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Unformatted text preview: r than waiting for
their grooms. Some virgins go to the extent of
acquiring a fake virgin status by paying unethical 14 Appendix E-1
Email from AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research)
From: Adelyn Lim [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Fri 3/17/2006 9:00 PM
Subject: Interview on foreign brides
I’m the organising chair for the foreign brides workgroup at AWARE. I’m
not in Singapore at the moment and I hope you don’t mind that I answer
your questions via email.
1. What are AWARE's opinions on this industry? These are our observations of and concerns regarding their current
practices. First, there appears to be a lack of formal governance of the
foreign brides matchmaking agencies. Take the foreign domestic workers
(FDWs) agencies for example. There are two umbrella bodies governing FDWs
agencies in Singapore, the Association of Employment Agencies and CASE
Trust. The agencies must join and pay a membership fee to one of the
umbrella bodies. The umbrella bodies will make sure the agencies draft
proper contracts and conduct regular checks on the FDWs. Some parallels
can be drawn to the industry of the foreign brides matchmaking agencies.
Second, there is the concept of a “fantasy woman” being sold. Some
agencies may emphasise that their foreign brides are virgins or may
request that the women behave in a particular way and wear particular
clothing and make-up. This dehumanises and objectifies the women. Third,
there is the reinforcement of the cultural and gender stereotypes of
husbands and wives. Husbands are expected to be ambitious, confident and
goal-oriented while wives are expected to be attractive, gentle, and
2. Are Singaporean men taking advantage on the fact that these foreign
women are poor and looking for a better life?
I suppose you would have to interview the foreign brides matchmaking
agencies and the Singapore men who are interested in foreign women as
their brides. It would be very difficult to say conclusively that
Singaporean men are “taking advantage of the fact that these foreign women
are poor and looking for a better life”. Some Singaporean men are sincere
in looking for a marriage partner while others view wives as nothing more
than a free-of-charge worker who provides housekeeping, baby-production,
caretaking, and sexual services.
3. Do such practices infringe women's rights? It depends on what you mean by “women’s rights”.
Please refer to the link below on the Women’s Charter:
Please refer to the link below on the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW):
http://app.mcys.gov.sg/web/faml_enablewomen_cedaw.asp 15 Based on the practices of the foreign brides matchmaking agencies, I would
say that they are not in the best position to decide what is best for the
potential couples as they are focused on profit-making. In a situation
where the agency has to make...
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