The significance of Monica Baey’s judgement call to challenge the status quo that was disadvantaging her and her peers

Ms Monica Baey

When Monica Baey escalated her case publicly, I was surprised that some people actually highlighted her plight to me in various chat-groups and messages. I had to disagree with most of them. This young lady does not need our pity. In fact, we ought to be thanking her, her parent and her mentors for teaching us a critical lesson here.

In a nutshell, some guy violated her by taking a video of her while she was showering at her hostel in NUS campus. She reported her case to the police and NUS. The police investigated and after two months of investigation, decided to hand the perpetrator 9612-month conditional probation. NUS followed with their disciplinary action and the authorities expected the case to be closed, just like the rest. Status quo prevails.

While the perpetrator got a slap on his wrist, the victim got the blunt end of the deal when she has to live with the trauma of socializing with him in school like as if nothing has ever happened. It is natural of her to be questioning if the act of such a violation warrants no real consequence. Something is not making any sense here and the police and NUS have a lot of explanation to do as this case is unlikely to go away any time soon.

When she realized that she cannot afford to be victimized again and again by the trauma, she bravely rejected their prescriptions and makes a judgement call to demand for zero tolerant against such perpetrators. Both the police and NUS probably underestimated the merit of her case. The vital point raised by Monica was that hers was not an isolated case but such cases have become one too many for young female students like her to be enduring at their student hostels at the NUS Campus.

If taking a shower is an issue, one wonders how those female students could even be sleeping in peace. Is there no rocket-scientist in NUS who could explain to their senior management the effect such traumas have on female students and why firmer action is needed in addressing such issues to truly demonstrate that NUS has zero tolerant against all form of sexual violations?

By making her judgement call, Monica shows that she knew her rights sufficiently to be holding NUS responsible and accountable for their repeated failures to protect the basic rights of female students like her reasonably. When their hostel’s security system was breached by perpetrators, who have managed to circumvent so often, it also shows that the current approaches and actions taken by NUS are clearly inadequate in the prevention of such incidents, much less in addressing their traumas.

Her parent and that of other female students, and the public ought to be outraged by the repeats of such incidents that are so detrimental to the well-being of the female students at NUS and should also rightly question NUS why it is leaning more towards the perpetrators than the victims.

By rejecting the status quo, she saw a need to be addressing the issue as it has been repeating itself once too often. When the issue was properly identified as a problem by her, she was right in effecting for a change-process to be taking place so that the problem can be addressed more holistically. In the management term, she is displaying highly sought-after attributes of real Problem Solving skill.

Mistakes are costly to any organization and having it repeated is not an option for any Learning Organization in the private sector. When the incident happens, they are carefully addressed, just like what Monica has done. The end result is for the organization to learn as a whole and not repeat the same mistake again, or worst, again and again, like in the case of NUS. Problem solvers like Monica are celebrated and cherished in any Learning Organization.

If only NUS, being a centre of excellence for education is able to practice the concept of Learning Organization or more specifically Problem Solving skill that it teaches at its Business Management and Social Science faculties, such an incident would not have repeated itself so blatantly until it becomes such a public scandal. NUS obviously have the resources at its disposal and its students could also be roped in to resolve this issue and learn first-hand the importance of solving a real problem, just like any Learning Organization would.

Looking at the statement from NUS to the Straits Times yesterday, I think some individuals in a position of power at NUS may have no concept of what Learning Organization is all about or the ability to be appreciating the essence of Problem Solving skill. By issuing their standard statement, NUS may have just opened another can of worms by trying to defend the indefensible.

NUS ought to be engaging a consultant who could explain to them in simple English that Monica is not a problem but merely a catalyst, critical for change in solving this particular problem. Why can’t NUS just reach out to her and seek her critical feedbacks and understand the traumas female students have to endure firsthand and address the matter more adequately?

Instead in the statement issued, NUS only create more unwarranted tensions by stating that it is reaching out to Monica to offer her support and assistance. Question will naturally be asked as to why it took NUS more than two months to be reaching out to her after such a traumatizing incident. Clearly, this could not be its standard protocol in its trauma-management for its students. Are there no trauma-experts in NUS to be advising them too?

When NUS further listed the five factors of concern that its Board of Discipline will be reviewing from, such as severity of offence, need for justice for the victim, rehabilitative need of the perpetrator, safety of its community and, the decisions and penalties imposed by the authorities, it just shows their lack of sensitivity towards victims like Monica.

