Kurt Tay getting C-cup breast implants

From ‘Singaporean man goes to Thailand for surgery to get C cup chest’, 23 May 2013, article by Foo Jie Ying, Naqiyah Shapudin, TNP

…Security guard Kurt Tay, 27, has money and wanted something to boost his confidence – breasts. Not a fake chest to bypass the exercise route, but breasts as in mammary glands. C cup, about the size of a grapefruit, no less.

…He said he chose to go to Bangkok instead of doing the operation here as it is much cheaper to do it overseas. He said that a breast implant surgery in a local Government-run hospital would cost him about $10,000, while doing it at a private hospital would set him back a whopping $16,000.

In contrast, breast implant surgery in Thailand costs an average of $4,000 to $5,000, he said. The silicone breast implants, which were used on him, brought him from a flat chest to a C cup.

…The plastic surgeon who runs JJ Chua Rejuvenative Cosmetic and Laser Surgery added: “A sex change would comprise the chest area as well as the private parts. I only want to assist patients when I know it will help them.

“If you have a female upper body, then you must have a female lower body too, right?

“In my opinion, his assessment of himself is wrong, there’s no halfway with this kind of thing.”

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If it’s one thing that both sexes are not happy about when it comes to the upper body, it’s having flat chests. Men no longer obsess about penis size like they do about having a glorious torso built like Captain America.

Moobs. Me like.

Whether it’s brands like Abercrombie and Fitch or James Bond, the archetype of a rippin’, upper body sculpted to warrior perfection has pervaded the male perception of the ideal body. Pectoral implants are no longer scoffed at, nor reserved only for males with a congenital condition known as ‘pectus excavatum’ which gives one a sunken chest appearance. It also sounds like a naughty spell Harry Potter would cast on Ron Weasly in the shower as an April Fool’s joke.

When it comes to breasts, men may be even more fussy than women about size. Too flat, and you worry about getting beaten up at the playground. Too round and saggy, and you can’t go for a swim without parents urging you to cover up with a bikini because you’re scaring the children. ‘Moobs’ are no laughing matter when you have gynecomastia though. Most fat guys are game to display their bellies, but would hesitate to showcase a wobby pair of man-tits. After all, a rotund stomach is traditionally a sign of prosperity, while moobs are impropriety which in the past would have landed you a contract with a travelling freakshow circus with the bearded lady or the Siamese twin. The difference between Kurt and the rest of us is that he longs for a pair big and bouncy enough to fit a bra with, while we would be happy just to have one sturdy enough to stop a speeding bullet. You’re free to Youtube Kurt showing off his newly found assets, though you’re likely to stop watching a minute into the video not because of his bizarre before-and-after shots, but because of his broken English. He sure has a lot to ‘get off his chest’, this Kurt fella.

Some years back, a ‘less dashing’ Kurt ‘Nong Nong Ago’ Tay Foo Wei broke into the scene as comic relief in Singapore Idol (Ironically he may have had bigger breasts then compared to just before the op). Just look what you’ve done to contestant self-esteem, Idol judges. Thank God we’ve stopped this Idol nonsense, otherwise we’d have superstar wannabes checking into either psychiatric wards post-rejection, or flying off to Thailand to turn themselves into Pamela Anderson. Kurt still considers himself a Handsome, Charming, Dashing, BUSTY superstar till this day, and has even launched a Mandarin single and music video. I won’t be surprised that he had tried for the Final 1 auditions but got booted out, either because he’s not good enough, or NOT weird enough to qualify.

Both Kurt and men with meek chests want the same thing: Confidence. And this is one man who has ample cupfuls of it, though it may have crossed over into some narcissistic, body dysmorphic, boob-fetish disorder. If our local doctors don’t accept clients who do things ‘halfway’ in fear of psychological damage, there’s nothing stopping people from pursuing their body modification dreams elsewhere, at a cheaper rate too, whether it’s having gigantic breasts, buttocks or an extra one of each. Boobs on a man are not so extreme as compared to having vampire fangs, split tongues or inserting protruding objects in your face or limbs to make you look like a horned lizard. I would think most women would rather make out with a man with boobs than a guy with a bagel jutting out of his head.

Kurt may well be an unwitting crusader against gender stereotypes with his breast augmentation, like “If a man wants to feel sexy by having big boobs like a woman,  WHY NOT?”. Women who strap their breasts down or play with strap-on dildos can probably relate. He may also be sending a message to all fat men to EMBRACE the gift of moobs, to love their bodies and the ‘woman’ in them instead of wasting their money on ‘body sculpting’. After all, macho men like Robert De Niro breastfed a baby in the film Meet the Fockers, Arnie got pregnant in ‘Junior’ and our local actors cross-dress even on National Day. Some men tape grapefruit to their chests to feel good, Kurt Tay had silicone pumped into his. I wonder if the Noose team, in light of the declining quality of their skits, are watching Kurt keenly as we speak.

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Singaporean girls getting 3/10 for fashion sense

From ‘Singapore women either wear too little or too much make-up: TV host Pauline Lan’, 26 April 2013, article by Jan Lee, ST

When Taiwanese TV host Pauline Lan was in town on Friday to launch the Singaporean version of her popular Taiwanese fashion and beauty show Lady First, she was not shy to blast the local women for fashion boo-boos. “A lot of Singaporean girls have either too little or too much make up on, it’s often not suited for the occasion,” she says.

