7 things AWARE is unaware of, as shown by this gaffe

AWARE barked up the wrong tree and got to show off some of their best examples of ignorance with this post in response to the Defence Minister’s suggestion that the ministry wanted to recognise NSmen by “giving them a greater stake in Singapore, whether it is housing, health or education.”

AWARE charged into battle with this post, full of bad assumptions and logic.

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 1.12.51 pm

1) Unaware of the details. To start, nobody has said anything about what these benefits are going to be. From various officials’ comments, it may be in the form of CPF top-ups or medisave top-ups. So, 10 points to AWARE for jumping the gun (or should I say misfiring) on this criticism. Sure kenna charge.

2) Unaware of how to work towards equality. AWARE seems to think that equality is achieved by the lowest common denominator – that minimising or removing rewards to different parts of society is the key to gender or some other sort of equality. Everybody will feel that the world is fair towards all when we all receive exactly the same bottom-rung level of help and benefits. Nobody should get more for whatever reason.

3) Unaware of what affects our sense of belonging. AWARE thinks that giving some groups more help with basic needs will deprive others of a sense of belonging. Like giving transport subsidies to the disabled makes the rest of Singaporeans feel like second-class citizens. Like giving student rates and elderly rates for various services and products makes everyone else somehow less important. Like how the fact that only women can be full members of AWARE makes men feel like the lesser sex. Ha!

4) Unaware of the role of MINDEF. AWARE doesn’t realise that this scheme is in excess of providing for fundamental needs. It’s not MINDEF’s prerogative to provide for all Singaporeans’ fundamental needs. This is a reward or recognition in excess of fundamental needs. If you’re worried about fundamental needs not being met, go chat with the rest of the G.

5) Unaware of the uniqueness of each group and the unique needs of each individual. AWARE’s logic means that anything that one unique group cannot receive, the other group should not receive it either, ie, if women who cannot get conscripted and become NSmen and access additional benefits, then NSmen should not have these benefits either. If we apply this across the rest of society, we should dismantle the Pioneer Generation package. We should also stop subsidising healthcare costs for ObGyn, maternity and even prostate treatments. No need for a Women’s Charter, since there is no Men’s Charter.

6) Unaware of how to show appreciation. If AWARE really wanted to give the finger to every Singaporean Son and his family, they have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. Sure, we know you oppose NS, but while the rest of us are toiling and serving, tanks for spitting on us in the name of “equality”.

7) Unaware of the sacrifices made by NSmen and their families. 2 (2.5 for some) years of conscription? Meh. 10 years of NS liability? Nothing. AWARE’s callous attitude to the sacrifices of NSmen and their families is foolish and dangerous. I bet they’d ask for NSF allowance to be cut to zero, but maybe they don’t even know how that works in the first place.

AWARE loves to keep yapping about equality over NS matters, but I don’t ever see them suggesting that women also serve an equivalent conscription. It’s a little insincere.



  1. “AWARE loves to keep yapping about equality over NS matters, but I don’t ever see them suggesting that women also serve an equivalent conscription. It’s a little insincere.”

    It is not a little insincere. it is a travesty


    1. Doesn’t it bother anyone that this sort of equality seems more akin to Marxist ideals than democractic ones?


  2. having seen an AWARE seminar up close, I do think that they have the right ideas, but it’s the way the article is written confuses me.


      1. Probably should have stuck to the “abolish NS” debate. Sidetracking to this issue makes them look like they are being stingy to those who have served. Not good.

    1. Thanks for the support. I’m concerned that AWARE isn’t able to put out a coherent response on this issue. It seems that they are simply reacting without thinking.

      Why not “we appreciate NSmen’s sacrifice”, but “we still advocate the abolition of NS”? They seem to be picking fights at every opportunity and losing each one.


      1. Incredulously, there isn’t one reply of theirs which conveys that sentiment. Whoever’s replying seems entirely caught up in defending the original post and less interested in engaging in a discussion about the real thrust of Defence Minister’s suggestion: recognition for contributions made in the name of national duty.

  3. LOL well said. AWARE is so full of it. Their definition of equality is essentially that women ought to be able to pick and choose what rights or privileges that men or most men enjoy, while refusing the contingent liabilities that come with being a man. Well written article, I enjoyed it immensely.