Given that this is not an isolated incident, it is already so obvious that the security and safety of its female hostel, which forms part of its community, is already an issue. If such a violation of its female students is not severe, how severe must it be before NUS treat the issue with greater urgency? More can be questioned about some of the unwarranted contents of its statement.

It is good that more students are finally coming out into the open to share their own encounters and demand that NUS adopt a zero-tolerant against such violations. The Hard Truth is whether NUS is even capable of learning from its students and practice what it teaches.

Inspirational Factor

What I find most aspiring of Monica lies in her ability to think critically and question the status quo that disadvantages her and her peers. Our children ought to be learning from this Hard Lesson and not allowed themselves to be rolled over or be overly submissive whenever questionable status quo demanded of them. The notion of being better is always better makes sense here.

Her mother’s open support of her also deserves our support as this is exactly what we ought to be teaching our own children – to always act in good conscience and fight critically for what they truly believe. We don’t raise our children to be pushovers.

This is so important as many parents have been lamenting on behalf of their children whenever they got deprived of a place in our universities and polytechnics by foreign students, or when they were denied the choice of their preferred studies or how parents have to fork out extra saving to fund their children’s higher education in private schools. As a parent, I shared their experience that our education has some build-in discriminations that are against our own children yet favour foreign students or elite ones who are under our government radar.

Some parents were further enraged when their children graduated into unemployment while many of our good paying jobs have been going to foreign talents as a result of our government signing of highly questionable Free Trade Agreements “FTAs” such as CECA with India etc or how foreigners used dubious qualification or groupthink to favour a particular nationality over our own.

If our children are unable to think critically and challenge such unfair “status quos” more decisively when in schools, then their future will indeed be very bleaks should they be further disadvantaged in their workplace and country? Critical thinking matters and can make a big difference in our children lives. They must not be pushovers when it matters most.

As a nation, our future will be bleak if our children cannot think critically for themselves and their peers. With critical thinking ability, they can solve real problems, contribute more effectively to society and can also critically question the government of the day on any given issue that they are facing. Collectively, such a skill set is good for any nation that seeks to be progressive and forward-looking.

I hope more political leaders will also weight in objectively and demand that NUS demonstrate greater care and sensitivity, and learn to apply what it teaches. Given the importance of critical thinking, it may be desirable that our schools grant greater autonomy to our students so that they can champion and speak up on relatable social causes that matter to them.

Parents can also be more assured that all their effort in raising their children are not in vain as they are more than capable of defending and fighting for their own rights where it matters most. This may be the most crucial attribute we may have to articulate in our own children, besides ensuring that they do not bully, exploit or violate others like those perpetrators.

Do not pity Monica but rather appreciate and support her on the significance of her judgement call. The lesson that we can all learn from her has great significance on the development of our own children. After all, as a nation, Singapore truly deserves better

 

Joseph Nathan

 

 

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23 Responses to “The significance of Monica Baey’s judgement call to challenge the status quo that was disadvantaging her and her peers”

  • Sekaran:

    Why was he not charged in court? Here a precedent is set and henceforth who ever does the same and get caught will use Monica v Nicholas and get away with 12 months conditional warning. Not right at all.sekara

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  • PAP Root of All Evils:

    This is a long winded article.
    In short, the people are already fed up with the adulterations of rule of law and accountability by the ruling government.
    This effect has been carried over to this incident.
    The people wanted to see how Justice is properly and fairly served.

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  • LIONS:

    This incident needs more deserving conclusion.
    In fact,there is NO PROPER CONCLUSION
    is this how THE LEADERS OF TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS manage?
    By letting things remaining status quo,the university management shows nonchalance and poor leadership.

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  • opposition dude:

    The humsup pervert must be the son of some ambassador or high ranked civil serpent to not even be named. Maybe he is the nephew of some minister who knows?

    Yes this is clearly beyond the shadow of a doubt that double standards are practiced here. An ordinary citizen commits the same crime and you can bet your HDB there will be a jail term plus caning. Justice is certainly not meted out fairly here.

    And what is really most laughable is that NUS needs to convene some silly committee, imagine that! Just how stupid can smart people get eh?

    Monica said she revealed who the humsup was but for some strange reason no one except her knows his name.