Another mistake she thinks Singaporean girls make is wearing the wrong lingerie and underwear for different outfits.

Out of 10 marks for fashion sense, she gives local girls a mere three. Then she turns her attention to the Singapore men, saying it is their fault that the women do not try harder. Pointing out the men’s general sloppiness, she says: “Singaporean men don’t give Singaporean women the urge to dress up!”

If a local fashion guru slams us for dressing sloppily, we’d probably accept the charge. A foreigner, on the other hand, without an intimate understanding of our crazy weather, is less qualified to judge. But more importantly, an outsider scouting the streets for fashion boo-boos can’t be sure that they’re catching badly dressed SINGAPOREANS or other foreigners since there’s so many of the latter about. It’s also a misconception that women here dress up to impress fellow Singaporean men, whether they’re in flip-flops and shorts or suit and tie. Women dress up to impress OTHER women.  So, bros, go easy on the shoeshine and ties. The babe in the skimpy hot pants is more interested in what your girlfriend thinks than you.

But what’s creepy is fashionistas checking out whether your undergarments match your outfit. Does Pauline Lan have X-ray vision or go around peeking down ladies’ blouses? Isn’t underwear NOT meant to be seen at all? Or do some girls expose themselves intentionally like so:

Brazen lack of dress sense

Lan isn’t the first foreign image guru to remind us that we’re horrid dressers. Television personality Jeannie Mai refers to flip-flops as FLIP-NOTS, and endorses ‘wearapy’, which basically means to dress ‘emotionally’, advocating the use of ‘energetic’ and ‘bold’ colours to lift your mood or confidence. Seems psychologically sound, though I’m less convinced by wearing purple at a public speaking event to ‘convey ROYALTY’ unless you’re giving a tribute to the Joker at a Batman Comics Convention. Or you’re just Groovy, Baby!

Good for public speaking

In 2012, French designer Roland Mouret was shocked by the ‘fashion disasters’ in his hotel, especially sloppy men with their ‘wrong shorts and flip flops’ and suggested that there should be a law against awful dressing in swanky places.  He must have avoided hawker centres like the plague. Shame. In 1994, image consultant Robert Pante said most Singaporeans wear clothes that ‘even burglars would not steal’ (‘Most Singaporeans dress badly, says image guru’, 14 Oct 1994, ST). But burglars generally DON’T steal clothes at all; the only people who do so are those with a panty or school uniform fetish.

Singaporean women know better than to take Pauline’s abysmal rating seriously. After all, this is a woman who wears a beaver’s dam on her head.

Grow up, Ugly Affluent Westernised Singaporeans

From ‘Time for the Ugly Singaporean to grow up’, 9 April 2013, ST Forum

(Dr George Wong Seow Hoon): IN VIEW of the increasing incidents of abusive behaviour towards health-care workers…it is time to examine why economic progress has brought with it the emergence of the “Ugly Singaporean”. Part of the reason is that many of our children are now brought up by maids, and they lack the strong cultural milieu to cultivate codes of good conduct.

Once they grow up, they treat nurses the way they treat their maids – because they know of no other way. When I was growing up, I was immersed in the culture and traditions of my grandparents, who made me read San Zhi Jing (Three-Character Classic), which taught Confucian morality.

My uncles and aunts told me stories from the Chinese classics of great men and heroes with outstanding conduct. These have influenced my thinking and conduct in later life. Now, some affluent, Westernised Singaporeans throw litter, abuse nurses and are road bullies.

…It is time for Singaporeans to grow up.

It’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone espouse ‘Asian values’, which typically encompasses concepts of hard work, compassion, humility and filial piety, though such forms of social behaviour are certainly not unique to the Asian society. China, in particular, the birthplace of San Zhi Jing, is among the worst culprits of pollution and global warming in the world, and the inconsiderate act of littering and destroying the planet has nothing to do with the fact that you’re a Confucian scholar, a ‘Westernised’ tycoon, or a homeless bum who poops on the streets.

Blaming the West as the Devil was regular rhetoric for MPs. In 1971, Inche Ghazali urged men to ‘point out gently and tactfully how ridiculous’ their womenfolk look wearing ‘indecent’ fashions of the West. The appearance of ‘Centrepoint kids’ in the 80s prompted Tang Guan Seng to blame ‘decadent Western fads’ for the erosion of our G-rated, homely values. He was also strongly against the ‘Western’ practice of addressing parents by their names, dumping the aged in retirement homes, and probably thinks the ‘Western’ tie as office attire is like wearing Satan’s noose around your neck.

Some male chauvinist pigs also like their partners to be like Samsui women, subservient, meek and not complaining and nagging too much which is a result of being ‘contaminated’ by the decadent West. Thanks to ‘Western influences’, our women have become opinionated, assertive and don’t ever want to treat us guys to a hot home-cooked meal and foot scrub after work anymore. Besides, I’m not sure if ancient China was the ideal pinnacle of Confucian ethics and selfless, epic heroics as it’s lauded to be. At least that’s not what Sex and Zen tells me.

