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 jawdropping instance of sexism, as decided by an online poll.
Last year’s Alamak! winner was “all the anti-mother sexist attacks” made during the 2015’s General Election. This included an attack by National Solidarity Party candidate Cheo Chai Chen on People's Action Party candidate Tin Pei Ling, where he called her new mother status a “weakness”; Mothership’s Belmont Lay’s comments about Kervyn Lim’s “unmotherly” photographs; and Lim Boon Heng, who commented that working mothers put “motherchild relationships at risk”.
This year, the public can choose from among four candidates:
Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu
In April, a transgender man was cleared of sexual penetration of a minor (despite pleading guilty!) because Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu decided that the accused, Zunika Ahmad, could not be held accountable for his actions because, in the Judge’s view, the language of the Penal Code requires the perpetrator to have a penis. A terrible outcome for many reasons, but particularly bizarre because the law the Judge cited was introduced specifically to address the issue of ‘female sexual abuse of male minors’ (words from Parliament, not us!). Ten steps backward for fairness and justice.
Eagle Infotech Consultants
How best to teach workplace diversity and inclusion, or communications and negotiation skills? Not like this: a WSQ course exercise from Eagle Infotech asked managers to choose which of a list of workers to fire giving only information about their race, religion, marital status, sexual orientation and political affiliations. Reading the questions, you’d think that healthy, nonjudgmental discussions should not centre on staff’s identities are they a “talented (…) homosexual”? A “woman with very strong view” (yikes, not one of those!)? Or a “former member of the Worker’s Party”? With barely a word about performance or ability, what were the trainees meant to discuss?
Lawyer, Edmund Wong
In another court room related facepalm moment, lawyer Edmund Wong, representing the defendant in a sexual assault case, asked the victim to stand up while on the witness stand. He stared at her breasts and made inappropriate remarks about their size. When she protested, he said that her physical attractiveness could have caused the “temptation” to molest. The victim was visibly affected. Thank goodness for the Judge who censured Wong’s outrageous line of questioning. Wong even defended himself later on by saying, “I didn’t ask what her chest measurements are.”
Misogynist NUS Camp Organisers
Many college orientation camp activities have been widely known to be deeply inappropriate and misogynist, some organisers at NUS took their disregard for consent and respect much further with lurid, detailed re-enactments of rape scenes, horrid and intrusive questions about who is “sluttiest”, and pushups on top of unwilling women. Some participants said it was “a scary experience”, and that they “wanted to get out so badly”.
Voting has begun at the AWARE website today and will be open until 11 September 2016.
The winners of this year’s Alamak! and AWARE Awards will be announced on 17 October 2016 at AWARE’s WORLD Ball, held this year at St Regis’ Singapore.
The evening’s festivities will be hosted by Pam Oei and Karen Tan, and will include a return appearance by popular parody troupe the Chestnuts, who will introduce the Alamak! Award nominees. The evening will kick off with an opening performance of music and dance by the young talents in Singapore Creations Etc.
Limited tickets are available. Please contact Jesvinder at [email protected] for ticketing information.