    1. Well, perhaps not so crazy as some “women’s rights” groups in America or elsewhere, but under this most recent management, AWARE has been shooting off its mouth without thinking enough.


    1. That’s a really old document. Back in the days of Constance Singam. The new management of AWARE thinks differently about NS. How fast things change, and how foolish.


  4. Abolish NS! sure. then who’s gonna defend Singapore when we are attacked? Oh we won’t be attacked? I believe Ukraine thought the same until recently.


    1. Yep… with no effective solution for national security, simply trusting in every other country not to screw with us is just too much to ask.

      Which means we are stuck with NS, like it or not, at least for a good long time. What that means is that AWARE is effectively saying that NSmen should not be recognised any further.


  5. If Aware still doesn’t get it, let me illustrate the point with a story:

    Sally has been working overtime for the past two years. Her family has seen her rarely, and she cannot go for night classes as a result. Her company decided to show people like Sally some extra recognition by giving better healthcare, housing, and skills training benefits.

    Johnny has not been doing overtime. When he heard about what people like Sally are getting, he kicked up a fuss on Facebook. He said that the extra benefits should not be tied to the fact that some people do lots of overtime. When it was pointed out that Sally’s family would also indirectly benefit from having a healthier, more educated Sally with a roof over their heads, Johnny claims that the benefits that men get should not be tied to the benefits that Sally got from doing overtime.

    ……. Get the drift, AWARE?


  6. First, let me make it clear that I understand that NS was a big deal, and I recognize the service to the country.

    – In what way are NS men disadvantaged such that you HAVE to be reimbursed with better recognition/benefits?

    Have NS men always been looking forward to this because they have been disadvantaged by their NS experience? This is a genuine question.

    Many of my male friends have showcased to their potential employers their rank in army and their abilities in their activities during their time in the army. They have also been paid for their services and their time.

    – Mothers in Singapore get unfairly laid off when they have children, or they “lose” much more than 2 years of career advancement when having to take care of their child. They seem at a disadvantage here. How is that made up to them? This relates to your point 7 as well.

    ** Also your point — there is no need for a Women’s Charter, since there is no Men’s Charter. That is a false equivalence. Women and other minority groups are disadvantaged under structural inequality, which men (who are advantaged by the patriarchy) generally experience less of. For example, sexual violence is largely committed against women, and special laws pertaining to that need to be in place.


    1. I see my irony has been taken literally. My comment on the Women’s Charter was ironic. The Women’s Charter is necessary – on this we agree.

      Mothers (and this coming from a father of four) are unfairly disadvantaged in many situations. Your desire to have them recognized (perhaps with benefits) just like NSmen do is something I support. But to say that we should hold back rewarding NSmen because mothers have not yet been adequately recognized is senseless – exactly the point I am making.

      Finally, not every employer appreciates a glowing NS record or 10 years of work disruptions. Ask any guy. In some situations there may be an upside, but it is an upside that we pay for with more than two years of service. So yes. There is still a net disadvantage.

      And contrary to your statement, NSFs do not get pay. They receive an allowance, like an intern does. This is not a job. If it were we would be regulars and earn much more. This is unsalaried service. Of this there is no doubt.


    2. ” First, let me make it clear that I understand that NS was a big deal, and I recognize the service to the country.

      – In what way are NS men disadvantaged such that you HAVE to be reimbursed with better recognition/benefits? ”

      I don’t even understand how you can put those 2 sentences together.

      But don’t get me wrong. I’m not whining. I served my NSF years without complaining. Now, after careful deliberation, Mindef is introducing some incentives that (imho) are more than welcome. No, I wasn’t ‘looking forward’ to them but I feel it’s a timely announcement.

      At this point, the last thing I want to hear is a group like AWARE telling me & many other males that what we did was ‘no big deal’ and hardly worth a second glance.

      The last thing I


      1. It’s a simple, deliberate ignorance. For what purpose? Maybe it reinforces some assumption they have that they are more victimized than they really are.

      2. @Daniel Yap and above, if you read AWARE’s position carefully (ref. Today newspaper), they are not against your benefits, they are principally opposed to cementing your status as NS men WITH providing for fundamental needs.

        As Singaporean men, your citizenry is linked to your time in NS. No other social group can match this compulsory military conscription as the basis for your citizenship.

