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Posts Tagged ‘Public Morality’

Double confirm: Netizens are middle-class elitist tribalists with short attention spans

In Political governance on 22/06/2012 at 6:14 am

Sometime ago I ranted abt how when manual workers and clerks had sex with an underaged FT prostitute, claiming they didn’t know, and were jailed, no-one kicked up a fuss on the internet. But when middle class professionals were charged with a similar offence, netizens rushed to their defence, saying that it was unfair to them because they didn’t know: the gal lied to those that asked. Anyway, she was a prostitute, and the law should not protect people like her. The self-appointed People’s Voice, one TKL, even compared sex with a minor to baking a cake. OK, OK, I exaggerate but juz a little.

I was told, “Oh, no public awareness when these people were charged. Now different leh”. Well last Saturday ST reported that a 60-year old “odd job worker” had been jailed for having sex with an underage FT Vietnamese prostitute.

So far, I have not seen any netizen saying “unfair”. Could it be because he didn’t ask her about her age? Or could it be that netizens don’t read ST especially on a Saturday? Or could it be that because it’s a 60-year old “odd job worker”  (dirty old man), they don’t care? He is not a young, middle-age middle class professional.

Shouldn’t the People’s Voice be standing up or raising questions on the plight of this old man and the others who are not middle class? 

My wider point is that netizens must be more self-aware of their assumptions, prejudices etc when they yack. If they are not aware, it makes it easier for the PAP government to dismiss them as “noise”.  Example: “Turning to the case of the 25-year-old, dubbed the sticker-lady, who was arrested for vandalism, Mr Shanmugam said there are no hard and fast rules on what’s considered art on public buildings. He said the government must look at the consensus of the majority and how the majority would like society to be structured.” He is giving the finger to netizens calling for leniency for her.

They should choose the battles they want to fight. Fighting to change the law on commercial sex with an underage prostitute might be a battle worth fighting (not to me though), but it is not worth fighting for selective justice. Especially when the accused are “one’s kind”.

And once having chosen something to fight abt, be persistent. No more has been heard abt the sex with a minor; nor abt the “sticky lady”. It seems netizens got short attention spans, and are always “moving on” for someone else to yak about. If the PAPpies cotton onto this, they will sit tight with mouths shut until the netizens get tired of posturing and echoing. Maximum period of attention span seems to be two weeks.

Finally if they want to change society, they “must look at the consensus of the majority and how the majority would like society to be structured” as an indication of how hard to push. Stanley Kubrick made films that packed the cinemas and got rave reviews from art-house critics because he knew the art of making movies at the edge of public tastes: they accepted his ideas because they were juz beyond their comfort zone. He didn’t push them deep into their zone of discomfort, juz slightly beyond their comfort zone.

Sex with a minor: Some more equal than others?

In Political governance on 01/05/2012 at 7:19 pm

(Or “Is there a class distinction when it comes to sex with a minor?” Or “One sex law for the educated & well-off, another for ‘lesser mortals’?”

Prior to 48Gate, a number of people have been prosecuted and found guilty of having paid a minor to have sex with them. The “defence” of “didn’t know” didn’t work: there was a case reported in the media last week that did not get anyone upset at the failure of this “defence”. And neither did the “defence of “she’s a prostitute”: men were jailed for having sex with underaged Vietnamese prostitutes. No-one was saying it was unfair. All the men charged and found guilty were ‘lesser mortals”: no lawyers, financial professionals, senior civil servants or managers, or scholars. Juz labourers, hawkers technicians and junior white-collar workers.

The chattering classes and netizens ignored the cases.

But once “elites” are involved, the chattering classes and netizens rushed to defend them against the system. What an irony: the “elites” need to be protected against the unfairness and stupidity of the law. Presumably, the lesser mortals had accept the system.

