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from Champagne JSG

Herworld.com – The Singaporean Man Who Doesn’t Read

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Features Writer – Angeline’s

Back when we were bored undergrads at NUS, my friends and I constantly bemoaned the fact that guys made up only 20 per cent of all the English Literature majors. It was one of the worst majors you could pick if you were hoping to find a life partner and get married before 30. Not that it was the goal of my varsity days – but I learnt early on that local boys generally didn’t enjoy reading, and of the few voracious readers out there, most of them already had girlfriends. Some didn’t like girls. The rest you unfortunately didn’t find attractive enough to warrant researching.

But I guess I never learnt my lesson, because when my colleague first told me about Champagne JSG’s ‘Wine and Books’ dating event, my interest was stirred. I thought the idea of bringing singles together over books (my first love!) and wine (a close fourth!) was ingenious. Out of professional curiosity, I signed up, dragging a male friend along with me because I wanted to help keep the male-female ratio balanced.

There were six guys and six girls who gathered at a little Spanish tapas/wine bar one Saturday night. Everyone was supposed to bring a book to talk about, which would be exchanged at the end of the night. I took along a 900-page bestseller, Shantaram, because it was the only book on my shelf that I could easily replace with a trip to Borders. The five other girls, all articulate professionals from good schools, brought books that ranged from populist fiction to travel guides.

Here’s where it gets predictable. Only one guy besides my friend showed up with a book. It was a tatty fantasy paperback from the library. And for the record, he was a lawyer. The other four – men in white-collar professions like finance – showed up glaringly empty-handed, citing reasons such as “It was a last-minute decision to attend this” and best of all, “I actually don’t have the patience for books”.

I can’t say I was surprised. But was I disappointed? Yes. Not because the night was a waste of my time – the (female, of course) organisers were passionate about books themselves and facilitated the event smoothly, while the girls present had many insightful thoughts to share. I felt underwhelmed because the boys in attendance that night didn’t seem to respect the occasion. Was their disinterest indicative of a generation of men who simply didn’t care enough about anything at all? Also, it had become apparent that finding a man with a genuine, consuming, broad interest in the written word hadn’t gotten any easier since the days when my favourite presentation partner in school was… well… gay.

So is the ‘reading’ Singaporean gentleman out there or not? For all I know, he might well take a leap of faith and turn up at the next ‘Wine and Books’ night. Or maybe he won’t. As they say in Before Sunrise, it simply depends on whether you’re a cynic or a romantic. Now excuse me but I have to put my Shantaram back on the shelf.
(For more details on ‘Wine and Books’, visit www.champagnejsg.com)

Source : http://www.herworld.com/blogs/angeltse/singaporean-man-who-doesn’t-read

Written by champagnejsg

July 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Press Release

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