Friday, December 4, 2009

People we love: Madhairday for "not a question of compassion, but one of fairness".

Angry Alpaca started this series for famous awesome possums. I'm going to widen the scope to include (extra-)ordinary men, women, somewhere in-between's for their brave acts of kindness that lend some semblance of intelligence and hope back into our lives over-ridden with unremitting hatefulness.

Today, I extend this Awesome Possum mention to reader, Madhairday, who penned an excellent retort in to the Straits Times Forum, in response to The Great Marital Ethicist and Estimable Mindreader of People in Extra-marital Affairs, Mrs Claudia Tan.

Madhairday's reply, I reproduce in full:
I write in response to Mrs Claudia Tan's letter published in the ST forum on 3 December 2009.

I fail to see any causative link in Mrs Tan's assertion that the alignment of the law pertaining to inheritance and the law governing the maintenance of children under the Women's Charter will inexorably result in "encourag[ing] women with little or no moral values to prey on married man for monetary gain". There are two main logical fallacies in this statement. First, Mrs Tan presupposes that women who have children out of wedlock have "little or no moral values". Secondly, the statement is presumptuous in assuming that women "prey" on married men for monetary gain, wholly ignoring the very real possibility of the complicity of a married man in commencing an extramarital affair.

There is no reason that a child should be deprived of maintenance from the father's estate simply by virtue of the fact of being born out of wedlock, especially given that the law mandatorily provides for maintenance to be paid in respect of the same child while the child's biological father is alive. In this regard, arguments for withholding maintenance payments from a mother of children born out of wedlock are baseless. There is an inherent contradiction in Mrs Tan's description of marriage as a "sacred affair". If, as Mrs Tan suggests, marriage is indeed a "sacred" institution, what justification is there for absolving the man the consequences of his infidelity while in the same breath castigating the woman for what in Mrs Tan's view is wanton behaviour? There is none.

The law as it currently stands rightfully recognises the need for a father to provide for his children, whether born in or out of wedlock. This is not a question of any assumed "monetary gain" for the mother. The Courts weigh any requests for maintenance in a balanced and fair manner, the well-being of the child being the paramount consideration. There is, as the Court of Appeal has recognised, a pressing need to align the law on inheritance as relates to children born out of wedlock with the Women's Charter in order to erase the logical lacuna which persists between both. It is not a question of compassion, but one of fairness. (Source)
Bravo, mate! You should come live on the barn with us!

I also relay comments from the rest of my barnmates on Claudia Tan's note:

Oh My Goat: "I think anyone who has such a virulent stand on someone else's private lives and what they do in their bedroom is definitely perverted in some fashion. IT'S JUST NOT NATURAL!"

Angry "Just Misunderstood" Alpaca: "Plus, you realise that [Claudia Tan] never once blames the dood, because they just happen to "fall prey to lust". It is as if men walk around blindly only to suddenly realise that they've accidentally stuck their penis into another woman's vagina. Oops!"

Cat in the Cream: "No, it's that they trip and fall into a woman, and then right themselves and trip and right themselves...

"And it's totes women's fault for wearing skirts and not keeping their ankles together. Because if we wore pants and shackles, men could trip over whatever they liked, but would not be able to, uh, dock."


  1. And the original note by Mrs Claudia Tan:

    Dec 3, 2009
    Changes to law may add to problems

    I REFER to last Thursday's report, 'Court to mistress: Law can't help you', in which Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin was quoted as suggesting that the law be changed to protect innocent children born out of wedlock.

    I sympathise with the children caught in this unfortunate episode. However, while changing the law may protect innocent children born out of wedlock today, it may also create a side effect - that is, encourage women with little or no moral values to prey on married man for monetary gain.

    While changes to the law may discourage some men from making the mistake of taking a mistress, many will still fall prey to the temptations of lust.

    Furthermore, changing the law will not solve the bigger issue of discouraging reckless adults from adding more illegitimate offspring to society. Irresponsible people with little or no values should not bring children into this world - causing them to suffer. Changing the law may even lead to more social problems over time.

    Marriage is a sacred affair. There is no secrecy to the relationship because the two partners in life willingly and openly show devotion to each other, an important value in Singapore which is emphasised in law.

    As a married woman, I sympathise more with the innocent widow. I cannot imagine the pain the lawfully wedded woman had to go through - first losing her husband, then finding out he has another family and then having to go through a legal tussle to protect her husband's estate that rightfully belongs to her and her children.

    Compassion can be a motivating factor to create a law, but the spirit of the law should continue to protect the innocent.

    The fact that the widow in this case offered the mistress monthly maintenance shows she is truly magnanimous and compassionate.

    Claudia Tan (Mrs)

  2. Yeah, I think BDP's idea of including the original letter as part of the comments is a good idea, especially since ST doesn't archive their stories after a certain date. (Or maybe you just have to pay membership for it).

    But for people who espouse family values and that "marriage is sacred" and all that jazz, they don't really want it if it happens to a kid out of wedlock.


    - Angry Alpaca

  3. Madhairday's letter got published in the ST Forum on 5 Dec 2009.


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