Singaporean Man Struggles

This is part 1 of a 2 part series where we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being a Singaporean man/woman.

As compared to other more conservative Asian countries, Singapore is quite progressive in terms of gender equality. We rank 27 out of 144 countries for economic opportunity and participation, according to the a World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index.

But with progress, Singaporean men have to deal with a unique set of challenges, often finding it difficult to express their feelings for fear of being called “weak”.

Before y’all call these guys ‘menimists’ or say they’re trying to ‘mansplain’ problems, try not to be a femin@zi and take the time to understand and read the struggles Singaporean men face.

NS does more than “waste two years of a guy’s life”

We know serving NS delays a man’s career by two years. Most guys would agree with Reddit user Lonereaction’s statement that no matter how beneficial NS is for our nation, having NS “forced onto males by law” is a “huge unfairness and sacrifice”.

During their time serving the nation, guys also have to contend with general bullshit such as dealing with the NS breakup curse, cheating girlfriends, having uni guys steal their girl’s affections.

From personal experience, NS guys are overall seen as less desirable partners. Girls tend to swipe left or unmatch a guy on Tinder when they find out the guys are still in the army. The reason being the “guys are in a different stage of life and have no patience to wait”.

And after NS, guys continue to face career setbacks in the form of hiring discrimination.

“Going for job interviews and can’t help but feel discriminated against when companies ask, ‘How many more cycles do you have left for your reservist’ like it affects my capability to do a job,” user mralderson says.

Another user, shitwedo, agrees, “My colleague mentioned that [the company] should hire females instead, because guys have to go for reservist and their work needs be covered by others for that two weeks. These are the people we proudly serve and protect.”

Meeting expectations of local girls

As Singaporean girls become increasingly educated, career-minded, and financially independent, guys find local women have become pickier when looking for a partner.

User necroHexr explains this shift as “Singapore [being] one of those weird modern Asian countries which still has traditional Asian rules of men having to chase women and be the breadwinner, but has Western values of granting women freedom to run wild and pursue careers”.

And with Singapore being a global city, competition also comes in the form of rich expats.

“I heard from some convo between female colleagues that they don’t want to date SG men, one of the points mentioned was because some SG men their age are just only fresh uni graduates while they already have a stable career,” user snmmgnbsj reveals.

Also read:

Why Some Singaporean Men Date Thai Disco Girls Instead Of Local Girls

Body image

Aside from dating woes, guys have their own set of body image struggles too. From my own observations, while girls are ‘expected’ to remain slim, guys feel the pressure to be tall, buff, good-looking, and have a big dick.

User XanPercyCheck points out “men are socially and legally expected to not be fat, due to IPPT” in order to be combat-ready. Also, if you’re declared overweight before enlisting, you’re required to serve an extra eight weeks as part of physical training.

Laws which discriminate against men

For the heterosexual bros, the main beef they had was with the Women’s Charter, stating how “family law is outdated and skewed towards favouring women”.

In the Reddit thread, it was discussed how in most custody battles, children are almost always awarded to their mothers, “depriving fathers of their children”.

Another point user BumSophistication raises is how “upon separation, even if the women has a full-time job, the male is still required to pay a maintenance fee to the women. Men cannot ask for maintenance”.

Other issues brought up included how “insulting of modesty and rape does not apply to a male victim (although male rape can be charged as unlawful sexual penetration)”, “certain tax reliefs are available to female taxpayers only”, and how women are given “lesser prison sentences”.

Disadvantages Singaporean Men Face

These were some of the most discussed topics Singaporean men felt strongly about. Do you think that Singaporean men are truly disadvantaged in Singapore?

Writer’s note: Article was edited to remove and censor certain inappropriate terms.
Cover illustration by Asher Mak.
This article was first published on 12 September 2018 and last updated on 30 November 2023. 

Also read:

Gender Inequality In Singapore: 7 Moments From One Week Love That We Can Still Do Better In