Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ashley Madison - The Cheese in the Mousetrap (4th Nov 2013)

Our Singapore Happenings 
Monday, 4th November 2013

Ashley Madison – The Cheese in the Mousetrap

                Recently Ashley Madison, a Canadian-based adultery website, announced its plans to set up business in Singapore. Following which, there was an immediate outpour of disapproval from Singaporeans with a Facebook group “Block Ashley Madison- Singapore” which has garnered over 26,000 likes. The main goal of the Facebook group was to drum up support for the MDA to ban the website upon its arrival to Singapore.

                It is good to note that websites promoting infidelity are already present in Singapore, thus with Ashley Madison’s arrival, the concept of an online dating website for married couples is nothing new. But if Ashley Madison do make its debut and deploy its massive marketing machine, it will definitely make the concept of infidelity more known amongst Singaporeans.  This concept which may be foreign to some previously may now subconsciously be an option for them. In addition, such “in-the-face” advertisements may arouse curiosity and encourage individuals to give such experience a shot. This may then become an addiction that cannot be stopped.

                If the government does ban Ashley Madison, which I think they should, it will largely be for symbolic reasons. The government will send a message that this website promotes values that are socially unacceptable in our society and has to be stopped. However, such banning will not solve the issues on hand. Firstly, it will not work as anyone can still access the website with a VPN if they want to and as mentioned, there are other websites available for such purpose. Secondly, banning the website will not solve the root cause of the problem. Infidelity is already happening in Singapore and will continue to worsen if our societal and personal values are shaky.

                If anything, Ashley Madison and other online dating websites serve as tests for our commitment to our personal and social values. These are after all businesses that profit from the demand of such services. Thus, if we can as a society lessen the demand, by making sound personal decisions, the business may one day no longer be profitable. But before we proceed on to discuss how to put a stop to infidelity, we need to first ask ourselves why it happens.

                There are many reasons why infidelity can happen. One reason could be the lack of trust and faith in a marriage. It could be a result of long standing misunderstandings and lack of communication between the couple. With a rocky relationship with the spouse, it sets the stage for infidelity to happen. Infidelity can often be perceived as a “get-away” for one partner from the problems in one’s relationship.  The other reason can be the lack of family warmth and support. There could be a myriad of causes from financial to children to parents. These may cause the individual to feel that he/she cannot turn to his family for emotional support or to fall back on their family.

                The government has been proactive in advocating for pro family policies at workplaces and on a national level. But the government can only do so much; a lot is still up to the individual.

                I am in no position to advice but it may be helpful to seek first to understand. We see and perceived things according to our own paradigm and past experiences. Thus what we see and understand may not be same as our spouses; then misunderstandings will naturally occur. Thus it will help to see things from the others point of view and more often than not, we will realise that our spouses mean well.

                Secondly, it is about being proactive. Being proactive in your family life; being part of your children’s education. By being involved, you are renewing your commitment to your family and in turn developing strong bonds within the family. It is natural that we are caught up with work as it gives us tangible rewards such as promotions and pay increments but these tangible rewards will not be with us for our lifetime. However, investing in these relationships would.

                 If we continuously do the above and enjoy the strong family bonds in the process, couples will start believing in the power of the institution of marriage and will be less likely to go astray. In addition, if we live a principled life, one guided by morals and values and not by temptations, we can be sure that we will not fall for the cheese in the mousetrap.  

Then we can stand as one and say: “To hell with Ashley Madison. You can tempt us, but you can’t get us”.
 --THE END--

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