I was relooking at some of the pro & anti gay marriage arguments today, in light of obama’s statements. ( http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20026456-503544.html ) Am quite surprised to see what i see as one of the most key reasons, missing in much of the debates.
In the past i often viewed marriage as symbolic, especially in today’s day and age where both parties are quite financially n socially independent, for most couples.
Then, very recently, when my partner was telling me about being posted overseas, it struck me how important a legally recognised marriage was
If i followed, i’d be consciously setting back my career and hence earning power.
If i followed without being married, and my partner was unfaithful or dumped me or anything, there’ll be no recourse for me, the way married wives have
That’s assuming i can even follow her at all, because there’s no such thing as a dependant pass for non-spouses in that Asian country so i’ll have to be able to find work there independantly, or she has to be financially able to support me.
We’re lucky that we’re in the position to do either. But there would be so many people for whom this option is not available, because they don’t meet certain educational qualifications internationally-mobile jobs look for. Even for us, we are keenly aware of how privileged we are that she has a job that enables her to get a PR here instead of a Work Permit, or else we would either have to break up at the end of her contract or I would have to take a huge pay cut working in a neighbouring country.
Traditionally, fathers made sure daughters were properly married, precisely so that the other party could not “take advantage” of their daughters. 30 years ago, when my Dad(or rather, future-Dad, at that point) told his girlfriend(now my Mom) that he’d been posted to Jakarta to work, and asked if she would go along with him. My mom replied that if he wanted her to follow him, he’ll have to marry her first. He promptly took her to ROM of course. Today, i don’t have that option, because i’m of the wrong gender, apparently.
It seems like the legal enforcement of marriage responsibilities kinda got lost, in all these talk of gender equality. But the fact remains that romantic relationships are not like business relationships — many relationships simply are not made up of financial/social equals. Sure, marriage facilitates the joint-ownership of HDB flats, getting Baby Bonuses, getting insurance benefits, getting to see your partner in ICU after an accident. Yet, in a strange, ironic sense, what really necessitates marriage as a legal institution, for both gay & straight couples is not the legal convenience it provides during marriage, but the protection it provides at the end.
I saw this line in the Economist “In July, Julian Assange told The Economist that Wikileaks alone decided what was worth publishing and what harmful information needed to be cut out. “”
I’m wondering if having a single Wikileaks gives too imbalanced a picture too, and what we need is a plethora of Leaks platforms?
Was also thinking about the ethics of the whole thing.
From an ethics standpoint, do govts & militaries should have the right to hold info secret?
i’m inclined to say “yes” , purely for security reasons
Yet i’m completely aware that the very mechanisms that allow govts to keep security info secret, are also being used to keep other info that ought to be disclosed, secret. Which is why we all love WikiLeaks.
But how does a Leaks platform decide what ought to be released and what ought to be secret? Because everyone has a different view/criteria? And are we really getting more info that’s rightfully ours, or are we just changing censorship masters(from govt to a Leaks platform owner) and allowing more players to fuck around with us to advance their own political agendas?
If info that compromises security is leaked out, who is responsible for that? The govts/militaries? or the people who stole/leaked the info?
Should the govts/militaries be responsible, because it’s their duty to safeguard these security info? I mean, if a Leaks platform could get their hands on it, I’m sure a malicious terrorist could too, and we can be sure the terrorist wouldn’t be announcing it on websites but with bombs. Think about it this way. If you engaged a vendor to keep your organisation’s IT systems secure, and yet your system gets compromised, do you replace your vendor or continue with his service & tell him it’s those hackers who are the arseholes?
On the other hand, we could also argue that the info thieves/leakers are at fault for compromising security too. If a thief breaks into your house, do we haul your arse to prison for using the wrong padlocks, or do we haul the thief to prison?
What if the info both compromises security and exposes abuses at the same time? then what?
The Economist reports that “After a week of clumsy American-inspired attempts to shut WikiLeaks down, it is now hosted on more than 700 servers around the world”.
I suppose, even from a purely pragmatic view point, it’s impractical to practice censorship by going after the people who leak info anymore. Technology and globalisation has changed all that. Even Singapore, with is wildly successful censorship practices, is not immune when leaking goes global.
Just from a purely pragmatic view point, the info owners that need to secure info better, and politicians need to take a lesson from religious leaders — “God” is always watching. It’s a lovely world we live in, and it’s beautiful to see how advances in technology and systems have turned the moral gatekeepers from “the gods” to “Big Brother” and now, finally, to “the people”
Some of you may have read the story of a Malaysian girl & another whom doctors think might have contracted HIV from their dental treatments. ( Story here & also reproduced in comment below http://www.asiaone.com/print/Health/News/Story/A1Story20101108-246277.html ).
The clinic mentioned in the article, Dr Tan Kok Kuan, is currently raising funds for her by giving away free facials. I’m reproducing the email Dr Tan has sent to me here, so that you can read his invitation for yourself, and contact his clinic if you are interested. I had a chance to meet & lunch with Dr Tan too, where we exchanged lots of interesting info & ideas . I personally think it’s wonderful that profit-driven clinics are also getting involved in the business of caring for patients both financially & physically. :
From: kok kuan tan <>
To: mathia lee <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, 7 December 2010 08:32:26
Subject: Re: hi
yes. because of the good response we are extending the donation drive till end
we will also be working with world vision to see what else we can do to help
less fortunate women and children.
did not go for the aids conference but will be participating in a think tank to
educate heterosexual men and women on hiv/aids.
—– Original Message —-
From: kok kuan tan <>
To: mathia lee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, 26 October 2010 15:02:40
Thanks for the lunch company and great conversation.
Forgot to tell you that we are having a fund raising drive in November for that
poor girl I told you about.
Hope to count on your support and help spread the word.
JOIN US FOR A MONTH OF CHARITY AND LOOKING FABULOUS!
For the entire month of November, Dr. Tan & Partners @ OUB is giving away
medical facials worth as much as $350 absolutely free!
This is part of our efforts to raise funds for one of our patients (read her
story below) and to commemorate World AIDS Day which falls on 1st December 2010.
Choose from our selection of top grade medical facials including Acne control,
Anti aging, Pigmentation Treatment and Brightening. Lie back, enjoy and let us
A donation, however big or small, after the treatment will be much appreciated.
Proceeds will go to helping S get back on her feet.
Help us spread this message to your friends and family. Help us put some hope
back into a person’s life.
Call 65366418 for an appointment now!
Or get an appointment via our website at http://www.drtanandpartners.com
The story of Ms. S
I saw S in October this year. I can’t tell you her name because she has HIV.
S is in her 20’s. She has never had a boyfriend. She has never had sex. She has
never used drugs. So how did she get HIV? She got infected through a visit to
the dentist in her hometown. She was trying to save some money for her elderly
grandmother so she looked for the cheapest option to fix her toothache. Little
did she know about the terrible consequence of this until she went for her Work
Permit renewal where she was required to undergo a HIV test. That was how she
found out the awful truth.
Now she has lost her job. She has no way to take care of her elderly
grandmother. She has lost all hope for a family of her own. She has lost all
hope for her future.
There is no cure for HIV. But it is a controllable, albeit chronic, disease.
With the proper medical care, S can lead a long and healthy life.
I hope that you can join me in helping S get back on her feet again and take
that first step on her long and arduous road to a life as normal as she can make
Thank you for your generosity.
Dr Tan Kok Kuan
World AIDS Day
1st December 2010