    Usually for this type of case the pervert’s name is revealed but not the victim, I see what you are trying to do there ST! Same for when Michael Palmer and David Ong’s extra marital affairs were revealed, both women’s names were made known. Real small minded of the newspaper when the guys are in the wrong isn’t it?

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Can it be MORE ridiculous than a PM being call OUT by his siblings as corrupt and abuse of power +++ the wife and friends AND end up shedding Croc tears and explain the case away in Parliament as No Contest since it is a One Man Comic Show

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  • Justice please:

    Justice must be seen to do done.
    let the punishment fit the crime.

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  • HarderTruths:

    When the government says it will not investigate or charge or punish an individual who has maliciously and knowingly indulged in violating the privacy of a woman in the worst possible way short of rape – then $G has just declared to the world that it is nothing more than a third world banana republic where laws can be bent or ignored when individuals are powerful enough.

    The person must be very powerful or with great leverage that makes the local law enforcement and university powerless to act.

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  • Another hard truth:

    These JLBs appointed to sit in the aNUS board of the thrustees just collect big sum directors fees like other boards in GLCs and basically do nothing much but drink kopi at each meeting.

    The whole system sucks to the core! Sack these incompetent useless clowns.

    Bravo for our brave young lady who fights for justice.

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  • use parleeement to exonerate:

    if culprit is high enough in pap clan hierarchy, can use parleeeent to ownself declare not guilty.

    since pap clown has used the mechanism, sure as hell the culprit can use it too, provided he is of similar or higher rank in hierarchy.

    after all not a single 70% sheep is going to bleat. it is acceptable to 70% sheep to go through one pap law two pap interpretations.

    if the victim is so adamant in seeking justice, she shall need to vote OPPO when GE next arrives.

    otherwise she is shadow boxing, just like Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling shadow boxed when pap clown used parleeement to ownself declare ownself no abuse of power when everyone knew there was abuse of power.

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  • 70% voted for this system:

    when you vote in a circus(PAP), You get clowns.
    so you young people who are fortunate to go to unis, be mindful of who you give your vote to next GE.

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  • MarBowling:

    It’s a very straight forward case and yet those jokers sitting on top the NUS ivory tower is convening a committee. Just like a Secret Committee was formed by a DPM to look see look see into the DEMOLITION of a house at 38 Oxtail Road. This personal matter rather than a National Issue was even brought up in Parliament wasting taxpayers money! In the end, the ACCUSE walked out of Parliament as CLEAN as a BABY.

    Top Beam Crooked, bottom beam 101% sure slanting. Those jokers managing and squatting on top the NUS ivory tower is just FOLLOWING the great example of their GREAT LEEder! Period. Hopefully, the 69.9% is able to wake up from the slumberland and VOTE WISELY in the coming GE!

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  • Sg not yet democracy:

    Many Singaporeans moms would not have dared to challenge the authorities.

    Luckily her mom and herself has courage.
    Else they would have suffered in silence.

    Most singaporeans never realised, if it happened to her it could happen to your daughter, wife, sister, mother, step-mom.

    If we remain selfish, then in Singapore, THERE IS NO SOCIAL JUSTICE.

    EMPATHY for others has a real important reason. Its similar to why a family, group , organisation is able to provide support for a person. There is strength in numbers.
    EMPATHY for others even if non-related has a good karmic effect on yourselves. You help to build and culture of social justice. One day you may need someone to help you.

    It’s as simple as why when we see an elderly crossing a road with difficulty, ee should help him . By helping him you are helping yourself. In future you may need this help.

    If this thinking can be absorbed by the people, singapore will become a democracy.
    And there will be Regime change.
    But if we remain selfish, selfpreservatory, cold blooded, we will forever be ISOLATED and have no people power.

    The Constitution grants us democracy.
    The People killed democracy.
    Singapore is yet a democracy not because of any law but because of the people who are trying to outsource people power and role but there is no one who can do this for them, except maybe the new citizens.

    Any laws we can vote them out.
    Any Gerry mandering we can vote them out.
    But we are too timid.

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  • Regime change is the solution:

    If “perp” was a foreigner expelling him would mean wasting the taxpayers’ money spent on him and the space at NUS he took away from a Singaporean. Is this the reason for the two strike policy of NUS?

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  • Flabbergasted:

    what happened to our champion of rights, san-mu-kan ? so quiet over this episode?

    say something lah, defend the defenseless.

