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This is part of a weekly series of feature stories, videos and podcasts in which The Straits Times correspondents cast the spotlight on people and communities around the region, living in the shadows of their societies where they exist largely unseen, unheard and little talked about. Her husband also did not allow her to work and she was not Lonely women Singapore an allowance, though he paid for the bills at home.
Siti not her real namenow 38, met her husband while working as a hotel receptionist in Indonesia, Lonely women Singapore he was holidaying. However, life in Singapore in the early years had been mostly housebound for her.
She stayed home to raise their four children, the oldest of whom is now She said she did not go into marriage thinking that a Singaporean man would be her ticket to a better life, but she certainly did not expect the chagrin of having to ask him for money for even the smallest things. I was angry that he had money to buy 4D, but said he had no money to buy chilli. Many foreign women, wed to low-income Singaporean men, face problems ranging from family violence to poverty. There are many foreign women, wed to low-income Singaporean men, who face problems ranging from family violence to poverty as well as an uncertain stay in Singapore.
This is compounded by the limited social networks they have in Singapore. In andthe researchers interviewed 3, women who were the primary caregivers of Singaporean children aged up to six years old. It found that 18 per cent of these families had a wife born overseas and a Singapore-born husband, and 57 per cent had both parents born here. The other families are those with a Singapore-born mum and a foreign-born dad and families with both parents born overseas.
The top five countries the foreign-born wives in the study are born in are China 26 per centMalaysia 25 per centVietnam 14 per centIndonesia 11 per cent and the Philippines 7 per cent. Among the insights to cross-national marriages, the study noted that among couples where the wife is foreign-born and the husband is born in Singapore:.
The pressures of making ends meet often stress a marriage, and families with a foreign-born wife and a Singapore-born husband had the highest level of family conflict. And given the financial, legal and other challenges many of these women face, the study confirms the vulnerability of these foreign wives, they say. Foreign women married to low-income Singapore men are particularly vulnerable to family violence and marital woes, social workers note.
The couples had met instead through friends, social media, or while the Singaporean was holidaying or working in their country. One reason these marriages are particularly vulnerable is that the couples tied the knot after a brief courtship and do not know each other well. They may have met only a few times before saying I do or they may not even share a common language, she said.
The women often depend on their husbands to support them financially and to sponsor their long-term visit pass LTVPshe added. So some choose to stay in abusive or strained marriages, as they fear being separated from their children should their husbands cancel their LTVP if they ask for a divorce, social workers say. The LTVP holder had once considered divorce, but banished the thought for fear of never seeing her children again.
A lesser known fact among foreign wives living here is that their husbands cannot cancel Lonely women Singapore long-term visit pass LTVP without their consent. Social workers interviewed said many foreign women are worried that their husbands may cancel their LTVP if they leave an unhappy or abusive marriage, and they would be separated from their children. And in the past decade, the Government has put in place policies and programmes to help foreign brides and their families.
Since Decemberthey do not need their employers to apply for a letter of consent for them to work and they are granted such pre-approved letters. With these pre-approved letters of consent, their bosses just need to notify the Manpower Ministry when they start work. ly, the Singaporean had to be at least She also has made more friends through work and says she now knows how to seek help from social workers if she needs it.
And I have saved some money in case of an emergency. Ms Khuong Thi Van, who moved to Singapore after marrying a Singaporean three years ago, missed her parents, who run a vegetable wholesale business, and her two younger brothers back in Vietnam. The year-old Vietnamese, who goes by the name Anna Ng, also missed Vietnamese food and had no friends here.
I cried a lot and felt very lost. The Vietnamese woman introduced her to other Vietnamese wives and showed her around. Mrs Ng also made more friends through the church she attends. Mrs Ng met her year-old husband Ng Bon Han, a sales engineer, through friends.
During their year-long courtship, he often visited her in Vietnam. For example, she initially wanted to have children immediately, as couples in Vietnam usually do, but he wanted to save up first. So we communicated a lot more to understand each other. Now our marriage is very stable. One or two friends wed a Singaporean twice their age, and the couple have different sets of values and expectations about marriage, Mrs Ng added.
The programmes cover communication and conflict management in a cross-cultural context, and offer practical advice on living in Singapore, said an MSF spokesman.
Fei Yue also organises classes to teach the foreign spouse basic conversational English or Mandarin, organises outings and matches a buddy to those who want one. So the buddy is a source of emotional and practical support for the foreign wife.
After a review of the programmes inthe MSF revised the content to focus more on managing Lonely women Singapore differences as well as relationship skills, such as communication skills and conflict resolution, among other things. Mrs Ng is now a buddy to two Vietnamese women, as she found the marriage programmes run by Fei Yue helpful.
I have more friends now and feel less stressed now. I feel blessed. We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. Until we resolve the issues, subscribers need not log in to access ST Digital articles. But a log-in is still required for our PDFs. Mar 22,am SGT. Theresa Tan. Among the insights to cross-national marriages, the study noted that among couples where the wife is foreign-born and the husband is born in Singapore: These couples have an average age gap of seven years between them — the largest among the different types of families studied.
The husbands have the lowest academic qualifications. Ms Amanda Chong, co-founder of volunteer group Readable, has conducted a research study on migrant brides. Many of the women felt that Singaporean men can provide for them. The Government has put in place policies and programmes to help foreign brides and their families. More on this topic. Mrs Anna Ng was homesick and miserable in her first year in Singapore. Mrs Ng and her husband Ng Bon Han tied the knot after a year-long courtship. Mrs Ng and her husband have grown closer after working through their differences. Couples attend a marriage support programme run by Fei Yue Community Services.Lonely women Singapore
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‘I felt so alone in Singapore’