There’s nothing morally superior about ‘Asian values’ as it’s a fallacy to blame Western affluence for all our ‘social ills’, be it teen pregnancy, homosexuality, premarital sex, Playboy magazine or Glee. There are, in fact, downsides to exaggerating your Confucian values, like ‘presentee-ism’, the loss of productivity that results when you’re obliged to report for work even when you’re sick.  The complainant telling Singaporeans to ‘GROW UP’ reeks of the stifling authoritarian hectoring of the stern, party-pooping patriarch who shuns Gangnam Style, skimpy bikinis and shrinking hemlines because he thinks these have all the ‘decadent’ hallmarks of cult-like Western glamour and spiralling moral decay.

You don’t have to be rich and English-speaking to be a total bastard of a customer, nor do you need to mediate under a bamboo tree and be handy with a calligraphy brush to be a responsible, civilised human being, regardless of which side of the globe you’re from. So here’s an adorable clip of an ang mo kid reciting San Zhi Jing. To a ‘Western-influenced’ bloke like me, it’s as impressive, yet meaningless, as memorising pi to 100 decimal places.

Ng Boon Gay’s wife making the deepest form of self-sacrifice

From ‘Strong spouses in their own way’, 1 Feb 2013 and ‘When men stray, women should not feel that they are expected to stay’, 30 Jan 2013, Voices, Today

(Donovan Chee Kwok Hoe):…I do not condone cheating. When I see pictures of Ng Boon Gay’s missus holding his hand, I would never assume that she has forgiven him. But whether she is holding his hand because of the need to maintain a public facade or otherwise is not for us to judge or assume. That would be venturing into dangerous territory.

What I see, instead, is her willingness to support her husband through his darkest days. She has made the deepest form of self-sacrifice and should be applauded.

(Magdalene Sim Jia Ling):…In my view, a brave woman is someone strong enough to walk away as and when it is necessary to do so, someone who can stand up for what is right and wrong in her life, including standing up against her husband’s infidelities.

It is not that women should never forgive their unfaithful husbands, but it is for them, in their own circumstances and capacities, to decide. There should never be an expectation on them that staying with their husbands or publicly supporting them through scandals is the mark of a smart woman, or worse, a loving wife who is woman enough to stand by her marriage.

She stands by her man

Yap Yen Yen once told reporters that she ‘continues to believe in her husband, and that her love for him hasn’t wavered’. Throughout the trial, she has been portrayed by the media as the stoic, silent victim. Only time will tell if this display of bewildering affection is really a ‘public facade’ to garner sympathy, or a genuine show of solidarity and forgiveness. The latter, of course, is a virtue that’s been enshrined in all major religions and moral ethics, and between filing for immediate divorce and sticking by her man, it’s often the latter gesture that casts the victim in the glowing light of the ‘loving, magnanimous wife’ persona. It also helps that men are always seen as scheming bastards and are automatically thrust with the blame whenever they stray, regardless of how their wives have treated them previously.

The ‘suffering wife rising from the flames like a phoenix’ is a phenomenon that is publicly celebrated; the classic example of Hilary Clinton giving president husband Bill a second chance comes to mind. An ST journalist in Singapolitics called 2012 the year of the STRONG WOMAN, citing examples such as Diane Palmer and Howard Shaw’s model wife Jessie Xue. Chua Mui Hoong, Opinion editor, lauds Yap as the BRAVEST WOMAN in the news last year. Nobody knows anything about these women other than their apparent willingness to accept their husbands’ philandering nonsense and simply move on. They have become a fighting symbol of womanhood and little else. No one said anything worth applauding about Cecilia Sue’s husband, or Laura Ong’s boyfriend/husband, who are also victims in their own right. Nobody’s going to call a man a BRAVE SOUL for accepting a wife who sleeps around. If a woman keeps quiet about the affair, she’s grieving or struggling to keep the marriage afloat. If a man keeps silent, he’s plotting revenge and imagining running the lover through with a chainsaw.

Still a Great romance

A woman may be viewed as ‘strong’ whether she forgives her husband or packs her bags and leaves. Men, on the other hand, may be described as ‘strong’ in the same emotional sense if they can overcome immense grief like from the death of a loved one, but if they stand by a cheating wife, they are cast as weak cuckolds and not worth swooning over at all, unless they use it to their advantage as sob-story pick-up bait in their quest for one-night stands at the club. For all you know a woman’s sweet acts in public are secretly  out of personal repentance or even relief, if she herself has also been guilty of fooling around with other men.  Yap Yen Yen isn’t a heroine; she’s just a woman coping with her husband’s and her own shame her way, caught in the headlights by a public yearning for a story to tell and for her to be made a shining example for women in similar situations everywhere, even if Mother Theresa standards of forgiveness do not necessarily guarantee a lasting marriage.

We are the most emotionless society in the world

From ‘S’pore most emotionless society in the world: Survey’, 21 Nov 2012, article in Today online

Singapore has ranked as the most emotionless society in the world by a Gallup survey, according to a Bloomberg News report. The survey polled more than 140 countries to compare how people felt about their lives. Respondents were asked questions such as “Evaluate your life on a scale of zero to 10″ and whether their life would be better or worse five years from now.

Singapore came in ahead of countries such as Georgia, Lithuania and Russia, for being the most emotionless society. The most emotional society was the Philippines, followed by El Salvador and Bahrain. “If you measure Singapore by the traditional indicators, they look like one of the best-run countries in the world,” Gallup partner Jon Clifton was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “But if you look at everything that makes life worth living, they’re not doing so well.

