On Sunday (21 April), local urban farm OnHand Agarian took to its Facebook page to announce that the company will be ceasing all dealings with the National University of Singapore (NUS) in response to how the school handled its recent sexual misconduct case.
One of its student, Monica Baey, recently made national headlines when she exposed a fellow male student, Nicholas Lim, who secretly filmed her showering in her hostel.
In the wake of this incident, the local urban farm said that it will stop all ties with the University until Mr Lim is expelled. “No talks, no internship, no site visits, no use of our company when you need industry partners to be Co-Pls for government grant submissions,” stressed the company.
Following OnHand Agarian’s announcement, a Facebook page called SMRT Feedback by The Vigilanteh condemned the act and said it was done for publicity.
The page said that “companies including the obsolete and unknowns” are jumping on the NUS high-profile case for publicity.
However, SMRT Feedback said that it will do just the opposite and continue to engage NUS students as it’s wrong to penalise innocent students.
“On the contrary, I will continue to employ NUS interns. Out network of business partners will also continue to provide a learning experience for any students in Singapore including NUS. You can penalise the school, but don’t penalise the thousands others who have nothing to do with it,” it wrote.
After SMRT Feedback’s post was up, the owner of OnHand Agarian Lim Hao Fa responded in the comment section which sparked a heated debate.
Lim said that students can still “apply for apprenticeship in a personal capacity” with them, as his company is just ceasing their business with the University.
In response to that, SMRT Feedback said that NUS students will still have to secure an official endorsement from the school for their internship. Therefore, if Lim’s company boycott NUS, then it will create a confusion “between the students and it may enable other companies to do the same”.
As such, SMRT Feedback feels it’s a wrong move as “other NUS students are inevitable unfairly penalised”.
Lim then said that although he understands the inconvenience and confusion that may occur to the students, there’s the bigger problem of why his point was “even considered newsworthy”.
He explained that he doesn’t want to work with a company (NUS) that permits “such blatant invasions of privacy”. This is because his farm sends out deliveries to a large number of homes on the weekend where they “see people in their boxers, PJs and underwear”, highlighting this as a concern due to Nicholas’s action towards Ms Baey.
“I’m pretty sure every other company in Singapore that deals with confidential information had already backlisted Nicholas. I just decided to make a statement to my former academic partners.”
Upon reading Lim’s reply, Michael Petraeus, a foreigner who runs a blog that comment on Singapore politics, attacked the owner of the local urban farm and said he’s “virtue signalling” and called him a “disgusting individual who jumped on the case to benefit from the shit storm”.
“What are you going to do now? Demand the guys is banned from all education and employment for his entire life, because he peeped in the ladies’ shower?…You don’t give a damn about justice or privacy – all you want is to focus attention on yourself to pander the virtue signalling mob that went out to crucify the guy,” the foreigner wrote.
He also believed that Lim is causing more problem rather than solving it. This is because what he did “happened with complete disregard for basic responsibility for the consequences”.
Responding to Petraeus comment, another netizen called Mason Lim responded and criticised the foreign man. He said that since the law is not doing much to punish the sexual offender, it’s fair that “he gets roasted by social pressure”.
“In fact as deterrence, it’s BETTER he has to spend extra efforts to get employment because he made a mistake people shouldn’t be making. Different crimes have different weight in time or criminal records for this reason,” he wrote.
Following this, Petraeus retaliated and sarcastically said that he is amazed “how the mob appears to know everything about everything and is able to pass judgement about all matters from economic management of the country to sexual harassment cases.”
He also pointed out that Mason has bullied a person without any knowledge of why certain decisions were made.
“Laws are what separates humans from animals. Adherence to the due process and those laws, as well as division of responsibility for carrying out law enforcement and relevant judiciary, make a nation civilised. Today this civilised nation succumbed to animal instincts of the lowest order. It makes me want to vomit,” he noted.
As such, Mason responded and said that laws can change following the demands of the times. “Also I’m quite amazed there is someone out there who can equate a country wanting to see justice done to our womenfolk ‘witch hunting’. Take your stupidity and dangerous thinking and shove it up your Caucasian spectator ass,” he wrote.
He also explained that even America has many cases where the public and lawyers have manipulated cases based on the loopholes in the law for their personal benefit. He then said that people follow laws only to serve their needs, and if that is not done, they just vote the policymakers (Government) out.
On the other hand, Lim wrote and said that Petraeus is accusing him of “mob” rule only because he denied NUS and Nicholas access to his resources.
He added that what he did was “pure individualism” and not mob rule. If NUS wants to partner with his company, all they have to do is “expel the criminal”.
The businessman also mentioned that there’s possibility that some angry lawyers can be taking up a case against on the Caucasian “for being a foreign influence on domestic politics”.
“As a libertarian I respect your right to free speech, regardless of how stupid I might think you are. But as a Singaporean man sworn to defend my country and constitution with my life, you’re on your own unless you have a pink IC,” he said.