10 Love Lessons Learnt from General Election 2011

Wow, time really flies… I just realised that I have not blogged for 3 months! Sorry for the long absence as I have been very busy with the business, especially our new branch in Taipei, as well as spending time with our family…!

And of course, in recent weeks, I have been one of the many keen followers on the latest updates on the Singapore's General Election 2011.

Now that the dust has settled, I have reflected on the ten lessons I have learnt from this momentous event in Singapore, and how these lessons can be applied to love, dating and relationships.

1. Do not think that what you have done in the past would help you in the present or the future. As much as it is true that the ruling party has brought Singapore from a fishing village to the thriving modern metropolitan it is today, many Singaporeans no longer vote based on the past accomplishments. Application: Similarly, one of the biggest complaints in many relationships is that the guy or the girl puts on his or her best behaviour during courtship, but once the deal is sealed, he or she will stop trying as hard, or keep bringing up all the things that he or she has done in the past. In any relationship, be it between the government and its citizen or between two lovers, constant and consistent effort must be put in to keep the relationship relevant and growing.

2. Do not come across as arrogant. If you read the many forum postings about GE2011, one of the most common traits used to describe the ruling party is 'arrogant'. Application: I can assure you that if your date meets you for the first time, and you come across as arrogant and high-handed, chances are you will not get a second date. The problem is, many a times, the person who has been labelled as arrogant did not even intend to come across as such. They are usually shocked when they know that others view them as arrogant. It's all in the mindset and the attitude. When you go on a date, adopt an open mindset and a positive attitude – take it as an enjoyable experience to make a new friend. Even when you meet the person, and he or she might not be your ideal mate, do not dismiss him or her immediately. You never know… he or she might have a friend or colleague who is the perfect mate for you… and because of your deemed arrogance, you have lost the chance of being introduced!

3. Communication is a two-way street. I remember visiting one of the PAP candidate's FB page, and I was quite surprised that comments are not allowed and wall postings by fans are also not allowed. It set me thinking, "What's the point of having a FB page then?" The ruling party would have realised by now that they have to rethink their social media strategy to connect with the young. Application: When it comes to dating, it is interesting to observe some who just embark on a monologue during dates. They are not even aware that their date is getting extremely bored and disinterested. A good conversation is like a game of table-tennis or ping pong. The ball goes back and forth rhythmically. Each party must be given a chance to participate and air their views.

4. Speak in the same language. Communicating is not enough. You have to speak the same language as your audience. During the GE, I attended rallies and watched the rallies online. And I found it quite amusing how different the various candidates spoke during the rallies, and the varied responses (some good, and some not so good) that they drew from the audience. I have to say, most of the time, the opposition parties did a much better job in rallying the rally goers. Application: When it comes to first dates, you will be shocked to know what people talk about. Some people like to talk about their jobs even though they hate their jobs. And as they delve deeper into their jobs, they would use industry jargons that people generally do not understand and eventually, their date lose interest. Know your date, know what his or her interest is, and engage him or her on the same level.

5. First impressions do matter. In every GE, be it in Singapore or other countries, there are bound to be some 'STARS'. One of the biggest and hottest names in GE2011 is of course Ms. Nicole Seah. Even before she was officially introduced and interviewed, she was already making waves when her official photo was released to the media. Sweet, pretty, fresh-faced are just some of the words used to describe this passionate, confident and well-spoken young lass. Application: Ladies, I know I have said this before, but I am going to say it again… first impressions are very important for first dates. Men are visual creatures. Hence, always put your best foot forward when going on a first date! First impressions are difficult to change… in doubt, just refer to the unfortunate case of Ms. Tin Pei Ling. Her real self could be totally different from what was portrayed in and by the online media, but it is definitely going to be an uphill task changing that initial impression.

6. Commitment is not enough. You need to have passion too. I believe that all the candidates who ran, withstanding the parties they are from are committed to serve the country. However, commitment is not enough. The voters want to see passion too. If your passion to serve is all wrapped up and people cannot see it, it is definitely going to cost you votes. Application: In a relationship, if there's only commitment and no passion, it is known as empty love. Many long-term relationships fall into this trap. They are committed to stay together, but after a while, the romance fizzles out, and like they say, familiarity breeds contempt. Before your relationship spirals down further, it is important to reignite the passion that you once feel for each other when you first started dating. For a marriage to work, you have to work at it. :)

7. Gifts do not always work. In the past, carrots worked like a charm. Lifts upgrading, grow and share packages. This time round, the gifts were no longer as effective as that's not what many of the voters want. I think all future candidates should read Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages. Giving gifts is just one of the 5 love languages. The others are acts of service, quality time, touch and words of affirmation. The ruling party seems to be lacking in the last 3 – quality time, touch and words of affirmation. And hence, they started to lose touch with the voters. The opposition parties however struck hard on touch and words of affirmation when connecting with the voters. Application: When it comes to relationships, do you know what your partner's love language is? And are you displaying your affection by speaking his or her love language and not your own? If your love language is act of service, and your partner's love language is quality time, it is obvious why both of you often feel unloved. Once you understand what each other's love language is, you can start speaking in the same language. :) 

