They make sacrifices to binge watch TV shows
Skipping meals and sleep, S'pore viewers can binge-watch one whole season of a TV series in three days, says Netflix study
Singapore is a world champion when it comes to binge-watching TV shows.
With DVDs and VCDs in the 2000s, viewers could finish watching entire seasons in a sitting. Now, online streaming options are keeping fans up at night.
In a recent study covering more than 190 countries, video streaming service Netflix found that Singapore's subscribers devoured the entire first season of a TV series within three days - the global average is four.
Miss Nurfaizah Faizuwan, 21, told The New Paper she has been binge-watching TV shows since she was 14.
She said she can finish watching a Korean drama, which spans 16 to 20 hours, in just three days.
"I used to watch US TV shows on Channel 5. But the problem is that it broadcasts the shows very slowly," she told The New Paper.
Her habitstarted with US shows Glee and The Vampire Diaries.
Miss Nurfaizah, who is waiting to begin her undergraduate studies at the Nanyang Technological University, said she has watched more than 40 TV shows over the years, and can spend seven hours a day binge-watching during the school holidays.
Now she binge-watches TV shows three days a week.
"Sometimes I'll skip lunch and just continue watching. I'll be so engrossed that I'll forget about my hunger," she said.
She also admitted she would snack on potato chips in front of the TV.
Nutritionist Fiona Chia said binge-watching TV shows can lead to a different type of bingeing later.
"Skipping meals intentionally allows the body to starve and feel deprived of energy. The individual would most likely feel over-hungry and tend to binge eat the next meal," she said.
In a US study conducted last year by digital recording company TiVo, 30 per cent of the 42,000 respondents regarded binge-watching as a negative activity. Despite that, nine out of 10 admitted to doing it.
Miss Nurfaizah goes to bed as late as 3am during the school holidays, but said: "I stop watching when I know I'm tired. It's not like I will forgo sleep."
Dr Kenny Pang, a specialist at Asia Sleep Centre, said sleep deprivation is not just about feeling tired.
"(Sleep deprivation) affects one's mood, concentration, focus and memory," he said.
"It can even leave the patient short-tempered and irritable.
"The immune system would also be affected as the lack of sleep increases the cortisol level. As this causes suppression of the immune system, the patient might be more prone to colds and the flu."
It's not just a habit among the younger generation.
Madam Irene Wong, 56, spends up to 10 hours a day watching Korean and Hong Kong dramas.
Madam Wong, who works part-time in administration at a tuition centre, told TNP: "When I'm cooking a simple dinner or ironing clothes, I watch Hong Kong dramas because I just need to listen. I don't really have to look at the screen.
"But for Korean dramas, I have to focus on the subtitles, so I will only watch them when I'm done with all my household chores."
She watches dramas such as The Royal Gambler, Descendants Of The Sun and Oh My Venus.
Madam Wong, who has watched more than 100 TV dramas over the last 16 years, said: "I sleep at 6am if I'm really rushing to finish a show, but I will make sure that I have nothing on the next day.
"On days when I have to work, I will sleep between 2am and 3am."
Mr Anson Tan, general manager of new media at PCCW Singapore, which launched streaming service Viu, said: "We see a mix of fans on our platform. There are those who chase dramas as they air, and those who prefer to wait for the entire series to end before they start watching - and these fans can finish it in one to two days."
"Sometimes I'll skip lunch and just continue watching. I'll be so engrossed that I'll forget about my hunger."
- Miss Nurfaizah Faizuwan
What's hot to binge-watch?
- Thrillers (Dexter)
- Horror (Penny Dreadful)
- Romantic Dramas (Atelier)
- Descendants Of The Sun
- Running Man
- Come Back Alive.
- Game Of Thrones
- Descendants Of The Sun