FOCUS: A combo of rising college fees and increasing financial debts, along with a society of mass consumption and low-wage employment, are forcing college students to find alternative means of dealing with their uncertainty.
Saddled with heaps of financial debts and a scarcity of decent-paying jobs in a fragile economy, today’s college students and recent graduates are compelled to go against their better judgement by doing anything they can to go after a paper qualification and at the same time, pay off all their financial debts.
In fact, an escalating number, according to the students I talked to, have taken to the web to search for online sugar daddies who as accomplished benefactors may help take some weight off their shoulders in exchange for sex, companionship, or both.
These past number of years have taken an especially challenging toll on the plans and expectations of recent college graduates. The times when the competition for employment beat steadily higher, when the starting salaries have dropped significantly.
By the time these young graduates complete their academia, they would be about RM20,000 in financial debt with their student loans and other loans.
Here’s where the sugar daddy, sugar baby phenomenon comes in. Affluent men who are well-past their prime have been plunking down money for thousands of years in search of a tryst or something more with women who are most of the time half their age. And these women, whether by will or not, have made themselves available to these category of men.
As you can see, this particular dynamics has been going on for as long as humankind entered the workforce.
These days however, with everything going digital, these women are taking advantage of these modern tools rather than the old fashion way of meeting someone at a coffee joint, to market themselves – all in the name of settling their debts.
Unsurprisingly, there are many dating sites that are dedicated in hooking up these sugar babies with their sugar daddies.
You see, these ladies are not hunting for lifetime soulmates nor are they looking for any strings-attached kind of “arrangements”. No, to them, it is more of a business partnership, where both parties would gain something in return.
“Say that you have just graduated, with RM80,000 in debt and a job that pays RM35,000 a year. It’s rough when you have to pay that amount of debt down bit by bit, let alone settle them at one go, live in a decent city and still be able to hang out with friends and do fun things. So what do you do? You look for a sugar daddy. The only person who is ready to help bail you out of all of your debts.
A number of women search for arrangements to help get them through an extremely challenging week or month, while others who have drastically more debt might seek out a more longer and profitable hookup.
These young college sugar babies are now in a position to keep up with paying their student loans and survive the course of an economic downturn.
Lisa, 25, who previously worked as a retail clerk after graduating from college, had a student loan of RM30,000 and another RM10,000 in credit card loan, barely could manage to keep her head above water.
But then a friend, who went to the same college told her about sugardaddie.com and how it can help her with all her financial worries.
Lisa admits that dating the men she encounters on sugardaddie.com has certainly proved to be a rewarding endeavour.
“I’ve had a hard time obtaining a job and maintaining a job,” she said. “I thought this would be a good way for me to have a relationship with someone while at the same time, make it, as these sites all say, mutually beneficial.”
Lisa is not alone. Lisa, who confessed that she favours dating married men because they have a tendency to be more paternal and they provide you with a steadier source of income as compared to single men, is just one of the many students who’ve sought out sugar daddies online.
“It’s funny how you can do all of the right things like attend college, get a job – then one day you wake up with a killer debt,” said 26-year-old Veronica.
“I was working hard and not to mention, playing hard in Kuala Lumpur. I thought that I had everything under control despite the fact that I was pretty much surviving from pay cheque to pay cheque. I had a huge debt with the credit card companies, not to mention that I had to pay a minimum amount monthly for my student loans,” she said.
That’s when a friend introduced Veronica to her uncle whom she began to meet secretly with. The person who would stuffed RM100 or RM150 into her bag every time they met.
Before she knew it, aside from the regular shopping sprees, gifts, travel or the fleeting illusion of a high-end, easy life she was living, Veronica’s “daddy” was giving her a monthly allowance of RM1, 500 to RM2, 500.
“I get flown to just about anywhere I want,” said the college student, who goes by the name of Layla. “My daddy pays for everything. He takes me shopping, we talk, laugh, go out to eat and do whatever we want to do without any worries.
“At first, it was more of a job to me which in time became more like a pleasant partnership,” she said, describing her relationship with her daddy. “There’s a definite connection, it’s not just business or just about the money anymore. We really do care for one another,” she said.