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Black, white or grey?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I enjoy reading but the kind of stuff I read is mostly related to money and investments these days. Gone are the days when I would read a book of fiction every week.

A friend told me I have no life because I don't read the "Life" section of The Straits Times. Droll.

Anyway, just now, I read a story in Yahoo which evoked within me a mixed feeling of condemnation and sadness for the guilty party. Many times, things are not black or white although I would prefer for them to be so as it would make life easier.

This story has nothing to do with money and investments:

A 32-year-old female Singaporean teacher was sentenced to a year in jail on Monday for having sex with a 15-year-old boy in her school, local media reported.

The teacher, who was married with two children, started a relationship with the student last year after she started counselling him, the Straits Times daily reported on its website.

The teacher-student-monument in Rostock, Germany.

I think it is more common to read about male teachers in such cases or am I being sexist here?

After reading the story, my initial reaction was that the female teacher deserves the punishment. Pure and simple. Then, although I still think she should be punished, I feel a bit sad for her.

Under Singapore law, an adult found guilty of engaging sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of 16 -- even if it's consensual -- faces up to 10 years' imprisonment, a fine or both.

The boy is one year away from being legal. Could they not have been really in love?

Of course, there are other issues involved here such as how the teacher abused a position of power and trust. So, if the boy had been a JC student, the teacher could still have been dismissed by MOE but she would have been spared a jail sentence?

Once people are married, they are no longer fully their own person. They are only half a person. Whatever they do, they should think of the other half. If they have children, the responsibility becomes heavier as the children could be psychologically scarred for life through parents' thoughtless behaviour. So, I feel sad for her family too.

Then, I thought perhaps the boy's family could have thought about the teacher's situation and how they could have dealt with the issue differently. People do wrong sometimes. Perhaps, a private meeting with the teacher and a warning that she should stay away from their son would suffice?

Psychiatrists found "no predatory paedophilic tendencies" in the teacher. So, she is not a threat to the young in society at large. Of course, this fact only came to light because the case went to Court.

In a different time and age, could this have had a different outcome?

Read full story: here.


Kim said...

If I were the underage boy's mother, I would have also done what she has done, that's report her to police first and then talk later. The fact that the teacher has done what she shouldn't have done, already said much of her commitment and emotion ties with her own children and husband. If she loves her family, she wouldn't have done this to hurt them. Similarly If she love the boy she also would not done it. All these are done out of lust and no self control. Yes human have emtional.However if everybody have no self control over their emotion, what would the world become?
见一个 爱一个

SnOOpy168 said...

"By the book" is a key selling point of Singapore to the FTs. I think the teacher, being an adult of sound mind & position of trust, got off lightly. All because it is wearing a skirt. Had this been a male teacher, he may be spending quantity time with those under-aged-girl customers in the cell block.

At the end of the day, justice is deemed served. Lets move on.

AK71 said...

Hi Kim,

It is quite obvious that the teacher lacked self-control in the event. Whether she did it out of plain lust or something more is less obvious. That is why I wonder if the two parties could not have been in love.

Of course, if they were genuinely in love, she should not have let it progressed to the next level due to their individual circumstances. It was bad judgement on her part. She should have had a handle on her emotions. This is why I say people do wrong sometimes and this could be interpreted on many levels, mind you. ;)

I doubt anyone of us is devoid of weaknesses. Many, if not all, people would succumb to moments of weakness in our lives.

I agree that going to the police is a natural reaction. We have laws after all. However, the Law could be a rather blunt instrument.

The boy in question was 15 at the time of the incident. It is not known to me how many months short of 16 was he. Indeed, he could have been just weeks from turning 16. So, if the teacher had consensual sex with a JC student or, indeed, an "N" Level student in his final year, it would have been legal though still morally apprehensible?

I am not a lawyer. Haha.. I am just thinking aloud. :)

As for your writing in Chinese, hmmmm, I think some do have the capacity to love more than one person at any one time. Of course, it is again the Law here that made polygamy illegal for all except the Muslims.

Since the early days of the Chinese civilisation, there has been debates on whether laws are necessary and, if so, to what degree.

I also wonder why is a minor someone under 16 years of age? Why not under 15? Indeed, why not under 18? ;p

AK71 said...

Hi SnOOpy168,

Oh, I am moving on. In no way has this case any effect on me. ;p

I don't think the female teacher in this case got off lightly. It is a 1 year jail term compared to Howard Shaw's 12 weeks in the case you mentioned. Of course, she abused a position of trust while Howard Shaw paid money for sex. So, it is perhaps right that her sentence is stiffer.

I feel that the teacher should not have done what she did. However, I also feel pity for her family and, in particular, for her children. This led me to wonder if the boy's parents could have dealt with the issue without going to the police.

hydrogenperoxide said...

AK, but I think is that hor, even if the parents never reported it to police it's still a criminal preceeding and the teacher would still be guilty?

AK71 said...

Hi pero,

If the case was not reported to the police, there wouldn't be any criminal proceedings. Of course, it would still remain a crime. ;)

Anonymous said...

Polyandry is a practice wherein a woman has more than one husband at the same time. Fraternal polyandry was traditionally practiced among nomadic Tibetans in Nepal, parts of China and part of northern India, in which two or more brothers are married to the same wife, with the wife having equal 'sexual access' to them. The Indian epic the Mahabharata includes the polyandrous marriage of Draupadi to the five Pandava brothers. Polyandry is believed to be more likely in societies with scarce environmental resources, as it is believed to limit human population growth and enhance child survival.[4] It is a rare form of marriage that exists not only among poor families, but also the elite.[5]

Who is to say this practice is against the LAW for this society?
Try this in Singapore or some Western countries and see what happens?
So it all depends on what your society pratice is.
As far as God is corcerned, of course it is sin.

AK71 said...

Hi Temperament,

I was wondering if anyone would share my feelings. ;p

Indeed, laws are often culturally defined. Certain laws in some countries, for example, we might think of as barbaric. Then again, what is barbaric? It is again culturally defined.

To bring this a bit further and please forgive me if it offends you, the idea of what are sins could be quite different in different societies as well since not all cultures believe in an omnipotent God and have a Bible.

This is such a complex world we live in, isn't it? ;)

Anonymous said...

HI AK 71,
You are right. There is a saying if there is no God man will create one.
For almost all Christians, we believe in the "Doctrine of Election" Even in the "Doctrine of Election" there are differences among the believers?
Indeed it's a complicated world!
But we must use our common sense or logic and it must prevail in your final understanding. No?

AK71 said...

Hi temperament,

Logic and religion would make strange bed fellows. ;p

We are lucky to be living in a more enlightened age (and place). Poor Galileo Galilei. A lifetime of house arrest. :(

Kim said...

Indeed this is a complex world.
However, no matter how complex it is, man are created equally.
All human has 良心。
This 良心 is the guiding principle of all our actions and thoughts.
This 良心 separate a human from an animal.
This 良心 is no more or no less in each individual.
The only differences lies in that individial, if he/she has forgotten it, buried it or choose to ignore it.
When everybody uses this 良心, actually the world can become a simple world:)

AK71 said...

Hi Kim,

良心 refers to our conscience. It is the will and ability of an individual to tell right from wrong. So, conscience is value loaded too.

When we say someone has 良心 or not, we are using our own values which are usually the norms in our society.

I have no doubt that what the female teacher has done is perceived to be lacking in 良心 in our society.

If we want to appear to have 良心 in any society, we have to conform to its values in general. :)

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