It’s not a very long, but Gilbert Goh’s recent Facebook post was like a buffet of sexism and misguided nationalism.
In it, he muses upon why Singaporean women don’t seem to go for Singaporean men. According to Mr Goh, Singaporean men are pitiable creatures: they don’t get enough opportunities for education, the foreigners are competing with them for jobs and depressing wages, and the women are just so hard to please, prancing about in their high-heeled shoes and corporate power suits. Is it a wonder that Singaporean men have nowhere to turn except to women from Third World Countries who are more “domesticated” (as if we were talking about well-trained pets rather than spouses)?
In the world of Gilbert Goh, Singaporean women are drawn to the ang moh like moths to a flame. Why? Because these white men are well-educated. But don’t be fooled! They’re not well-educated because they’re particularly intelligent, they’re educated because of the “lax educational entry system” in their home countries. Also, these men have money and a ticket out of Singapore. And thus the Singaporean women is reduced to little more than a materialistic harpy whose loyalty to the nation is questionable. No mention is made of Singaporean men who marry well-educated foreign women with decent-to-high-paying jobs. Perhaps a man’s loyalty can never be doubted. (Also, no mention is made of women who don’t marry rich white men. Perhaps they don’t exist.)
There you have it, then. When Singaporean men can’t get a woman, it’s the women’s fault for being so damn difficult. And let’s not forget the foreigners, who not only compete for jobs but also for the affection of these high-heeled, high-maintenance females.
Mr Goh goes on to make unsubstantiated claims, questioning the wisdom of inter-cultural marriage because many “end up in divorce”. How he knows that inter-cultural marriages are more likely to lead to divorce than marrying within your own nationality/ethnicity/race, we don’t know. But it’s a convenient segue into his major point: why won’t the women choose from the “local pool”?
It’s a strange plea for nationalistic purity. It’s not enough to argue for people to be born and bred in Singapore (which in itself can be problematic); we need to make sure the blood is pure as well!
I write this as a response to Mr Goh, but the misogyny and sexism that his post has demonstrated goes well beyond just him. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Singaporean women characterised in such a fashion (for another example just look at this article), and it isn’t going to be the last. In the world according to many (not all) Singaporean men it is outrageous that women actually want more than to be their wives and mothers. It is a gross injustice that women don’t fall at their feet, even though they have done National Service and are “true-blue Singaporeans“, don’t you know?
This misogynistic narrative was tedious and boring even back when people were talking about the “Sarong Party Girl”. It isn’t any more attractive today, even if you do throw in a side order of nationalism.