Woman Hungry Ghost auctioneer asked to get off stage

Woman Hungry Ghost auctioneer asked to get off stage
BEHIND THE MIC: Auctioneer Gwee Wan Ling has been asked to get off the stage because she's a woman.

SINGAPORE - She has been asked to get off the stage.

And all because she is female.

Miss Gwee Wan Ling, 22, is an auctioneer.

She works the crowds during the Hungry Ghost Festival auctions, where lucky items are sold to bidders in return for good fortune.

Miss Gwee is among the few women who have stepped forward to take on this "manly" task, and has been doing so for about 1½ years.

Two other auctioneers say they have encountered only one other woman, compared with about 20 men, in the business.

The reason? Some audience members - particularly from the older generation - don't think a woman should be conducting the auctions.

Says Mr Lim Cheng Hoe, 53, who is Miss Gwee's mentor: "The items auctioned off are supposed to be auspicious, and they feel a woman will 'dirty' them.

"But I feel a woman should be given a chance. Since Wan Ling is confident and interested, why can't she do it?"

He had previously seen aunties conducting auctions about 20 years ago, during a show at Ang Mo Kio.

"They were refreshing to watch. They also raised quite a lot of money."

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