Opinions, Self-Improvement

I Miss How Facebook Used To Be! – Matthew Fam

Contributing writer Matthew Fam misses how Facebook used to be so vocal and uninhibited in its plethora of opinions. With heightened policing of our online profiles, this lack of spontaneity is killing the very purpose of social media. Bring spontaneity back, he says.

How many times have you typed a social media update, before hitting that backspace button upon consideration?

When we first started using Facebook, there was probably this much restraint in what we posted.

When we first started using Facebook, there was probably this much restraint in what we posted.

Back in my junior college days when Facebook first came out, the social media platform ran rife with angst-ridden posts and existential haikus. For crying out loud, my break-up woes were practically chronicled in cheesy song links and passive aggressive one-liners (all deleted now, thank you very much). With all that ‘poking’, owning of friends as ‘Human Pets’ and random gifting of flower pots, Facebook was THE vista of spontaneity.

These days? Not looking so great. With our professional lives thrown in the mix, we’re increasingly caught up with presenting a pristine, manicured image of ourselves online. We post knowing that we’re being watched by people we don’t know. We especially avoid speaking up in anger or derision of issues.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-31587-1380211235-39 2And it’s no surprise why: with cases in Singapore like Amy Cheong and Anton Casey, whose personal opinions have ended up in dismissals, it’s easy to understand why one would rather be safe and practice self-restraint. Sometimes when I post my views on social media, I find myself crafting my words extra carefully so it doesn’t ruffle feathers or get misconstrued by prospective employers. Where did this urge to be so restrained come from? Am I turning into a secret prude??

People often confuse speaking one’s mind with being frivolous or overly-confrontational, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t see why expressing anger- within reason- is a negative thing. I’m not saying that you have free reign to cross out-of-bound markers and rally hate. But I think we lose a sense of spontaneity when we choose to silence even the slightest contention we wish to share on social media.

Instead of letting your social media profile become a passive storage of shared links and photos, here are 3 reasons why you could use a little more spontaneity expressing views online:

This is what happens when you bottle up your emotions.

This is what happens when you bottle up your emotions.

1. It’s a good pressure release
Intermittent releases of anger act as a pressure relief valve that prevent the bottling up of frustration. These mini-releases can come in the form of a single post, for instance, voicing out why you disagree with the banning of library books. Keeping a tight lid on your thoughts may build up to an irrational outburst further down the road (think capital letters and exclamation marks) and that wouldn’t look good on your part. Moreover, while you are in a calmer state of mind, it’s easier to manage your emotions and make the pitch.

2.  It trains you to better articulate your thoughts
Enacting on spontaneity to voice opinions trains you to think through situations more carefully. It makes you more discerning of which battles are worth picking, and how you can best present your case. At the same time, you are made to be considerate towards other followers of your social media. It’s a great exercise in practicing inter-personal relations! These spoken ideas also help facilitate dialogue among various parties who may or may not agree with you. And through this exchange, we can share among us a broader world view (one point for humanity!).

3. You come across as confident, responsible and assured
One of the main reasons why people practice restraint on Facebook is because they don’t want to compromise their professional prospects. For instance, we keep our pages drunk-photo free so employers don’t get the wrong impression of our work ethic. But why not see it this way: by speaking your mind in a rational manner- even if it means expressing unpopular sentiment- you create a positive impression of being decisive and assured of your stand. This way, people who view your posts can count you as someone whose confidence in personal opinion can be translated to spearheading projects in the workplace.

Spontaneity in social media should be used as leverage for other people to get to know you as a person. I mean, isn’t that why Facebook was created in this first place? If you have something to say, think it through before posting. But say it- because self-restraint is so overrated.


About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and Contributing Beauty Assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean Theatre, and is thoroughly embarrassed by his teenage Facebook posts. Follow him on Instagram @mattjfam.

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Deborah Tan, Opinions

Should You Have Sex Without Love? – Deborah Tan

We all know it’s possible to have sex without love. But lately, I’ve been wondering, should we have sex without love? And when it’s a woman who finds herself in this conundrum, does it change the way we should answer this question?

