The popular AWARE Alamak! Awards are back!
Every year, the AWARE Awards celebrate individuals and organisations that have promoted gender equality in Singapore. At the same time, the Alamak! Award is given out to the most jaw-dropping instance of sexism, as decided by an online poll.
This year, the public can choose from among four candidates:
- All the anti-mother sexist attacks of GE2015
Notoriously, Cheo Chai Chen called rival Tin Pei Ling’s new mother status a “weakness”, but he wasn’t alone. Mothership’s Belmont Lay gasped that Kevryn Lim was a single mother (imagine, they exist) and derided photographs from her modelling work as “unmotherly”. Lim Boon Heng slapped working mothers in the face by suggesting that leaving the house to stand for elections “puts mother-child relationships at risk”. And TODAY’s newspaper headlines introduced three new male candidates by profession – while labelling entrepreneur Jaslyn Go “mother-of-two”.
- SlimFit’s SG50 ‘bust enhancement’ ad
#simisaialsoSG50, with an incoherent sexist twist. Seems like the best way to celebrate and honour the hard labour of Samsui women is to… go for ‘bust enhancement’. After all, aren’t breast shape and size the crowning achievement for every woman? NewNation skewered this well.
- Ogilvy & Mather’s ‘Mums and Maids’ advertisement
Fathers? What are those? It’s all your fault, working mothers, that domestic workers have inadequate labour rights – nothing to do with exclusion from the Employment Act or a sexist culture that devalues childcare because it’s ‘women’s work’. A sexist culture that, it so happens, this video reinforces. O&M were advised about this from the early stages of the project, so they had the opportunity to change their approach, but they refused. No wonder the ad was roundly criticised by many, including advocates for migrant workers.
- Jack Ripper burger stall
A man targets women for gruesome, sadistic murders. Apparently this is hilarious? Or cool and edgy? Who knows – but this kopitiam burger stall thinks it’s somehow attractive to name its food products after victims of misogynist violence. ALAMAK!
Voting has begun on the AWARE website on Tuesday afternoon and will be opened until 22 October 2015.
Last year’s Alamak! winner was Dr Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of the Singapore Science Centre, who believed that women were not able to hold high positions because of their “complex nature” which “challenges them with communication barriers”.
The winners of this year’s Alamak! and AWARE Awards will be announced on 7 November 2015 at AWARE’s Big Birthday Ball, held this year at Shangri-La Hotel. The incomparable Ivan Heng and the effervescent Oon Shu An will be hosting the evening’s festivities, including a return appearance by popular parody troupe the Chestnuts, who will introduce the Alamak! award nominees. The evening will also feature Vocaluptuous, Singapore’s favourite acapella group. Tickets are available online.