        Because you have served NS, you will be getting this & that (housing benefits, healthcare, education). AWARE is not just about women – they mention persons who are not able to serve NS, whether they are unfit, disabled, or because of their gender. They are not saying it’s discriminatory – but that it signals you’re somehow “more valued” as a citizen because of your time in NS.

        And additionally, AWARE did add that the Govt. should instead pay NS men decently and improve conditions in NS. This means that they would like to see more monetary benefits as an alternative to the housing/education benefits (which are already tight spots in Singapore anyway).

        But of course (sigh), most people have a knee-jerk response to this and yell “you serve NS la you so good! gender equality what!”

      3. Citizenship is not linked to NS service. I can opt to go to jail and retain my citizenship. But the TODAY article is a partial U-Turn on the FB post. Still a gaffe.

        Th benefits do not “cement” my status with fundamental needs since even non-NSmen have fundamental needs met, so that argument is flat.

        In addition, AWARE’s ‘abolish NS’ position, while valid, is still impractical. You don’t expect to change things without real solutions do you?

      4. ‘it signals you’re somehow “more valued” as a citizen because of your time in NS’

        – Do you feel any less valued as a citizen when you heard about the 450,000 folk being eligible for the Pioneer Generation Package?

        What’s intended as a tribute, a form of recognition that’s meant to be applauded is turned into an us vs. them issue; AWARE has turned a non-issue into one.

        ‘Because you have served NS, you will be getting this & that (housing benefits, healthcare, education)’

        – We don’t even know the actual form these benefits will take. It could well be something token. If it’s something that does infringe on the fundamental needs of other citizens, then let’s have the discussion.

        At the moment, AWARE is vigorously protesting a sentiment. AWARE’s original post is the original knee-jerk response.

    3. That “In what way are NS men disadvantaged such that you HAVE to be reimbursed with better recognition/benefits?” can be asked, genuinely, shows the general lack of understanding of the sacrifice behind the service, of the opportunity cost imposed on those in service.

      Our conscription time doesn’t translate neatly into work experience, if at all. We draw an allowance, not a wage. We begin our career and higher education on a two-year back foot, with 10 years of reservist obligation, a work-life disruption which tends to make us less employer-friendly compared with non-Singaporeans.

      What we’re protesting here is the hazy reasoning and hyperbole. Giving more benefits to NSmen doesn’t mean other disadvantaged citizens like laid-off mums are prioritized any less. Unless one can quantify this, giving more benefits to NSmen certainly doesn’t deepen social inequality.

      Put it this way, if the shoe was on the other foot, and Tan Chuan-Jin announced that MOM will recognize mums’ contributions and award more benefits to them, and someone “disagrees strongly with any link between support for fundamental needs and an individual’s status as a Mother, especially when parenthood may not be suitable for many people”.

      Would YOU respond like we have?


    1. Alright, as long as you agree to these disadvantages because of your gender first!
      1. Sexual harassment
      2. Glass ceiling when it comes to pay and managerial/top positions
      3. Being told you can’t do certain things or be a certain way because girls can’t really do it
      4. Always having to be passive w.r.t. relationship advances (Girls are generally more socialized to be ‘chased’ by guys, than to be the initiator. To do that is considered ‘desperate’)
      5. Higher levels of domestic abuse
      6. Unfairly being laid off when you have a child, while your husband can carry on working.
      7. Marital Rape (Husband feels like he is ‘owed’ sex)
      8. Negative perceptions of power: If a man is fierce, he’s a ‘man’. If a woman is ‘fierce’, she’s a bitch.
      9. The ‘virgin’ complex. (My girlfriend’s not a virgin? She’s dirty. My guy friend slept with 4 girls – Wow what a man!)

      All good?


      1. See, this is exactly the point I am making in no. 2. You fell right into it. Women do face discrimination. I do not deny this. But does that mean me edits benefits should be withheld from other groups? That’s illogical. Try another line of reasoning.