According to the report, not many Singaporeans answered “yes” to negative questions, and to questions measuring happiness, such as, had they smiled yesterday, had they learnt something interesting or felt respected or well-rested?

Being ‘emotional’ may not indicate passion, liveliness, fun or happiness. In fact being ‘emotional’ has somewhat negative connotations when you’re talking about one’s professional conduct or describing a partner or spouse, and brings to mind pettiness, fanaticism, wackiness, or jealousy. Conversely, being labelled an ‘emotionless’ nation can’t be all that bad. After all, it’s a trait that’s synonymous with cold German ‘efficiency’ or Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive; Singapore is the warrior monk of all nations, the Droopy to the Yogi Bear that is the Philippines.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re a boring or unhappy lot, and I’d like to think of this result as a tribute to Singaporeans being a reasonable, composed, poker-faced people, though we wouldn’t be first on the invite list of a Playboy mansion party, nor someone you would want to be stranded on a remote island with. You don’t see Singaporeans whistling on the streets, and anyone caught humming or bobbing their heads in public would be viewed with suspicion. Some would argue that our numbness is due to years of one-party oppression, that we’re just, well, jaded. We could excel in a couple of niche professions though, like a gambler or executioner for example. We also blend in seamlessly with the wax figures at Madam Tussaud’s, or at a Night of the Living Dead zombies’ Meetup.

Our lack of ‘emotion’ could be linked to the flatness of Singlish in terms of tone or inflection, a language which outsiders may label as monotonous, delivered with the panache of a one-note Autotune. We speak, therefore we have become. But here’s how we fare in related global surveys, which may provide further insight as to why we’re  perceived as ‘emotionless’ beings.

1. Our lack of sexual activity: Singaporeans have among the least sex in the world.  Maybe that explains the joylessness of our existence, a nation devoid of post-coital cuddling. Our women don’t think very much of our guys’ erections either.

2. We are among the top gambling nations in the world. Our obsession and history with punting has bred a nation of poker faces, both the high-rollers at the card tables or the HDB uncles and aunties with blank expressions at the Toto booth.

3. Surprise, surprise, we are among the COOLEST countries in the world. Too cool to show emotion too, perhaps. You know, like Brando or Clint Eastwood in a Western.

4. We are the second unhappiest workers on the planet. Couple that with lack of sex above and little wonder why we have little to smile, or laugh about.

5. No argument on this one. We’ve been called the World’s most BORING country.  It doesn’t explain staycations, though.

I believe the physical lack of emotion is just one shallow facet of the Singaporean psyche. An emotionless society wouldn’t care enough to complain, and this blog alone is proof that when it comes to complaining, we would top the charts like we do the rest if there were ever a global survey on the matter. We may not have a Mardi Gras every weekend or ply the streets overnight with confetti and party-hats, but you can’t dismiss our kiasu-ism and passion for making things right, the way we throng IT fairs, fight on public transport, snigger at sex scandal testimonies, or profess our love for man-Gods. So I’m not sure if the Gallip people got real Singaporeans to answer questions, or if they simply watched one episode of Crime Watch.

Hands up if you’re feeling an emotion

KpopThxBye

50,000 Singaporeans living in Australia

From ’200,000 Singaporeans living abroad’, article by Theresa Tan, 14 Oct 2012, Sunday Times.

The number of Singaporeans living abroad has risen sharply over the past decade, with Australia, Britain, the United States and China being their main destinations. There were 200,000 citizens overseas as of June – a 27 per cent increase from 157,100 in 2003.

Most are between 20 and 54 years old, with slightly more women than men, stated the Population in Brief 2012 report published by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) last month. The figures refer to citizens with a registered foreign address or those who have been away for a cumulative period of at least six months in the past year.

…Economists interviewed said Singapore’s brain drain is more a social and political problem, rather than an economic one, as the outflow of local expertise is matched by an inflow of foreigners, so the country is not short of skilled manpower.

…The countries with the biggest number of Singaporeans are Australia (with about 50,000), Britain (about 40,000) and the US (about 27,000). China is catching up with about 20,000 Singaporeans, The Sunday Times understands.

Absolute numbers aside, there are other worrying signs about Singaporeans packing their bags and leaving for ‘greener pastures’. Of those who are still here, 56% (of 2000 Singaporeans) in a recent poll ‘would like to migrate’ if given a choice, and could be among workers with the highest rate of BURNOUT in the region. A section of the Population in Brief report unveils a disturbing trend other than a ‘brain drain’; if this rate of Singaporeans leaving remains constant while our birth rate declines, the ‘born and bred’ Singaporean may become an endangered species.

Based on the above, in 2011-2012 alone, about 8000 of us left Singapore. In the same period, more than 40,000 non-Singaporeans were granted PRs or citizenship. That is, for every Singaporean who leaves, 5 times more foreigners are here to stay. The outflow of expertise is most definitely not ‘MATCHED’ by foreigner inflow. It is like a football coach replacing a player with half a team of imports, without having a clue as to whether his team can gel together after topping up his squad. It is exactly this treatment of the census as a numbers game that perhaps makes those abroad wonder if they’re missed at all, or just mere statistics in business-as-usual population management.

