Times, but I did not manage to locate it. Did a search on Google News, but did not manage to find anything… but I managed to find this other article instead…

Citibank Takes Its Pulse With Staff Lunches

By Shu Shin Luh
From The Asian Wall Street Journal

SINGAPORE — Faced with the twin perils of low morale and fleeing employees, Citibank reacted as would many big banks: it planned a little lunch.

Meet the host: Sunil Sreenivasan, a radical in pinstripes who heads the corporate bank in Singapore, a position he previously held in Malaysia.

Introduced more than five years ago, his “pulse lunch” program has resulted in lower staff turnover. It illustrates how a thoughtful manager can create a workable solution for seemingly intractable and expensive problems. The weekly bill of fare is simple: managers listen to employee concerns — taking their pulse — then act on the concerns.

I read the article, and I broke down and cry.

Sunil Sreenivasan, ex-CCO (Citigroup Country Officer) of Citigroup Malaysia and Singapore, and before passing on, Citibank’s regional head of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland… he was known simply as Sunil to his staff. And that’s how he wanted it. Not Mr. Sunil, or Mr. Sreenivasan, simply… Sunil.

I started my first job in Citigroup Singapore as a Management Associate (MA). I remember my first meeting with Sunil. It was at one of the breakfasts that he held for the MAs. He looked more like a Bollywood movie star than a banker. He’s tall, he’s always dressed in these well-pressed, pin-striped suits. His hair is always in place, and when he walks into the room, every head will turn as his mere presence commands attention. And when he speaks, his voice is calm and measured. You will never hear him shout or raise his voice. He just needs to look at you with those intelligent eyes of his, you’ll know that it’s time to shut up.

I do not have that many personal encounters with Sunil, but I do remember every single one of the encounters that we had.

Every year during Chinese New Year, Sunil will take the effort to ‘make the rounds’. He would visit all the departments, whether it’s in the city or the operations centre in the suburban area to wish his employees “Happy Chinese New Year”. He will be walking together with the HR manager, who will tell him each and every person’s name when they drop by the individual cubicles, and he will give you your angpow and mandarin oranges personally.

When he walked to my cubicle, he came to me with my angpow and mandarin oranges, “Violet, here’s to wishing you and your family a prosperous New Year.”

That’s Sunil for you. He could be somewhere else making new deals, or playing golf with other CEOS, but he believes that employees satisfaction drives customer satisfaction, which drives bottom line. And he walks the talk.

After being in the MA program for awhile, both my MA advisor and I agreed that I am not cut out for finance. It was time to move on. During his time, Sunil did each and every exit interview for the corporate bank’s employees. I was sitting outside his office, waiting to see him, I did not know what to think.

His secretary finally said, “Violet, he’s ready to see you.”

I walked in to his spick and span office. Sunil believes in the paperless office environment. Hence, all you see on his table is his PC. He was in one of his signature white shirts, and black pants.

He talked to me, about my future. He asked if I still wanted to stay on with the bank. He asked me what areas I would want to explore if finance is not my cup of tea. Imagine this, here we have a man who has 3500 staff under him, and he’s interested to find out more about what I want to be and where I want to go.

I told him I was interested in HR, as there’s what I majored in for my Masters. He told me that he would find me a new posting. I wasn’t sure whether to believe him. As I was a mere 1 in 3500.

Sure enough, I was posted to HR, and I spent the next year rotating in HR learning about various functions, before I left to start my own business.

I have always meant to thank him. Maybe send him a Christmas card when he was in Poland. But I just never got round to it. And now, it’s just too late.

I learnt so much from him. He is a man of his words. He is a man who cares about his employees. He is a man who walks the talk.

When he left Singapore, it’s as if he took part of it away with him. I felt the bank never felt the same anymore. But it is a comforting thought that he was bringing his great inspiration to the rest of the world.

After settling down in Poland, the first thing he did was to send the Head of HR to Singapore to learn how to set up the HR Call Centre. Imagine! We have a special hot line to call if we the employees have any issues!

His legacy I believe is in people management… to be the kind of manager that he has been to rest of us. A manager who takes the time to care…

Goodbye Sunil. Thank you for the inspiration. We will miss you.

