It is rather heartbreaking to have to see student Monica Baey (Baey) having to go public in order to get some measure of recognition for the trauma that she has had to endure as a result of fellow student Nicholas Lim (Lim) attempting to film her as she took a shower. Now, I don’t condone vigilante justice but it is important to note that if the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Police had taken swift and appropriate action that was commensurate with the offence, this would not have become the public outrage that it has now become. I applaud Baey for her courage. Even though she was the injured party, it could not have been easy to go public and have Joe Public everywhere giving his or her own two cents worth.
Attempting to film someone on the sly as they take a shower is an undisputed crime. It is also clear cut in that there is an identifiable victim that has suffered harm. Given that Lim was merely suspended apparently without any serious criminal investigation is a slap in the face for all victims of sexual crimes. I do not like to use the word “victim” because clearly, Baey is not a victim. While she was the injured party in this case, she is clearly an empowered and confident young lady. However, for the sake of making my point here, I have used the word “victim”.
Contrast this with the police pouring in resources to investigate a Facebook joke about throwing an egg at Minister for Law K Shanmuggam (Shanmuggam). The egg in question was not even close to being thrown. Yet, the police promptly issued a statement and talk of possible custodian sentences for “crimes” of these type were discussed. In Baey’s case, she was filmed while taking a shower. The crime was committed and both the perpetrator and the victim are identifiable. Yet no action was taken! Why the difference in treatment?
In Shanmuggam’s case, the egg was not even thrown. In other words, there is no victim. Besides, Shanmmuggam has a security detail which would definitely have taken the egg for him. So where’s the harm? This stark contrast here could lead the public to come to the conclusion that it prioritises “VIPs” over the more pressing needs of other citizens despite the fact that the police force is funded by the public and is not the personal security force for VIPs.
While I disagree with the seemingly unprofessional handling of this issue by NUS, my main disappointment lies with the police for failing to take any firm action over this incident despite pulling out the stops over a non egg.