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For men, this is a time to be watchful

With Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri taking the top prizes at the Bafta awards, the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns in support of women's rights and equal treatment have come into renewed focus.

With women reasserting themselves, men seem to be receding into the background. And many men are exceedingly careful when around women, to the point where the dynamics leading up to relationships can become even more complex, or fraught with anxiety.

For the average man, the approach has to be just right so as not to be wrongly construed, be it in choice of words, or even body language.

This means that social interaction can be awkward, as men refrain from their usual behaviour, becoming more mindful and sometimes slipping back into the shadows.

So what are the lessons for Singapore?

Certainly there is no need here to push for change as hard as in America, as the situation here seems manageable, though many men are taking note of patterns emerging elsewhere.

Singapore women are widely perceived as being driven and quite ambitious. That in itself has put the brakes on many a man.

This latest movement in the West may throw up further barriers, as men fret over their behaviour in mixed social circles. One wrong move can put a man in a difficult position and even affect reputation and livelihood.

It is a good thing that the women are beginning to take control, slowly but surely.

Singapore women have already shown that they are made of sterner stuff. In positions of power or in business, they can hold their own.

So they only have to build on what they have, and any changes should be in measured doses.

MANORAJ RAJATHURAI

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