The self-styled “Voice of the People”(err “Voice of the Elites”?) , Tan Kin Lian, has compared having sex unknowingly with a minor to baking a cake without knowing that some of the ingredients are dangerous. Well I never. And there are on his site posts from one or more of the accused: home away from home for the accused? Maybe TKL should borrow TOC’s unofficial motto of “Giving Voice to the Voiceless”**. I mean if anyone is voiceless, it is the now 46 accused and the two who pleaded guilty.

TKL, the posts, and others argue that the consequences for the accused whether they are found guilty or not, is disproportionate to what they are alleged to have done. And hence the Attorney-General should not prosecute them given that the minor in question is a “hardcore” prostitute, or so a lawyer for some of the accused claims (But he would say that wouldn’t he?). On disproportionate consequences, I agree. But why didn’t these bleeding hearts, do-gooders argue this when some men were charged with having sex with FT minors who happened to be prostitutes?

On not prosecuting, somewhere here, I’ve said if in the AG’s view there is sufficient evidence to convict, the AG has to prosecute: to show the system is fair to everyone***. And see this****, which I came across in a comment to a post by Lucky Tan. I agree with the anonymous commenter. 

The nine weeks the ex-principal got, and the judge’s explanation of the sentence and the rationale of the law should dismay the accused (including this utterly self-centred chap, who for his self-centredness and self-pity, both beyond parody, deserves getting the maximum jail sentence of seven years and a big, big fine to boot*) and their champion.

While Senior District Judge See Kee Oon noted that Lee chose to plead guilty at the first available opportunity [so if plead not guilty, then found guilty, be afraid very afraid] and showed clear and unequivocal remorse {go for acting classes, and practice crying in front of the mirror], Lee had allowed himself to be misled regarding the girl’s age. Given the circumstances, Lee’s suspicion ought to have been aroused and he should have asked for proof of her age, the judge said. “Had she refused to show identification, he should have walked away,” the judge added. From Today report.

Also, he had “consciously chosen to procure services under anonymity of the Internet”, said the judge.

In passing sentence, the judge stressed the need to “reinforce a message of deterrence”. The judge highlighted the girl’s age and stressed that the law was put in place to protect the young and vulnerable … lacked maturity and was entitled to legal protection … Any “presumed willingness” on her part had no mitigating value.

According to a ST report the said judge also said that the law regards the underage prostitute as the victim because she is underage and therefore deemed as incapable of having the capacity for mature judgement and discernment of an adult … “What the victim had done may be considered immoral by certain standards. However, this must be weighed against the morality of those whose demand for such services makes this a lucrative trade.”

Spot on I say.

But let’s not condemn the ex-principal. The judge said he committed the offence outside the scope of duties as an educator and did not abuse or exploit his position.

I wish him and his wife well. Because “There but for the grace of God goes I”.

————-

*”It is my personal lack of control of my own moral standards and my weak resistance to distractions that led me to my mistake,” the ex-principal stated. The self-pitying moaner should reflect on this.

**And TOC’s silence on this mater is deafening. Next time it covers shumething controversial and says it is doing so because the issue is widely reported and because it is in the public interest (like the NS status of Tony Tan’s sons), I’ll raise this silence of TOC on MinorGate.

***The silence of the wimmin and feminist groups is also deafening. They should be commending the AG and police loudly. Perhaps, they only ever want to criticise the police and AG?

****Because there are elites among these 48 of them, including a former primary school principal, a former secondary school teacher, former high ranking financial executives and wealthy individuals, peoples get excited and interested about the fairness of the case.

Does this mean that ordinary peoples should get harsher punishment than the elites and the riches for committing the same offence?

Does this mean that ordinary peoples have no careers, no life when compared to the riches and the elites?

This shows that the society has to grow up to treat everyone, whether you are ordinary, poor, rich or elite, fairly with the same respect and same expectation.

Well said Sir or Mam.

Sex & the State

In Political governance on 24/04/2012 at 7:19 pm

(Or “What MinorGate tells us abt the “system” netizens love to hate)

Ignoring the personal tragedies of disproportionate consequences for the accused even if they are acquitted, and the sordid details, there are some important facts that we should take note of.

