Disclaimer: Some adult thoughts ahead.
Update: I highlighted some legal issues in my Law blog.
A cross-border international scandal involving a couple of young Malaysians seem to have erupted in our prim and proper neighbour, Singapore.
In it, stars two very young people – Alvin Tan Jye Yee, a Law student in the National University of Singapore, and an ASEAN scholar; Vivian Lee – his girlfriend, a Malaysian. There doesn’t seem to be very much to say about these two, since they are still so young after all.
The scandal involves a couple of single consenting adults having sex, which thankfully nobody is throwing the morality hammer at yet. The issue at hand is that they actually posted their exploits graphically, online, in a public blog, for the view of all and sundry.
Both people have been interviewed and they both defended their right to continue doing whatever it is that they were doing. Twitter is ablaze with various parties commenting on this.
Nobody really cares about what I have to say but I shall say this.
Those people who think that they are wrong to post their sexual exploits on-line, are walking down a very slippery slope. Regardless of whether we think that what they are engaging in is right or wrong, the main issue at hand is why this has turned out to be such a scandal.
The primary issue that I am concerned with is freedom of speech.
I believe that they have every damn right to do whatever they want to do and to even publish it online for the world to see. The key thing here is that they never did force anyone to actually go view it. Nobody can accidentally stumble upon their content either. Therefore, there is no compulsion from their part for anyone to view it.
Also, they have not gone out to offend anybody’s sensitivities. If your sensitivity is offended by viewing such things – who the hell asked you to go view it in the first place? And if you have viewed it and are offended, the only person that you have to blame for it is yourself. If you need to ritually cleanse your eye-balls after that, it’s your own fault.
I don’t see the difference between this form of freedom of expression and another highly controversial form of freedom of expression – political speech. If these two had been blogging as Locke and Demosthenes, we would probably see things differently. However, there is essentially no difference between the two.
What is more private than a person’s innermost thoughts that are published online? That is how the whole blogging trend started – when some people decided to use the web to keep a log or journal of their private lives. This thing is just a natural progression of that trend.
If we think that they should be censured for publishing their private acts publicly, we should also go around censuring anyone else publishing photos of themselves eating dinner (I know that Malaysians love food). Honestly, what someone chooses to shove down their alimentary tract is private too.
How about photos of them sleeping in their beds?
Honestly speaking, these two have brought no greater harm onto our nation or society as a whole that has not already been done by someone else.
If there is one thing that needs to be blamed for this whole issue, I would put the blame squarely on our voyeuristic culture. We have become a voyeuristic society globally. This is what Youtube has done to us across the world. We’re constantly pushing for more interesting content as our attention spans drop to that of a 3-year old’s. It’s our fault that these two decided to feed that demand.
Personally, I do hope that they keep doing what it is that they are doing – as long as they are mature enough to understand that every action has its consequences. They need to know that there are many out there who would not look on their acts as liberally as I do and may choose to act on that. Also, there may be legal consequences of their actions such as public indecency Laws (archaic), etc.
As for the whole legal mess that this creates, I have no idea how anyone is going to solve it. If they broke some S’porean/M’sian Law, can they be successfully prosecuted for either of it? Jurisdiction is going to be a bitch. That’s a question that I leave to the courts to decide.
- Msian Student’s Sex Blog Could Land Him In Trouble In Singapore (mydestiny2011.com)
- Sliming Alvin Tan: Non-news and moral guardianship (surfingbutterfly.wordpress.com)