Millennial Voices

The Blue Tax? The True Cost Of Being A Man In Singapore

We’ve heard a lot about the woes of women in Singapore – the “Pink Tax”, as it’s been called – but what about the men? What about the Blue Tax?

Yes, there are disadvantages to being a man.

Of course, we don’t believe that gender equality should be measured using tit-for-tat who-has-it-worse comparisons. There are challenges to being both male and female in Singapore, and anywhere in the world, but that doesn’t make it objectively worse to be a man or woman. We just thought it’d be fun to point these out.

National Slavery

Let’s start with the most obvious and glaring issue: National Service.

Unless you’re a truly talented bullshitter, you’d find it impossible to argue that the mandatory, systematic militarization of every able-bodied male citizen in a country isn’t an unfair, raw-as-sashimi deal for the men of Singapore.

The simple truth is that NS can never be fair to men unless it is made similarly mandatory for women a la Israel.

“But it makes sense! Men are stronger than women!”

Oh, really? What happened to “women are every bit as strong as men and can do whatever men do’?

And have you ever seen how skinny some of our soldiers are? Even as a “trained soldier”, I’d be perfectly willing to admit that there are many women in Singapore who would be capable of kicking my ass and being all-round better soldiers than me given proper training.

Sure, men might have a slight edge in the physical rigours of combat overall, but to be honest, any reasonably healthy human being capable of carrying a 4kg rifle can be trained for combat, and if not, service or intelligence duties.

Don’t tell me women can’t carry a rifle, some of your handbags feel as heavy as cosmic singularities. You regularly pull hair out of your skin and brisk-walk around in impossibly high heels just to “look good”. You’re not fooling anyone when you say that you could never survive in NS. You just don’t want to because it looks uncomfortable and inconvenient AF.

And you’re right.

I never wanted to have to deal with NS either, but I was born with a Y-chromosome, so I had to.

Hear that? That’s the sound of the blue tax going “cha-ching, mother*cker!”

Paying for shit

Whether it’s paying for dinner, drinks, cars, or that overpriced shiny rock on an overpriced metal ring, men traditionally have to foot a much larger bill in the man-woman dynamic than women do.

If you’re one of those modern women who actively espouse gender equality by splitting the bill and paying for their own shit, kudos to you. Unfortunately, many women in Singapore aren’t like that, and the men attached to these women get the short end of the monetary stick.

There are some who think that since men get paid more than women for the same jobs, it all balances out. Two negatives make a positive, right?

This isn’t primary school math, buddy. Two negatives, make, well, two negatives. You don’t achieve equality between genders by compensating one inequality with another.

Well, there goes the blue tax counter. Let me just find a nice vantage point from which to watch my money fly away.

“Being A Man”

A famous comedian once said, “Be a man! Do the right thing!”

Yeah, you know who I’m talking about.

Singapore’s typical Asian patriarchy likes to put constant emphasis on “being a man”, which in turn puts a ton of pressure on men to be this perfect version of what society expects them to be.

Make a lot of money. Be tall. Have a wide social circle. Drive a big shiny car. Be a part-time chauffeur for free. Don’t grow your hair (or nails) out too long. Make the first move. Put food on the table. Don’t ever become a stay-at-home dad.

Women, of course, have their own set of social pressures to conform to, but that takes nothing away from the challenges of being a man in Singapore.

It might seem ironic, but the patriarchy screws both men and women over.

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