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Family Values in Singapore

I’m not sure I’d hold out Singapore as an example of how to run a healthy society. To be fair to Clayton, the only point he made was that anti-gay conservative values aren’t limited to the Christian right, which is a correct assessment. But I think it’s worthwhile to point out that Singapore is hardly a free society, and despite these claims from MPs:

“We were right to uphold the family unit when Western countries went for experimental lifestyles in the 1960s — the hippies, free love,” he said.

“But I’m glad we did that because today if you look at Western Europe, the marriage as an institution is dead, families have broken down, the majority of children are born out of wedlock and live in families where the father and the mother are not husband and wife living together bringing them up.”

Singapore has a number or serious social problems.  Of course, what Mr. Lee failed to mention was that despite their promotion of wholesome family values, Singapore has experienced a drop in marriage rates, fertility rates, has experienced a soaring divorce rate, and is thus heading for the demographic sewer along with all the other western countries who social policies he claims have failed them.  Maybe that’s true, but it doesn’t look like Singapore’s conservative social policies are faring any better.

15 Responses to “Family Values in Singapore”

  1. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    I have heard stories, possible apocryphal, about Singaporean married couples that don’t understand where babies come from and wondering why they are childless.

  2. I have heard stories, possible apocryphal, about Singaporean married couples that don’t understand where babies come from and wondering why they are childless.

    It makes you wonder how the Victorians ever got around to reproducing, doesn’t it?

    More seriously, there are versions of this urban legend in one of Ian Fleming’s novels, (I think Diamonds Are Forever, if my memory serves me correctly). I do not believe that there was ever a time in history when human beings couldn’t figure out what went where even if there are some tribes that still haven’t figured out the connection of “sex equals children.”

    In Puritan New England, studies of birth dates relative to wedding dates indicate that at least 16% of the brides were pregnant when they said, “I do.” And compared to Singapore, Puritan New England would qualify as seriously deficient in information about sex.

  3. I remember learning in a women’s studies class that yup, the Puritans were pretty clueless about sexual physiology. They believed that both the man and the woman had to have an orgasm for conception to occur. Good thing that’s not true or a bunch of us probably wouldn’t be here :).

    Singapore should also give us a clue about something else–they’ve executed close to 1000 people in the last decade for dealing drugs, if I recall correctly. The penalty for dealing there is death, no ifs ands or buts. And yet…people still try it, because it’s probably incredibly lucrative compared to slinging on my corner in Baltimore. If they can’t get people to knock it off…little chance we’ll be able to.

  4. Ok, I exaggerated the number apparently…

    http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/01/15/singapore.executions.reut/

    But it goes to show–you can make a commodity as illegal as you want to make it, even kill people over it, and the bad guys are still going to try to make money selling it to the public that’s demanding it. If Singapore can’t get drug dealers to knock it off…what makes us think gun control will ever work here?

  5. straightarrow says:

    As everybody knows, first babies are all 7 month babies, no matter what they weigh. The rest all come in at 9 months.

    Morals and marriage are not much different in their relationship to each other than they ever have been. Think chemicals, think hormones, think youth. Now shut up. It is what it is and always has been. Just be thankful.

  6. “I remember learning in a women’s studies class that yup, the Puritans were pretty clueless about sexual physiology. They believed that both the man and the woman had to have an orgasm for conception to occur. Good thing that’s not true or a bunch of us probably wouldn’t be here :).”

    I would be very curious to see a source for that claim. There might well have been Puritans who believed it, but I can’t believe that anyone would have written that down. I’ve read a lot of Puritan documents, and nothing that even begins to approach that level of frankness–not even close. Even Victorian doctors writing about sexuality barely acknowledged the female orgasm in print.

    I have a pretty skeptical view of “women’s studies” because so much of it is politically motivated. A former co-worker came up to me about 15 years ago, and asked me a question about English and American law with respect to domestic violence. It turns out that his mother-in-law by accident had started the myth that “rule of thumb” referred to the maximum thickness of stick that the law allowed men to beat their wives with. She was now looking for some actual proof of it, since it had rapidly expanded into a fundamental truth of women’s studies.

    Of course, the origin has nothing to do with domestic violence. It appears to have originated with brewers, who used their experience for determining the correct temperature of brew for fermentation not with a thermometer, but by sticking their thumb in.

  7. “If Singapore can’t get drug dealers to knock it off…what makes us think gun control will ever work here?”

