Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lessons from Sarong Party Girls.

When I first read about the book Sarong Party Girls by Cheryl Tan Lu-Lien, I stopped everything I was doing, bought the e-book from Amazon and completed it within 4 days. It is truly Singaporean with almost every sentence written in Singlish and talks about the like of an SPG and the things she and her friends would like to do on weekends. I thoroughly recommend this fine book for readers of my blog.

Reading the book while thinking about the revelations from the social sciences about herbivores, got me thinking about how everything should fit together to form some sort of a business framework, and as it turns out, there is something out interesting when you put everything together.

Behold the Tree of Prosperity SPG 2 x 2 Matrix !

One axes of the matrix is based on gender. The other axes is based on esteem, which is broader than the notion of self-esteem in psychology but also incorporates the esteem granted to the archetype by society in general. ( A legal scholar will note that this concept of esteem is determined objectively and subjectively. )

If you build on this table, you will end up with four cells with implications on lifestyle design and strategy :

a) Herbivore

A herbivore is a man with low esteem. He has retreated from the dating and mating universe and exists purely to play computer games. In the novel, this cell would have been the Ah Beng, but Ah Bengs are a cultural relic of the past and Singaporeans are almost always English-speaking these days. The previous article mentions lifestyle design of herbivores and their special ability is to use short-term contracts to sustain a gamers lifestyle while living with their parents. This life is workable and paradoxically results in high personal satisfaction.

I am actually in the borderline herbivore quadrant. Although I am married, Coursera is favourite my MMORPG.

b) Sarong Party Girl

In Cheryl's novel, the SPG is played by the protagonist Jazeline and her buddies Imo and Fann. SPG's are women who sort of know that they won't really hack it with the local male market as most guys like myself are really looking for wife and mothers. In a similar way, they employ a form of retreat by hunting for white husbands. As demonstrated in the novel, while you might not have much respect for Jazeline, Jazeline does not have much respect for women who marry local men either.

The SPG lifestyle design is challenging because of their low income and high expenses. They typically hitch onto the Flower princes to be able to afford to club aggressively because otherwise savings would be impossible given their materialism. This is a difficult lifestyle because they can only remain fresh for this long and has to complete against Japanese and Chinese talents.

c) Flower Princes

High esteem men are flower princes. They are high income alpha males living it up in clubs and drive big European cars.

Flower Princes feature prominently in the novel ( Louis, Kim Meng ) and, personally, give us men a bad name, Flower princes are often family men who have enough money and expense accounts to entertain a low of people during the weekends. As males are not really built for monogamy, the riches guys can afford to live polygamous lives while it is legal to do so. This means paying for SPGs to sustain their clubbing lifestyle.

It's hard to sustain a flower prince life in Singapore because a lot of money is required to sustain this. Flower princes have the capital to sock something for retirement because the music is going to stop one day and many will end up crawling back to their families upon retrenchment. I hope they read the financial blogs on what to do when that happens.

d) Good Mare

My entire life was spent being rejected by Good Mares but I still love them for it.

There was only Good Mare featured in the novel ( Sharon ). Women who spend their lives in the better schools like CHIJ and St. Nicholas. As adults they have high tea at Goodwood Hotel. The highest form of Good Mare does not use material goods to distinguish themselves from others, they employ the most subtle brands to signal to their own kind.

Good Mare have only one financial strategy, Marry a guy who comes from RI or ACS ( In my opinion, its way better than a white guy here ).

The rest will take care of itself.

The power of the 2x2 matrix is that it gives a thinker the power to immediately stereotype and categorise a situation or a person.

The uses of such a model are infinite and may include :

Where do you see yourself in this matrix ?
Perhaps you really want to marry a Good Mare, how do you distinguish a Good Mare from an SPG ?
Do you see yourself as a Flower Prince but is actually a deluded Herbivore ?
You are a Flower Prince subsidizing SPGs every weekend in a club, are they hanging around because you grant them access to white men ?

A good fiction writer will have a field day creating new stories with these archetypes.

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