If you look at the age demographic of overseas Singaporeans, they peak at 20-24, and then rise steadily from 30, hitting the highest number at 45-49. Which suggests that we are longer looking at people just RETIRING to a villa by the seaside anymore, where they can sit swirling a glass of Shiraz watching their grandchildren play in the garden instead of attending tuition. These are either young upstarts or adults in the prime of their lives. We also have about 10,000 Singaporeans who may be born here but are wouldn’t have the slightest memory of ‘home’ when they grow up anywhere but.

Of the young and, more regrettably for our birth rate, FERTILE, people leaving the country, there are significantly more females than males settling down elsewhere, especially in the 15-34 years group. It would be interesting to see how many of these are married, or living, with foreign spouses. For some women, it’s not just the Singaporean lifestyle that is a turn-off, but maybe the MEN are not worth returning home for either. The higher proportion of males in the 40-85 group suggests that men leave to further career prospects, raise a family or just kick back and relax without having to worry about taking part-time jobs clearing trays in food courts because his fellow Singaporeans are too damned lazy to clean up after themselves.

Interestingly, more people appear to be moving to China, or ‘returning to the Motherland’, a trend observed among Singaporean expats since 2008.  One can safely assume that means at least 20,000 CHINESE Singaporeans are not here with us as we speak (despite lack of ethnic data in other ‘second homes’). No worries, we have at least a million PRCs to more than compensate for the racial quota.

Yet, the above numbers could well be an underestimate. The World Bank cites the number of overseas Singaporeans as 300,000. In 2010. Of ‘skilled emigration’ in 2000, 15% of our tertiary educated population, and 15% of locally trained physicians bid Adieu. There have also been reports of ‘several Singaporeans’ gone MISSING while overseas. It didn’t help that in 2002, just before this surge in Singaporeans departing, then PM Goh Chok Tong implied that those who left or intend to leave are weak, cowardly, disloyal and fickle:

Has the younger generation of Singaporeans gone soft? Look in the mirror and ask ‘Am I a stayer or a quitter’? Am I a fair-weather Singaporean of an all-weather Singaporean’….Which country will they run off to next when bus fares go up in Australia?

Well, it looks like those ‘quitters’ are ‘staying’ in Australia still regardless of bus fares. But what’s so appealing about what Lee Kuan Yew once dubbed ‘The poor white trash of Asia’?  How about the fact that you could own a massive house, complete with swimming pool, tennis court and landscaped garden for less than the price of a Queenstown HDB flat? Or that your kids needn’t have to take the PSLE, do National Service, or go mad studying CHINESE? That you could knock off work before 5pm everyday and enjoy greater ‘work-life balance’ playing golf? Or is Singapore just not COOL enough? It seems that in the land of ‘poor white trash’, Singaporeans could live like ‘rich Asian kings’. In an ironic reversal of fortune, it’s the Aussies are who reaping the benefit of our unhappy emigrants, while Singapore, with its corruption scandals, gaudy casinos and Grand Prix posturings, is steadily becoming the TRASHIER of the two. But like everything else in life, achieving dream living standards in a foreign country may not always go according to plan.  Your business may fail, or, at the very worst, you may get tortured and killed after a very successful career in porn.

Nonetheless, something’s not right if our people constantly harbour thoughts of getting out of here, or put thoughts into action despite the risks of failure or ‘second-class’ citizenship overseas. Ironically in our government’s drive to make Singapore a ‘global city’, Singaporeans have gone ‘global’ themselves. It’s time to ponder who’s the REAL quitters or stayers, those who are willing to abandon their friends and ‘roots’ for the sake of their children, pursue their dream homes or solely for their own mental well-being, or those who hang around, resigning to their stressful lives and perennial debts, suffering and complaining like the miserable masochists that we are.

Meanwhile, participants in the first Our-SG conversation wished for Singapore to be the ‘happiest country in the world’. Be serious now, we need realists in the National Conversation, not deranged optimists who want to see Oscar the Grouch turn into Elmo in 10 years. You want to staunch the population leak with hard policies, not cotton candy and Post-It pads.

Malay men more romantic than Chinese men

From ‘Do Malay husbands know something that Chinese husbands don’t?’, 15 Aug 2012, ST Forum

(Ivan Goh): THE total fertility rate of Malay Singaporeans last year was 1.64, followed by Indian Singaporeans at 1.09 and Chinese Singaporeans at 1.08 (“Get married, have babies”; Sunday).

Most incentives – maternity leave, maid levies and discounted taxes – are aimed at women, and may be working better for the Malays than for the Chinese. Perhaps the Government should find out why Malay women are more willing to have babies.

Are Malay men more romantic, persuasive and less stressed out by life’s perceived demands than Chinese men? Do Malay couples have a more viable network of caregivers?

I would like to believe that a man with confidence is attractive to women. He can better influence his wife to have more babies, especially if he believes he can adequately provide for the family. How can Chinese Singaporean men attain more confidence? In this modern age, the ability to provide translates into how much a man earns and his job security.

Greater confidence may well encourage Singaporean men to take the plunge earlier, and increase the potential for having babies sooner.