8. Watch your words. The biggest buzz word in GE2011 has to be 'REPENT'. Many of my friends and FB friends alike were extremely offended by MM Lee's statement. And ultimately, this word probably contributed to the loss of Aljuneid GRC for the PAP. Application: Similarly, when you are in a relationship, it's so important that you watch what you say. Because a single word can sometimes make a break a relationship. In anger, we often say many things that we do not mean. But hurtful words are like water being thrown out from a pail onto the floor (Chinese Saying). Once it's thrown out, you cannot take it back. When you are in an argument with your loved one, bite your tongue if you have to, but always refrain from sarcasm and contempt.

9. Acknowledge your mistake when you are in the wrong. It has been said that PM Lee Hsien Loong's apology helped to sway some swing voters to vote for PAP. Sorry is indeed the hardest word. I have to force my 2 year old daughter to say it when she does something wrong. And yes, she's only 2!!! Application: Prolonged arguments can be avoided in relationships if one party takes a step back and apologises. When you are in the wrong, put your ego aside, and apologise. It can actually be the best thing you can do to save your relationship or your marriage. Think about it this way, is saving face more important, or is your relationship/marriage more important?

10. Be the right person. Many investors have been holding their breath lest there be a freak election result. Thus, the Singapore's stock market rose sharply after it was announced that the ruling party PAP has returned to power decisively. After the exciting campaigning and hustings, Singaporeans generally voted wisely and rationally. As much as many are not completely satisfied with the ruling party, they still voted for the candidates whom they feel can best serve them in the long run. Opposition parties who did not have strong manifestos or long-term plans were not voted in this time round. Workers' Party who fielded strong and credible candidates and has a convincing manifesto made great strides in this election. Application: When it comes to dating, before one even starts to think about meeting the right person, most importantly one has to be the right person. Because when you are the right candidate, with the right mindset, the right attitude and the right behaviour, you would automatically come across as attractive to your target audience! :)

This has been an extremely insightful and enlightening two weeks for me. The General Election has indeed brought out the best and the worst in many of us. I have been heartened and inspired by heroic acts, touching stories and courageous stance; and I have been brought to tears when I saw how ugly and petty we can be. At the end of the day, I believe it is what we learn from it all that will make us stronger and better.

To my dearest readers, happy dating and have a wonderful week ahead! :)

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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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Violet’s 3 Secrets to a Happy Marriage! (Part 2)

This is the 2nd part to this series. Click here to read the first part of this series.

Secret No. 2: Agreeing on Money Matters Early

This might see like a very practical and non-love related issue, and you might seem surprise that this is my 2nd secret to a happy marriage. :)

But do you know that a frequent conflict over finances is a top predictor for divorce? Hence, after choosing the right mate, it is very important that you and your other half actually have very clear expectations about money matters. 

Even before I got married or met Jamie, I knew that when I get married, I would like for my husband and I to have combined finances. I think this has a lot to do with my upbringing. My parents both have their own small businesses. However, they pool all their resources together. I still can vividly remember that whenever my dad comes home with the money he has collected from his clients, he would pass all his money to my mum for safekeeping, and would only keep a small portion for his daily expenses. And I still can remember that when my dad and I go for movies together on Sundays, he would usually ask for money from my mum. For some men, they might be turned off by such a thought. But I knew the reason behind it. My dad knew that my mum was much better at accumulating and saving money. Thus, he passes all his money to her. Hence, even from my earliest memory, I do not recall my parents ever arguing about money, as everything is simply shared.

Therefore, when Jamie and I were dating, I shared with him my financial philosophy. He was rather shocked at first  I must say. But after understanding where I am coming from, the idea eventually grew on him and he eventually agreed to it. Hence, currently, all our accounts are joined. We pool all our resources together. And that is the reason, we do not argue about money. We do not need to decide on who pays for the meal, who pays for the housing installment, or who pays for the kids' education, or how much we have to put towards our joint account (should it be based on who earns more or should it be equal?)

What is his is mine, and what is mine is his. 

Is this something that works for everybody? Probably not.

But the point I am trying to get at is that,

It is very important that you talk about money and agree on certain guidelines before you get married.

Couples who attend pre-marriage counselling would have covered the topic of marriage and finance, but couples who do not attend pre-marriage courses might not really know what they getting themselves into. It is absolutely vital and important to understand each other's values when it comes to money.

