Mark Lin has four women ready to be “matchmade”, for a price. I do not know what warranties his merchandise comes with. Here he is standing proudly with his wares in this cheesy video:
The Sunday Times knows him well. Virtually annually, they run a feature selling to its Singaporean readers the idea of buying foreign brides. They ran one again last Sunday, 25 July 2010, mentioning once again like in years past Mark Lin and his business, Vietnam Brides International Matchmaker.
As you can see, almost a full page was devoted to this campaign, and a nation-building campaign it must be for the newspaper to violate human rights and the laws of Vietnam so blatantly.
Barely six months ago, I noted that Vietnam — rightly — treats this kind of quickie “matchmaking” as human trafficking. As you can see from Should Singapore’s Home Minister be thrown into a Vietnamese jail? , four men were sentenced to a total of 25 years in jail. I also opined that the Sunday Times and the Singapore government abet this crime through their editorial and government policies.
Still, they persist. Apparently aware that there is a stigma — only losers buy women — the angle of the latest story is that younger men too are into buying life-long, living, breathing sex toys. Don’t be ashamed that you’re a human trafficker even if you’re young, the story seems to say. As bonus, you also get a free womb, housemaid and a caregiver for older folks in the family. For life.
All that for only S$5,000 to S$10,000. What a great deal it is; the housing subsidy you get from the government when you can wave a marriage certificate is much more than that amount!
The feature opens with the story of a “civil servant” named Low, aged 28.
He said that at 28, he reckoned he would need another two or three years to get to know a Singaporean girl before settling down, and even then, it might not work out.
Mr Low, who had girlfriends before, said he wanted a relationship which was “guaranteed” to end in marriage.
Here is a man who did not believe that the woman should have any choice in the matter. It should be up to him, not up to her. If he liked a girl, it should be “guaranteed”. I shudder to think what kind of husband he would make.
Sure, such people exist in this world. But should the newspaper be extolling this?
If you think I am reading too much into the above, look at what the feature article reported, again without demurral, further down. Speaking with another “matchmaker” named Ong,
Asked why young, educated men earning decent incomes would have trouble finding a partner, Mr Ong said: “Some feel that they pak tor (Cantonese for “date”) a few years, then the Singaporean girls will dump them.”
“They think it’s a waste of time. So they pay and they can choose a pretty wife.”
The “pretty wife” bit sent more chills down my spine.
Under the main article is a subsidiary story titled “Filipinas join marriage market”. It informs readers that Mark Lin also has in stock five women from the Philippines. It costs Mark Lin rather little to market them, what with free (?) publicity from the Sunday Times. They women even paid their own way over here for their month-long social visit passes. I don’t know how much persuasion it took for them to agree to bear the cost of their own airfares, thus relieving Vietnam Brides International Matchmaking of expenses.
* * * * *
I have detailed a number of times before, in earlier articles, the moral hazards of this kind of business, compounded by Singapore’s government policies — which is another reason why our government deserves to be labelled a human trafficking abettor. Let me just quote from my January 2010 post:
Singapore’s immigration rules help entrap the women, leaving them at the mercy of their husbands. How do the rules do this? Typically, the wife is given no more than permanent residency, not citizenship. That status is subject to renewal every five years, and is linked to staying married to the Singaporean man.
The problem arises when the couple have a baby — which is the whole point of it. The baby is a Singapore citizen. Naturally, the mother is emotionally attached to her child. If she is abused by her husband or her husband’s family, how can she sue for divorce, even if theoretically the route is open to her? Because, if she succeeds in getting her divorce, her permanent residency may be cancelled, whereupon she is sent back to Vietnam and separated from her child.
So for all practical purposes, she is trapped for life, and has to bear whatever abuse is thrown at her. She can’t even refuse sex, for then the husband could divorce her!
Yes, our own government has been more than just turning a blind eye to human trafficking; they have been complicit in it.
Why does our government look so kindly on this trade? It’s not hard to see. It’s one more prong in their “pragmatic” solution to our extremely low birth rate. We need babies and if we must close our eyes to the morally dubious methods of getting them, so be it.
Meanwhile, our police conduct regular sweeps of massage parlours and backlanes where prostitutes haunt. If women are caught selling sex while on social visit passes, they are promptly deported and banned from returning. Selling one hour of your time is a big no-no. To be legit, our government tells us through its actions, women should sell their souls and bodies for life.