Among the scion of a rich family, an expat ang moh ex-banker from UBS, professionals from the finance industry, an executive director of a company, and senior managers are a former school principal, a former head of strategic planning at the Police Training Command, a former senior lawyer for Singapore’s environmental agency, a scholar-teacher and a naval officer. What it means is that senior public officials can afford to pay between $450 and $750 for one session of sex (the alleged range of fees).

So it is clear that salaries in the public sector are now comparable with that of the private sector. No need to worry about talents leaving public service for more money in the private sector.

(BTW, wonder if the senior officials used cheap hotels or were using the expensive hotels, including Marina Bay Sands, and M Hotel. If the latter, the WP and Lina Chiam should be asking questions in parliament abt whether the salaries being paid to senior officials and officers are excessive.)

Next, as this under-age sex case comes less than three months after Singapore removed its chief of civil defence and replaced the head of its police anti-drug unit in an investigation by the anti-corruption watchdog of “serious personal misconduct”, as “public” servants constitute 13% of the cases brought in MinorGate, and as there are rumours that an ex-senior, high-flying SAF officer, will also be charged, one can reasonably, mischievously and sardonically wonder if there is a hunger among senior public officials for illicit sex?

And given that these officials do not seem to have a hunger to make money illegally, maybe high public sector salaries to make sense. And maybe the Pyramid Club (where the elite of the public servants relax) should arrange sex sessions for members so that senior public servants don’t feel that they have to hunt for sex?

Seriously, the government should be concerned that these senior public officials seem to have an attitude to sex that is not reflective of the wider public mood. The public seems to be more puritanical than these officials, when it comes to sex: cheating on the wife, and using prostitutes are not acceptable behaviour. If the public starts getting the idea that there are many more senior public officials who are cavalier abt sexual morals, there will be a serious loss in the moral authority of the government.  

So the HR people in the public sector should be seriously thinking of conducting courses for scholars and other high-flying senior officials on how they should behave sexually. And perhaps provide confidential counselling sessions for those who have trouble controlling their urges?

The government should also be concerned abt the loss of talent and the money wasted on educating and training these scholars and the others.

Now something nice to say abt the “system”.

The “PAP and government are bastards and always wrong” brigade are at it again. They rant and rage that the men charged, shouldn’t have been charged because the charged men didn’t know. (Obviously, they are gullible enough to believe the men’s defence. Don’t they realise that the men would say this, wouldn’t they?)

And that anyway the consequences for the men whatever happens to them is out of proportion to the charges. Very true this.

But if charges had not been brought, with only the pimp being prosecuted, these same people would be ranting and raging “cover up” because the “rich and famous”, an ang moh FT banker, scholars, and other senior government people were involved. “The system is corrupt,” would be a cry we would read in TOC and TRE, and SgDaily and S’pore Surf would be chock-a-block with links carrying the same message. And Yacoob would have another excuse to call us netizens “irresponsible” and other nasty names.

As it is, there are the usual anonymous defamatory allegations on, for example, TRE, that the gal is well-connected. And all because it is the law that she cannot be named publicly, because at the time she was allegedly having sex with the accused, she was still a minor. The authorities have no discretion on the matter of naming the girl.

The government, the police and the Attorney-General* deserve some credit for allowing the law to run its course so that justice is not only done, but seen to be done? A lot of credit in my opinion.

—————–

*There is a gd public policy reason for prosecuting all the alleged cases of paid sex with the gal, even if it is proven that the gal is a “hard core prostitute”. It is to ensure that the “excuse” of “I didn’t know” is never ever available in any such a case. Otherwise, every Ah Beng, Brudder or Countryman will claim “Didn’t know” as an excuse when making representations to the AG not to prosecute, and then bitch, moan and rant that he isn’t well-connected enough when the AG decides to prosecute.

BTW, ever tot that the gal has mental health problems? We juz don’t know, and shouldn’t rush to condemn her on media reports, and the statements of lawyers representing some of charged men.

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