Even if you and your partner have different values, it is good to know where both parties are coming from so you can think of ways to resolve potential problems before the problem becomes too big a problem to resolve.

(This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Sign up for my updates using the Subscribe Form on the left sidebar to be informed of the subsequent installments)

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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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Turning 30…

A couple of days ago, I turned 30.

Strange enough, I have been looking forward to this day. Because my real age has finally caught up with how old people think I am. I know, it is bizarre right? I apparently look so old that since like 4-5 years ago, people think that I am 30+. Sob sob. I remember a few years ago when I was 25, a newspaper article actually quoted that I am 35! Aiks!

On a more serious note. When I turned 30, I took time to take stock of my life thus far.

I feel extremely thankful and blessed.

My dearest hubby Jamie threw me a surprise birthday party in Malaysia among my dearest and closest family and friends. (I must admit that it wasn’t as much a surprise as he wanted it to be since he had my mum as an accomplice! Haha! My mum kept asking me questions about the party?!) But I was really surprised by the big group of people that he managed to gather, and of course, really surprised by his poem recitation! It was really funny, because at first he told me the poem was… “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I don’t know what happened, but I love you…!” I was like… err… but the actual poem was a really meaningful poem about growing old together.

People often tell me how lucky I am to have such a sweet and romantic husband. I am extremely thankful for my hubby who has been very supportive of all my endeavors throughout the years. And I would like to take this opportunity once more to thank him again.

J, thank you for loving me! Especially during times when I am not so ‘lovable’.

I am thankful for my 2 beautiful children. I guess all parents think that their children are beautiful. Haha! :) Knowing that many of our friends are finding it hard to conceive despite being healthy young adults, I know our children are our little miracles, as I actually have endometriosis, a condition that affects fertility rate by 40%.

And my parents. Who have been extremely self-sacrificing and supportive of Jamie and myself. Even though they have been quite shocked by their crazy daughter on several occasions, one being when I told them I am quiting my cushy job to be a… matchmaker! They have recovered to be our biggest and most ardent supporters. I love you, pa and mi!

On some days when things are not going that well, I will sometimes question my choice of career path.

Have I had doubts? Of course I have. I am only human. :) Strange as it might sound, being a matchmaker can sometimes be quite a thankless job. But of course, I am very thankful for the clients who appreciate us for our efforts.

Taken in 2005, a much slimmer and younger version of me :)

On my 30th birthday, surrounded by my family, relatives and friends, I am once again reminded that God must has given me all these blessings for a reason and a purpose. To steer me on a mission to help more singles out there to find happiness… to be, meet and choose the right person.

A HK journalist asked me recently, “It is not easy to matchmake, or to help people get married, what motivates you?”

My reply was… Step by step, one at a time. :)

My dearest readers and friends… thank you very much for your love and support all these years! Reading your comments, or knowing that you like the blog post always put a smile to my face!

As I turn 30, I will charge ahead (b)older and wiser, with renewed hope and vigour! :)

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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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DaFG: The Perfect Proposal

Some guys have asked me in the past what would make a perfect proposal… Here are my thoughts and views… those of you who are now happily engaged or married, please feel free to contribute your thoughts! :)

You have been dating for close to 2 years now. And things are going really well. She laughs at your jokes, even when most people think you are really corny. You are comfortable enough to fart in front of her, and she hardly cringes. She’s great with your dogs or your sister’s kids. You can totally imagine growing old with her, and being with her for the rest of your life.

Yes, you are ready to propose.

If you are tempted to just casually ask her to marry you over the phone when you next speak to her, I will stop you right there. A marriage proposal is something that your girl would take very seriously. And it is an occasion that friends and relatives would ask for details for years to come. “So how did he propose?” You do not want her to say, “Ah well, it was really boring. He asked me to marry him over the phone.”

You want to give her a proposal to remember – a proposal that she will be proud to tell over and over again, and each time she retells it, she will remember how much effort you have put into it, and how thoughtful you are, and how much you love her.

So, how do you go about it?

Here’s a 5-steps approach that would result in your perfect proposal!

Step 1: Telling her parents

If you have been dating seriously, chances are you would have met up with her parents. By informing them, you would have scored Brownie points, as her parents would be really impressed that they have such a sensitive future son-in-law. Some guys I know even involve her parents in the proposal process as the girl is really close to her parents. Of course, there would be exceptions. If your girlfriend is estranged from her parents, skip this step.

Step 2: Getting the ring

Some girls like to choose their own engagement rings, but I personally think that takes out the surprise element of the process. And it’s not as romantic. If you have previously spoken about marriage, then you probably would have a good idea of the type of ring that she likes. Or if not, enlist the help of her best friend or sister who usually would be more than happy to help you out.