Post Note: Jamie said… even though Sunil died at what I would call a premature age, but he has lived a full life. He has actually made an impact in so many people’s lives. My friend B (who broke the news to me) is also an ex-Citibanker. Two ex-Citibankers who are so affected by his death. Jamie said he would not be terribly affected if he heard that the CEO of his ex-company (also a bank) passed away, because he does not know him at all. And I guess that’s true.

Sunil has touched so many people’s lives, and because of him I will always remember: in all my dealings… to be on the ground, stay in touch with your people, as a true leader is someone who serves others and not be served by others.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Worst Dating Scenarios (Part 1)

 

The guy I’m dating is almost perfect, except his kissing sucks. He is overly aggressive and likes give wet, sloppy kisses. I feel like a dog is licking me. How can I get him to kiss better?

When you are cuddling up the next time, tell him about the times where you really enjoyed his kiss. Kiss him the way you want, and then grin at him and say “That’s the way I like it!” while nodding sagely and winking suggestively. Or when you are watching a romantic movie, point out to him the ways you would like to be kissed. If he’s worth keeping, he will get the hint.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Light Within: [Happily] Married with kids — and in love with a prostitute

 

The author of Light Within has invited me to comment on this issue… I will in my best capacity, as a newly wed. 🙂

It’s a classic story. Boy meets girl. Boy & girl fall in love. Boy proposed. Girl agreed. They got married, and they live happily ever after…. NOT.

Many people fall into the trap of thinking that marriage is a given. It’s just a natural transition from a relationship, some even call it an upgrading of the relationship. But it is a lot more than that. Marriage is hard work, if you do not know that already.

How can we avoid falling into the trap that ‘Love in L.A.’ has fallen into?

Lesson #1: Do not get married until you feel you are able to say those vows and mean it.

When you were saying your vows, the pastor/justice of peace/(insert term for the person who legalize your marriage) – the vows were… I, (Bride/Groom), take you (Groom/Bride), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

Please note – ‘until death do us part’ and NOT ’till I am sick and tired of our lovemaking’, or ’till I do not feel any longing or lust for you’. Therefore, before you go into marriage, please do think long and hard because you are talking about a lifetime.

When you say your vows and mean it, chances are you will not stray even if given the opportunity. Because, you have made a conscious decision, and this decision is very powerful. Maybe nobody will ever find out about it i.e. you were in a foreign country and even if you visited a prostitute, nobody would ever know, but you will never be able to face yourself in the mirror. Because even nobody will ever know, YOU know. You have made a conscious decision, and by going against that decision, you are effectively cheating yourself.

Lesson #2: Add spice and variety to your relationship.

We all love variety. If you were to eat the same McDonalds Cheeseburger for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of your life, I am sure you will tire of it even if you are a staunch fan. Ok, maybe Cheeseburger is not a good example… even the best French restaurant in the world. If you have to go to the same restaurant everyday for the rest of your life, at some point, you will call it quits too. You get my point… it is human to get bored.

So instead of taking it as an excuse to stray, do something about it. There are many ways to do it. One way is to take up classes together – like my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, they have taken golf lessons, salsa lessons, NLP lessons together (among others). By doing things together, you see sides of each other that you do not normally see. And it brings you closer as a couple as well. And when it comes to ‘in the bedroom’, hmm… I read somewhere that the male’s brain can be fooled by role playing and costumes. 😉

Lesson #3: Communication is the key to any successful relationship.

It is easy to drift apart after spending decades together. Especially when the kids come along and you do not communicate with each other any more. You talk about nothing about your kids. I am constantly amazed by people who feel that it is justified to put their kids before their spouses. Refer to my previous post. And when the kids are gone, you are not sure if you know your spouse at all.

Relationships are different from what they used to be. People used to marry for survival, for procreation purposes. But nowadays, people marry for love and companionship. If you do not find companionship as you used to in your relationship, then you are in the danger zone. My friend M told me that she and her husband lead totally separate lives. She does her own things, and so does her husband. They do not talk much. They are virtually two strangers living in the same house. In such circumstances, if M’s husband meets a colleague who’s so understanding, so warm, and always tuning into his every word, would he stray? Yeah, I would say – a pretty high chance.

My parents have been married for close to 30 years, and they spend every day together. My dad will send my mum to town where she does her grocery shopping, he will sometimes buy lunch back for her if he’s not too caught up at work, then they will have dinner together, and then they will watch some TV serials before calling it a day. They still hold hands, my dad will tease my mum, and they sometimes act like teenagers in love, and that’s just so sweet. I mean I used to find it disgusting when I was a growing teenager, but now as a married woman, I pray that my marriage too will last through the decades.

