Fewer Singaporean men are finding love with foreign wives this year, reported The Straits Times on Sunday (13 November).
It wrote that 4,828 Singaporean men wed a non-resident bride last year – the lowest number of such pairings in the past decade. The number is 14 per cent lower than the peak of 5,611 in 2005. These marriages comprised 17 per cent of all marriages last year, down from 24 per cent in 2005.
It also mentioned that over nine in 10 of these non-citizen brides were from Asia last year, most of the brides are from developing countries in the region such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
ST said that these women, usually in their 20s and 30s, are often introduced to their Singapore husbands – who tend to be older, more blue-collar and may have had difficulty finding love at home – through friends or matchmaking agencies. Others met when one partner worked abroad or in Singapore.
“But the trend for such unions started to wane last year,” it wrote.
According to marriage solemnisers and counsellors, horror tales of foreign brides with apparent ulterior motives are making some men think twice before jumping into matrimony with a foreigner they hardly know.
One of the motives was said for the foreign spouses to become a Singapore permanent resident (PR).
The other reason is the measures taken by the government. Marriage preparation classes were introduce two years ago for those entering transnational marriages.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), last year, also introduced the pre-marriage long-term visit pass assessment, which helps couples to have a clearer picture of their partners’ backgrounds, such as details of their marital histories, incomes and health records which they have to declare.
Some readers backlashed the article, saying that the article is inappropriate.
Some said that the problems are not only emerged with the foreign partners. Local partners also have their own issue. Here are what the readers wrote:
- Carol Yuen wrote, “Wow ST how could you assume that horror tales are the norm and happy marriages are an exception? Do you have statistics to back this claim up? It seems like you not only create media perceptions, but also fall prey to them. The assumption laden in your post is appalling and paints foreign wives in really bad light.”
- Sue RaeLynn wrote, “There are so many factors to consider eg age, cultural differences, citizenship of children etc.. if one chooses a foreign spouse due to lust instead of love, it’s already off to a wrong start. There is no surefire way of knowing whether one will get it right, but common sense should be used as well..”
- Joseph Solomon Soh wrote, “I do not see anything wrong of marrying someone of different nationalities, cultural background and ethnicity, especially in this metropolitan society whereby the world is interconnected by telecommunications and transport, though we still need to be wary of possible scams.
However, these considerations such as adaptability to cultural fusion between the two of different cultural backgrounds and many others to consider for… but it needs effort for both parties to come to a common census & able to have cultural fusion & adaptability to mutual tolerance of different culture background…”
- Tua Bah Tan wrote, “I think you really need to watch how you define “exception” ST considering that the same article also says many more local-foreign marriages are happy. Until we compare divorce rates, a decrease in marriage rates says nothing about the attitudes of people towards the marrying of foreigners. Sometimes you cannot find a match. Or there are simply fewer people who wish to marry at all.”
- Ricky Lem wrote, “Locals are not all good either, same nice versa goes to foreigners, depends your fate u get good wife or husband, its thee character not the nationality.”
- Siti Nor’Aini A S wrote, “Do think wisely before taking the plunge, married to someone here or elsewhere need commitment, understanding and a lot of sacrifices. Age/looks/money may not be a big factor in the beginning but many cases have proved otherwise. If it works, good for both of you. But if it doesnt, well, perhaps its just not meant to be.”
- Kristine Quek Jia Ru wrote, “It’s never about the nationality, it’s individual’s agenda behind every action taken although it’s common. Very disappointing to see media reporting one sided perspective and influencing readers.”
- Camillus Yap wrote, “It’s not a matter of foreign wives or local wives, horror stories of local wives are common too. It’s the character and upbringing of the person and not the nationality leh.”
- PS Goh wrote, “Always 2 sides of the coin we must see. Assuming all men are good?!?! Cultural differences on the surface is just the tip.”
- Danny Ong wrote, “ST writer please back your story with statistics or number. How many are there here with such unhappy marriage? It is unfair to label all Foreign wife are bad.”
- Loh Leong wrote, “Just minority due to age barrier, or fake marriage, not all foreigners companion are that bad, ST really make story up. Many of the true love couple will slowly adapt to our culture with their love one guidance.”