    I like to remind gun control advocates that a serious ban on guns won’t work. Smugglers will just hide the guns inside cocaine shipments. Customs won’t find them.

    However: making some unlawful does reduce its supply by prohibiting advertising. But what sort of people will that prohibition stop from getting the product? In the case of Prohibition, it probably did prevent some people from getting exposed to alcohol in rural area. In urban areas, it doubtless stopped a lot of casual consumption of alcohol–but the serious drinkers (the ones for whom Prohibition was mostly intended) were probably not significantly affected.

    Gun prohibition would certainly reduce the supply of guns. The people who would be most discouraged are law-abiding adults who are unlikely to be a problem. Those that would be least discouraged are the thugs that we worry about most.

  8. Sebastian says:

    Of course, the origin has nothing to do with domestic violence. It appears to have originated with brewers, who used their experience for determining the correct temperature of brew for fermentation not with a thermometer, but by sticking their thumb in.

    Sometimes it amazes me they ever made good beer. That wouldn’t be regarded as sound sanitary practice today. Though, I’ve been surprised by batches I was sure I contaminated that turned out just fine. The nice thing is that brewer’s yeast tends to make quicker work of the sugars in wort than most bacteria and wild yeasts, and once the yeast is done, you have a natural preservative in the alcohol.

    I can imagine that a thumb temperature reading might be useful for determining mashing temperature (148-158 degrees), if you held your thumb in and kept it there till you couldn’t stand it anymore. Pitching temperature is actually not hard to do by feel of the outside of the fermenter, but the mashing process is very temperature sensitive.

  9. straightarrow says:

    “In the case of Prohibition, it probably did prevent some people from getting exposed to alcohol in rural area.”-CC

    Not necessarily, a great many of them became ‘distillers’, including my grandfather.

  10. “Not necessarily, a great many of them became ‘distillers’, including my grandfather.”

    It depends on where in America. Some areas had a long tradition of home whiskey making. But not in most of America. Not exactly relevant, but it is amusing that Jack Daniels distillery is in a dry county–no lawful sales!

  11. “Sometimes it amazes me they ever made good beer. That wouldn’t be regarded as sound sanitary practice today.”

    There’s an interesting discussion about this in Rorabaugh’s _The Alcoholic Republic_. Apparently the common temperatures in America made traditional English beer brewing techniques not work very well. The arrival of German brewers (used to working in a somewhat warmer climate) in the 1840s apparently helped.

  12. Sebastian says:

    Not too surprising. There would only be a very brief time in most US climates. English ales ferment best at about 68 degrees. Without modern heating/refrigeration, you’d be hard pressed to maintain that temperature in winter, and you’d definitely exceed it in summer.

    German beers are brewed at lower temperatures, actually, but it’s my understanding the Germans used caves to “lager” their beer, which is something English brewers would probably have been unfamiliar with.

  13. http://www.cla.purdue.edu/courses/hist151-jl/sex2.htm

    That pretty clearly seems to mention it, so I take it that idea about female orgasms being required isn’t just being promulgated by that agenda driven man hating butch dyke professor I had (and yes, I’m joking); not sure how you do source something like that, but oral traditions might come into play.

    Anyway…I’m struggling to see how a political agenda, which certainly might be found all over a woman’s studies course, would sway you to fabricate something like that.

  14. That pretty clearly seems to mention it, so I take it that idea about female orgasms being required isn’t just being promulgated by that agenda driven man hating butch dyke professor I had (and yes, I’m joking); not sure how you do source something like that, but oral traditions might come into play.

    Maybe I missed something from reading it over quickly (I’m headed off to work), but where does it say that the Puritans believed that?

    And how do we know that an oral tradition supposedly handed down from the 17th century is accurate? Written sources are the only completely trustworthy ones in history.

    Anyway…I’m struggling to see how a political agenda, which certainly might be found all over a woman’s studies course, would sway you to fabricate something like that.

    It might not be fabrication but wishful thinking in looking over ambiguous sources. There’s plenty of that floating around, even when politics isn’t driving things.

  15. straightarrow says:

    CC, there may be no lawful sales, but I bet any amount you wish to cover that there are whiskey and bourbon drinkers in that county.

    Naww, I didn’t think you would fall for that. Just pointing out that people often behave in ways not in keeping with the way the vote or speak publicly.

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