The statistics speak for itself and few have dared to ask why the Chinese are lagging behind our Muslim community, until the writer decided to broach a sensitive topic that has always been muddied by almost-taboo factors such as educational level, genes, status, religion, culture, diet and libido. There are exceptions in both races of course, with Chinese families who produce up to quadruple the national fertility average, and Malay families who stick to one child or none at all, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why Malay families are, on average, bigger than Chinese ones without stumbling into some form of stereotyping and risk accusations of racism. By saying that Malay couples have ‘more free time and are less stressed’ is insinuating that they don’t ‘work as hard’. By saying that they’re ‘persuasive’ is suggesting that Malay men are born sex machines. Such arguments are loaded with negative, unhelpful connotations and without a thorough, nationwide sex survey on the habits and appetites of the typical Chinese or Malay spouse, it’s all guesswork for now. I’m pretty doubtful, though, whether the writer’s claim of the Chinese man being less adept in the skills of seduction has anything to do with our miserable TFR. In this age of reproductive technology, you can father a child as long as you can afford it, even without bothering to pleasure your wife at all. There’s also an inherent contradiction in correlating confidence with earning power and hence more babies. Surely if a man spends most of his time making money, he’d have less for the Mrs, or children.  Or he would apply his gleaming confidence and hence sex appeal anywhere else other than at home and put their entire family unit at risk.

It’s also reasonable to ask if Chinese women place more emphasis on their careers hence put off childbearing compared to Malay women, rather than whether Malay men are Lotharios and Casanovas compared to the Pee Wee Herman Chinese. A husband can sweet serenade his wife all night long but will still fail if she’s not in the mood. Maybe it’s not Chinese men who are not ‘confident’ enough, but their women who are too ‘gung-ho’ when it comes to chasing their careers, to the point that sex becomes a 2 minute formality or non-existent and babies are pushed to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list. Maybe it’s nothing at all to do with how career-minded Chinese couples are, but a case of poor time management. Maybe being a housewife and marrying early is more socially acceptable to a Muslim family than a Chinese one. Maybe people bring more babies into the world because they were born into big fertile families themselves, with the ‘extended family network’ being an incentive for raising a child, along with the passing down of ‘baby-making’ genes, which pretty much condemns the fate of traditionally small Chinese families to a self-limiting vicious cycle.

No one would profess to have the answer and maybe no one wants to know what it is because anything that you hypothesise is bound to be discriminatory in some way or other, but picking on the Chinese male’s personality flaw is probing the bark of a tree without seeing the forest.

LKY and the ‘folding up’ of Singapore

From ‘Get married, have babies’, 12 Aug 2012, article by Leonard Lim, Sunday Times

…In his annual National Day dinner speech to residents of Tanjong Pagar GRC and Tiong Bahru, Mr Lee kept his message on population simple: The country’s citizens are not reproducing enough, and migrants are needed as a temporary solution. But in the long run, mindsets must change, and the trend of declining birth rates needs to be reversed.

“If we go on like that, this place will fold up because there will be no original citizens left to form the majority,” he said. And we cannot have new citizens, new PRs settle our social ethos, our social spirit, our social norms.

“So, my message is a simple one. The answer is very difficult, but the problems, if we don’t find the answers, are enormous.”

Oh boy are we in trouble. According to the CIA Factbook, we are down in the doldrums in terms of total fertility rate at a miserable 0.78, which is way below the minimum number to replace ourselves. But what’s interesting about LKY’s exhortations to procreate is not what’s being said, but what’s NOT. For example, he did not say that educated women with pHDs should get boyfriends and settle down. He also did not specifically urge the Chinese to pick up the slack. What can only be inferred, from how he social-engineered the Singapore population experiment over the years and from the number of PRCs working here, is that it’s the faltering Chinese Singaporeans that he’s really concerned about.

Racial composition is rarely mentioned these days, but it seems that the old man built this nation using his own golden ratio of how each ethnicity should make up the population, even if it meant staunching its growth at certain critical periods in Singapore’s history, and to see his formula for success fail in the face of ‘personal choice’ is like God stomping his feet because his creatures are not sucking on the sweet nectar of the fruits that he created for them. I would feel the same way if I’m playing Simcity and my little people refuse to reproduce themselves. Anyone would be tempted to push the reset button rather than see your piece of work destroy itself. You get the feeling that LKY’s lament is more an emotional one than one that involves deep, probing reflection or acceptance of the fact that where we are now is the result of an abject failure of balancing First World ambitions with First World problems. We are having it faster, stronger, better but weaning ourselves off the face of this earth while at it, like tireless, naive male spiders trying to get it on with the Black Widow of progress.

The last time LKY mentioned ‘racial balance’ was in relation to the SAF and the tenuousness of our position in the region in terms of defence.

‘If we continue this way without the new immigrants and PRs and their children doing national service, the composition of our SAF will change. So please remember that…..It is in Singapore’s interest to have immigrants who can be integrated without upsetting the racial balance.

In response to the influx of Hongkongers in the eighties, he expressed a resolute fondness for the ‘status quo’:

Let us just maintain the status quo. And we have to maintain it or there will be a shift in the economy, both the economic performance and the political backdrop which makes that economic performance possible…..You look at the educational levels of the performers. It has got to do with culture, nature and so many other factors. But year after year this is the end result. Let’s leave well alone. The formula has worked. Keep it.

