The White Ribbon Letter is an initiative by AWARE, a gender equality advocacy group, for men to share their thoughts with a younger man or boy in their lives about how they can play a part in ending violence against women, and supporting gender equality.
Poh Kiang, a proud associate member of AWARE, wrote in a letter addressed to his nephews, that he feels tremendously blessed to be loved and nurtured by women of sterling character his entire life, his paternal grandmother and mother.
He reminds his nephew that strength is not merely muscular. Strength is also the ability to face the fear, the endurance when facing fear and loss, and dogged resourcefulness when facing deprivation.
He reminds the boys to touch the women only of gentleness and kindness and whenever it is deemed to be appropriate by the women themselves. “Never touch them out of anger and lust,” he wrote.
Poh Kiang serves as a General Practitioner in the neighbourhood of Bukit Ho Swee. He also volunteers in leadership work at HCA Hospice Care and Jurong Health Medifund Committee.
People, especially men, can show their male peers on how to treat women appropriately, setting a good example towards the community.
Writing this kind of letter to our loved ones can set their mind on how they should be treating women. When bad things happen to women, never hesitate to voice our displeasure and seek for help if things are getting out the way.
Below is the full letter written :
Dear Ernest and Randall,
Like you, two of the most important persons in my life are women – my Ah Ma (paternal grandma) and my Mom. Much of who I am and the leader that I have become is due to their loving influence. I learn from a young age that strength and ability are not gender related. In fact, in these women I discovered that strength is not merely muscular, it is steely resolve when facing fear, quite endurance when suffering pain and loss as well as dogged resourcefulness when facing deprivation.
I was fortunate enough to emulate strong men like my dad and a few male mentors that the only touch a man ought to give to the women they love must be that of gentleness and kindness. And only when it is deemed appropriate by the women we honour. Never should it be said of us that we touch a woman out of anger and lust.
One more thing boys, men do cry. Crying is not done only when we lose or when no one is looking. Real men cry because they are authentically in touch with their hearts. Being able to express deep emotions appropriately is a sign of maturity, and of strength. And do you know something? The women we care about love us even more for that.
God made women and men so that together we can create a beautiful community of mutual love and respect. We must never allow other men who through bigotry and prejudice, hatred and violence hurt the women God has blessed our society with. If we want to make the world a better place, we have to love the women in our lives as we love ourselves.
Your Uncle Poh Kiang