Chinese Singaporean man seeks independent Western woman with “life in her” – and reminds us of diversity

(photo by Ed Yourdon via
AMWF love in reality doesn’t look like the stereotypes. Nor do the men. (photo by Ed Yourdon via

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a reader in Singapore I’ll call “Tom”, who wrote:

First of, thank you for spending the time and effort to share your unique marriage experience. I have been reading and digesting what you have posted thus far.

However, as a Chinese Singaporean, I find myself caught in between the Chinese and the Chinese born and raised in a Western country. There is a lot of talk about these two groups but I feel left out of the conversation. A lot of hurdles that a White female may face with a Chinese seem to be almost non-existent when it comes to the sizable number of Chinese Singaporean men who come from english speaking families, and are highly educated with good and stable jobs. Such families tend to not be overly traditional and live out western values in their daily lives.

I am adamant that I would so much happier if I could have a life partner that has the qualities of a western female. Softness and meekness, and even home cooking, believe it or not, isn’t all that endearing to me. I want a girl that behaves as if she has life in her! I want a life partner, not a little girl. If I don’t give this a shot now I may settle for someone “lesser” in my mind’s eye. If I wanted to settle I would have years ago.

Tom’s e-mail also reminded me of an article in the World of Chinese about dating Chinese men, which mentioned:

Dating a Chinese guy has never been a hot topic to discuss with my friends. Some of these, I have found, have been harsh and unfairly judgmental. One even tried to warn me: “Don’t even think about it.” Their reason: they simply found the cultural differences too large.

When the author describes her judgmental friends, I’ll be willing to bet they have a very fixed and limited idea of “Chinese men” and subsequently what it means to date them. Chances are, not a single one of these women could imagine a guy like Tom.

There is incredible diversity when it comes to Chinese men — and more often than not, it looks completely different from the stereotypical images you hold in your mind. As an example, just look at these posts by China Elevator Stories, Sara Jaaksola, The Mandarin Duck, and Ember Swift about their own husbands, who are all so unique in their own right!

It’s almost crazy that things like this even need to be said. But then again, it is crazy that a lot of women come to China and then automatically cross Chinese men off the “dateworthy” column in their minds, as that World of Chinese article mentioned (a phenomenon I’ve sadly observed as well).

So ladies, don’t always assume he’s too conservative or traditional for you to date just because he’s Chinese and you’re an independently minded Western woman. For all you know, he could be like Tom.

What do you think?

29 Replies to “Chinese Singaporean man seeks independent Western woman with “life in her” – and reminds us of diversity”

  1. “Chances are, not a single one of these women could imagine a guy like Tom.”

    Having been in Singapore just over a week ago and now back on the east coast, I only saw a few AMWW couples on the last day…the were in business dress…so I am not sure whether they were couples at all. However, plenty of AWWM couples though and plenty of Singapore Chinese women targeting White men.

    1. @David

      They are targeting each other indeed.

      Visit the Singapore Statistics website and you will see that the number of Caucasian-Chinese marriages DWARFS all other marriages involving Caucasian men, including Caucasian-Caucasian ones.

      Although we also have to keep in mind that there are way more of these men than women.

  2. Chinese men run the gambit. Traditional China raised like your John, Singaporean raised western style like Tom, and Chinese-American raised either traditional or western as well.

    Then throw into the mix Chinese who have blended more than one of these backgrounds (mine BF is traditional China raised but has spent the last 20 years in the US embracing all its culture), and you will realize that there is a whole variety of Asian men available if you are willing to consider an AMWF relationship. And you should.

    BTW, my BF had a traditional Chinese wife and they both ended up hating being married to each other. She is now happily married to an American man for over 10 years are we are considering the next step in our relationship as well (at least I think so, since he just asked me to explain the differences between an engagement ring and a wedding ring last week…)

  3. Why is “traditional” such a big issue? It is not as if “traditional” necessarily means bad. And really, when your heart is smitten, your beloved may be the devil himself/herself – still who cares? You have just been “traditionally” smitten. Anybody who has been in love has been smitten in one “traditional” way of another. Actually, there is only one “traditional” way of being smitten. When you are smitten, you are smitten – no two ways about it. And none of them is complaining. They just revel in the the sweetly mad inanity. Or the inanely sweet madness of love. Nobody is going to care whether you have been smitten by a “traditional” guy or gal. All they care about is themselves, traditional or not. Just go out there and not pre-handicap yourself with labels. Life often mocks, it’s just nature way. Just when you set yourself up strongly against someone or something, then you become most vulnerable to it. Haha…go on…don’t resist. Resistance is disaster – certainly where the heart is concerned. If you go by the head, you are better off doing barter trade. Not love.

