Thursday, 11 March 2010

Jack Neo The Evolved Animal

At the rate the Jack Neo scandal is going, it wouldn't be long before I read an article about it because I'm getting all these reports shoved in my face on the internet.

So I read a particular commentary on the issue at which referenced Lianhe Wanbao, and I chanced upon this gem of a paragraph:

"Lianhe Wanbao said she had tried calling Jack several times on Friday but he did not answer her calls. She then went to Jack's home at about 3 pm and waited till he returned home. She told him she wanted to go in and talk to his wife, Madam Irene Kng, 46. To her surprise, Neo let her into the house and called his wife to come downstairs. Chong said Madam Kng's reaction to her husband's affair shocked her. 'She asked me, 'What do you want?' She said that she did not care about who Jack involved with as she was content that she loved him.' The three of them later left for a meeting in a restaurant at Changi Airport's Crowne Plaza Hotel in a car driven by Madam Kng."

The scenario fits Darwinian predictions right down to a tee. Sorry for being a realist geek, but let me dissect and explain.

Jack Neo, nevermind whether he looks handsome or is old or not, is a man of high social status with lots of money. As the tenet goes, men who have resources are desirable, and almost nothing is more attractive to a woman than a man who has resources and is willing to invest them. Jack Neo has provided for his wife and four kids. Therefore, Irene Kng doesn't take issue with the fact that Jack Neo had an affair, but instead asserts that it is more important that they were still in love. And maybe it isn't entirely true that she doesn't take issue with it, but more importantly, what mattered most to her is that Jack Neo's heart still resided with her, not Wendy Chong. As long as Jack Neo is still emotionally bounded to Irene Kng, he would still be a willing investor in the marriage, despite the 'unnecessary' but most probably transient slip up in sexual commitment. In fact, she would be more likely to forgive his transgressions insofar as he can continue to pay the bills and more. The reverse is true: a key cause of wife-initiated divorce is the husband's loss of job (i.e. lack of resources).

You will not get this scenario if the roles are reversed. If Irene Kng had an affair with another man, Jack Neo wouldn't go all saintly and forgiving and say that it's okay as long as he still loves her. His attraction to her will virtually vanish, especially given the high status man he is, and it is highly likely that he will leave. This is because, in evolutionary terms, men compete for the more valuable gender - women - in order to gain sexual access which increases their ability to have offspring. A man (who can afford to do so) will therefore experience greater motivation to seek other mates who will be more sexually faithful or engage in the reverse - to show unfaithful partners no remorse or forgiveness. Nothing disgusts most men more than the thought of their wives having an affair.

Physiological tests have shown what happens to men and women when dealing with thoughts of their partners' behaviour with people of the opposite gender. The heart rates and blood pressure of men shot up to the level one gets when consuming three times the normal dose of caffeine when they imagined their partners having sex with another man, compared to when their partners were just flirting with another man. The reverse was true when women imagined their partners emotionally engaging with another woman compared to when their partners were having sex with another woman. What this essentially says is that men place a premium on sexual fidelity, while women place a premium on emotional fidelity which is more likely to signal love, commitment and investment.

Additionally, it is really no surprise that Jack Neo has coincidentally followed in the footsteps of Tiger Woods. Both are high flying and reputable men within their social arenas, and the more resources a man can attain being at the top of the status hierarchy, the more motivated a man will become to acquire more sexual mates simply because he can afford to do so.

What slots in really nicely next is the affair target, 22 year-old Wendy Chong. How uncannily too, because an age of 22 resides in the reproductive window where a woman is most fertile - Jack Neo's adaptive mechanisms must be in overdrive to have found her desirable enough to do the deed. Jack Neo isn't seeing her as a new partner for a long term relationship, but it's always a bonus to be able to sow one's seeds. Men are visual creatures because they are visually attuned to sexually attractive features of the face and body, which are essentially physical markers of youth and fertility. Wendy Chong herself is an attractive woman who knows she's pretty (somewhat impossible not to be self-aware when you're a model who's participated in a recognizable pageant), so she has the means to snag a high status male because she's got the looks to do so. She got Jack Neo.

One might ask, if Jack Neo was a high status male, why stop at one? Well look how many more women are positing their claim to fame now. The last count appears to be a snag-list of ten.

This is not an exercise to say or prove that this is natural and therefore ought to be okay. But it's just amazing how (1) human nature creeps out despite our attempts to maintain a civilized society full of taboos against these things, and (2) we're in utter disbelief at the fact that this is happening, as if a plastic bottle increasingly filled with water that bursts open deserves frenzied amazement.

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