Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Moral Matters: Vietnamese Brides

BO n. wife

'Son, if you really want something in life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers.'

Pluck that one from the Simpsons. Don't you just love Homer? There is indeed a "homer" in each and everyone of us... how many times do we give advice and then do exactly the opposite?

Ok, now to a slightly more serious point. Something that annoys me. How often do you read or hear comments from someone older, perhaps from a politician, that is hardly applicable in real life? An advice given without properly going through the details?

Let me elaborate. Have you read about Star's Men 'buy' Viet wives off bridal parades in small-town coffeeshops?

MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau head Datuk Michael Chong was quick to condemn the practice of marrying Vietnamese girl "on-the-spot", he called it a “sickening and immoral” practice.

Apparently, so I was told by the Star, you do not need to go through the hassle of selecting the girl from the photos, flying to Vietnam to meet her and flying back to Malaysia to register the marriage.

You can now ‘buy’ your Vietnamese wives directly from coffeeshops. The benefits are obvious, this is faster and the potential buyers get to have a first-hand look at the girls.

First, I must confess this is a strange practice. But strange things do happen... I watch a lot of AXN and Discovery Channel, so I know what I am talking about. Secondly, I cannot condemn it. Eating live squid is normal in some parts of Asia, I don't do it... but I don't call it sickening. Thirdly, if a guy desperately wants a Vietnamese wife... why pretend that selecting from brochures, then going to Vietnam and then back again to Malaysia with a wife, is any better than getting your wife "on-the-spot"?

Who set the standards here?

I think I speak for myself, and myself only: I won't want someone I have JUST MET in a coffeeshop or even in a library to be my wife... I want to know her better, and I need to make sure we're both comfortable with each other. But this is ME. (I think arranged marriage can be a beautiful or an evil thing, depending on the individuals getting married, if both consent to it and happy about the idea... why condemn it?)

But, I also accept that some men do have different views on the method of wife-choosing. I don't think I can call my method of wife-choosing any more superior than the "alternatives". Shocking or not, choosing a consenting adult who willingly parades herself in kopitiam to be a stranger's wife is an alternative. Furthermore, there is no civil law broken here.

If I am wheelchair-bound, divorced, in my late 70s, ill, and still collecting a healthy-size pension.... and I wanted a Vietnamese wife, I would dread boarding that AirAsia (or MAS, or SIA) flight to Hanoi just for that purpose. If I knew my local coffeeshop tauke is offering "bride on the spot" service.... it would make less sense for me to decline that and say getting a flight to Vietnam is morally more correct than going to the kopitiam.

By the way, that's just a hypothetical situation.

Seiously, isn't it much better to look into the situation properly before making such comments? I am sure there are good and poor husband-and-wife matches from this, like any other "more morally correct" methods of wife-choosing.

So why be a moral judge before understanding the facts?

You see, sometimes an advice is not really an advice. Especially the ones coming from politicians on (allegedly) moral mission.

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