When Heather Chua came into scene some months ago and crafted a story of how much she despised her classmate for dating an ITE graduate, I had an inkling that this was a troll who was out to seek attention. After some thought, I also would not really want to find out about the truth as to whether this Heather Chua was a real or fake because, if Heather was exposed, members of the natural aristocracy would be relieved to know that one of their own was not an elitist snob. The flip side was that the story of RGS girl who dated an ITE guy would turn out be a myth as well.
That is extremely harmful for the self-esteem of Singaporean men.
Of course, the context now has changed.
In reality, some men do meet the standards of the best women Singapore has to offer. I am very relieved that we now know for sure that billionaires are good enough for the ladies of our natural aristocracy and daughters of a better age.
But that leaves another problem for our society.
It's a problem of marriage equality.
While we celebrate unions between billionaires and RGS alumni, a certain group of Singaporeans are not doing all too well in their own marriages.
Right now, blue collar worker's spouses are unable to obtain a permanent residency in Singapore. Many have to rely on the Long Term Visit Pass to stay in this country and they are unable to find jobs to support their family. In fact, their ability to stay in Singapore becomes even more doubtful when their husbands die.
I think this is a serious problem for Singapore.
Our society discriminates blue collar workers so much as they are not getting marriage equality.
Let me go further to explain the problem :
a) Some blue-collar workers are indeed born into their current circumstances.
Blue-collar workers are born like that.
Not every Singaporean gets access to a family which can nurture them into members of the natural aristocracy. some may be born into single parent families, others may not be natural inclined for academic performance.
We sometimes have to be sympathetic to people who are born into their current circumstances.
b) Children of blue collar workers and foreign brides may be considered people who come from lesser families.
If their mothers are unable to obtain at least permanent residency, the children of such unions can also face discrimination. Perhaps their mothers would have trouble staying in the country but this creates a situation which puts these children into a serious disadvantage in school and society.
c) Blue-collar unions do not threaten the marriage and family of white collar families in Singapore.
Just because the government gives blue collar spouses permanent residency this will not make normal families have more blue-collar children.
Yes, white-collar parents should not fear that their children will turn blue-collar just because government policy has changed !
But of course, children of white collar parents may choose a blue collar vocation out of personal choice. We should welcome this diversify in our economy and not view as such a bad thing.
Fortunately, the problems faced by blue-collar males is now well documented by publications like the Economist but I am sorry to say that a lot of bigotry still exists in Singapore. I have witnessed at least one well-known Singapore poet who is currently in the UK has taken to social media to claim that blue collar men who take on foreign wives are actually exploiting them.
We should condemn the words of this Singapore poet. But we should also pity him as he sees blue-collar marriages as a threat to his own bigoted and archaic personal view of gender roles and marriage today.
I'd like to share one final thing about the evolution of society.
Society has the capacity to be kind. When the workplace looked like it came out from the set of a series like Mad Men, we reformed it, added maternity leave, child-care benefits and telecommuting so that we can have more workplace diversity and create a more inclusive society for everyone.
Engineering as a discipline also became softer with less emphasis on equations and programming and more emphasis on communication skills and language.
When Silicon Valley was created to celebrate male qualities of focus, discipline and decisiveness - a safe harbor for men. It was immediately condemned for not being inclusiveness even when Asian male engineers have been working in Silicon Valley for years without facing discrimination. The accusations conveniently came about when it became profitable to be a software developer.
There are any loud voices, some reasonable, some unreasonable for different categories of minorities in all societies. Some of the fights has even been won in the US Supreme Court.
Why shouldn't we fight for our blue-collared male workers ?
Marriage equality should be upheld in Singapore.
I beseech my reader - support marriage equality !
That is the marriages between blue-collared husbands - foreign wives should be equal to that of marriages between Billionaire-Aristocrats.