Auntie X-Factor: the Key to a Successful Life in Asia


I was inspired to write this post after a conversation I had with Justina about Curry-in-a-Hurry, an Indian food stall in Harbour City that used to make the best butter chicken (now unfortunately gone, and I will miss it forever). I was telling Justina that an ex and I used to eat at Curry-in-a-Hurry all the time, and we ended up getting to know the staff quite well. However, after my ex and I broke up, it caused the staff to undergo a schism as their loyalties became divided between me and my ex.

I told Justina that my ex had the “auntie x-factor” which meant that he immediately had all the aunties on his side post-breakup, and we had a little discussion about what comprises this mysterious trait which I thought people would like to know.

The auntie x-factor is a lot like porn: you can’t describe it but you know it when you see it.

It’s not about being cute or attractive (although of course that helps), nor does it have anything to do with being a goody-goody or a kiss-ass. It’s just this mysterious je ne sais quoi that makes aunties automatically give you discounts, provide matchmaking services, tell you that your current partner is just not good enough, and even forget who their own children are. It’s not the only thing you need to be successful but having an auntie x-factor makes your life so much easier.

The auntie ex-factor is not restricted to one cultural or ethnic group, it is universal to aunties of all types. To help me explain it more, I’ve collected a bunch of photos of celebrities so that we can go on the auntie x-factor journey. Please note that auntie x-factor has no bearing on the attractiveness of someone, it’s just a quality that people have that endears them to a specific segment of the population.

First let’s start with the easy ones that have a clear auntie x-factor:

Lu Han: this guy gets his cheeks squeezed on the regular.


Lee Minho: this is the guy who gets more red packets during Chinese New Year than anyone.


Taeyang: this is the one who gets half-hearted scoldings “Why are you so naughty” along with extra servings.


Kim Soo Hyun: aunties are sending him CVs of their daughters, nieces, neighbours’ daughters, and friends’ daughters as we speak.


Jackson Wang: “I’ll give you extra 2 kilos of oranges! No charge!”


So far so good, right? Now, here are some examples of guys who do not have the auntie x-factor:

Jackson Yee: you know, this is one of the surprises for me, because I would’ve thought that Jackson would have super auntie x-factor, but he actually doesn’t have it


Seungri: even besides his scandal, he just doesn’t have that thing that makes aunties swoon


G-Dragon: speaking of Big Bang, it pains me to say that G-Dragon also doesn’t have auntie x-factor. I think he’s great, but alas…you can’t deny the truth

Here’s a group shot of BTS and my decisions on their auntie power:

Back row: no, no, yes

Front row: yes, no, yes, yes


Now that we’ve got some kind of baseline, it’s your turn. Auntie x factor or no? You be the judge! (Some of these are tricky, I will admit.) Let us know your answers!

Kris Wu


Ten from NCT


Deng Lun



Jeremy Lin


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