Step 3: Thinking about the setting

Think about your girl’s personality. Would she prefer a more intimate setting, where there are just two of you? Or does she prefer to have an audience?  If she likes to have an audience, then indulge her, and give her a big one. Try to recall the proposals in movies that she said, “Aww… that’s so sweet!”

You could consider doing something totally out of the ordinary e.g. on a hot-air balloon, or on top of Mount Kinabalu if both of you are avid trekkers, or even proposing over the radio. Or you could surprise her in the course of a normal day. Like when she’s coming home from work, and when she opens the door, there you are, kneeling down on one knee with the ring, with flowers in the room. Or when you are at both your favourite restaurant and she finds the ring on the dessert platter.

The options are endless, and it is up to how creative and memorable you want to make it.

Step 4: Be formal

As you know, this scene is going to stay ingrained in her mind, and would be retold to friends, choose your words carefully. Do not trivialize it by saying, “So, wanna get married?” Stick to the traditional, “Will you marry me?” As for whether to bend down on one knee, this would depend on the setting. However, do consider whether to do it, especially if your girl is the more ‘old-fashioned’ or the ‘romantic’ type, as she may well be expecting it and would be utterly disappointed if you didn’t.

Step 5: Be prepared for her answer

If you have come to this stage, chances are you are quite sure that she’s going to say yes. But just in case, do prepare for the 0.001% chance that she might say no, or she needs to think about it.

And so if she’s says yes, rejoice with her! Dance with her. Hug her. Swirl her around. The worst thing that can happen at this juncture is an excited girl with a guy with a blank look on his face.

And finally, a word of advice… when you are thinking about your proposal, stay true to your relationship and who you are. Remember the reason you are doing this – you are asking the woman you love for her hand. A proposal with ‘the full works’ might work for some relationships but for others, it might be the recital of a handwritten love poem or a song declaring your love.

I wish you luck and may your relationship be filled with much love, joy and laughter!

This article first appeared on New Man Magazine, Malaysia.

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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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Film Review: Twilight

A few weeks ago, Jamie and I went to watch Twilight at the cinema.

Ironically, it was Jamie who suggested that we watched it because so many of our female friends have been swooning about how the main character (Note: Edward Cullen played by Robert Pattinson) is the ‘perfect guy’. So being the analytical person he is, he wanted to know why they thought he was ‘perfect’.

And so, the show began.

At the end of the show, I told Jamie… “I would have enjoyed the show a lot more if I did not watch it with you!” Haha… you know why?

He was just like making faces at me throughout the show. Luckily he was the one who suggested we watched it, if not I will never hear the end of it! Haha… the expressions that he was pulling were of, “Omigosh, I cannot believe that we are actually watching this!”

After he has gotten over his trauma, we started to analyze the show. And we deduced that the reason that women are so crazy about the show, or more so the main character is because…

1.       He’s tall, dark (or in this case fair), and handsome.

2.       He’s mysterious.

3.       He’s strong. Yes, so strong that he can just block a truck coming your way at 100km/h with one hand.

4.       He is a superhero. He has amazing speed. He can climb trees, and he can show you the most amazing sights.

5.       He’s sensitive. He reads. He’s intellectual. You look into his eyes, and you can look into his soul.

6.       He’s always there. Lurking in the shadows to make sure that you are safe. And he would even sneak into your room just to watch you sleep.

7.       He will do anything for you. Even it means sacrificing his own life.

Ladies, if you have anything else to add to the above list, please feel free to do so. J

Jamie being ever the realist said, “Hey, do you think the girl (Note: Bella Swan played by Kristen Stewart) will still think it was sweet if he was short, fat and ugly? She probably would think that he’s some weird stalker! “

Haha! J

Anyway, since I am a girl, the show worked for me. I mean the author of the book got the characters and the plot right. She knew what would tug at a girl’s heartstring. And the casting people did a good job as well.

Did you know that the Twilight series are actually located at the ‘Teen Romance’ section of the bookshop? But after the movie, women in their 20s and 30s flocked to bookstores to get the books, and the bookstores actually did not expect this surge of demand!

On the other hand, from a professional point of view, I am quite concerned of the effect of such a story/movie having on our society or maybe girls in general.

The truth is… guys who are tall, dark/fair and handsome usually have more attention from the girls than they can handle. And as a result, some of them end of with this sense of ‘entitlement’. Their mindset is… “Only the most beautiful girl can be my girlfriend.” As for the alpha male… guys who are strong and powerful… chances are they would not be a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy). Think Russell Crowe. And men who have a sensitive soul , men who would do anything to please a girl… these are men that many women would label as soft and total pushovers. In other words, guys that women are generally not attracted to.

Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed the show. And yes, he’s cute! J But I sure hope that our teenage girls are not in the process of being brainwashed to think that the world is full of men like that. And men who are otherwise just cannot cut it.

What are your thoughts? J I would especially love to hear from the guys!

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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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