The key I believe is to communicate. Do not lose touch with your spouse. Understand his/her work. Get to know his/her friends. Go for a trip together, experience new things together. Engage in intelligent conversations, go back to when your romance first blossomed, remember those deep and probing conversations you had about the world, the universe or just about life? Do not only talk about mundane day-to-day things.

Well, to ‘Lost in L.A.’, my question to you is this – you might find the prostitute tantalizing now, but would you find her the same after 20 years? The same amount of time you have been married to your wife.

Your comments will be warmly embraced.

Category: musings, dating101, askviolet

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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“There are no ugly people, only lazy people?”

 

I have been blogsurfing lately, and one constant theme that I have picked up on is ‘looks, appearances and dating’. Maybe it’s just that I am in this industry, thus I am more sensitive to picking up such ‘stories’… 🙂

Incident 1: There’s this Malaysian blogger, who blogged about her feelings on being single during the festive season – especially when she received a memo from her boss inviting her and her partner/spouse/other half – and she does not have anybody to bring. One of her readers actually commented that she’s ugly. Her other readers i.e. ‘fan club’ started to defend her and they rebuked the rude reader.

Incident 2: Today while driving to work, heard one of the radio DJs commented in Cantonese – “there are no ugly people, only lazy people.”

Incident 3: And then today at lunch… I met someone really obnoxious. Maybe as his colleague has gently put it… “his mouth is tough, but his heart is actually soft” (Cantonese)… but I just could not take his abuse of women especially with regards to women’s appearances.

He commented that there was this “fei poh” (fat woman in Cantonese) that was hired by his company. And apparently he is very disappointed by the recent recruitment standards of his company. Err… you are working in an auditing firm, not a modeling agency… should it matter?

Then he went on to describe the various methods he used to hire staff. E.g. he said to a married woman, “So you are married right? What if after I hire you… one day I ask you to pack your bag, and go off to Afghanistan for a job the very next day… what will you do?” Err… hasn’t he heard of discrimination? There are laws for these kind of things you know? You are not supposed to discriminate against married women.

Then he just went on and on about looks. About how there was this guy who’s not that great looking… and he asked him at the interview… “I don’t like your face, what are you going to do about it?” He thinks he’s being smart because apparently the guy handled the question quite well. The guy answered, “Oh ok, which part of my face do you not like? I can make changes to it.” I am not sure what to think about this company anymore…

And finally I just couldn’t take it anymore… I asked his colleague… “So… you mentioned earlier that this guy is not my target audience… is he married? Or attached?” His colleague told me that he’s married. I said very loudly (so that he would not miss it), “Oh, your wife must be very ‘jang’!” (gorgeous in Cantonese)

Silence.

He proceeded to change the topic. And that was when his friend explained to me that he’s actually a nice guy, but just that he has a foul mouth. Wahlau… I just cannot take it!!! Usually, I am a person who just sit back, relax and would not make too many comments in front of people whom I meet for the first time. But with this guy, he really made my blood boil, and I just feel that I had to say something… I mean… how would he like it if other people were to make all the comments he had made about his wife, his sister or his mother? Seriously, please be more responsible with your words. . . . . . . . .

Actually these 3 incidents put me in a fix. Because yes – I do believe in the saying… “there are no ugly people, only lazy people”. And if I do believe in that, then does it justify for people like this obnoxious guy to say all these things? Maybe in his view, women who do not want to be ‘criticized’ in such a manner should lose weight if they are overweight or go for grooming classes if they are plain looking? And does it mean that the lady blogger who’s interested in dating should do something about her looks if she would like to appear more attractive to potential suitors? Or should she NOT bother about her outer appearances because she has a beautiful heart, and if they cannot see that, then it’s their loss?

It’s sad but at the end of the day – men are very visual creatures. Yes – you might be very beautiful inside, but upon first impressions, they are not ‘impressed’, it would take nothing less of a miracle to make them change their mind. Some people might then say, what about when you walk on the street, you see some really average girl with an attractive looking guy? How do you explain that? Anyway, this is getting depressing.

Are we truly that shallow? Your comments will be warmly embraced…

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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