We hear about a great number of men who have sex without love, and through years of social and media priming, we have come to “accept” that “it’s just men”. Lots of jokes float around the cyberspace about how men are ruled by their penises, so yeah, it must be in their nature to want to sow their seeds and sleep around with women whom they feel nothing – emotionally – for.

For women, the media has made it such that if we were to engage in sex without love, we are either doing it for money or we are sluts. For us to have sex, we must first fulfill the condition that we have to be in love. Being in love means we are offering our bodies unconditionally to the man we have promised to stay faithful to. Being in love means we want to have the man’s babies and that is why we have sex. Sex is an act of love, sex is for procreation … can women have sex for sex’s sake?  Should women have sex for sex’s sake?


My first question is: Why must women have a reason to have sex?

See my Venn diagram above. If a woman’s only motivation for being with a man is sex, what would both men and women call her? If a woman never wants to have sex and believes only in love, pure love, which occupation would you see her in? The so-called ideal where sex and love happen in one place … what do you call that? Is that the place where Marriage also fall into?

I’m not encouraging anyone – both men and women – to throw their inhibitions out of the window and go have one-night stands with random strangers. Similarly, if you want to wait to have sex, you should be able to do so without anyone guilt-tripping you about it. You just have to ask yourself, “What am I waiting for? For love or for when I’m ready to explore my sexuality?” Once you know that, the waiting becomes a lot more meaningful.

What I’m asking is, is it wrong for us to have sex without love? If I don’t do it for money, if I’m not cheating on a partner, if I am fully aware of the arrangement and take sufficient precaution, can I have sex simply because I enjoy it?

Second question: Why is love so important whenever sex is concerned?

I am not downplaying the importance of love in itself. What I take issue with is how love and marriage are often used as a “moral leash” on women when it comes to sex. Often, the media is not allowed to talk about sex unless the woman and man are in love. In some countries, magazines can only write about sex if they start by mentioning something to the effect of, “… tonight, with your husband …”.

To fulfill a physical need women must meet an emotional condition. If they don’t, they are seen as immoral and promiscuous. Is this logical?

In my opinion, it is more empowering for a woman to understand that it’s okay to have sex as long as it is she who WANTS it. I’ll always remember the “sex education” we had in school where a teacher would sagely tell us, “If a boy says, ‘You’ll do it if you love me,’ do not fall for his lies.” There is a flaw in the argument.

It ties sex with love. At an age where most of us had no clue what love really meant, it was a bit vague and confusing. Then the second piece of advice came up, “You should wait till you get married.” She probably meant to tell us that (1) we will fall in love soon (2) when we do, we will marry the man we love (3) when we are married, we can finally have sex (4) we can afford to wait when it comes to sex.

OK. I’m 34 right now. I’m not married. I’ve found the man I love, I’m pretty sure I know what I want and how to protect myself … can I have sex already?

The tighter you tie sex and love together, the more you will find that it hurts more than it empowers.

The “love” guilt-trips us emotionally whenever a relationship does not work out: “Oh, we had sex already. Now that he wants to break up with me, does that mean no man would ever want me?”

When women are made to think that love and sex have to go hand-in-hand, they often get confused over the physical and the emotional. It is possible to have good sex with a man you don’t love just as it is possible to love a man who is average in bed. The sooner we make peace with that, the sooner we figure out what is more important to us, the less likely we are to find ourselves in a disappointing relationship.

At the end of the day, I do not think anyone has the right to judge a woman for wanting sex without the emotional bonds. What is wrong is when a man uses this emotional bond to exploit a woman sexually. What is wrong is when society labels a woman for not wanting to fall into the “ideal” place where sex and love should happen together. What is wrong is when we are made to feel bad for simply wanting the right to do what we want – sexually and emotionally – with ourselves. It’s not about whether we should have sex without love, it’s whether if we do, should we be made to feel like sluts?

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hates it whenever people try to label women. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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