Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Will Howard Shaw be another Woffles Wu?

Howard Shaw, ex-Executive Director of the Singapore Environment Council is one of the 48 men who faced charges with having sex with a minor. Yesterday, Howard’s lawyer said that there is a range of discretion of punishments which can be meted out by the judge, from a fine to a jail term of several years. Howard’s case is special as he stood out as one of the most prominent Singaporeans to be charged - Howard hails from a very wealthy, well-connected and reputable family.

Last week, there was a public outcry over the fining of prominent plastic surgeon specialist Woffles Wu of just $1,000 over a road offence. Though AGC has clarified on the basis of the sentencing of Woffles, I think public sentiment is still hard to be simmered.
Before Howard, only one man has been punished for having sex with a minor in the same case: Mr Lee Lip Hong by being jailed. Hence if Howard is to be let off with just a fine, I think public outcry is inevitable as they may associate that the rich, well-connected and powerful perpetuators of crimes and offences will face a less-harsh punishment than common men.
I think Howard may be jailed for a duration similar to Lee Lip Hoong’s, not that I want him jailed but it is just my guess feeling. Howard’s stellar contributions in the community, especially in the environment conservation scene may be a mitigating factor in the reduction of the sentence. Once jailed, Howard Shaw may need to surrender his PBM award which he just received from President (ex-President Nathan) only last year.
Most of the other men involved in this case are common people unlike Howard; with a crime record they may find it hard to find a job after serving their sentence (if they are jailed) and they do not have millions of dollars in their bank accounts like the rich in Singapore which they can survive on without having a work.
I pity the 48 men involved in the sex scandal. I gave them the benefit of the doubt: I mean if they were to know that the lady they are to have paid sex with is a minor, they definitely will not “do it”; hence I believe most of the 48 men may not really know that the lady who got them into hot soup with the law is a minor at all. The public scrutiny over the men is really very stressful in my opinion and I believe there are still many men who also do the same thing that the 48 men did just that they may not have been caught or that they choose their target carefully.
I think Singaporeans are getting more and more open and sex-craving because of the high stress level in our society as well as increasing affluence. There is a common Chinese saying that once men are rich, they will do some foolish things.

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