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Berts blogg

Tomorrow starts today

About to leave a Singapore that I have called my home for two years and learnt to admire in many respects and criticise in some, returning to a much colder corner of the world, I take this opportunity to envision where Singapore could be in the future, a future that might occur in a century or a decennary. An incurable optimist by nature, I will call it tomorrow. And I’ll wear my gender equality glasses.

Ultimate profeminists ?

Spending a moment in a bookshop in Bangkok’s airport Suvarnabhumi waiting for my connecting flight to Singapore, I spotted this book that immediately caught my attention, The Third Sex, by Richard Totman.

The book is a study of the kathoeys of Thailand, boys that from an early age know that they want to grow up to be women, not men. Not the first sex they were biologically equipped to be, not the second sex they socially identify with, but a third. Totman lived with the family of one of these kathoey boys for some time so the study is even empirical.

Sharing my life with an independent woman

Asked whether I could write down a few reflections on how it is to be married to a strong and independent woman I thoughtlessly agreed. But when I sat down to start the writing I realized I have noting to compare to – I never was married to a dependent woman – never wanted to be either, could probably have found one though if I’d really wanted to.

Men's Group for Gender Awareness starting in Singapore

Singapore's feminist organization AWARE has become increasingly aware of the need for but lack of male support for gender equality efforts - in this society 'proudly calling itself patriarchal' as the government puts it (there isn't a single female minister in the cabinet either). So when I came up with this idea of starting a men's group for gender awareness & development, it was like trying to break an open door - I got a lot of support from the beginning.

A few excerpts from my email correspondence during the preparation process:

Poor Japanese men

The marriage rate in Japan is decreasing; at the age of 29, only 30% of well-educated women are married, as compared to 75% in 1980. And almost 30% do not want to marry at all. That leaves 40% who are still considering.. And the divorce rate has been rising steadily for decades.

White Ribbon Campaign in Singapore

Today I'm going to be interviewed by a (female of course) journalist from a Chinese-speaking newspaper about the White Ribbon Campaign, together with Connie Singam, the chair of AWARE. She sent us (in very bad English) the questions she's going to ask us, for my part:
1) This is the first time the Male Chapter is leading the campaign, how do you intend to do this ?
2) Why is it important to have the Male Chapter to lead this ?

And this is what I'm going to tell her:


I happened to see Persepolis, a cartoon movie made by and / or based on the book by Marjane Satrapi. The movie is on at Kino Engel (in Helsinki, that is) currently, but Allah only knows for how long - so go and see it.

It's a very important movie. It's a profeminist movie. It's a political movie. It's a very enjoyable and fascinating movie. It's a humorous movie. It's a serious movie. It's a movie you won't forget.

Emotional abuse of men

I cannot resist the temptation to quote today's (Thu Nov 1) The Straits Times on the emotional abuse of Malaysia's Muslim men:

Malaysia's Muslim men are suffering sleepless nights and cannot pray properly because their thoughts are distracted by a growing number of women who wear sexy clothes in public, a prominent opposition cleric said.

Me, profeminist ??

Absolutely no, I'm no profeminist, men's activist or masculist or whatever those misogynists or unlaid bachelors or fags prefer to call themselves. But I think men should be treated equally when divorcing and I think the sentence should not depend on the perpetrator's sex. Maybe this is the way we as men should start discussions on gender and equality in the future - analogously to how most women assure they are certainly not feminists but then start to argument for a more or less feminist agenda.

Asian approach ?

The so called Male Chapter of AWARE has started to plan the WRC Campaign for 2007. Of course I'm attending the meetings where the campaign is supposed to be planned but as a foreigner I cannot and don't want to take very much practical responsibilities - I thought. But maybe I'll have to reconsider..

Julkaise syötteitä