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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself." - Albert Einstein

***

Someone pointed me to the following letter published in the Shitty Times:


Why I chose a China bride

Many people seem to believe that Singapore men who opt for foreign brides tend to pick younger, less educated women from less developed countries. I'm a Singapore male and I just married a foreigner this year. She's from China, two years older than I am and a university graduate with a top-notch academic record. We met in Kunming, where I work, after mutual friends introduced us.

On one of our dates, we did discuss why I did not have a Singapore girlfriend. I admitted that I don't understand what Singapore women want. They have their own careers and are as skilled and capable as their male colleagues. Yet, they demand that their dates behave like 'gentlemen' and treat them as the weaker sex. This hardly seems like equality or equitable.

In February, when The Straits Times reported the results of a survey on singles, this 'contradiction' was raised. Many women still expect their dates to carry their handbags and pick up the tab. Asking to split the bill is still widely unacceptable on the local dating scene.

From my own experience and what I've heard, it seems many Singapore women tend to interpret feminism in their own way. A woman who shells prawns for her man is deemed archaic, but a man who carries a woman's handbag for her is being gentlemanly, even though it might make him look silly.

If Singapore women want to be on an equal footing with their men, then they should expect to be treated equally - the way men treat other men. Among other things, there would be no need for the man to escort the woman home.

However, if women want men to shelter, love and care for them in the gentlemanly fashion they seem to demand, then they should let their men take charge.

I would have been happy to date and marry a Singapore woman who knew which she wanted. I would have accepted whichever path she chose.

As things turned out, I found a woman who knew exactly what she wanted - in Kunming.

Alvin Tan

This article was first published in The Sunday Times on Oct 19, 2008.


Naturally, much of the reaction to this reflects the adage that:

"Singaporean men marry foreign women because they are losers.
Singaporean women marry foreign men because Singaporean men are losers."

With the usual ignorance of context and content, but what's new?


My favourite comment on it so far is:

"Please respect the Trinity.

Sun is red. Moon is pale blue.

The moon controls the tide on earth.

The moon reflects the light from the sun onto the earth at night to cool things down.

Please discern it spiritually. Using human logic will continue to make a mess of it and continue to invoke human sufferings endlessly."

Aum.........................

After that, in descending order:

"By the way, my wife does not peel prawns for me when we eat out; I usually do that for her because she does not want to ruin her manicure :("

"Marriage is like a pot of curry, more spices taste better. So spice up your marriage with foriegn wife, adopted kids. Defintely more interesting with one favour."


Addendum:

As expected, a reply forum letter from a Singaporean woman who not only doesn't get it but also thereby proves the original writer's point:

It's an insult to S'pore womem

I REFER to Mr Alvin Tan's letter last Sunday, 'Why I chose a China bride'. I am astonished that a single passage could make me feel insulted, tickled and disbelieving all at once. Mr Tan is either seriously misinformed of the needs and wants of the modern Singapore woman, or is still steeped in the traditional notion of how men and women should behave.

First, I am unclear of his intention. I believe his marriage to his Chinese bride was between two people truly in love. Why then the need to defend his choice? Why the need to accuse thousands of Singapore women of being clueless of what they want, or even imply indirectly we all want to be treated as the weaker sex?

What also puzzles me is how Mr Tan manages to equate wanting a date to be gentlemanly with wanting to be the weaker sex. If wanting a man to hold the door open for a woman, an act of 'gentlemanliness', can be construed as weakness, does my ability to open my own door signify how strong and masculine I am? I pray not, or I would face a serious identity crisis.

And really, does having our own career or equal abilities to men mean we have become men ourselves? The 'equal footing' treatment we demand is recognition of our abilities to carry out our jobs. Not to be treated like men, but acknowledgement that we are as capable as men. If we 'should expect to be treated equally - the way men treat other men', then perhaps from the perspective of a woman, the equal treatment Mr Tan is looking for is to be treated like a best buddy-cum-girlfriend and not boyfriend material.

Mr Tan also insinuates that, if women want equality, they should see themselves home after a date, as 'there is no need for the man to escort' her. Men with such a mentality make bad dates, or do not have sufficient affection for the woman they are dating. Not wanting to escort your girlfriend home means you don't care about her.

Mr Tan, I am happy you found someone to love and care for. But there was no need to collectively insult the entire female population in Singapore, simply because you were unable to find someone to suit your needs here. I am certain we know what we want in a man - someone who respects us, treats us equally (not like other men) and has no reservations about being a gentleman.

Sherry Aw (Ms)

[Ed: I bolded the most relevant, amusing and non-self-reflexive paragraph]


Addendum: Sam has archived these and the other letters in the discussion on his blog.

This is a great example of the double standards that Singaporean women apply, which seems to stem from incomplete feminism or incomplete women's liberation. Essentially they want the rights that women's lib has brought, but not its responsibilities. So they want to enjoy the best of both worlds in order to get everything they want.
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