March 5, 2018

We would suppose that the trendy topics for this week would be about the crazy markets, the Italian elections this weekend, Singapore Budget bashing, Trump’s tariffs, China’s new emperor Xi, Singapore real estate, or even about the Singapore Savings Bonds and the structural problems the market is running into.

Yet, we do not have anything meaningful to add, that we have not written about, for our 2 cents worth on this balmy weekend, counting our blessings in our part of the world that is safe from all the freak weather elsewhere and still relatively safe from the tariffs and trade wars coming up.

In the mass of confusion in our heads, we decided that if people are not just a little frightened by what is happening, to say the least, then we should not rock the foundations of the happy oblivion enveloping their lives and sleep-easy diversified portfolios that JP Morgan thinks is a bad idea for 2018.

Fear and Greed keeps us going into March 2018 and its International Women’s Day again with a lot more to say than last year’s gender pay gap issues which escalated into racial pay gap and all things racial with the Black Panther movie in the theatres now.

The #MeToo moment has not done much to unify womankind as we tried to comfort a dear friend last month who was jokingly lamenting her lack of “#MeToo” encounters (which would obviously have failed) that she could boast about before cruelly reminding her that no smart nor sane man would attempt or dare to try her and that empowered mouth of hers and, upon further questioning, she did have a few close calls that she had forgotten about and re-classified as verbal conquests in her mental archives.

International Women’s Day—Press For Progress

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is to #PressforProgress, for all the inequality against women around the world but there is little we can do against societal norms where girls are just not allowed to go to school and Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai, was shot by the Taliban for asserting her right to education (before she won the prize, of course).

We cannot do much for the Nepali women who are restricted by their social and religious norms which leave them at risk of malnutrition and death because they eat last, and live in exile during their menstruating periods.

It is about education and not just for the girls, but the boys too, throwing in the element of time into that recipe while waiting for change to come.

Can we do anything more than to buy NAB’s gender equality bond for Australian gender equality or a World Bank Banking on Women bond to help women entrepreneurs in emerging markets?

We rather not talk about our position (and our mother’s, wives’ and daughters’) on FGM (female genital mutilation), prevalent in Ethiopia, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, which is a problem we will leave for the Gates Foundation because it serves them right for being so rich that they have to worry about the stuff we rather not imagine about.

Today, we would write to champion the cause, the right and the opportunity for women around the world to be a bitch in the Year of the Dog, or to be anything they want, within their abilities and means, in equal fairness, for Fairness’s sake.

The MeToo Movement Conundrum

The #MeToo movement is about speaking up about the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace and has gone viral since it came about in October last year, with athletes and celebrities speaking out about their experiences with men and women in power.

Technically, there would be 4 permutations: men harassing women, men harassing men, women harassing men and women harassing women.

So far, most of the accusations that have come to light are the first 2 categories with Kevin Spacey and some sports coaches getting the heat for the men versus men category.

In some cases, the victims did derive some benefit, in the form of employment or contracts whilst in the rest of the cases, it was just the pure abuse of power or stewardship.

What has struck us as odd is that there is not a lot of coverage in Asia or Europe, let alone Africa, for the lack of “victims” which could be a cultural issue either because it could be that such behaviour is normal or, perhaps because the victims received suitable recompense or benefits, or there is fear of the powerful? And since the “powerful” are usually men, there would be less cases of men #MeToo-ing powerful women?

What a conundrum indeed.

The Famous Ferrari Woman…

She is famous in Singapore now—the Ferrari woman who punched a guy nearly half her age and is now facing a possible jail term. What is the cut off age for jail? She may be 73 but she looks like a hot 50-year-old any day.

With dirty laundry aired, accusations of infidelity against her former politician ex-husband and such, we really cannot make a call, without witnessing the provocations of the other party, except that physical violence is bad and illegal and Donald Trump did the right thing to buy the silence of that porn star although we cannot be sure if he did or not or if anything happened between them.

We shall feel sorry for her mental illness instead, especially when it was allegedly brought about by her former politician ex-husband, younger mistress and his on-going attempts to snare a share of her fortune which includes the Ferrari, we suppose.

… Versus Younger and Prettier Women

There is no need for statistics to tell us that Emmanuel Macron of France, who at 39, is 25 years younger than his wife, is an extraordinarily rare case although it is not uncommon for men to marry women 30 years younger or in Mick Jagger’s case, a 51-year age gap with his new squeeze which is admirable for a 74-year-old (older than Ferrari woman). It is understandable that President Macron and his wife have no issues of their own while Mick Jagger welcomed his 8th child at 73, 46 years after his first child was born.

We were not surprised when we heard that a pretty girl managed to get 2 different Lamborghini GrabHitch rides in Singapore but we would be surprised if Auntie Ferrari managed to snag one if she tried.