    1. @ordinary malaysian

      Being traditional isn’t a bad thing. Believe me when I say that I’m proud to be Chinese. Sometimes I think of myself as Chinese first, Singaporean second.

      But I was trying to say that it could be one less hurdle in an intercultural relationship.

  4. Oh my. Got so much to say, since I’m a white female who tried finding love for 2 years in China, with no success, while my friends would tell me: “You need to go to Singapore, men are more westernized”. Indeed, upon going to Singapore, I quickly found someone. It’s been five years and we are engaged.

    I found that men in China were not all so conservative actually. The issue for me was that the vast majority of the guys my age (35+) were already married. The pressure to marry early seems stronger in China.

    Second largest issue for me in China vs Singapore was the language.

    Take care, “Tom” and good luck

  5. The diversity of qualities can be applied to Western women, too. Personally, I find that the so-called independent mindedness of Western women (or Western people in general) is greatly overrated.

  6. It is so true that Chinese men come in many different kinds, exactly like European, African and America men. It is always dangerous to blindly accept the predominant stereotype and cut off an entire race from your dating radar.

    I lived in Beijing for more than a year and I would say that I personally found easier to hang out with Chinese people with international upbringing, both as friends and dates. This could have easily been due to my not-so-perfect Mandarin skills though. Moreover, I met a number of Chinese people raised and educated abroad that had an extremely traditional Chinese mindset and on the other side Chinese folks who never left China but had such an openminded and flexible mentality.

    This just to say that often times judging a person according to his nationality/ upbringing is not just lame, but also misleading.

  7. Thanks for linking to our articles, Jocelyn!

    Stereotypes can close people’s minds from really getting to know someone on an individual basis. And sometimes they are just not true for the majority of people.

    But isn’t Tom stereotyping as well when he describes his ideal future wife? I get that he might be attracted to certain traits he ascribes to Western women. But saying Western women are all like that and describing someone who’s not a Western female as someone “lesser” – well, that just sounds racist to me.

  8. Well, I’m a Chinese Singaporean, living in States now. The sentiment “Tom” has does not reflect the whole proportion of Chinese Singaporeans sentiment towards interracial relationships.

    I’ve been with two white girls. After reflecting what had caused me to go after them, I found that I was just attracted to the way they walk, behave and their manners. They talk softly, they have a pleasant manner. That’s what attracts me the most. And they don’t mingle a lot with other girls, or guys at least. I don’t like the girls who talk big, who throws in “cuss” word every now and then. Both of the girls I’ve been with, they have lives.

    The problem stemming from interracial relationship, most of the time, is “Stereotypes”. Just because they are “white” girls does not mean they like to party all the time, they like to act like they’re queen. In fact, they all are women. They expect warmth, care from their partners. When you’re dating, they expect to explore things together with you. They expect you to take care of things. It’s not like just because you’re dating a white girl does not mean they will be doing everything for you. The bottom line is they are human. They have feeling — the feeling intrinsic to female body. The rest comes with personal preferences.

    One of the girls I dated was French girl. The moment we caught eyes on each other was the moment we kind of know each other that we like our traits each other. The other girl I dated was American girl. We caught our eyes on the bus. Since then we’ve been keeping eyes on each other on the bus and the rest is the dating history. For all of that, I found the common traits I fall in love with these two white girls is their soft spoken manner, and their attitude. Although I hate to say, but if you put into stereotypical category, they will fall into Asian women meek manner. But I do not consider them as “Asian” nor “White”. I consider them as “Women”. That’s when I found success in interracial dating scenes.

    In the above picture girl with lion hairs, (I don’t know if the picture reflects Tom and his gf or just a random AMWF couple), I’m sure that I won’t be attracted to her. I’m not saying I’m a perfect guy, I’m just saying She fits into “Asian women stereotypes from the picture”, thin, skinny, vein almost popping, but that’s not my type either. So as I said, I see them as “Woman”, not their skin color.

  9. Great to hear that Tom is looking for a partner who is his equal and has ‘life in her’. Tom, may you find her soon!

    On the side I just want to add that here in China I have met plenty of Chinese women who are independent, creative, assertive and full of life. And they are also looking for a man who is their equal. Stereotypes crop up when we least expect it. We stand up against one and slip into another unaware. Not all Chinese women are soft, meek or, for that matter, good in the kitchen!