‘Nature’, of course, is a euphemism for RACE. A UMNO MP did not mince his words when taking the cue from LKY regarding the fate of the Malay majority in Malaysia, saying that LKY’s coercions were to ‘strengthen the dominance of the Chinese on the island’. When you mention ‘racial mix’ and optimal ‘performance’ in the same breath, it becomes quite obvious that you’re hinting that a certain group is driving the success of the country, though that looks set to change at the rate we’re welcoming Caucasian billionaires with open arms, not to mention plying foreign income off our two casinos. LKY wouldn’t want to mess up the HDB ethnic quota too. The Ethnic Integration Policy, by capping the proportion of races in housing estates, was intended to ‘maintain a healthy racial mix’, without specifying what an ‘unhealthy’ composition is. In 20 years when our homegrown population will presumably halve in size, the EIP and its secret ratios will need some revisions as well. I mean, you don’t want your neighbours rioting and burning the flat to the ground over curry smells would you.

We have no data on the proportion of races among Singaporeans renouncing their citizenship, erstwhile pretending that emigration doesn’t exist. If making couples have sex more often is an insurmountable hurdle, how about trying to figure out what’s making Singaporeans want to LEAVE? It’s likely that the answer would partially explain our reluctance to have children. Chan Chun Sing and the MSF have their work cut out for them, and if he’s serious about pushing our TFR up, perhaps he should come clean with the numbers, examine the reasons why people abandon their Home, and let us all know of the gravity of the situation, instead of hiding painful facts from Singaporeans like sweeping broken glass under the carpet. If all else fails, be wary when our NEWwater starts tasting funny and you feel tingly sensations in all the wrong places after drinking it.

But it’s not just a freak census that LKY’s terrified of. It’s the PM’s position and PAP leadership itself. In 1988, LKY remarked that Singapore ‘was not ready’ for an Indian Prime Minister, that he would have considered S Dhanabalan if not for his ‘Indian ethnicity’. Our cabinet still holds a majority of Chinese ministers, and remains a reflection of the ground demographics. So when it looks like that precious ‘formula’ is on the brink of shattering and LKY’s worst nightmares are on the verge of coming true (though he probably wouldn’t live long enough to witness it), we have an ENORMOUS problem on our hands, and it’s not just a matter of the EXTINCTION of the Singaporean, but the fall of a NATION, when the house that is our little red dot is no longer a home. In the spirit of the business parlance used by LKY, Singapore Inc may have to ‘close shop’ if nothing is done. And it takes more than a cheeky Mentos ad  (National night, hip hop or hip flop?) and a Ministry playing the role of Love Guru to do it.

Uncle breaking jaw of gangster half his age

From ‘Man who punched and fractured gangster’s jaw escapes jail’, 23 June 2012, article in asiaone.com

A Singaporean businessman was fined $3,000 on Thursday for punching and fracturing a gangster’s jaw. The Straits Times reported that he was spared a jail sentence as the judge said it was an exceptional case.

Ong Long Hock, 64, had pleaded guilty to causing hurt to Lee Tze Wei, 32, a sales executive. The incident occurred on Feb 17, 2009 at about 7pm. Ong and his family had drove down to the Punggol Nasi Lemak stall near Tanjong Katong Road.

Ong’s daughter-in-law, Delia Chiang Chia Yen, 31, was on the way to queue for food when she was pestered by Lee and his friend. Claiming to be gangsters, the duo swore at her and her husband. The two men started punching and kicking Ong’s son before family members could call the police. A third man also joined in the assault. Ong tried to break up the fight and was also hit. When the three assailants tried to flee, Ong and his son managed to grab Lee and pin him to the ground. That was when Ong punched him.

…Ong told the Shin Min Daily News on Thursday that he had lost five teeth in the fight, and spent $20,000 on dental treatment.

This is the second senseless brawl in a week, following a biker gang assault on a SIM student which was later classified as ‘rioting’. One shouldn’t underestimate the strength of old uncles, and Ong Long Hock, who may actually be as ferocious as his loanshark-ish name sounds, packs a nasty punch here. He even has real teeth knocked out of him. Most seniors his age would have choked on their dentures fending off gang attacks before getting their wrinkled fists anywhere near someone’s face. Others in a bid to play ‘tough guy’ end up embarrassing themselves after quarreling over seats on a bus, their bark worse than their bite (assuming they have teeth to do so)

Any hooligan who harasses innocent couples queuing for nasi lemak deserves to be taught a lesson, and nobody dishes out pain and humiliation to a shoddy whippersnapper like a ‘Lao Hero’. The tough-as-nails ah pek used to be a cinematic myth, particularly in the Asian context where retired pugilists with white flowing beards are almost always expected to give upstarts a solid dressing down.There is something satisfying about elderly men who appear meek and hobbling about on walking sticks turning into badass fighting machines, from Jackie Chan’s ‘shifu’ in ‘Drunken Master’ to the Karate Kid’s Mr Miyagi and even non-human seniors like Yoda in the Attack of the Clones.

Attack of the Crones

But Ong’s plot most resembles that of a Western film, namely protagonist Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino, a one-man army who beats up a bunch of Asian hoodlums and scares people with gun gestures.

Feeling lucky, punk?

