Friend John was in his 30s when he saw a doctor about a common cold. The kindly physician noted the date of birth in the records and suggested it was perhaps time to consider settling down. By the time the kids hit university and the big bills start rolling in, he would be in his retirement years. John took the wake-up call to heart and got hitched soon after, to a lovely bride 6 years his junior - the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome was another harsh reality of life.
So why was the dispensation of "grandfatherly" advice to PhD candidate Joan Sim greeted with such opprobrium? As the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) rightly pointed out, the implication marriage and motherhood are more important than education and work belittles the choices and contributions of women who march to a different drum beat. That and the nefarious attitude which has perpetuated sexual stereotyping for generations, then and now. It was definitely a sexist Lee who was quoted saying in 1994, that "attractive and intelligent young ladies should go to finishing colleges" so that they will be "marvellous helpers of their husbands careers". And let aesthetically challenged daughters (Dr Lee Wei Ling's own descriptive) take over key appointments, like the office of Dr Simon Shorvon who fell out of favour? There must be a mad rush going on in Singapore, women holding high office dashing to the mirrors, demanding an honest answer, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" And hoping for an ugly response which promises top jobs and financial bonanzas. The Brothers Grimm must be rolling in their graves. This has to be social engineering gone mad.
The video record of Joan's query went like this, “I understand that for economic and demographic reasons, Singapore has allowed a high number of foreign immigrants within a short time period. So, my question is, what can we do to promote a sense of belonging and foster social cohesiveness in the next decade?" Lee Kuan Yew chose to parry the legitimate question and "disagree with that we must have a sense of cohesiveness, and we must assimilate the new migrants" by turning the tables on her personal prerogative of life goals. Don't blame the foreigners, Singaporeans did it to themselves. They were daft to listen to Government policy, fed Kool-Aid by the PA guided grassroots leaders, and stopped at two for the sake for the nation. Even a grandfather from hell would not do this to their own kin.