  10. Isabelle in Singapore…congratulations. I have not seen many WWAM couples in Singapore although one rich Chinese Singaporean guy was dating a white Afrikaans speaking woman from South Africa back in 2005…dont know where they are now or if they are even together anymore, as her parents back in SA definitely did not approve of her dating a non-Afrikaaner non-white.

  11. Tom, maybe the Singaporean ‘prepubescent’ women find you just as boring for their own set of ideas (rightly or wrongly) of who or what is the ‘ideal’ partner for them, as you for yours. The trouble is that when we set ‘conditions’, then we naturally narrow our field of choice. That is okay if we are looking for a ‘partner’ – a ‘partner’ is more a business proposition than the mate you just love. You just want to be sure with a ‘partner’. For love, there is no such thing as the ‘ideal’ one. When you are smitten with someone, then you are smitten. You won’t want it with anybody else (prepubescent or not) – not even with what you had thought would be the ‘ideal’ partner for you. Haha – that’s life, man! More than life with a woman “with life in her”. She may have ‘life in her’, but what about you if you are not in love? Haha again, take it easy!

  12. Hi, I am a Singaporean Chinese too, who has being married with a Swiss for 16 years now, with 2 pre-teen kids, so after all these years, I never really think much about the differences, I actually though we are just “normal” couple happen to be AMWM.

    It is true that couple like us are much less than the other way around, when we just got married in Singapore, my wife joined a group call “cross culture relationship club” (Not too sure it is still exist today), founded by an Australian woman who married to Singaporean, after 2 meetings, she give up, because the group participants are mainly Asia women, which my wife don’t necessary find the common language to associate with the group. so she just tried to integrate as much as possible.

    Another couple like us (One of my German Teacher in Singapore Goethe Institute), who has 2 growth children and live in Singapore for the last few decades as I know, just live like normal family. perhaps a little more international travel like we do. So after saying all these, I find many people perception about AMWM are strange, we are just normal couple who enjoy the different and diversity of different culture.

    By the way, Singaporean come in all different shape too, unlike the “Westernized” Tom who originate the post, I actually went to Chinese medium school for all my education in Singapore until I went to study in the States, compare with other Chinese, I would say I could identify myself more with Taiwanese or Malaysian Chinese who went to Chinese medium school like me. I don’t consider myself being Westernized at all, before I got married, when I found some attractive lady, I would just go for it, which I don’t take race as a criteria, in a way, just normal boy chasing girl kind of development.

  13. I just want to meet a nice chinese guy but I feel as if I’m alone in that. Like what I have to offer at this time isn’t really worth much. It’s discouraging at times but I stay the course 🙂 I just focus more on my family and my work and let things come as they will. I’m from the east coast too. In small town NJ there are not many Asians but I’ve never felt singled out or ostracized because of my asian company. Interesting thing happened last week though, I don’t get out much and most of time I’m not in mixed company but there was a party for the karate school I work at with all the parents and kids. Everything was fine but at one point later in the evening one of the dads ask me about “is it normal for Asians to make fun of each other like that? Rather taken back by this I replied “sure they’re just having fun” as growing up in a diverse environment far from here such things were normal. Then they went into a forray of jokes they were repeating that they heard from the kids and other teens. I was just like wow and tried indirectly get them to stop as the woman whose Chinese sitting next to me was visibly offended and they’re looking at me for acceptance. I had to just get up to leave that conversation. You know? I’m used to being asked questions, But that was probably the first time it crossed the line into sketchy territory. I don’t mind bridging a cultural gap to increase awareness but…. You know?

  14. Singapore is an extremely tolerant society as far as interracial marraiges are concerned compared to most of the United States (they are not tolerant of foreigners in general, which is a recent phenon). It is best for those couples to stay in Singapore. Actually, it is best of white-Asian couples to stay in countries such as China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia over the US, UK, Australia and even Canada.

  15. For all Asian guys out there,

    Hear me out here. If you want to have a relationship with White girls, go for it. Just show some Balls (Yes, I’m using the stronger words here.) Just hit the gym, prime yourself and carry your manners.

