On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Raising their voices

I don’t know about you but the voices of women have long dominated my home. You see, I am the only man in the house. I am out-voted.

There’s my wife, my mother-in-law, my Indonesian maid, my daughter, my sister-in-law and for a while, my female pet dog. The roaring Spitz has unfortunately passed away after 16 years of loyal companionship.

So, the ladies take control and take charge of everything. I believe they enjoy looking at me believing that I am in charge. I even suspect they laugh behind my back.

We, men, are all suckers. We are being manipulated by our wives and daughters who easily twist us around their little fingers.

It’s even scarier now because they are beginning to sound like deejay Joanne Kam. That tough-talking woman, I know, is going to soon cause a riot in my house. She will make our women activists sound like nuns at this rate.

What’s happening? Money and power, that’s what. The root of all evil. Women are talking big because they have money and power. Look at the statistics – 50% of the population are women in Malaysia. And yes, they are also all consumers.

Even more interesting, in the computer industry in Malaysia, about 60% of workers are women and they hold middle and top management posts. It’s almost a phenomenon and has become a subject of serious academic studies.

“In the United States, technology and masculinity are very connected, which is not the case in Malaysia,” said Ulf Mellstrom, a professor of gender and technology at Lulea University of Technology in Sweden in his paper Why is Computer Science in Malaysia Dominated by Women?

We men still think we are calling the shots. We tell the survey people we are in charge but in fact, we are not. Sorry guys, let’s face it. It’s okay to cry.

In the United States, women are making purchasing decisions, the reports say 80% of discretionary purchases. They tend to be more brand loyal and more viral than men. Of course, it helps that their income is increasing.

Companies that have resisted targeting women are starting to do so. They used to worry about risking their male audience but with the present economic uncertainties, companies are throwing away conventional marketing strategies and trying out new ideas.

Even car companies are re-thinking their sales target, wondering whether during tough times, men are the ones who choose their cars or it’s the wife – the one juggling the household budget – who will have the ultimate voice.

There’s another compelling reason – women outlive men, and that’s a fact. So it makes business sense to keep female customers, especially when they are brand loyal. Men claim women are fickle minded but not when it comes to brands.

Also, as one writer Dick Masterson said: “The last thing a society needs is a bunch of non-contributing members laying around” after burning themselves out.

Who would have thought that women presenters would become a regular in our football shows? I know some of us think they are merely decorative but come on, it beats listening to a couple of bald, retired footballers, pretending to sound technical and clever but telling us things we already know.

Let’s admit it, the women presenters look better. Try talking football to Patricia Knudsen, one of Capital FM88.9 announcers, who is also on the ESPN Castrol Football Crazy show.

But there’s hope at home. God is fair. There are now two new additions to my home – two boys. One is three years old and the other eight months. No, they are not my kids, but my nephews.

I can’t wait for them to grow up soon so that we can conspire and pretend to be stupid and lazy while the women do the work and pamper us. We may just have the last laugh.

Meanwhile, we will tune in to Capital FM88.9 to find out their inner feelings and thoughts. The plot has begun.