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  • Bbc:

    Nus and police appear to be sexist for treating peeping criminals against women so lightly.

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  • Crap:

    To those who commented graciously, forgivingly, that is because Monica is not their daughter. They don’t know the pain of the victim, family and loved ones. Surely, they will behave differently if their daughter, girlfriend, mother, loved ones, goes through what happened to Monica.

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  • It could happen to your girl:

    Last time Chewing Gum law can cane someone.
    Now this Young lady case only probation?

    We must find out why was he given such a light punishment.

    Will this embolden more to do the same?

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  • one question, and one only:

    Crap:
    To those who commented graciously, forgivingly, that is because Monica is not their daughter. They don’t know the pain of the victim, family and loved ones. Surely, they will behave differently if their daughter, girlfriend, mother, loved ones, goes through what happened to Monica.

    well said. but what if the culprit is your son? doesn’t he deserve a 2nd chance? we are not saying we have the answer. doing wrong deserves punishment, even though pap has shown abuse of parleement as the means of exonerating ownself is ok. but surely the young man has done far lesser wrong than pap clown? look at pap clown. still alive and kicking and earning S$m through himself and his wife. why the double standard?

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  • Chris:

    Who investigated the case? Authorized to jugde the peeping tom remorseful?

    Ain’t peeping tom a bleach in civil law?
    Why no action from SPF?

    We are taught to be respectful the female party from young since SG wanna tap into the female workforce.

    2nd chance can be given, provided that the correct punishment is being meted out and exercised.

    If joy, this will be a telltale sign to go NUS to be a peeping tom.

    Stop defending the guy using the adouble standard.

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  • Chris:

    Referring to the above comment: (but what if the culprit is your son? doesn’t he deserve a 2nd chance?)

    We have to basically understand that he had intentionally searched the eusoff hall for his victim to take a video of her showering with his camera on hand.

    After verifying and confirming the actual victim, recording commenced.

    As a 22 years old adult who had been thru NS. I do not understand why he feel that its okay/fun/thrilling to do this.

    For someone who had been thru NS, we all know that all actions do comes with responsibility or consequences.

    Okay, lets try to defend him with the following:

    1) He is young. (No, he is already an adult who can vote in singapore.)

    2) He act impulsively. (Well, if that’s the case, i will not want him to be my financial planner.)

    3) He is curious on female’s body. (Duh? Doesn’t he already have a girlfriend to let him explore the uncharted waters? And either the girlfriend is so good to defend and stand for him or her head is an actual coconut with only water inside)

    Let’s not that about some monkey or clown/cirsus incident and see things apple to apple. Like the 2 previous Lim’s or even Michael Fay incident.

    This young victim is of an commoner like us. But she is brave to fight for her rights as our SPF or NUS disappointed her. She is even fighting for your future daughters.

    Its not about what done is more or lesser than other cases, but each civil law do have its minimum punishment meted out. (S$400 for beating a red light.)

    Some says that he is remorseful, but is it true? Or is it due to the compulsory apology letter required by NUS?

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    one question, and one only: well said. but what if the culprit is your son? doesn’t he deserve a 2nd chance? we are not saying we have the answer. doing wrong deserves punishment, even though pap has shown abuse of parleement as the means of exonerating ownself is ok. but surely the young man has done far lesser wrong than pap clown? look at pap clown. still alive and kicking and earning S$m through himself and his wife. why the double standard?

    Goh Meng Seng latest contribution is a POINT to PONDER…The System is to be CRUCIFIED…both youngster deserves Empathy & Sympathy for what happened and what they are going through

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  • PAP Root of All Evils:

    one question, and one only: well said. but what if the culprit is your son? doesn’t he deserve a 2nd chance? we are not saying we have the answer. doing wrong deserves punishment, even though pap has shown abuse of parleement as the means of exonerating ownself is ok. but surely the young man has done far lesser wrong than pap clown? look at pap clown. still alive and kicking and earning S$m through himself and his wife. why the double standard?

    Don’t get the order wrong, justice has to be served fairly first, then follow by compassion.
    He will need to serve his fair time, society can then give him a second chance.

    Get this order wrong, a mess is created, just like the situation now and the string of blunders in the past.

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  • PAP Root of All Evils:

    PAP’s selective law will attract all the crooks and cheats to settle in this lala land, where people in the right circle, in position of ‘intellect’, power and wealth can be treated lightly for their evils.

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