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Monday, June 20, 2011

Money talks when S’pore women say ‘I love you’ / AWARE's flights of fancy

"A nice adaptation of conditions will make almost any hypothesis agree with the phenomena. This will please the imagination but does not advance our knowledge." - Joseph Black

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"Money talks when S’pore women say ‘I love you’

"When it comes to looking for a potential spouse, the top criterion for Singaporean women is a man’s social status. Next on the list is kindness, followed by a lively personality. In contrast, American women value kindness the most, followed by looks, then a man’s social standing... ‘Maybe Singaporean women are just being realistic. Here, you need a lot of money to survive and afford an affluent lifestyle. Maybe they are just being practical’...

The study found no major differences when it comes to men: Both American and Singaporean men went for looks first. The second most important trait in a spouse for men was kindness and the third was a lively personality...

His research also showed that the pursuit of material success is at odds with the desire to settle down and have babies. ‘Lots of past research have shown that the more materialistic you are, the less you place value on having friends and family,’ he said. It’s a simple trade-off, he added. We have only so much time and energy, and chasing one goal means giving up another ideal...

Research has not determined which comes first: ‘Do people pursue material goals and then abandon friends and family, or is it because they are no good at having friends and family and so they make up for it by grabbing onto material things?’...

By and large, he noted, wealthier countries tend to have lower birth rates. Yet ’significant differences’ still occur among countries which enjoy similar levels of economic development, he said. That is why he decided to compare Singapore and the US. Singapore ranks ninth out of 229 countries, while the US takes the 10th place, in terms of per capita gross domestic product, according to the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook. Yet the US’ total fertility rate (TFR) at 2.05 in 2009 was almost double Singapore’s rate of 1.22. Last year, Singapore’s TFR, which measures the average number of children a woman will bear in her lifetime, sank to a historic low of 1.16...

Singaporeans – both men and women – are ’significantly’ less satisfied with life than Americans...

The relentless rat race and high cost of living are possible reasons Singaporeans are less happy with life and are more inclined to go after money and success... Besides, with the globalised economy and outsourcing, Singaporeans are vulnerable to losing their jobs to a foreigner any time. ‘People can’t really relax. Can you really get to the point where you feel comfortable? People just don’t get to that point any more’...

Also, Singaporeans, like other Asians, tend to worry more about life than Westerners, who are ‘more relaxed’ and more comfortable with facing the unknown...

People who are less satisfied with life and value material success more are less likely to view marriage and procreation ‘favourably’...

With more women taking on high-flying jobs and their expectations of their partners rising as their own earning power soars, he reckoned getting the dismal birth rate up will be ‘very, very difficult’ unless a shift in values away from materialism towards more pro-family values occurs."


This is why Singapore's efforts to boost the birth rate are doomed.


Contrary to AWARE's claims, in Singapore feminism has actually decreased the birth rate - and more feminism will just depress it even more. This is not to say that is necessarily a bad thing, but just that they are divorced from reality; it is one thing to say that feminism, while depressing the birth rate, is still a good thing (even if contentious depending on definitions, this is defendable). It is quite another to say that feminism boosts the birth rate.

Actually, this is not the most insane of their recent flights of fancy. In the world they live in, beauty is subjective and has no connection to a woman's remarriage; the use of the keyword "normative" should set off alarm bells, and the case is splendidly demolished ("Railing against the objective definition of beauty is like saying that America's Next Top Model is bunk; it is futile and makes everyone suspect that the person doing the complaining is ugly"). Again, it is one thing to say that maintenance payments should not be linked to looks (putting aside the fact of how similar quibbles could be made about "lifetime earnings", but they are commonly used to calculate, for example, divorce settlements [SPOING!])
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