Dating ACSI Boys

*This is a submission piece. Names were withheld to protect identities.

Boyishly handsome, charming, arrogant, rich—these words often describe the Anglo Chinese School (Independent) boy. Often known as the ‘high SES’ sons of so-and-so, these elite schoolboys strive for all-rounded excellence in sports and academia.

With their ability to cajole and speak eloquently, they could end relationships by saying, “It’s not you, it’s me” and get off scot-free. So, with my penchant for dating smooth talkers, I found myself selectively dating ACSI boys till I was 22.

ACSI boys as status symbols

Dating boys from ACSI gave me power in knowing someone from the upper echelon of society chose me over other girls.

I relished the way my relatives fawned over my boyfriend when I brought him over for special occasions, or the tone of admiration when my girlfriends exclaimed, “Where do you find all these guys?!”

Most importantly, I liked dating ACSI boys because of how driven they were. With them, I could discuss my future in solid terms. I only needed to be the taitai housewife to their kids, and support them as they pursued their doctor/lawyer/banker dreams.

But to say I fell in love with their money wouldn’t be entirely correct. Rather, I fell in love with what these ACSI boys represented–the Singaporean dream.

Chasing the Singaporean Dream

Like the American dream, the Singaporean dream is the pursuit of material comfort via achieving upward social mobility.

Obediently, I followed the oft-repeated mantra and studied hard to get good grades to later secure a good job.

But coming from a middle-class family, I knew realistically no matter how hard I worked, I was probably going to have to work till my dying breath.

Unless, of course, I ‘married up’. And so I began my ACSI boy dating spree.

Dealing with ‘banter’

If you’ve ever dated an ACSI boy, you would know conversations are quick, smart and a whole lot of fun because of their ‘banter culture’. While such talk isn’t exclusive to ACSI boys, I’ve rarely encountered this manner of speaking outside elite school circles.

But there’s a dark side to ‘banter culture’.

I saw it when the boys openly ranked girls by their looks, or label girls who didn’t ‘belong’ to them a “ho”. Or deem other schools “poor” because they did not have a swimming pool.

I realised many ACSI boys can agree classism, homophobia, sexism, and racism have no place in Singaporean society. But whenever an outsider like myself pointed out how their callous remarks were offensive, they’d often lapse into silence or tell me to “chill” because it was “just for fun”.

These boys grew up with the best school facilities, extracurriculars, teachers, and a motto (The Best Is Yet To Be) which reminded them they would someday achieve greatness as men. And because of their upbringing, it isn’t wrong for them to assume excellence and privilege as normal.

But there is something very broken with the system if the ones who have benefited most do not see a problem with looking down on someone who does not have the same privileges.

Why I stopped dating ACSI guys

Naturally, all my relationships ended badly because I was often more in love with the idea of their person than who they were.

It was one particularly heated argument with an ex-boyfriend which snapped me out of my reverie and forced me to confront how toxic and unnatural my dating criteria was.

“You know when you introduce me to new people, why do you need to mention my school? It makes me feel like I’m a trophy, not your boyfriend!” he shouted.

Of course, I vehemently denied his statement–it was too embarrassing to outrightly admit I was a shallow piece of shit.

But I mulled over his statement in bed later that night and forced myself to confront a truth I had ignored for a long time: I was dating elite school boys as a way to soothe my worries about ‘adulting’.

Dating Boys From Elite Schools

Perhaps my dating sample size was too small, and it’s unfair to paint all ACSI boys with a broad stroke.

But from my experience, I can surmise Singaporean girls covet being with ACSI boys for the same reasons SPGs only seek out white men.

We choose to date these elite schoolboys because of what they represent: a potential ticket to a better life.

Cover image: Source