    There are certain portion of white girls really into Asian guys, especially East Asian guys. When I say, “Really into”, I mean it. They’re as crazy as they fall in love with their White guys. They’re not flirting around. But they’re serious being with Asian guys. Of course the percentage-wise, they’ll be minority. Even then, as a girl, they can’t approach you and ask your number. All they can do is, show some sign of interest. The rest is how you tame your approach, instead of appearing aggressive.

    And I also figure there are some Asian guys who are really into White girls. But what holding them back is their centuries long stereotypes that hinder their manly approach. And eating the freaking meat to build your body, instead of eating Tofu.

  16. Racism Against AWWM Couple in Australia

    I will bet you that despite all anti-foreign sentiments in Singapore this will never happen there…unless of course it is a drunk white Aussie or Brit (mostl likely a woman) involved.

    And by the way they were not even couples. The woman is from Hong Kong living somewhere in North America on vacation in Australia from what I hear from outside sources.

  17. You wont have much sympathy for Asian men (particularly Singaporean men) complaining about Asian women dating and marrying white men after you read this piece…

    However, time and distance managed to get the best of us and our long-term aspirations. Residing and working in Singapore were a part of my plan, which we shared, but the current immigration policies and conditions in that country, particularly the barrage of hate blogs, made it difficult for us to work out our plan. I made numerous attempts to get a job in Singapore, but I was never given a single opportunity. Hence, I decided to stay in Malaysia for another two years—and this changed his outlook.

    “We would spend our usual weeknight chat on Skype with him chiding me for my lack of determination, for my poor decision-making skills, for being content with my life in Malaysia, for being a slacker, and, worst, for being a carefree Filipino. In retaliation, I would just keep my mouth shut. My just leaving the conversation always pissed off the kiasu (afraid of losing out, or always wanting the upper hand) in him.”

    Next time a Chinese guy especially from Singapore complains about white me taking Singaporean women ask him if he will date and marry a Filipina or Veitnamese, especially if he is educated…I did and they brilliantly got around the question.

  18. Actually the jokers I was talking to were complaining about a Filipina woman marrying a white American guy and moving to the US…when I asked them whether they will date her or someone like her, they skirted around the question and never answered it.

  19. I’m a Finnish woman married to a Singaporean Chinese and I take issue with the some of the stereotypes about Western women than some Chinese seem to have. It should be obvious without saying that just like Chinese can be traditional, westernized etc, we westerners are neither all the same. “West” means a huge collection of countries and especially within Europe the cultural differences are very big. I have little in common with, say, Italian or French. Western countries also have their traditions that westerners tend to stare following, especially when living abroad. So with marrying a Finn comes the Finnish traditions. In our case we have a lot of interest and respect towards our traditions and we follow some of both. I like Chinese culture and my husband likes Finnish culture. Our children will be thought English, Mandarin and Finnish.

    Maybe I’m going to blame media on this one – before moving to Europe my husband pretty much thought that all western women are like the chicks from Sex and the City. If someone approaches western woman with only that image in mind, well, they might be in for quite a disappointment.

  20. I’m a Singaporean who’s currently dating an Australian and one day,we’ll get married probably. Its something we’re aiming for anyway. I think sometimes tradition can be good, the differences is what keeps both of us talking and makes for good conversation. Especially during Chinese New Year.I love her Aussie culture just as much and make her laugh when i try to say something in a strong aussie accent. I can attest to the fact that i’m not highly educated ( i have a diploma), financial i’m ok but not rich enough to own my own home (yet) or have a car even but my partner still loves me just as much, if not more.Thankfully, my family is very westernized and accepting of the person i was with. Also helps that my family is English educated.
    It’s not easy for Singaporean guys to walk up to a Caucasian woman as it were and start talking unless you were from a international school, studied abroad for a period of time or an expat yourself. And most of them look through us. I’ve always been attracted to Caucasian women and i always will be. From the way they talk to the way they think, not just in looks.
    This day and age you have the internet and forums and groups which makes it so much easier to communicate and in a sense “be” with that person, albeit virtually. Use it. I know i did and here i am with the girl i’ve been waiting my whole life to be with. As for the racism part, when we were together, i didn’t feel any stares, whether here or in Australia. Though there was an a$$hole who tried to pick up my gf right in front of me. Singaporean guy too. Though if i do encounter someone like that, let’s just say i’m responsible for what i do to him or his family 😉

  21. More than happy to find the love of my life in Singapore. Not too sure many Singaporean men would be interested in me, though. 45 yo tomboyish truck mechanic.

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