The Alamak! Awards 2011

Here are the results of the first Alamak! Award. Nominations were submitted by the public and closed on August 31.Voting was carried out by the public until 15 Oct.

The winner and shortlisted nominees are…

Obedient Wives Club Singapore – WINNER

This initiative by the controversial Global Ikhwan group promotes the view that wives should keep their husbands happy in the bedroom by serving them like “a first-class prostitute”, so as to prevent social ills like prostitution, divorce and domestic violence. News that the Obedient Wives Club was setting up a branch in Singapore made international headlines this year. We say that the Club’s distorted and reductive views of marriage and gender roles is socially divisive and dismissive of the real root causes of marital problems.

Read more here.


The Singapore Armed Forces’ “Our Army, My Boyfriend” Ad – NOMINEE

Sexist stereotypes can alienate both men and women, which leaves this recruitment ad in the unfortunate position of pleasing no one. Featuring a group of women giggling and gushing over their girlfriend’s army scholar boyfriend, this ad annoyed men with its shallow portrayal of the SAF soldier as a trophy boyfriend who, rather implausibly, “always has time” for his adoring partner. And it would take a woman with nerves of steel not to be irritated by the ad’s depiction of women as wide-eyed, simpering bimbos – that cloying chorus of “so sweeeet” alone is enough to turn your stomach.

Watch the ad here.


Singapore Airlines’ Employment Policies – NOMINEE

It’s a great way to fly – well, perhaps not so much for its female cabin crew. Unlike most other global carriers, SIA’s stewardesses have to resign once they are pregnant unless they can get a ground position, which is difficult to obtain. Steps in the right direction: The airline’s Returning Mothers Scheme, which allows crew to rejoin the company if they meet employment criteria, as well as the initiative announced last year that grants pregnant cabin crew an ex-gratia payment amounting to two months of their basic salary when they resign. But such an exceptional airline and national icon should be held to higher standards of excellence. How about doing away with the automatic termination, paying full maternity benefits, extending the crew members’ flying years and hiring female pilots?

Read more about SIA’s employment policies herehere and here.


Great Eastern’s “It’s Great To Be A Woman” campaign – NOMINEE

It is great to be a woman. Also great: Great Eastern’s declaration that “we’ve committed ourselves to helping women live well, stay healthy and be empowered”. Not so great: This campaign’s consistent, persistent use of cutesy pastel pink, which seems more infantilizing than empowering. Even less great: Campaign taglines like “It’s great to be a Daddy’s girl. It’s sad to be a Mummy’s boy”; “Discrimination works. Especially on Ladies’ Night”; and “Imagine the fuel we save by asking for directions”. Trading in sexist stereotypes that imply all women relish being coddled like princesses is not only a strange way to convey a message of empowerment, it also has nothing to do with the stated mission of “uplifting womanhood and helping women take charge of their health”.

Visit the website.


Desmond Choo, the People’s Action Party’s candidate for Hougang during GE2011 – NOMINEE

During a rally, the 33-year-old PAP candidate spoke in Teochew of meeting an old man who said that choosing an MP is like choosing a wife.“If your wife is unable to cook, there’s no point. You must choose a wife who is able to do things for you,” Mr Choo quipped, thus delivering arguably the most sexist analogy of the recent General Elections. In the final tally, the first-time candidate received only 35.19 per cent of valid votes. No one can say for sure whether his loss boiled down to his old-fashioned concept of wifely duties, but it certainly didn’t help.

Read more here.