Friday, July 24, 2009


I had another one of those conversations recently with someone from the older generation and again, it affirms the wide generation gap that separates us.
Our discussion centred on the fate of women whose husbands-to-be died before their wedding. As with most of my discussions with members of the older generations, it seemed to me that all the blame is simply pinned onto the unfortunate women. And so, I've come to the conclusion that our sisters are suffering simply because it is us women who make it so. Yes, in the past the men might have set the double standards, but it is the women who ensured that such double standards are carried out religiously. How else do you explain that they label the unfortunate bride-to-be as "white foot soles" (a direct translation from Hokkein) which means bad luck? To me that just smacks of absolute insensitivity at a time when all we needed to do was to offer our condolences and where possible, our help.
This isn't the first time a woman is blamed for whatever bad luck that befalls her family. Sometimes, it isn't just women who gets the blame. Would you believe that even newborn babies are blamed? If a woman dies after childbirth, the newborn is deemed to have brought her mother bad luck. How is it that we can simply label an innocent newborn and have her grow up in a society with such a stigma hovering over her head? Could we not give a thought instead to how the poor baby had to grow up without a mother's love?
I'm not sure if those people who so easily label the innocent realize that one day, it just might be them at the other end of the stick. I wonder when it comes to that, would they have even liked it one bit?
I'm aware that the older generation will still steadfastly hold onto such "traditions" because it is a part of their culture. But surely, we don't necessarily have to keep cultures that condemn and hurt, especially when we can all make educated decisions. It is up to us, the younger generation, to effect that change by teaching our children that now is the time to stop the blame.

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