So poetic justice demands that a protective father and senior citizen who can beat me in arm-wrestling be spared a jail term, though if it were true that his victim did belong to a gang of some sorts, Ong should watch his back. Perhaps fellow gang members are keeping an eye on his back as we speak, withholding a revenge attack only because of a possible dragon-Guan Yin tattoo decorating it.

Most fist-fights between elderly men don’t end well. In 1986, a 77 year old died of a heart attack after tussling with another old nutter. In 1998, a 68 year old killed his fellow senior flatmate in a heated frenzy (Man, 68, gets jail for killing flatmate, 31 Dec 1998, ST). Being a hero is also a hazardous task in the golden years; In 1981 a 70 year old hawker sacrificed himself to save a blind elderly man from a fire, BREAKING DOWN A DOOR in the process. Compared to our namby-pamby thugs of today, our hardy old geezers are Sparta warriors, men who in their prime could disarm hacks with penknives, or disassemble a rickshaw with nothing but a spanner. Unlike the Coen brothers’ refrain that we live in No Country For Old Men, with the flourishing of troublemakers of late and men my generation having evolved into softies who have never swung a punch in their entire lives despite 2 years of NS, we probably need our frisky old men to double up as  surrogate cops more than ever.

Eye-candy male pacers in Shape Run

From ‘Change of pace for Shape Run’, 21 June 2012, article by Chan U-Gene, ST

ONE of Singapore’s women-only runs is getting – for the first time – a shot of testosterone. This year’s Shape Run will introduce 30 male runners as pacers – chosen not only for their running abilities but also their pin-up looks.

Ms Diana Lee, general manager of fashion and beauty at Singapore Press Holdings, the organiser, said: ‘This is a chance for women to chase the guys for a change. It’s to introduce a fun element, to provide ‘eye candy’ for the runners.’

…Jason Tan, 38, is hoping to use the communication skills he developed from his six years in the insurance industry to engage the runners. The financial services manager, who has completed more than five marathons, said: ‘Talking to people is part and parcel of my life. I want to lift their spirits by greeting them in the morning, exchanging high-fives, and also by singing songs during the run.’

Most female runners are receptive to the novel idea. Human relations officer Audrey Huang, 29, said: ‘I’ll be running at my own pace. Unless they are eye candy, then maybe I’ll run faster.’

But there are a few women who are less than impressed. Ms Erika Keilig, 40, said that while she is fine with running alongside the men, some women preferred to keep women-only events, well, only for women. These women feel more comfortable running with members of the same sex, she said.

Avid marathoner Anne Date, 31, said: ‘If it’s a women’s race, then it’s a women’s race. It’ll be nice for women to be independent of men sometimes.’

Got to catch ‘em all!

Good looks or not, these guys have their work cut out for them. Not only do they have to strut about providing cheerleading services, but have to make sure that they don’t look out of ‘shape’ themselves, considering that they have 18 year old professional Kenyan runners in their midst, one of whom won last year’s 10km event. The annual Shape run is serious business, which explains why the intrusion of a few good men  into an exclusive marathon may be regarded by the more ambitious runners as a damper on their crowning achievement.  Some women are particularly bothered if boyfriends or husbands scamper uninvited in women’s only events taking snapshots of their partners. If there’s anyone who should feel stressed by this idea, it’s the pacers themselves. Imagine the pressure of having to keep the enthusiasm, high-fives and stamina up in front of thousands of women, some possibly as old as their mothers who can brisk walk faster than most NSmen can run 2.4 km for IPPT. Imagine facing the wrath of angry feminists who would toss used paper cups at you given the chance. It’s not an easy job, girls.

Who knows what this potent COCKtail of marathon running (itself a risk factor for sudden death) and sweaty hot bods would do to everyone involved in the event. Distractions and discomfort aside, if I were the organiser I would be extra wary about people collapsing, if not the eye candy themselves for over-enthusing, but women whose desperate hearts flutter easily at the sight of six-pecs and tight buns, or those over-exerting themselves running away from pacers like Jason Tan singing like they were leading a BMT road march ( Purple Light, anyone?). Any woman running beyond her capacity under the influence of hunky pacers risks injuries like patellofemoral pain syndrome. Any man who runs beyond his capacity just to impress a woman risks an unscheduled visit to the morgue.

Even if your timing remains unaffected by the presence of men as gratuitous sex objects, there’s nothing like a brawny dude getting in the way of some serious female bonding. A ladies only run is essentially a mahjong session or high tea for the active, sociable woman, and throwing in a man in the fray is like having the husband budging in asking when dinner is ready. Men have their motor shows, soccer bars, and online vice rings, why not leave the ladies alone with some ‘we-time’? On the other hand, putting sexy chicks in a mostly male marathon to man water stations like they straddle cars at motor shows may see less records being broken because of rubbernecking, but could potentially save a life or two if catching a glimpse of a real RACE queen means slowing down and queuing up for a drink (and drinking very slowly too).

Being a male pacer isn’t as lucrative as posing as a glorified gigolo or Chippendale in ‘host bars’, where men  are subject to bids like cattle in a beef auction, not only having to wiggle their way into a tai-tai’s heart but wear garlands around their necks like cowbells. If you insist on subjecting yourself to ogling, might as well make some good money while at it. Otherwise you’re just an Abercrombie stooge with running shoes.

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