We hear about more men we know leaving their wives for younger versions. Open any history book and we will find history peppered with such trends and we only read weird stuff about Wendi Deng Murdoch (38 years younger than her ex-husband Rupert) dating a 21-year-old Hungarian model,  27 years her junior, in the rubbish tabloids. Maybe it is not so much about the gender but the wealth, power and fame that is the leading cause?

Auntie Ferrari is just another depressed ex-wife and we are not sure if equal opportunity is such a good idea for her mental health because when women were second-class citizens, there was little to be upset about, as our dear friend who happens to be divorced suggested.

But young and pretty girls throughout history were also often exploited, and Korean stars have committed suicide, unable to endure harassment, as well as the 21-year-old Maldivian model with the “aqua blue eyes” who hung herself last year although official investigations turned up little.

Women Day-1Source: DailyMail

The Good about Gender Inequality

Most of us, typical men and women, would cheer when we read about the next story of the Chinese wife who beats up and tramples on the cheating husband’s pregnant mistress. It has spawned into an industry of “mistress dispellers” and “marital love hospitals” in China where Confucianism is deeply entrenched and Confucius had prescribed that “The woman obeys the man. In her youth, she obeys her father and elder brother; when married, she obeys her husband; when her husband is dead, she obeys her son.”

Empowered women have the means to spend on these new industries and maybe Confucius preached the right thing because research has found, strangely, that the more gender equality, the fewer women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Women Day-2Source: The Atlantic

It is the reason why emerging markets like Algeria, girls make up 41% of STEM graduates compared to America where 18% of computer science graduates are female.

That is why Maldivian model who probably hung herself for the reason of sexual harassment from an independent investigation. She was studying to be a doctor when the girls in countries where “life satisfaction” is high were more likely to choose the subjects closer to their hearts and girls have a natural advantage in basic language abilities.

Is that a good or bad thing? And is it no wonder we cannot find enough qualified women to fill those boardrooms?

While We Feel Bad For Auntie Ferrari…

We feel good about our daughters and for their future because we know that they will get those degrees that our grandfathers got when our grandmothers were busy grooming themselves to be accomplished and dutiful wives. The opportunities should be theirs for their taking as the female movement continues to blossom. We just hope they will not be going around driving Ferrari’s and punching people although we give them full blessings to be a bitch if they have to, not quite the Ferrari Auntie style.

It is a great feeling for the future even though there is nothing much we can do to persuade Donald Trump to reverse his transgender troop ban as we support those new-women or former-women in the U.S. arm forces. A great feeling, nonetheless, because in 2018, Saudi women can now watch soccer matches albeit in full abaya (that long black dress that covers all).

We celebrate International Women’s Day more so than ever in sunny Singapore because women are truly “half the sky”, in tribute to the book, where it is harder than ever to be a single income household with women having to carry the mental load of working, parenting and housekeeping, “going unnoticed, unaccounted for, and likely, unappreciated” by their partners, families and even their employers, to steal a line from a Slate article on “overburdened women”.

A female friend finds the whole gender issue is getting quite confusing because we have a 73-year-old lady driving a Ferrari, punching a younger man in a BMW because she is depressed over another man, her ex-husband, over his infidelity with a younger woman/or women which means it is Woman vs Man because of Man and Woman or is it Woman vs Woman?

Is she not lucky enough to be empowered enough to drive a Ferrari around in her misery when there are thousands of women like herself who have unluckily been left in the economic lurch by their spouses under similar sort of circumstances? Or the women who never found a spouse, male or female?

Can we sense some huge economic and investment opportunities there? To harness all that labour and potential spending power? It exists. Just look at all the love scams targeting women more than men, that we have been reading about in the media and the quantum that has been reportedly lost.

Just The Right To Be A Bitch

Our “#MeToo loser” female friend, often lamented about her trials and tribulations as a single parent, having gotten divorced at a young-ish age and that perhaps she would have been better off if she had heeded Confucius or the Bible for Kingdom Living (Man as head and Woman as body) etc.

She is feeling much better now that her ex-husband is getting married to a girl 14 years his junior and having a laugh about the possibility that he would be a 60-year-old PSLE father in the future as Auntie Ferrari should be contemplating the economics of pulling a Wendy Deng Murdoch heist of a much younger man.

It is just a thought for those women, who have earned their right to be a bitch in life (if they want to) minus those #MeToo moments; a right that we can imagine millions of women in the world could dream of. We would even suppose that in paying tribute to our mothers’, wives and sisters, the daughters, nieces and all would have a fair chance at earning the right to be a bitch or a scientist or a trader, if they wanted to.

Carpe diem.