Monday, October 27, 2008

Spore and Assortative mating aka Eugenics

“That is the way the world is. I have explained this. I think I lost votes after I explained the awful truth. Nobody believed it, but slowly it's dawned on them – especially the graduates – that yes, you marry a non-graduate, then you are going to worry about whether your son or daughter is going to make it to the university!” - MM Lee, 24 Oct 2008.

I remembered reading in one of my soci readings as an undergraduate about how he espoused the ideas of having graduate mothers pro-create and limiting the number of children by non-graduate mothers in the 1980s. And yes, I still recall the sense of indignation (yes, that would have totally cost him my vote as well, IF I was able to vote) as well as the shiver which went down my spine as my mother, make that both my parents, were non-graduates.

Therefore, his latest revelation did not come as a shock to me, though it still left a bad aftertaste when A brought it up yest at a gathering. In the first place, maybe figures should be produced to support his assertion that this was the "awful truth". This espousal of blatant support for eugenics is a disturbing one, something akin to a Pandora's box. Do graduate parents necessarily produce paper-smart/book-smart kids? And once we start, where do we stop? And with the present situation of foreign wives of local men who might not be graduates contributing to the recent increase in birth rates, does the graduate parents rule apply to them too?

There's a saying which goes along the lines of "being a victim of your own intelligence". My rudimentary observations during interactions with friends, both graduates and non graduates alike, gave me the impression that my graduate friends tend to be more critical of policies in place and having experienced our rigorous education system,do not want their kids to go through the same system as we did and they are the ones who are having second thoughts about having kids, whereas the rest seem to be more pro-family even though they might not be the ideal pool of genes for the targeted offspring which our country aims to obtain.

Irony you say? And even if the idea of having graduate parents - an idea which has gained momentum in S. Korea, one of the countries with the highest suicide rates, stands true, so what? Have we let the idea of getting a skilled workforce, since people are this country's best resource, get to our heads? Today we go along with the idea of graduate parents, what comes after that? Having watched movies such as Gattaca, my thoughts go to dark places: Making non graduates redunctant? Encouraging non-graduate mothers to go for sterilsation or limiting the number of children for perfectly healthy non-graduate mothers, just on the off chance that their kids are unable to cope with the local education system? In the end, is this really a case of nature versus nurture? Have we seriously considered the underlying social implications of espousing such an ideology?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's an insult to Singapore women - CAUTION!

Received an sms from G this evening on my way home telling me he had read this rebuttal to the article I posted on Sunday about the local guy who married a China gal. Ok everyone, I know emotions will run high and there might (will) be a gender debate, but let's try to keep things civil ok? :)

Friends know that I've always rooted for the local guys and Ithink this guy's words just do not hold; the mere publishing of his piece was to either incite a response from us Singaporean gals or agreement/disagreement with the Singaporean guys. Anyways, I think it's his gain and not my loss he has a China bride. What do you think of this (scathing) rebuttal? ;)

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Oct 23, 2008
'WHY I CHOSE A CHINA BRIDE'

It's an insult to S'pore women

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)

Palin on SNL - Palin meets Fey

This is a hoot! I absolutely love this sketch on the latest SNL, after weeks of lambasting Sarah Palin by Tina Fey, Palin goes on SNL and gets mistaken for Fey! Ha. The comparison of McCain and Obama was also sidesplitting! :D

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Seriously, seriously?

Came across this article in The Sunday Times today which made me do a double take. Just realised that there are articles on Singaporeans marrying foreigners on two consecutive Sundays - like G and myself were discussing last weekend, is this really that pertinent an issue to begin with?

While I enjoy my rainy Sunday and go about my Sunday chores and checking off my list of work to do, I'll let you read this and make your own conclusions. I think that some ideas and propositions are just so weak that stating them in the article is enough to show the amount of stereotyping and immaturity involved without my elaboration. Enjoy and have a chuckle. :)

-------------------------
Copyright 2008 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
All Rights Reserved

The Straits Times (Singapore)

October 19, 2008 Sunday

318 words


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

October 18, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Love, Life & Music

It seems forever since I had time to sit and gather my thoughts together. It's been a crazy busy week, with me putting in more than 12 hour days and super early days - bad for someone who's not a morning lark like myself. Here's my week's roundup.

SUN: Dinner at Raffles City. :: ABBA Mania @ the Esplanade. MON: GRE exam, all day. :: TUE: NUS Second Life. :: Tutorials. :: WED: Tutorials. :: Department meeting. :: Informal PhD Discussion. :: Knight in shining armour. :: THURS: Sch stuff. :: FRI: 8am lec.: Meeting. :: Lunch. SAT: Burn After Reading. :: Dinner @ the Giraffe. :: Drinks at eltorro.

This week's gone by in such a blur that I had problems trying to recollect what I did and when. But I was glad that it's been a tiring but productive week. Thank God I started wtih ABBA Mania coz it's been manic trying to study and get focused on my GRE prep. Am glad it's over. That's all I'll say for now. I've been discussing with friends, family and the department about my plans. Though I think it's a matter of time before I reveal to everyone my condition - and wait for hell to break loose I guess. But for now it's a matter of bidding my time and making sure that the timing's right. After all, timing's everything isn't it?

ABBA Mania's fantastic! We got the front row seats at the third level and we had a great view of everything, esp when we were booping and singing our lungs and hearts out together with the rest of the house. It was one of those rare occassions where the usual staid Singaporean audience were up and dancing and singing with the singers. It was an electric and infectious atmosphere and I'm not ashamed to admit that I was on my feet singing and dancing as well. To those whom I bumped into with abashed looks after the event, dun worry, our secrets are safe with me. Ha. Some pics here and here are some of my favs:

The view from the top: The band members, glittering costumes. Great interaction between the band and the audience.


What some of the audience were wearing: I had to hurry for my ride back or I wld totally have asked to take a pic with these sporting ABBA enthusiasts!


A clip which captures the atmosphere of what we experienced, good stuff!! :)

The rest of the week was great, seriously busy fighting/dousing fires among students and meetings for different issues. More about that when I meet up with you guys soon. :)

Finally, something I've been looking forward to since Tues when he dropped a line to confirm: Burn After Reading. I have a weakness for Pitt-Clooney collaborations, and though this movie is definitely not the Oceans series, I loved every minute of the 96 min movie. It was full of self deprecating humor about Americans and the American society. Another brilliant piece by the Coen brothers, though he was slightly disturbed by the endings of the male characters. It's nice watching movies with G coz he makes interesting comments during the movie, which basically echos what I think. Ha. Good stuff. The movie was followed by a 3-hr dinner @ Giraffe, where we polished up 3 main courses between us. That was how ravenous we were! We had good service, nice food and our only grouse was their no tap water policy. We had lotsa banter in the course of dinner, which led to our dinner being extended to 3 hours. I love hanging with G coz he's an interesting guy who's opinions of his own and isn't afraid to challenge societal norms and conventions and he has some pretty passionate stands as well. I think that any gal who ends up with him is one lucky gal. ;) Can't wait to catch up with him again.

More appointments tml - and another week ahead! October seems to be shaping up to be a pretty busy month. Must try to get more rest and perspective though. My title sums up my week pretty well. A week of Love, Life and Music. I think ABBA songs might be a good soundtrack of my life - what is yours?