WHO SAYS TRUE LOVE CAN’T BE BOUGHT?Paid-for relationships by Sugar Daddies. By: Aaden Kim Sun Young Candy Ong (name changed for anonymity), 20, doesn’t believe in romantic love nor does she believe that there’s anything money can’t buy. She refers to love as a “mutual agreement to benefit each other” and has been in her current relationship for four months. Candy is an avid Sugar Baby that is in a “beneficial relationship” with her Sugar Daddy, Mr. Sugar, (name changed for anonymity) who works in the banking industry and states that he earns approximately $1 million annually. Mr. Sugar, 46, says he that “truly like Candy” and “will love to give her anything she wants”. Sugar Daddies are richer older men who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return for her company. The gifts could range from designer goods to all paid expenses trip, ranging from $200 to $5,000 per meet up. The Sugar Baby then provides companionship by spending time with them, based on the Sugar Daddy’s requirements. After a suggestion from a friend, Candy signed up for Seeking Arrangements, an American Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby dating website, when she turned 18 years-old. Coming from a middle class family, she was not eligible for bursaries and university tuition fees remained a heavy burden on her parents. Wanting to earn some extra cash, Candy told her family that she will be taking on a part time job that is beneficial to her future. “You’re foolish if you think you can go around life with just passion. This is 2017, some doors can only be opened with respected status and money,” says Candy. She continues to explain that the “right sugar daddy” could provide you both. 44 per cent of sugar babies on Seeking Arrangements are university students, who, similarly to Candy, want to avoid debt or built connections for their future.Despite everything, Candy keeps her Sugar Baby relationships secret from her family and friends. She presents her luxurious lifestyle to her friends as gifts from her biological dad while she tells her family that it’s presents from a friend or a treat to herself. Candy explains, “It’s not about whether I’m proud of the relationship or not. I just don’t want people to judge me with their narrow minds when they don’t even know the truth.” The taboo of Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby relationships still remains deep in the Singapore culture, especially to the older generation. Many view these relationships as paid acts of sexual services and considers it prostitution. However, in 2015, out of Seeking Arrangement’s 4.5 million active members, 1,200 men and 700 women were from Singapore.Founder of Seeking Arrangements and Singaporean-billionaire, Mr. Brandon Wade, describes Sugar Daddy and Baby relationship as “a typical boyfriend-girlfriend relationship but with an added financial incentive”, which is much different from a “non-emotional transaction with a prostitute”. Due to his controversial speeches and actions, Mr. Wade is currently under fire from the public and has since then refused media attention. “Some of us are truly searching for a companion. We don’t look for any pretty girls to have sex. We are looking for someone we can talk to and send quality time with. It’s not what youngsters now call “friends with benefits”, it’s just mature friendships,” says Mr. Sugar. Mr. Sugar says that he has not engaged in any sexual activity with Candy and has no plans to do so without consent.However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that many Sugar Daddies are married. Over 40 per cent of 1,600 Seeking Arrangement Daddies fall under the tab of “married but looking”. Mr. Sugar was married in his early 20s and now feels that he needs time away from his wife and kids that are all grown up. After a mutual agreement with his wife to go separate paths without the trouble of expensive divorces, Mr. Sugar has been on multiple sugar baby dates since 2016 with Candy being his sixth, as well as the his longest committed sugar baby.Seeking Arrangements offers a “About Me” and “What I’m Looking For” section that requires basic information, including height, body type and educational level. Sugar Babies are also provided the choice of Sugar Daddies net worth, annual income and their ideal lifestyle budget. Applicants are then presented choices, which they can start chatting to. If the conversation is successful, the couple can set an ideal place to meet up and hit off their new “paid for” relationship. As Mr. Wade said, “Love is a concept invented by poor people”. Regardless, it’s easy to see how this lifestyle is tempting. It is nice to be showered with expensive gifts but is that worth putting a price on yourself? Though many shun the idea of Sugar Babies, it may be the personal preference of others. Love has endless definitions and if both end of the parties can agree, there are endless possibilities. With a more secured financial aid and a doting boyfriend, Candy says that she “is happy with the choices that she’s made and where she is now”.