      2. Alright, as long as you agree to these disadvantages because of your gender first!
        1. Being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment
        2. Unfairly expected to have a higher position than their female counterparts. (There are still social stigma especially in chinese culture surrounding men who earns less than their partners)
        3. Being told you can’t do certain things or be a certain way because guys can’t really do it
        4. Always having to be active w.r.t. relationship advances (Guys are generally more socialized to chase girls, rather than the reverse.)
        5. Higher levels of domestic abuse. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2518434/Why-MEN-victims-domestic-violence-Its-Britains-remaining-taboos-abuse-men-home-rise.html (men are worse off in this case cause socially, the stereotypical bias is that women are the victims of domestic abuse.)
        6. Unfairly being expected to be the sole breadwinner of the family.
        7. Marital Rape (if it ever happens to you, tough luck, society believe that females can’t rape males.)
        8. Negative perceptions of power: If a man is not fierce, he’s a ‘sissy’. If a woman is not ‘fierce’, she’s awesome.
        9. The ‘playboy’ complex. (My guy friend never slept with anyone? eeeww, unwanted geek. My female friend is a virgin, wow, awesome.)

        All good?

        this is not a tit-for-tat post, though you really need to know that social stereotypes cuts _BOTH_ ways. (most people can only see one side of the story)

      3. @blursmurf, All the points you have made – although they are valid and harmful stereotypes for men, you have to realize that you can’t play the ‘reverse sexism’ card. Men are imbued with the institutional, cultural and financial power in the system, in ways that women are not.

        1. Being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment – Very, very, very few of these cases actually get taken to court. I know it’s a common reaction for guys to imagine this is true, but it is extremely rare because a) females bear a social and cultural stigma of being ‘dirty’ or ‘spoilt’ if raped, and are unwilling to carry on with false allegations b) Most likely, the male partner was threatening with verbal abuse or violence, which would lead her threaten back with accusations of rape. I have seen this in public.

        2. Career advancement. “Guys feeling pressured to earn more” is not comparable to the missed promotions, bigger pay cuts, missed job offers if you are a woman (especially if going to start a family)

        3. I acquiesce on this.

        4. If a girl pursues a guy romantically, she is more likely to be viewed in a negative light (desperate, starved for love/attention…) than if a guy does not pursue the girl.

        5. There have been higher reported levels of abuse against men by women. I agree, definitely in recent years, as the once taboo issue comes to light. But this is absolutely not as severe, and equivalent to the domestic violence suffered by wives. “2003 saw 1,504 applications for personal protection orders with regards to family violence in Singapore, and most orders were taken out for spousal violence against women.” – taken from notorape.com/faq. Sources all cited from Singapore Courts.

        6. Would you want to be the househusband, taking care of all the housework and children, while your wife goes off to work? This is not meant to be a question in retaliation.

        I understand the cultural bias against it. But the sacrifices made for housewives here – there’s no financial payout, it’s 24/7 work, you don’t get recognized (promotions etc)…

        7. Marital rape.

        I believe that men can be raped. But in no way does stating that “Marital Rape happens to men too!” undermine my position that marital rape DOES happen, overwhelmingly, to married women. The cultural narrative is built around the fact that marriage=sex.

        In fact, there is a marital rape immunity in Singapore law. “This immunity is a holdover from the criminal law provisions introduced during our colonial times (which in turn stemmed from 17th century English legal cases), on the basis that marriage itself amounted to irrevocable consent to sexual intercourse by women.”

        Laws from the 17th century. Nice.

        8. & 9. Your equivalent of examples for females merely reinforce my points. The females examples definitely perpetuate more harmful stereotypes for females though.

        Females feel ‘dirty’ and guilty if they’d had sex, since the virgin is so ‘awesome’ (as you said). Males who have not had sex then feel the need to be more aggressive sexually, or start viewing females as conquests. This harms – you guessed it – females.

        Social & cultural stereotypes might cut both ways, but they are extremely damaging to women, more so than they are to men.

  7. I think most people would agree that gender equality means both genders having equal rights and opportunities. AWARE claims to want gender equality, but what they really want is the benefits the males get without taking the crap that males have to take to begin with.

    AWARE and STOMP goes hand in hand; both are run by dumb people who don’t know how to think.


  8. A losing case I guess. From what you have pointed out, just by point 4 itself would have AWARE crying for reinforcement, let alone 7 points. Let’s just ask the ladies, since this active group is representing them, do they stand in tandem with what AWARE has brought up?Is it for some other agenda that we can’t decipher? And can we, the men known to be the stronger gender since million years ago,ask for alimony when we are being ‘scrapped’ by our spouse?


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